One reason Biden needs domestic oil, and Canadian we remind him, is the ongoing confrontation with China. And China just told Biden he better shut up about human rights and military expansion if he wants them to cooperate on climate. Which they aren’t doing anyway with, for instance, 23 of the top 25 GHG-emitting cities located in the Middle Kingdom and don’t plan to. But with China heaping the coal high and using Russia as a “gas station”, the United States needs energy independence it won’t be getting from the unicorns. Or from OPEC, which laughed in Biden’s face when he asked them to increase production. So it’s time to shelve the rhetoric about energy transitions and get some actual energy or your geopolitical position gets it.
In Europe they seem to have thrown in the towel on energy independence and indeed on having enough energy. With gas shortages looming, if this winter is unusually harsh the result will be disastrous for people in those countries. Though if so it will be blamed on global warming as sure as Putin is an aggressive tyrant looking to increase his natural-gas stranglehold on the hated democracies to his west. And disaster will also loom for EU governments, whose members still wander about pontificating as if they dominated the globe by their sheer Europeanness but who now lack influence or respect. Which is not, we hasten to add, a good thing. For all their failings those governments are far better in every respect from free speech to honesty than most of those elsewhere and particularly those like China, Russia and Iran now challenging the liberal world order.
In keeping with the law of unintended consequences, we must also point out a story (h/t the Global Warming Policy Forum) that Europe’s effort to promote biofuels has had disastrous ecological consequences, including massive destruction of orangutan habitat in the Third World. And for what, since biofuels are an even more feeble response than wind or solar given the energy it takes to produce them including growing the crops?
Obviously the people involved never intended such a result, just as very few of those actively undermining the national security of free societies know they are doing it or mean to. But as always, sensible climate policy requires thinking through the consequences of changing incentives, and looking at the big picture over the long run. As Henry Hazlitt wrote in 1946 “The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”