One of the great U.S. success stories in recent times has been our country’s move to energy independence. Because we now produce more than enough domestic energy to power America’s homes and businesses, we’re no longer at the mercy of Mideast countries that too often held us hostage for energy supplies.
Rather than celebrate this achievement of American initiative and enterprise, carping critics instead decry our energy independence.
They complain about oil and gas production as contributors to global warming. They call for a ban on new "hydraulic fracking" that has produced vast quantities of affordable natural gas.
They even press to close nuclear power plants that generate zero-carbon emissions.
The holy grail for these extremists is "alternative energy" sources powered almost exclusively by wind and solar power. Everything else must go.
These alarmist views were given widespread credence by Al Gore’s 2-006 film "An Inconvenient Truth."
They led the U.S. to join in a deeply flawed Climate Accord ("Paris Agreement").
More recently, they formed the basis for the radical "Green New Deal" advanced by the congressional far left.
But it’s important to consider some "inconvenient facts" that environmentalists conveniently overlook:
The International Climate Accord established greenhouse gas limits that gave industrialized giants China and India a pass as "developing countries," imposing stricter limits on the U.S. and other Western countries:
It would be one thing if the U.S. and these other competitors were on an equal footing, but that’s not what the Climate Accord did.
It put the U.S. economy at a severe competitive disadvantage.
Even though the U.S. withdrew from the Climate Accord, the U.S. is greener than other industrialized countries and has exceeded CO2 reduction targets under the Accord:
This has been achieved by moving significant amounts of electrical generation from coal to gas-fired power plants, which emit much less greenhouse gas than coal.
Fracking and the cheaper gas it produces in the U.S. have actually helped the environment.
Renewable energy alone is not a reliable energy source without significant back-up:
California’s energy and environmental missteps are a cautionary tale.
In that state environmental extremists succeeded in closing down nuclear and gas-fired power plants and replacing them almost exclusively with “renewable” energy sources, particularly out-of-state hydropower, wind, and solar.
Problems arose when hydropower dried up as other states kept it for their own residents and businesses. The situation was exacerbated by an overdependence on intermittent wind and solar power generation that proved insufficient to meet high demand this summer.
The result has been rolling brownouts in California like third-world countries regularly experience.
The Green New Deal would take much of California’s clumsy and counterproductive energy policies national. If you like California’s brownouts, you’ll love the Green New Deal.
American enviros ignore or minimize the experience of other countries in reducing carbon emissions:
In France, 75% of electricity is generated by carbon-free nuclear power plants. In U.S., nuclear plants currently generate about 20% of our electrical power.
When these nuclear plants are closed, the difference is often being made up by gas-fired plants, which while cleaner than coal, still emit more CO2 than zero-emission nuclear generation.
Green countries in Europe like Denmark are clear-eyed about environmental choices.
In Copenhagen a recently built large waste-to-energy facility generates a major portion of the city’s electricity and reduces the need for landfills, where CO2 is buried but not eliminated.
In Norway, which operates major oil drilling rigs in the North Sea, the profits from oil production are used to help subsidize electrical car sales on land.
We can learn from that. Right here in the U.S., for instance, Texas is both a major oil and gas producer and a major wind and solar energy generator as well.
Energy and environment trade-offs are not an evil, they’re a necessary part of balancing the cleanest energy options against other equally important considerations like energy reliability and economic progress.
Rather than a radical "Green New Deal" that would hurt America, how about a "Green Fair Deal" that makes the hard-but-right choices on energy, the environment, and the economy.
Natural gas, nuclear energy, waste-to energy facilities all should be options. Renewables such as wind and solar can be part of the energy mix, but not all of it. That may be an inconvenient fact, but it’s the truth.
Former Senator Alfonse D’Amato served a distinguished 18-year career in the U.S. Senate, where he chaired the Senate Banking Committee and was a member of the Senate Appropriations and Finance Committees. While in the Senate, Mr. D’Amato also Chaired of the U.S. Commission on Cooperation and Security in Europe (CSCE), and served on the Senate Intelligence Committee. The former Senator is considered an expert in the legislative and political process, who maintains close relationships with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. He is regularly called upon for his advice and counsel, and is recognized for his incisive analysis of national and international political affairs. The former Senator will share insights gained from his years in Washington “with a clear-eyed view of the political forces that shape the world we live in today.” Read Alfonse D'Amato's Reports — More Here.
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