Planet Gore

The Great Race

I have heard an awful lot of public discourse over the past few days about the irresponsibility of our Washington policymakers’ refusal to tap domestic sources of hydrocarbons. What seems to be gaining particular traction is objection to the lame defense that, well, the oil from ANWR wouldn’t be here for another seven to ten years anyway, so let’s not do it.

 

I have heard in response the rather sane assessment that it does seem rather likely that we are going to need it in seven to ten years, as well, and as such that accessing our own energy sources remains a good bet.

 

And there’s the rub. The typically implicit and often express rationale underlying the “it’s not immediate” rationalization is that we should instead invest in alternatives of the future. First, taxpayers have been investing in alternatives to hydrocarbons to the tune of about $40 billion since the 1970s – and what have we gotten for all that appropriated money?

 

More absurd is the larger argument that X resource won’t be here for seven to ten years so let’s invest instead in something else that will be here in, I don’t know, 14 to 20 years. If ever. Remember how the wind and solar industries tell us every year for the past three decades – since the subsidies started pouring in – that in a few years they’ll be cost competitive, that the technologies and economics will make sense in, oh, maybe a decade, but for now they must have subsidies and mandates? How has that worked out?

 

No one knows when the next miracle drug for any particular ailment will be here, but the fact that it isn’t immediate has never, ever been a reason not to go after it. (Yes, I am comparing tapping the most abundant affordable energy sources with life saving technologies; I believe you would too if you thought about it).

 

So here’s the bet. Let’s go after both, and see which gets here first. ANWR oil, or the miracle fuels, commercialized and somewhat economically sensible hydrogen alternatives, cost-competitive wind and solar, cold fusion, cellulosic ethanol. You name the viable, commercial-scale alternative that you believe would be here to compete in seven to ten years on its merits with no more subsidy than hydrocarbons receive, and get it here first, and you were right.

 

If you bet on it with your own money, you will win, and win big. Name names. Tell me the technology you bet on that can win that race.

Most Popular

Elections

Hell, No

Editor’s Note: If you would like to read more pros and cons on voting for President Trump, further essays on the subject, each from a different perspective, can be found here, here, and here. These articles, and the one below, reflect the views of the individual authors, not of the National Review editorial ... Read More
Elections

Hell, No

Editor’s Note: If you would like to read more pros and cons on voting for President Trump, further essays on the subject, each from a different perspective, can be found here, here, and here. These articles, and the one below, reflect the views of the individual authors, not of the National Review editorial ... Read More
Music

Stevie Nicks, Like Springsteen, Preaches and Preens

In the 1970s, Stevie Nicks and Bruce Springsteen made impressions on pop-music culture with romantic rock landmarks, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album and Springsteen’s Born to Run. But their new 2020 releases, Nicks’s single “Show Them the Way” and Springsteen’s Letter to You film and album, make the ... Read More
Music

Stevie Nicks, Like Springsteen, Preaches and Preens

In the 1970s, Stevie Nicks and Bruce Springsteen made impressions on pop-music culture with romantic rock landmarks, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album and Springsteen’s Born to Run. But their new 2020 releases, Nicks’s single “Show Them the Way” and Springsteen’s Letter to You film and album, make the ... Read More
Media

‘Anonymous’ Falls Flat

On the menu today: The op-ed page of the New York Times made the deliberate decision to hoodwink America about the identity of “Anonymous”; the sense of guilt that pervades legacy media -- a very apt label; and wondering whether or not we will even see long lines on Election Day with early voting being so ... Read More
Media

‘Anonymous’ Falls Flat

On the menu today: The op-ed page of the New York Times made the deliberate decision to hoodwink America about the identity of “Anonymous”; the sense of guilt that pervades legacy media -- a very apt label; and wondering whether or not we will even see long lines on Election Day with early voting being so ... Read More
Elections

Vote Your Conscience

At the 2016 Republican convention, Senator Ted Cruz spoke a controversial phrase: “vote your conscience.” I think about this phrase, this idea, fairly often. I’m not one to give advice on voting (or much else). But when asked for advice, I usually say, “Vote your conscience.” Sweet conscience! One of ... Read More
Elections

Vote Your Conscience

At the 2016 Republican convention, Senator Ted Cruz spoke a controversial phrase: “vote your conscience.” I think about this phrase, this idea, fairly often. I’m not one to give advice on voting (or much else). But when asked for advice, I usually say, “Vote your conscience.” Sweet conscience! One of ... Read More