The internets weigh in on drilling
A few bits and pieces from around the internets on the drilling issue.
Rick Hertzberg has a piece on his New Yorker blog about arguments against drilling. He points out that most of the opportunistic Dem arguments against drilling used thus far — it’s too far out; it won’t save us; it’s gimmicky — aren’t particularly effective. He hones in on the one he thinks will work:
We take all the risks. We pay all the costs. But we don’t get all the benefits, such as they are. Once the oil comes out, some time in the far future, it gets sold to whoever’s buying at that day’s price. The impact on price will be spread across the globe — which is why, as even the Bush Administration’s Department of Energy admits, that impact will be “insignificant.”
It’s a drop in the bucket, and it’s not even our bucket. It’s China’s, India’s, Europe’s — everybody’s. We get a thimbleful. But our wind and our sunlight aren’t going anywhere. Aren’t we better off putting our efforts into encouraging and harnessing them? When we’re thinking long term, when we’re planning for twenty years from now, shouldn’t we be looking to get away from carbon-belching, icecap-melting, coast-destroying oil?
The New Republic has an editorial up, detailing how the Dems have managed to botch the energy debate, and urging them to get back on more favorable ground:
To ultimately prevail politically, not to mention drive down energy costs and forestall climate change, Democrats will have to argue that the only true path to “energy independence” is independence from oil itself. That is, however much we may rely on our own oil sources, the market for oil is global, not national, and the growing thirst for oil from places like China and India won’t be diminishing any time soon. So drilling may provide a few more U.S. barrels of oil, but this increase in supply will be minuscule compared to the cresting demand. Instead of generating a true solution to the coming crisis, the Republican energy plan further shackles Americans to the whims of the global oil market.
In other words, Democrats need to better argue that environmentalism is the solution to high energy costs.
On CNNMoney, Steve Hargreaves does the typical thing, running down a he-said she-said argument of whether drilling will do what advocates say it will. If you read with your MSM decoder ring on, you’ll find a devastating case against drilling, but only if you make it through the haze of strained balance.
Slate’s “Green Lantern” takes on the subject of pro-drilling claims, citing the not-as-famous-as-it-should-be 2007 study from the EIA, which says that production won’t kick in until 2017 and won’t make a price difference when it does, citing the objections to that study, which say there may be more recoverable oil than estimated (thanks to higher prices) and that drilling may begin sooner than projected, and responding to those objections by pointing out that “from the perspective of lowering gas prices, they don’t really matter. Even the most optimistic estimates about offshore drilling — the exact ones pushed by its strongest proponents — promise no relief at the pump now and only a small impact later.”
Then he gets to the meat of the issue:
The bigger danger from the push for drilling — or more exactly, the arguments used on its behalf — may be how it affects our own behavior. If we pretend that offshore drilling is a fail-safe means of lowering oil prices (or even a likely means), we may hold on to rosy and unreasonable expectations for future gas prices. (In this respect, the Lantern thinks Obama has been more honest than McCain.) That will in turn change the calculations we make when it comes to long-term decisions like whether to shell out extra cash for a more fuel-efficient car or a home with access to mass transit. As long as we’re counting on gas prices to go down, those green lifestyle choices won’t seem as attractive. We may well be surprised once again that we’re paying so much at the pump, without having done anything about it.
Peter Keating at New York Magazine says that the Gang of 10 compromise bill may say Obama’s ass.
In amusing-but-typical Wall Street Journal news: the WSJ ran an absurd editorial attacking the Dem leadership; Rep. Markey responded with a letter to the editor, pointing out the absurdities; the next day the WSJ saw fit to publish five follow-up letters, all attacking Markey, each dumber than the last. Ah, fair and balanced.
And finally, Robert Samuelson continues on his quest to convince the public that we can’t do anything about climate change or fossil fuel dependence. Noble work.