COMMON SENSE ON THE ENVIRONMENT IN TIME FOR EARTH DAY
by William Perry Pendley
May 1, 2009
Thirty-three years ago, Keith Rattie, armed with an Electrical Engineering degree, went to work for an oil company because he believed that, soon, the world would not be running on fossil fuels. He knew that Chevron was seeking alternative energy sources and he wanted to be part of that transition. Today, he is Chairman, President, and CEO of Questar Corporation, which explores for, produces, and delivers natural gas. In early April, perhaps in anticipation of Earth Day (ironically Lenin’s birthday), he gave advice to students at Utah Valley University since they are being told, as he was, “that by the time you’re my age the world will no longer be running on fossil fuels.” In short, he reported, the scientific consensus, the politicians, and the media were wrong then; they are wrong today!
In an attempt “to do something that seems impossible these days . . . have an honest conversation about energy policy, [and] global warming,” he told them what the “doomsters” were saying when he was their age: the world is running out of oil and natural gas, the planet is cooling off, and fossil fuels are the reason; we have to break our fossil fuel habit, and fast! The crisis is so serious, said the politicians, that solutions cannot be left to the free market system; instead, the federal government has to mandate “massive taxpayer subsidies for otherwise uneconomic forms of energy.” In fact, the world did not run out of oil and gas; both are more abundant today even though, during the last three decades, humans have consumed over three times the world’s known 1976 oil reserves. Oh, and global cooling? It ended abruptly in the late 1970s!
Today, Mr. Rattie told the students, you are being told, not that America is running out of fossil fuels, but that “we’re running out of time!” “[T]he earth is getting hotter, humans are to blame, and we’re all doomed unless we find alternatives to oil, gas and coal—fast.” Despite that the threat differs significantly from that 33 years ago, the politicians’ answer is the same: the crisis is too serious for the market; the federal government must take over!
Once, admits Mr. Rattie, he believed global warming science was solid and settled; however, today he is a skeptic (what Al Gore calls a “denier”) due to a dramatic breakthrough a decade ago after he examined inputs to a global circulation model. He concluded that those inputs were selected based on “little more than the opinion of the scientist—in some cases, just a guess.” His conclusion, therefore, is that there is no scientific consensus.
There is, however, a political consensus, which is that Congress and President Obama must “do something,” specifically, enact a tax on carbon energy, “cap and trade,” which, they say, will reduce the Nation’s use of fossil fuel and shrink the massive federal deficit. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) promises such legislation this month. What they are trying to achieve, says Mr. Rattie—an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, is insane; the last time each American’s carbon footprint was as low as Congress and Obama want it to be in 40 years was when “Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620.” Obviously, concludes Mr. Rattie, “with today’s energy technologies, we can’t get there from here.”
True, but that may not be the goal. With cap and trade: the federal government will increase dramatically in size and control vast sectors of the economy; taxes and the cost of all goods and services will sky rocket; and, Americans’ quality of life will be reduced. That is not to mention the loss of liberty! One hopes the students hearing Mr. Rattie and millions of others take his message to heart. Otherwise, to paraphrase Mike + The Mechanics’ 1989 hit, The Living Years, future generations will have good reasons to “blame the one[‘s] before.”
Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF) is a nonprofit,
public interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right
to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and economic freedom. It is an Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) entity
incorporated in the State of Colorado. Csontributions
to Mountain States Legal Foundation are tax deductible.
Releases] [Legal Cases] [Legal