published Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Oil, oil everywhere

Much like overpopulation, the alleged horrors of DDT and the notion that logging is the chief threat to the bizarrely ennobled spotted owl, the supposedly impending depletion of the world's oil supplies has long been a source of enthusiastic panic for liberals.

So, how about an update?

• Multiple nations -- particularly in Europe and developed parts of Asia -- face not-too-distant fiscal catastrophe because of underpopulation. Citizens in liberal nirvanas such as Denmark, for instance, "are producing fewer babies than it takes to replace themselves, continuing a trend that is worrying demographers, who fear that declining population growth will undermine the welfare system," The Copenhagen Post helpfully notes. "(T)here will be fewer taxpayers to shoulder the burden of tomorrow's pensioners and other benefit recipients."

• Tens of millions worldwide have died of malaria because of environmentalist-backed bans on DDT, which had been used effectively against malaria-carrying mosquitos and would have prevented those deaths.

• And even after vast, federally imposed, job-killing reductions in logging in the Northwest, populations of spotted owls have continued to decline.

The spotted owls' more aggressive cousins, barred owls, appear to be a major culprit, competing with spotted owls for food and sometimes killing their kin. Oops.

That brings us back to oil depletion and related hysteria.

Oil is going to dry up, liberals clamor, so the federal government simply must subsidize development and production of wind and solar power -- and fast!

The assumptions embedded in that hypothesis are ludicrous to thinking people. First, while oil supplies are not infinite, there is little cause to believe they'll disappear anytime soon. Recall a recent point in an Associated Press article: "U.S. oil output is surging so fast that the United States could soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest producer." U.S. production is expected to rise 7 percent this year alone.

Then there is the inconvenient fact that we still have mind-boggling supplies of coal, as well as bountiful, greenhouse gas-free nuclear energy and the potential for a lot more.

In short, all three purchasers of "The Collected Witticisms of Al Gore" can keep reading it at night without benefit of a candle.

But let's suppose we do begin to approach the depletion of world oil supplies. The idea that that's an excuse for even more failed federal green energy investment is nutty. Even in the tattered remains of America's free market, when supply drops but demand stays the same or rises, it creates a natural incentive to invest in alternatives. If oil supplies begin decreasing, prices will rise. (That is not to be confused with current high prices that are often related to absurd bans on production in various locations.)

When oil prices finally rise enough to make wind and solar power competitive -- and to make consumers actually consider them even when they aren't dipped in tax-credit sweeteners -- private development and production dollars will flood those industries and make them more feasible.

But when federal busybodies indulge their appetite for economic guesswork and opt for subsidies over the self-correcting workings of the free market, we wind up with taxpayer-robbing debacles such as Solyndra.

Someone will no doubt protest that oil companies, too, have gotten subsidies from one Congress and one president after another. In truth, oil companies haven't received direct handouts in years. But if they had, they would be as inexcusable as the unconstitutional giveaways to green energy.

Congress should tear all energy giveaways out by the root, let energy companies compete without governmental favors and let the American people vote with their dollars on how they will heat their homes and fuel their cars.

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librul said...

A message from the Professor Wendell Cory Chair of the right-wing, homeschool, kindergarten of the libertarian institute for environmental and economic Project for a New American Century of reality denialism.

November 13, 2012 at 12:23 a.m.
hambone said...

Does your last paragraph include taxpayer funded subsidies to big oil?

November 13, 2012 at 5:23 a.m.
EaTn said...

Liberals are not as much concerned with the world's oil supply as they are with the environmental issues of producing and using the products of oil. Smarter usage of oil will reduce depleting the natural resource while keeping the air and water cleaner.

November 13, 2012 at 7 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Sorry, TFP: Just because population in Europe is dropping does not mean that population is not growing world-wide in an sustainable way. DDT was banned before we lost fish-eating birds of prey but mosquitoes would have evolved resistance long ago. We won't eliminate malaria by killing mosquitoes, but by finding a vaccine and working to get it to people at risk. And fossil fuel is not unlimited; new discoveries may delay the switch but switch we must, keeping what fossil fuels we need to operate things that cannot be done any other way (example: jet propulsion). Coal is filthy, not just when burned but when it is extracted, and nuclear has its risks. Although environmentalists can go overboard, to say that these problems don't exist is dishonest.

I do agree that when oil prices in the US are allowed to rise to levels found elsewhere, we'll find alternatives more advantageous.

November 13, 2012 at 8:24 a.m.
lightkeeper said...

I didn't know Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute patients off their meds were allowed to write editorials in the TFP.

November 13, 2012 at 8:47 a.m.
conservative said...

Liberals are Hypocrites!

Those who criticize the use of the use oil, coal, gas and nuclear are the worst hypocrites.

Smokers don't rail against the use of tobacco.

Alcoholics don't rail against the use of alcohol.

Drug addicts don't rail against the use of drugs.

Yet Liberals rails against the use of oil, coal, gas, and nuclear while they use these.

MACMILLAN DICTIONARY Hypocrite : a person who claims to have certain moral principles or beliefs but behaves in a way that shows they are not sincere

November 13, 2012 at 9:04 a.m.

Tens of millions dead from malaria? From a ban on DDT? Based on what science or survey? The first ban on DDT was in 1968, in Hungary. The US didn't ban it until 1972. The world? Some places are still using it, though agricultural use was banned in 2004.

Sp, where are these tens of millions of deaths from malaria that resulted from a ban on DDT use? Please tell us with factual accounts.

And the spotted owl? So...what you're saying is that the logging wasn't slowed soon enough, and that other competitors have moved in? Huh, maybe if you hadn't spent so long resisting it. Thanks for taking responsibility.

Seriously though, you say the oil industry hasn't taken direct handouts...suspicious wording there. How much indirect funding have they received? How much? I dare you to admit it.

All you have to do is ask yourself how much a Carrier group costs.

Oh no, you'd never admit that the presence of US military forces is a subsidy for the oil industry.

BTW, Solyndra? Still failed due to Chinese dumping. That's right, another country engaged in economic warfare against the US. And you never speak about it.

conservative, I don't rail against the use of nuclear power, and I would gladly support a transition to less use of fossil fuels.

See what you don't realize, hypocrite and liar that you are, is that liberals are not a monolithic block advocating whatever strawman argument you claim.

But that doesn't concern you, as you're allowed to lie and deceive for your own purposes.

And smokers? I don't know a one that hates their addiction, and hates smoking. But they can't stop due to chemical dependency.

Same with many alcoholics.

You know your lack of empathy shows lack a sincere appreciation for others, and would prefer to create a caricature to attack.

Why is that?

Is it because like Mitt Romney, you have no character?

November 13, 2012 at 9:29 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

conservative: Liar for Jesus. Not to mention poor reading comprehension.

November 13, 2012 at 9:33 a.m.
conservative said...

Liberals are Hypocrites!

Liberals never rail about "subsidies" for the porn industry.

Liberals never rail about "subsidies" for the liqueur industry.

Liberals never rail about "subsidies" for the tobacco industry.

Liberals never rail about "subsidies" for Hollywood.

Liberals never rail about "subsidies" for Owebama.

Liberals never rail about "subsidies" for the Clintons.

Liberals never rail about "subsidies" for Nancy Pelosi.

Liberals never rail about "subsidies" for Harry Reid.

Get the picture?

MACMILLAN DICTIONARY Hypocrite : a person who claims to have certain moral principles or beliefs but behaves in a way that shows they are not sincere

November 13, 2012 at 9:35 a.m.
chatt_man said...

Interesting reading from Consumer Energy Report...

Who would have thought that Chuck Schumer said eliminating the 3rd largest petroleum subsidy would set the county backwards and that it was an extreme idea to eliminate it. And he was probably right. What is it you ask? It is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

November 13, 2012 at 9:37 a.m.
conservative said...

Good job chattman

Here is another with a tease:

Do you know what oil company does get US subsidies, and not just tax "breaks"? Petrobras, Brazil's state-owned oil company

November 13, 2012 at 10:02 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Bogus, conservative. A bank loaned Petrobras $$ to buy American oilfield equipment (good for us) and no taxpayer money was involved.

November 13, 2012 at 10:10 a.m.
conservative said...

I wonder if those Liberals up north shivering from the cold are happy now that they don't have electricity provided by coal, gas, and nuclear?

November 13, 2012 at 11 a.m.

Why don't you ask how happy they are that disrupted weather patterns induced by pollution from burning fossil fuels has lead to these problems?

Why don't you ask how happy they are that the US gov't spent trillions in the Middle East instead of improving things closer to home?

Why don't you ask how happy they are that FEMA is actually doing its job instead of being run by a guy who thinks privatization is the way to go?

Oh yeah, that's because you're caught up in your blind dogmatic worship.

November 13, 2012 at 12:05 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

I wonder if conservative ever considers how he will have to explain to the man upstairs all the lies he spews here?

November 13, 2012 at 12:12 p.m.
conservative said...

oil, oil, everywhere, but the number of wells will shrink.

oil, oil, everywhere, why doesn't Owebama think?

November 13, 2012 at 12:14 p.m.
EaTn said...

conservative....oil production in this country shrunk under Bush, but has drastically increased under Obama.

November 13, 2012 at 12:40 p.m.
conservative said...

"Tens of millions worldwide have died of malaria because of environmentalist-backed bans on DDT, which had been used effectively against malaria-carrying mosquitos and would have prevented those deaths."

As recently as 2005, 500 million people around the world (approximately one-twelfth of the earth’s population) were contracting malaria on an annual basis; and each year, 2 to 3 million of them died as a result. Since the 1972 U.S. ban on DDT, more than 50 million people—about 90 percent of whom resided in sub-Saharan Africa, and most of whom were children younger than five—have died of malaria.

November 13, 2012 at 2 p.m.

See the deceptiveness in a truthful lie?

So...what does a US ban mean to sub-Saharan Africa? Are you confused, and think it's part of this country?

They had no global ban on the use of DDT, and any country that wanted to do so could have used it, had they wished to do so. They probably did PRETEND to use it, but their "government" merely pretended to spray it while pocketing the money.

And that's not even getting into immune-resistance that did develop. DDT isn't the miracle cure-all you want to be, and the US ban didn't cause children to die in Sub-Saharan Africa, no matter how much you want to blame environmentalists for the problem.

If you want to blame anybody, blame yourself for trying to reduce foreign aid from 25 percent of the federal budget to 10 percent!

(Oh wait, it's actually closer to 1%!)

November 13, 2012 at 2:07 p.m.
conservative said...

Notwithstanding the warnings of people like Ehrlich, Carson, and spokesmen for the aforementioned environmentalist organizations, DDT continued to be used widely to combat malaria throughout the 1960s. By 1967 the disease was eradicated from all developed countries where it previously had been endemic—most notably large regions of Latin America and tropical Asia. Typical was the case of Taiwan, where the incidence of malaria plummeted from more than a million cases in 1945, to a mere 9 cases in 1969

November 13, 2012 at 2:11 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

And DDT is still being used, according to the UN. It is allowed whenever the effort to eradicate malaria takes precedence over health concerns, and is used indoors (not in agriculture). So your point is? If your source claimed that birds and human health were not impacted by DDT, your source is wrong.

November 13, 2012 at 3:59 p.m.
conservative said...

Their persistence eventually paid some dividends when DDT was banned in the U.S. in 1972. That ban was due, in large measure, to the influence of then-EPA Administrator William Ruckelshaus, an attorney with close ties to the Environmental Defense Fund.

It is noteworthy that two years before he outlawed the pesticide, Ruckelshaus (in an August 31, 1970 U.S. Court of Appeals hearing) had stated unequivocally that “DDT has an amazing an exemplary record of safe use, does not cause a toxic response in man or other animals, and is not harmful. Carcinogenic claims regarding DDT are unproven speculation.”

November 13, 2012 at 4:02 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

It is still a suspected carcinogen, and the effect on birds is proven, conservative. That said, it is STILL BEING USED, so your complaint doesn't make sense.

November 13, 2012 at 4:24 p.m.
conservative said...

After seven months of hearings in 1971, which produced 125 witnesses and 9,362 pages of testimony, EPA Judge Edmund Sweeney concluded that according to the evidence:

“DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man ... is not a mutagenic or teratogenic hazard to man ... [and the] use of DDT under the regulations involved here do not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds or other wildlife.”

November 13, 2012 at 4:36 p.m.

Ooh goodness, hearings in 1971. Was this when they were still arguing that tobacco doesn't cause cancer?

November 13, 2012 at 4:42 p.m.
conservative said...

But Ruckelshaus, who had never attended even a day of the EPA hearings and had never (by his own admission) read any of the transcripts of those hearings, overruled Sweeney and formally banned DDT on January 1, 1972. His decision was chiefly a consequence of his close ties to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and others in the green movement.

The DDT ban was subsequently appealed, but to no avail, as Ruckelshaus had appointed himself as the appeal judge.

November 13, 2012 at 4:50 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

That was 1971. They have more recent studies. AND DDT is still being used, conservative. So what's your point?

November 13, 2012 at 4:59 p.m.
conservative said...

Just as empirical evidence discredits the notion that DDT led to a decline in bird populations, so do the facts contradict claims that the pesticide is harmful to humans and other animals. Said the director of the World Health Organization in 1969 (three years prior to the EPA’s 1972 ban on DDT):

“DDT is so safe that no symptoms have been observed among the 130,000 spraymen or the 535 million inhabitants of sprayed houses [over the past 29 years of its existence]. No toxicity was observed in the wildlife of the countries participating in the malaria campaign. Therefore WHO has no grounds to abandon this chemical which has saved millions of lives, the discontinuation of which would result in thousands of human deaths and millions of illnesses. It has served at least 2 billion people in the world without costing a single human life by poisoning from DDT. The discontinuation of the use of DDT would be a disaster to world health.”

November 13, 2012 at 5:18 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Okay, then your explanation for the near decimation of fish-eating birds of prey would be...?

Of course, your take on science would be a little skewed, you believing that the earth is only 8000 years old...

BTW, here is a recent study looking at the effect of DDT on human health.

November 13, 2012 at 6:05 p.m.
conservative said...

In 1985 the International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that “DDT has had no significant impact on human cancer patterns and is unlikely to be an important carcinogen for man at previous exposure levels, within the statistical limitations of the data.”

November 13, 2012 at 6:15 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Too old, conservative, find something more recent. And explain how birds were nearly wiped out and then recovered after DDT was banned in the US.

To emphasize, the study I found does not suggest that DDT use be discontinued. However, to say there are no effects on human health is false.

November 13, 2012 at 6:20 p.m.
conservative said...

In 1997 the New England Journal of Medicine stated, “Our data do not support the hypothesis that exposure to [DDT] and PCBs [polychlorinated biphenyls] increases the risk of breast cancer.”

In June 1999, the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention stated, “Even after 20 years of follow-up, exposure to relatively high concentrations of DDE or PCBs showed no evidence of contributing to an increased risk of breast cancer.”

November 13, 2012 at 6:38 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Why no mention of what's really important about oil...cost and carbon.

Shale oil, tar sands oil, deep water oil...all cost a lot to extract compared to conventional oil. Even while having large reserves, if those reserves are expensive to extract (and they are), we will continue to pay ever more for oil. Peak affordable oil is already here. Every increase stiffles growth.

Reserves in the ground are a good thing, but the key is the cost to produce.

Our consumption of fossil fuels has elevated C02 levels past the danger point and we now know that our continued consumption rate will cause the Southwest to become almost unlivable; will cause desertification in out Midwest and make Southeastern summers even hotter. Food production will inevitably fall and climate migration will rise. Bio-diversity will continue downward.

We seem destined to commit ecocide, possibly ending human life on earth, all because we are unwilling to adapt to our own environment's needs.

November 13, 2012 at 6:58 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Your sources are specifically breast cancer, conservative, and they are not as recent as mine. My source finds a link between DDT and premature birth. So you can't sit there and say truthfully that there are no health risks to DDT.

November 13, 2012 at 7:06 p.m.
conservative said...

Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Harold M. Koenig said, “As far as I know, there is no known association between DDT or any other insecticide and cancer. To categorize [Rachel] Carson’s work as research is a big stretch. It was really just hysterical speculation.”

November 13, 2012 at 7:07 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

Date? Bet it was years ago. DDT is not entirely harmless to humans. Using DDT to fight malaria is a choice. You are choosing that malaria is worse, and on that you would be right. But to say that DDT was not responsible for the decline in US birds of prey and that DDT is harmless to humans is false.

November 13, 2012 at 7:20 p.m.
conservative said...

As recently as 2005, 500 million people around the world (approximately one-twelfth of the earth’s population) were contracting malaria on an annual basis; and each year, 2 to 3 million of them died as a result. Since the 1972 U.S. ban on DDT, more than 50 million people—about 90 percent of whom resided in sub-Saharan Africa, and most of whom were children younger than five—have died of malaria.

November 13, 2012 at 7:22 p.m.
conservative said...

In February 2005 the European Union (EU) warned Uganda (where up to 100,000 people were dying of malaria each year) that EU member nations would stop importing Ugandan fish, flowers and cereals if that African country were to implement a DDT program to combat the disease

November 13, 2012 at 7:42 p.m.

Sorry, lkeithlu, clearly conservative has no intention of a dialogue.

He'd just rather freak out over something he can blame on environmentalists.

November 13, 2012 at 9:43 p.m.
conservative said...

Environmental leftists traditionally have viewed the people killed by malaria as unfortunate, collateral victims of mankind’s highly necessary efforts to protect the natural environment from the alleged ravages of DDT. Some environmentalists, however, take their rationalizations in favor of the DDT ban much farther: That is, they view malaria as nature’s way of imposing a necessary check on the potential problems associated with overpopulation, and therefore as something that is not wholly undesirable

For example, former (1969-1985) Sierra Club director Michael McCloskey said (in 1971) that his organization “wants a ban on pesticides, even in countries where DDT has kept malaria under control ... [because by] using DDT, we reduce mortality rates in underdeveloped countries without the consideration of how to support the increase in populations.”

November 14, 2012 at 6:52 a.m.
dao1980 said...

I can't believe conservative hasn't quoted any bible verses as "ABSOLUTE PROOF" that DDT is safe for humans to bathe in, and even drink.

Hey conny, since it's perfectly safe, why don't you show us all how smart you are by introducing it into every orifice on your body?

You'll be just fine, I'm sure of it.

November 14, 2012 at 6:59 a.m.
ChattTN74 said...

When it comes to oil, the US will in a few years time be one of the biggest exporters of oil. And no, that won't mean the US achieved energy independence, it all goes on the global market and gets sold accordingly. So we still have an interest in alternatives to fossil fuels. And that is both for national security and economic as well. If we take the lead, then it will pay dividends down the road.

November 14, 2012 at 7:22 a.m.
conservative said...

In September 2006 the WHO announced that it would thenceforth actively support indoor spraying of the chemical “not only in epidemic areas but also in areas with constant and high malaria transmission, including throughout Africa.” “The scientific and programmatic evidence clearly supports this reassessment,” said Dr. Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, WHO assistant director-general for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. “DDT presents no health risk when used properly.” Elaborating on this theme, the WHO issued a statement asserting that DDT “provides the most effective, cheapest, and safest means of abating and eradicating” infectious diseases like malaria and typhus, which “may have killed half of all the people that ever lived.”

In short order, environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club, the World Wildlife Fund, Environmental Defense, and Greenpeace likewise accepted the stubborn reality that DDT, on balance, could help alleviate a great deal of human suffering. As Greenpeace spokesman Rick Hind told the New York Times, “If there’s nothing else [besides DDT] and it’s going to save lives, we’re all for it. Nobody’s dogmatic about it.”

This change of heart was too little, too late. The longstanding, uncompromising, inflexible dogmas of Mr. Hind’s organization and others on the environmental Left had already condemned at least 50 million innocent people to death in three-and-a-half decades.

November 14, 2012 at 7:23 a.m.
dao1980 said...

Wow! That's good, accurate, informative stuff conservative! So have you taken a sip yet? Hurry up! How else can we prove that it's perfectly safe.. right?

I just checked with the Sky-Daddy and he said no worries, you'd be fine.

November 14, 2012 at 7:40 a.m.
Humphrey said...

you would have to be stupid to think that oil could ever run out. Basic science says "energy can neither be created or destroyed." Duh. Oil can't run out. And if it did they would just go out in the desert and make more.

November 14, 2012 at 6:45 p.m.
Rob51 said...

since "U.S. oil output is surging so fast that the United States could soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest producer." And with "U.S. production is expected to rise 7 percent this year alone," i guess there's no need to taxpayers to subsidize the oil industry with $4 Billion annually. Plus the top five oil companies profits are $375 Million PER DAY! Nice!

November 15, 2012 at 11:40 a.m.
conservative said...

Rob51,according to an article in today's paper titled "Personal Finance: Devil in details in ending tax loopholes, deductions", JUST the top five of the other "subsidies" given to business and taxpayers total 574 BILLION. That is 143 times the "subsidy" given to oil companies, "subsidies" every business and taxpayer in America gets.

Stated another way that 4 billion in "subsidies" given to oil companies is a little more that 1/2 of 1% of JUST the top five of the other subsidies given to business and taxpayers. Stated another way, this 4 billion is 0.0069 % of the other "subsidies" mentioned.

Are you serious?

November 15, 2012 at 1:38 p.m.
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