Two diverse challenges, the high price of fuel and the excessive growth of Russian energy aggression, can be significantly addressed if the United States makes effective use of its own natural assets. Doing so will require a reversal of Obama-era policies as well as a repudiation of practices tied to theories that are politically popular within progressive circles, despite being scientifically unsubstantiated.
This winter, the U.S. has faced near-record cold. In addition to the human misery, remarkable scenes of sharks dying off the coast of New England and Iguanas falling off trees in Florida have been noted. Advocates of global warming, of course, have alleged that this is all part of the cycle of human-made global warming. That’s consistent with their denial of the relevance of contrary evidence, including solar studies which indicate that temperatures may cool over the next several decades, as well as historic and geologic records that the planet was warmer in past periods, including examples such as the medieval warming period which extended roughly from 900 to 1300 A.D., and the warmer climate during the era of the Roman Empire.
That denial, and a religious-like adherence to the practices demanded by the global warming faithful, threatens the ability of America to utilize its natural resources to affordably heat homes, address other energy needs, and deter Putin.
Limiting U.S. energy production boosts Moscow’s influence over energy-dependent European nations. The Spanish think tank, Group of Strategic Studies has noted that Russia is quite willing to use its significant natural resources to achieve strategic geopolitical goals. That jeopardizes the diplomatic independence of European Union countries, and especially their potential support for U.S. policies. Bloomberg reports that “Europe has wanted to wean itself from Russian natural gas ever since supplies from its eastern neighbor dropped during freezing weather in 2009. Almost a decade later, the region has never been more dependent. Gazprom PJSC, Russia’s state-run export monopoly, shipped a record amount of gas to the European Union last year and accounts for about 34 percent of the trading bloc’s use of the fuel. Russia will remain the biggest source of supply through 2035…”
High energy prices finance Moscow’s dramatic military buildup, which began at a time when the U.S. was reducing its own defense outlays. NATO notes that Russia has engaged in “…a major ten-year State Armaments Program, which foresees the procurement of large amounts of new or upgraded weapons systems and other military hardware, across all services of its armed forces, over the period 2011-2020. The program initially foresaw a total expenditure, for the armed forces, of 19 trillion roubles, or 647 billion US dollars at the average nominal exchange rate of 2011. This comes in addition to expenditures on personnel, exercises and operations.”
An appropriate and nonviolent response to Moscow’s military buildup, as well as its invasion of Ukraine, would have been an increase in American energy production, in order to inhibit Putin’s ability to finance his armaments program and provide a diplomatic punishment for his attack on a neighboring state. Obama ignored the tactic and moved in an opposite direction.
Forbes noted that “President Obama has been called one of the most anti-energy presidents in U.S. history.” The Congressional Research Service noted that energy production on federal lands diminished under his administration. The Obama White House issued regulations designed to shut down the coal industry. It moved to oppose the Dakota pipeline, which would efficiently move crude oil. It also imposed strict regulations on fracking. It also acted to restrict offshore drilling. Although President Obama, in his support for nuclear energy, contradicted candidate Obama’s position on that issue, numerous states enacted restrictions on this power source, and the former White House was not helpful in resolving the issue of how to deal with spent fuel. Obama’s support for wind and solar energy played well with public opinion, (and should be part of any energy equation.) The reality, however, is that those sources will not be able to replace fossil fuels in a significant way, and do nothing to either decrease costs for U.S. citizens or deter Russia’s use of energy to fund its military or influence European nations.
Immediate, needed, and practical benefits have been sacrificed in obedience to the demands of those adhering to an unsubstantiated theory, to the financial and national security detriment of the United States and its allies.