[ed. note: we originally titled this “Answers To Your Questions.” That was before we wrote the post. Once finished, we decided on this, more appropriate title.]
First off (though we don’t know why we even have to clarify this), we have never pretended to be a moderate/centrist/non-partisan/post-partisan/bi-partisan blog. We’re conservative first. This often leads us to support Republican candidates. How is this a surprise to anyone? We try to be fair and reasonable, but we know enough about bias to understand that objectivity is a pipe dream. Plus, this is an opinion blog, not a reporting blog. We’ve got no reason to even make a failing attempt at ‘just the facts, please ma’am’ reporting a la The New York Times. So, please, quit faulting us for not being something we never claimed to be in the first place.
When we bash what seems to our readers to be a far-left opinion. Don’t take it personally. We very rarely pick on those precious few of you who choose to read and respond to our posts. We get that none of you advocate the ridiculous things we pan here at OL&L. Most of our readers are conservatives. Most of you who reply are moderate to liberal. To our knowledge, none of you fall into the extreme left camp we frequently lampoon. So, when we go after whacked out leftist/environmentalist ideas or whatever, don’t take it personally. We’re usually responding to something we read over at the Seattle PI or maybe our bi-weekly scan of the Daily Kos or Huffington Post–not your comments.
We like the idea of drilling independent of its political ramifications. The fact that it could be used politically to help get people we like elected is simply a happy coincidence. Our support of drilling is not so myopic or narrow as some of you seem to believe. We have repeated here (every time we talk about energy issues. check our archive.) that we support drilling along with a carbon tax, nuclear power, and increased R&D funding. What more do you want? We are wary of the economic cost to Americans and American businesses if we attempt large scale transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. It will hinder us competitively in relation to other countries and is an environmental burden we should not bear alone.
When it comes to policy recommendations, we are political realists. We like the idea of a carbon tax, but the likelihood of enacting one by itself is very slim. Coupling it with a reduction in income and corporate taxes improves its chances, but still makes it tough politically. This is why we half-heartedly endorsed McCain’s $300 million initiative to award individuals or corporations who developed better battery technology. It’s not the broad, market based solution we hoped for and RD mocked, but if McCain is elected President, it has a far better chance of passing Congress than his and our preferred carbon tax.
And all of these things have a better chance of passing if they are lumped together with increased drilling–a policy supported by a significant majority of Americans.
Part of the reason we disagree with some of you about drilling is that we do not entirely agree with the assumptions on which you base your conclusions.
We get the idea of “peak oil.” We understand the price distorting effect of a cartel like OPEC. But we think some of these things are overblown. OPEC’s influence has been overstated since the trade embargoes of 1979. Since then, their influence has diminished and with the increased supply coming from Canada’s oil sands (our largest single supplier), they have been diminished even further. This isn’t to say they have no or little effect, simply that their influence is less than you think because it’s easy to demonize and hate the terrorist/oil producing countries.
Regarding peak oil and how that plays into this conversation, RD and some of the rest of you don’t like the idea of drilling because it prolongs the influence and control OPEC has on the price of oil and therefore the American economy, national security, and our international interest. We don’t like the idea of funding Saudi Wahabbists anymore than the rest of you. However, we believe that between the outer continental shelf, ANWR, and non-traditional supplies of oil found in shale-oil and Canada’s oil sands, the increased supply will both decrease the price of oil in the long run and the price influence (what is the technical term? control of marginal supply?) of the OPEC cartel. Some estimate that shale-oil and other non-traditional oil reserves are actually several times greater than the oil reserves of OPEC nations. Again, accessing these resources would significantly diminish OPEC’s cartel influence.
We are optimistic about oil because we believe that higher prices will drive the market to find more sources of oil like thermal depolymerization which could potentially manufacture oil indefinitely from things like garbage, sewage, and agricultural waste. We also believe that improvements in technology will make more oil more accessible. Higher prices and technology led to large oil field finds in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Brazil and of course drove the development of Canada’s oil sands. We do not foresee a peak oil collapse in the near or even mid-term because of these factors. Heck, our faith in the markets is such that we think prices will eventually drive a near-seamless transition from fossil fuel to some other, perhaps yet-to-be discovered energy source. This is what our study of history has shown us.
Within the general framework we outlined the other day, we are of course open to new and different ideas. Hopefully our drilling fetish makes sense to you when considered in light of our assumptions about supply, demand, OPEC, peak oil and the other things we’ve written about in this post. Or, you could do as Krauthammer suggested Congress was doing (h/t: S. Lybbert) with some of their recent legislative posturing–repealing first the law of supply and then the law of demand because, of course, they’re laws so they must have been put in place by some other idiot Congress–probably a Republican one.
The truth is, we blame most of the rising cost of gasoline on the weak dollar. Greenspan, the guy who seems like he wishes we was still in the game, is largely responsible for cutting rates to far and leaving them their too long. If Bernanke follows through on his commitment to raise interest rates and strengthen the dollar, we expect gas prices to fall accordingly.
[cue Raisin’s predictable mocking impersonation]
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