The classic definition of crazy is: To keep doing the same things while expecting different results. This nation’s energy policy is as crazy as a mad hatter, oblivious to the reality that we cannot escape basic physics.
Energy is this column’s keyword. Without harnessing energy, there is no industry, no life outside areas that enjoy mild climates for humans, livestock and agriculture, no modern civilization. Period.
Following the tired and hackneyed admonishment to “follow the science,” I will endeavor to do just that in this column. If only our political betters would do the same, we wouldn’t be in this pickle — on the verge of a self-inflicted national energy crisis based almost solely on insane policies. Policies borne out of the fantasies of young, starry-eyed activists claiming if we don’t follow them, we’re all dead in a decade.
We’ll purposely steer clear of the topic of “climate change,” not because I challenge either the concept or facts at play — it’s just too much like arguing religion. Earth does appear to be warming; it’s the why, how and by how much that divides us. If labeled a “denier,” you’ll lose family, friends, jobs, your social media presence and respect, so I’ll leave those arguments to those with sturdier constitutions and religious convictions.
Sadly, however, climate change is the ultimate trump card against anyone criticizing America’s irresponsible energy policy. Joe Biden, while campaigning for this nation’s presidency and in the name of climate change, promised without equivocation to immediately “end fossil fuels.” On Day One of his presidency he canceled the (Keystone) XL Pipeline and began shutting down domestic, petroleum-based energy production while failing to acknowledge that replacements for the nation’s energy lifeblood are, at best, only in their infancies.
Experts in U.S. petroleum reserves estimate (at prepandemic usage rates) our nation has between 100 and 300 years of untapped supply. In spite of this surplus, our brilliant leaders transferred production to other nations with much worse environmental records than the U.S. This saves the planet how?
In the meantime, other petro-rich nations are pumping crude oil at maximum capacity to provide the planet with much-needed energy. If the concern was truly to save the planet, why hand over oil drilling and transportation to nations with abhorrent environmental standards?
Because it’s not about energy. It’s about power.
Those who counter that energy can and should come from renewable sources such as wind, solar, hydro, geothermal (and several others) are likely unaware that the U.S. currently depends on fossil fuels for roughly 87 percent of its energy supply. Only in a make-believe bizarro world could someone simply will away that massive dependency with the wave of a magic wand. Yet hocus-pocus is exactly what’s at play in current U.S. energy policy.
Should 100 percent renewable energy sources be the world’s ultimate aspiration? By all means, yes! Our fossil fuel supply is limited. Someday, we will run out. But our technologies and infrastructures are nowhere near ready to achieve that lofty goal.
Remember what happened most recently in Texas where whole communities turned to wind power? Along came a massive freeze and virtually all the turbine generators froze, throwing scores of people not only into darkness, but into frigid temperatures. Estimates of up to 700 people perished due to hypothermia, asphyxiation from people using carbon monoxide-producing heat sources indoors or fires created by unsafe heaters.
Texans learned the frozen hard way that energy diversity is a must. Use alternative sources when practicable, but substantially back up those means with more traditional sources. An all-of-the-above approach.
Classic supply versus demand pressures will weigh most heavily on the upper half of American states, now looking at heating oil and natural gas rates quadrupling. Experts are forecasting low and middle-income Americans will be faced with the wrenching decision to either heat their homes or feed their families.
The most insulting consequence of our government’s alternative energy madness is the price at the pump. There is one reason gasoline and diesel prices have (in many areas of the U.S.) tripled, even quintupled: the sudden cancellation of domestic production in favor of crude oil importation. Plummeting gas and diesel supplies as compared to static demand means skyrocketing prices at the pump.
In another truly perverse move, with the stroke of his pen, our president began emptying our strategic petroleum reserve to lower prices in the lead-up to midterm elections. That plan is deeply cynical at best. Millions of barrels of crude have been sold to our most virulent enemy on earth: Communist China. After the midterms, when prices inevitably rise, refilling the reserves will simply be too expensive. I suspect this is fully understood by those intentionally weakening America on the world stage.
All-electric everything? We simply do not have the current means to energize an all-electric America. How do batteries for electric cars get charged? By pixie dust? What happens when the wind dies down or the sun sets? How do people feel when (California Gov.) Gavin Newsom orders blackouts and people to refrain from charging their electric cars?
This nation’s energy policy, as dictated by our administration versus voted on by average Americans, could very well force the biggest political realignment seen in our lifetime. A long overdue restoration to sanity as folks finally realize more people may perish because of the Green New Deal than any it may have saved. That is directly attributable to the deal’s failure to account for the vital elixir of modern life, energy.
The opinions expressed above belong solely to the author and do not represent the views of the Boulder City Review. They have been edited solely for grammar, spelling and style, and have not been checked for accuracy of the viewpoints.
Ron Russ is a Los Angeles transplant, living in and loving Boulder City since 2020. His career in commercial broadcasting spanned more than four decades. In another lifetime Ron performed stand-up comedy in Los Angeles. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.