Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Gusher of Sarah

Sarah Palin's Facebook page is humming again. This time the subject is energy independence, and the weak dollar. Further Proof of the Need for Energy Independence
The British newspaper The Independent reported today that Gulf oil producers were negotiating with Russia, China, Japan and France to replace the dollar in pricing oil with a basket of currencies.[1] According to the Wall Street Journal, Arab oil officials have denied the story, but even the possibility of such a talk weakens the dollar and renews fears about its continued viability as an international reserve currency.[2] In fact, today a United Nations official called for a new global reserve currency to replace the dollar and end our “privilege” to run up huge deficits.[3] We can see the effect of this in the price of gold, which hit a record high today in response to fears about the weakened dollar.[4]

All of this is a result of our out-of-control debt. This is why we need to rein in spending, and this is also why we need energy independence. A weakened dollar means higher commodity prices. This will make it more difficult to pay our bills – including the bill to import oil.

In his book
Architects of Ruin, Peter Schweizer points out that the Obama administration is focusing primarily on “green energy," while ignoring our need to develop our domestic conventional energy resources.[5] We’re ignoring the looming crisis caused by our dependence on foreign oil. Because we’re dependent on foreign nations for our oil, we’re also at their mercy if they decide to dump the dollar as their trade currency. We can’t allow ourselves to be so vulnerable to the whims of foreign nations. That’s why we must develop our own domestic supplies of oil and gas.

Though the chant of “Drill, baby, drill” was much derided, it expressed the need to confront this issue head-on before it reaches a crisis point.

Bottom line: let’s stop digging ourselves into debt and start drilling for energy independence.

- Sarah Palin
I didn't know Schweizer had a new book coming out! I also like how Sarah is citing rock-ribbed conservative writers like Thomas Sowell and Schweizer, rather than the usual parade of DC RINO's

I do have to object to this renewed call for energy independence, a call that has issued forth annually since the 1973 Oil Embargo. We don't need "energy independence." (what happened to free trade?) We need energy diversity. We do need to develop our own sources of oil. But we also need to ramp up on nukes. We need to end ethanol subsidies (and any other energy subsidy). We (well Greens) need to admit that solar and wind are not only unproven technologies, but also are no substitute for oil or nukes.
As long as we are citing books, I would urge Sarah Palin and everyone else to read Gusher of Lies by Robert Bryce. Despite its dramaqueeny title, it is a sober look at much of the above. Yeah, there's a bit of "war mongering neocon"-type rhetoric to wade through - hey, that's what you needed to say in order to sell books in 2007! - but the Greens and hippies who have been making American energy policy for the last 30 years come in for some very hard knocks. Bryce isn't "conservative" but (1) he's rational and (2) he reaches conservative conclusions almost despite himself. Close enough.

Palin is right to focus on energy as it is the one policy area where she is indisputably a leading voice who can talk circles around "experts" like Al Gore. But energy independence is a chimera that is almost meaningless. What we need to do is ensure a steady, uninterrupted flow of low-cost energy - something we have 80% of the time. That means developing all potential sources AND getting the government out of the subsidy business. It does not mean erecting walls so that we can declare our "energy independence."

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