By Nancy Thorner -
On Monday, June 20, The Heartland Institute hosted a rare opportunity to hear one of the nation’s acknowledged leading conservatives, Stephen Moore, speak on his new book, Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy, which flies in the face of the nation’s political and media love affair with climate change. The luncheon event was held at The Union League Club, in the Loop in downtown Chicago.
Heartland is known globally for its work debunking myths about human-caused climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels – in short, that global warming is driven by human activity and a warming planet is, on whole, beneficial. Fossil fuels constitute the lifeblood of the modern world, having ushered in the Industrial Revolution, but continue to be vilified by global warming alarmists.
In his book, Moore, with co-author Kathleen Hartnett White, make an unapologetic case for fossil fuels. They argue that if fossil fuel energy is supplanted by “green” alternatives for political reasons, humanity will take a giant step backwards and the planet will be less safe, less clean, and less free.
Moore is a Chicago boy, having graduated from New Trier High School in 1978. After various stops at conservative outlets and organizations – including one he started, the Club for Growth –Moore is now a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Heritage, where he focuses on advancing public policies that increase the rate of economic growth to help the United States retain its position as the global economic superpower. He also works on budget, fiscal and monetary policy, and showcases states that get their fiscal houses in order.
As an economist, Moore said he was influenced by two great economists of the last 50 years: (1) Julian Simon, who was proven to be right, when in 1980 he disputed those in this country and worldwide who claimed the earth’s natural resources were becoming so scarce they would become even costlier, and (2) Arthur Laffer, who triggered a world-wide tax-cutting movement in the 1980’s, when in the Reagan administration he recommended tax cuts to stimulate the economy. Moore is currently an economic advisor for the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump.
Moore believes that if our energy resources were utilized the way they were meant to be used, this nation would become energy independent in the near future, turning us into the Saudi Arabia of the next century.
Positive benefits from the development of our energy resources include the following, according to Moore:
- Creating jobs by the millions.
- Creating good jobs with good pay.
- Reduce trade deficits.
As far as the value of oil, gas, and coal under U.S. public land:
- Over the next 20 years, with current technology, this nation could have available $50 trillion worth of oil, gas, and coal.
- The federal government could raise $4 trillion by leasing federal land for exploration. With a deficit of $20 trillion, $4 trillion would be tidy sum toward reducing our deficit.
Republicans have a great opportunity to gain the upper hand in the energy struggle, but they haven’t done a good job. The major donors to the Democrat Party are the unions (the teachers union dominates here in Illinois) and lunatic green movements funded, in part, by billionaire Tom Steyer of California, who is an environmental advisor to the Obama administration. Green groups want to keep coal and oil in the ground by stopping drilling and coal mining. Republicans need to drive a wedge between those who traditionally support the Democratic Party by getting out the message that “we (Republicans) are the ones who are trying to save your jobs.”
Moore and Harold Hamm
Moore said he was influenced by the story of billionaire industrialist Harold Hamm, who left home when young because there wasn’t money enough to feed all 14 children … and Hamm was 13th in line. Hamm now owns most of the energy resources in North Dakota. Invited by Hamm eight years ago to travel to North Dakota, Moore was amazed to see what was happening in the state. “Wildcatters” like Hamm had developed fracking and horizontal drilling. The code was cracked to find more natural resources, which put America way ahead of the rest of the world – yet no government was involved in this development.
As Chairman and CEO of Continental Resources, the fortune of pioneering oilman Hamm peaked at nearly $19 billion in 2014, but has since been reduced to $11 billion when oil prices plunged. Hamm does remain bullish for the future, however, and expects a new boom to come. Hamm expects $60 oil again, and says America will double output again.
Moore said he believes that if not for the shale and gas revolution, Obama wouldn’t have been elected. But that doesn’t keep Obama from running around the country falsely proclaiming how we are running out of oil and gas. As Moore stated, “We are running into it, not out of it, through fracking and horizontal drilling.”
Vilification of Coal and Oil
Even if global warming was scientifically indisputable and here to stay, Moore said, it could not be stopped by shutting down sources of American energy. In Virginia where Moore lives, EPA regulations on coal have shut down entire towns. These once-vibrant communities have been replaced by unemployment lines.
And what is to be done about China and India where there are plans to construct 500 new coal plants, Moore asked? For every one coal plant shut down in this nation, 10 new ones are being added in China and India – and they use coal technology much dirtier than here in the U.S. Compared to 50 years ago, this nation’s emissions have been reduced more than any other country in the world, but that is still not enough for the greens. Climate alarmists continue to spread their unwarranted fear to a somewhat gullible public.
It comes as no surprise that children are being told that coal and oil must be replaced by so-called “green energy” to prevent Mother Earth from heating up and being inhabitable. This indoctrination is now standard practice in the public schools from K - 12th grade. It’s difficult to talk about global warming at the college level. The new thing with kids is to believe it’s cool to go with windmills and solar power. Moore asks this question when meeting with children: “Where does your electric power come from?” Most often the response is: “It comes out of the socket.”
Sources of Power in U.S.
Well over 90% of this nation’s electrical power comes from four sources, ranked in order: natural gas, coal, nuclear, and hydro power. Wind comes in at a measly 4.7% and Solar at 0.6%. Combined, coal and natural gas supply about 70 percent of this nation’s electrical power. If a global warming catastrophe were really upon us, nuclear power would be the way to go. It is a clean and safe form of energy which gets the most bang for the buck. Yet the public has been turned against nuclear power through bad publicity over unfortunate nuclear events.
According to Moore, we are witnessing a war on energy. Presently this nation’s economic growth is pathetic, at less than 2 percent. Energy independence and tax reform could quickly increase this nation’s growth to 4 percent, but this will have to wait until the next Republican president.
Natural gas was described as a wonder fuel - it’s abundant - it’s made in America - and it’s clean energy.
Introductory Comments made by Jim Lakely
Jim Lakely, in describing the five issues covered by The Heartland Institute, spoke about the environment as being the issue Heartland is most known for. Accordingly, Heartland is a target of the eco-Left for not embracing climate alarmism and declaring that the science is not settled.
The most recent development is how ExxonMobil is being accused of misleading the public on climate change. The corporation is being sued by the attorneys general of the Virgin Islands, New York, Massachusetts and 14 other states. Likewise, The Competitive Enterprise Institute is now fighting a subpoena that requests a decade’s worth of communications, emails, statements, drafts, and other documents regarding CEI’s work on climate change and energy policy. Although The Heartland Institute is mentioned in all the lawsuits, it has yet to receive a subpoena in what amounts to a fishing expedition to silence those who do not subscribe to Obama’s stance on Climate Change.
The video of Heartland’s event with Stephen Moore at the Union League Club can be viewed here.