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To understand why the US is not going to be lured or dragged back into Paris, it’s necessary to take seriously President Trump’s energy agenda and the critical role it plays in his programme to revive economic growth to its historic rate of 3 per cent per year — a level never approached during President Obama’s eight years in office. There are two parts to the administration’s energy agenda: increasing energy production; and using America’s energy price advantage to unleash a manufacturing renaissance.

First, Trump is focused on establishing American global “energy dominance”. Progress toward this goal has been under way for the past decade and has nothing to do with government policy. In fact, it has been happening at an increasing pace despite efforts by the Obama administration to put on the brakes. It has happened because of the shale oil and gas revolution.

US oil production peaked in 1970 (as M. King Hubbert had predicted in 1956) at just over 10 million barrels per day and declined to a low of under 4 million barrels per day in 2008. That’s when exploiting unconventional resources in shale rock formations by combining hydraulic fracturing, used over a million times in conventional oil drilling since 1949, and more recent advances in horizontal drilling became commercially viable.

The results of technological innovation by people working in a free market have been as dramatic as they were unpredicted or undirected by government. In November 2017, US oil production surpassed 10 million barrels a day for the first time since 1970. America has passed Saudi Arabia and Russia as the top oil producer and has now passed Russia as the top gas producer.

The US still uses more oil than it produces, but within a decade is likely to become a net oil exporter. The effects of this stunning turnaround are already being seen in the US trade deficit. Petroleum products accounted for over 30 per cent of the trade deficit in 2008, but less than 10 per cent last year — or a swing of $233 billion.

The effects will also increasingly become apparent in world politics, especially now that Mike Pompeo has replaced Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. As the energy superpower, America’s geopolitical position becomes much stronger as the position of Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the other petro-states wanes. As for China, it is now the world’s largest energy user. Although China mines and burns more coal than the US (which is second in both categories), it produces roughly only one-third as much oil and one sixth as much gas as the US. Energy imports are likely to be a growing drag on the Chinese economy at least for several decades.

What should the US do with its immense reserves of coal, oil, and gas? President Obama and his allies in the climate industrial complex thought we should keep as much of it in the ground as possible. After failing in his first term to get legislation through Congress to restrict the use of fossil fuels, in 2013 Obama turned to using the Clean Air Act to promulgate new regulations that would force the closure of many existing coal-fired electric plants and ban the construction of new coal plants.
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June 27th, 2018
7:06 AM
If only we in Australia had a Trump to sort out our energy chaos. Blessed by almost unlimited coal and gas reserves, the leaders of both our major parties have got the global warming religion and, as a result, have sent energy prices through the roof. From only recently having the cheapest electricity in the world, we now have it’s most expensive - our manufacturers now pay four times the amount paid by IS manufacturers. And while coal remains our biggest single export, we are closing down existing coal fired power stations and not replacing them. Successive state governments have banned even the exploration for new gas reserves. And yes, we have already started to have blackouts and manufacturing businesses have already been forced to close operations on days of extreme heat or cold. It’s a mess.

Michael Spencer
June 8th, 2018
11:06 AM
The REAL solution is to get on with "Generation IV" nuclear power generation; and "The Donald" has already released the shackles on this development in the United States after year of "greentape" during the Obama regime. It seems that the first production line units due to start rolling out this year - from China - surprise! surprise! Quite apart from cheap, clean, and totally safe electricity production (with almost zero waste - indeed, all the present 'waste' is not waste and can be recycled) because of the excess heat that will be available there are a number of side benefits: one of these is to desalinate sea water, virtually for nothing. Run some pipelines inland; imagine what this could mean for inland rivers in countries like mine, Australia, just for starters! And then there's the availability of a continuous supply of medical isotopes, such as Alpha particle Bismuth 213 - absolutely deadly for the targeted killing of cancers, even diffuse ones such as leukaemia, up until now virtually impossible to get because of the structure of the present Light Water Reactors. And then, to address the nonsense about electric cars and carbon-taxing fuel with higher-than-allowable "carbon emissions": the cheap electricity can be used to extract carbonic acid from water - sea water will do because there's lots of that. Using the high temperatures that will be available this can be cracked to extract the hydrogen and the carbon and these can be strung together to produce what the Americans call GASOLINE! "Fantasy!" I hear some think. No; it's been done already on a small scale at a US naval base. Take a look at this brief video, just for starters: And then, there's the surprise that these new reactors will be able to run on a far cheaper and much more common element, using only a little uranium to trigger things off. And this common element is available at the moment as a nuisance-value waste from rare earth mining operations - just by way of example! If anyone would like to learn about this some more, I've sorted information into an order so people can start to wrap their minds around it with "blowing their brains" in the first instance. Download this interactive PDF about the climate and go to page 4 (Although page 3 rather sets the scene), and follow the links in sequence to page 7. Most interestingly, on page 5, you will find videos featuring internationally-renowned environmentalists who have learned of this new technology, and who have changed their minds from being "anti-" to "pro-" nuclear. An instructive lesson for some of out local (Australian)"Green" zealots perhaps? And a final comment: because this new nuclear technology does not use water either for a coolant or to drive turbines to generate electricity, the units will be much smaller and far more efficient, operate at normal atmospheric pressures (so for example huge containment domes are no longer necessary, etc. thus much cheaper to start with), and Outer Woop Woop* could have its own unit. Minimal land space will be needed - in stark contrast to inefficient wind-farms and solar arrays - and also this will obviate the need for expensive power lines with the resultant "line drop". This technology makes the present enthusiasm for so-called "renewables" and "carbon taxes" nothing more than a sick joke! * For the education of those not Australian, "Woop Woop" is a mythical out-back town. Get educated here!

James Rust
June 7th, 2018
12:06 AM
This charade has gone on long enough. The U.S. is the most blessed nation in the world with vast coal, oil, and natural gas resources, one million square miles of good farmland, and the people with skills and ambition to exploit those assets. With President Trump the U. S. will be the most powerful economic power the world has ever seen. It is foolish to go back to the Democrats attempts to hobble the country by preventing use of our assets.

Roger Graves
June 6th, 2018
1:06 PM
However it started out, the climate industrial complex is today largely driven by the wind and solar energy business. Since the year 2000, some 3 trillion dollars US has been spent on wind and solar energy, yet even this is dwarfed by estimates in excess of 20 trillion if all energy sources worldwide were to be replaced by wind and solar. Ally yourself to expenditures of this size and you can become rich beyond dreams of avarice, at the expense, of course, of the rest of us who will be paying bloated energy bills. With this amount of money sloshing around, you can buy yourself no end of politicians, academics, and fading Hollywood stars. Money talks, and this amount of money screams. Don't expect the climate industrial complex to tuck its tail between its legs and slink off without a whimper. If it goes at all it will go kicking and screaming the whole way.

Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)
June 1st, 2018
11:06 PM
Excellent analysis Mr Ebell. I would only take issue with your supposition that global warming "could be right." Covering all bases is not the way that we do science. As Nobel Laureate in Physics Richard Feynman explains here: we guess a new theory, compute the consequences, and compare those computations against the real world. If the comparison fails, the theory fails. As you mention, the Climate Models run far too hot when compared against robust empirical data. Since the models are the computations that incorporate what proponents of the theory claim it to be, a failure to match observations (by a long ways) dooms the theory. In science, we do not continue to give any credence to an old theory that has failed, even if doing so creates some sort of tautology that cannot be questioned because it covers all possibilities. We do not continue to talk about static continents instead of Continental Drift. We do not continue to talk about stress causing peptic ulcers instead of a bacterium. Etc. etc. Science gives us a method to evaluate theories. And we need to use it. Superstitions need to be discarded. By the way, last month marked the 100th anniversary of Richard Feynman's birth.

Hans Schreuder
May 31st, 2018
5:05 PM
Once you realise that there is no such phenomenon as a greenhouse effect in our atmosphere and that the so-called greenhouse gases in fact are the biggest coolers of the atmosphere, it is obvious that no amount of emission reductions is going to work. It is physically impossible for atmospheric carbon dioxide to make the world warmer than the sunlight makes it, no matter how many times that heat is recirculated. Does a thermos make the coffee warmer than it was when you put it in? Check for all the facts you'll ever need to come to the right conclusion: man-made climate change is indeed a hoax and a huge one at that.

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