RUSSIAN TANKS SIGNAL A "NEW ENERGY WAR"
By Dennis T. Avery
Since the Russian tank attacks, Europe’s energy position is far worse than America’s. Europe’s North Sea oil and natural gas are waning, and its marginal coal mines have long been shut down. Europe has been importing lots of natural gas, 40 percent of it from Russia. Georgia [Gruzia] was threatening to allow another natural gas pipeline that Russia wouldn’t control — so Vlad the Assailer demonstrated that he can control Caspian-region natural gas exports whenever he chooses to send tanks.
Europe now urgently wants a longterm partnership with the big undeveloped oil and natural gas deposits in Libya, Tunisia, and the rest of North Africa. Alarmingly, Russia’s Gazprom, last month, offered to buy all of Libya’s gas exports.
The U.S.A. is now trapped, however, in the crossfire between Russian military and economic aggression, Muslim extremism, and European energy starvation. We will soon be enormously grateful for our opportunity to drill off our own coasts and in our own Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), to import our Alaskan natural gas through a new pipeline, to tap Appalachia’s big, tough natural gas deposits — and to add more of our own nuclear power. France, Finland and Eastern Europe are already building more nuclear plants, and Germany’s Angela Merkel may block the German nuclear phase-out.
Solar and wind power will be built too, but, so far, they’ve been expensive, erratic, and severely disappointing. Biofuels actually aggravate both global food shortages and greenhouse gas emissions.
Canada’s Athabasca Tar Sands, one of the world’s largest petroleum reservoirs, got a visit last week from U.S. billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. The Athabasca is also in a strategically secure location for the U.S.A. — 400 miles north of Montana. Eco-activists, or environmentalists, have lately campaigned against the tar sands, calling it “the worst project on earth” because of the carbon dioxide (CO2) released as the heavy oil is produced. However, CO2 has had a weak correlation with earth’s temperature changes — only 22 percent since 1860.
Fortunately, the earth’s temperatures are now continuing to decline; more and more clearly separating CO2 emissions from climate change. The first five months of 2008 have been the coolest in at least five years, continuing the cooler trend of the past eighteen months. The cooling was predicted by a 2000 downturn in the sunspot index, which has a strong, ten-year-lagged correlation with our temperature history.
The Greens have recommended non-polluting tidal power, but are opposing one of the world’s outstanding tidal-power opportunities on Britain’s Severn River. The Severn has a 40-foot daily tide range. A ten-mile dam across the Bristol Channel would emit no CO2 or radiation, while producing as much electricity as three nuclear power stations for the next 200 years. The eco-activists are unhappy about the anticipated loss of local mud flats, a loss which would force shore birds to relocate.
It now looks as though the West must choose between relocating some shore birds and seeing lots more Russian tanks monopolize the world’s energy supplies.
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Dennis T. Avery is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., and is the Director of the Institute's Center for
Global Food Issues (www.cgfi.org). Formerly he was a senior policy analyst for the United
States Department of State, where he won the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement. He is the co-author, with
atmospheric physicist Fred Singer, of the book, Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years (Blue Ridge Summit,
Pennsylvania: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006). Avery's book, Saving the Planet With Pesticides and Plastic: The Environmental
Triumph of High-Yield Farming (Washington, D.C.: Hudson Institute, 1995), continues to be popular as a readable overview
of realistic agriculture for the future and for today. Readers may write Avery at Post Office Box 202, Churchville, Virginia, 24421.
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