Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The polar bear becomes an excuse to attack the poor 

Yesterday we noted that high gasoline prices burden people living in state that tend to vote Republican far more than states that vote for the Democrats. It does not surprise us, therefore, that the Democrats have allied themselves with political groups that drive up energy prices.

This morning, for instance, we read that environmental groups are suing to stop oil and gas development in the Arctic, all in the name of protecting the polar bear.

Conservation groups are threatening to file a lawsuit against the Bush administration for failing to take steps to better protect the polar bear from the effects of offshore oil and gas development in the Arctic.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Pacific Environment notified Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne on Monday of their intention to sue regarding the department’s decision to hold oil and gas lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas without considering the impact on polar bear habitat.

You will recall that the Department of the Interior declared the polar bear to be "endangered" on the basis of climate models that predict that anthropogenic global warming will melt sea ice and destroy the polar bear's habitat. While the regulation specifically barred Endangered Species Act lawsuits against greenhouse gas emitters (on the theory that they were threatening the bear), it has created a new barrier to oil and gas development in the far north. Now, in addition to all the other delays caused for all the other reasons, oil and gas producers must inflate their cost of capital by deferring returns for the time it takes to win a litigation against environmental groups that bear no such costs.

Never mind that there has been a five-fold increase in the polar bear population since 1960, a period of massive oil and gas development in the American and Canadian arctic. The plaintiffs in this case are not actually concerned that new oil wells will hurt polar bears. Their purpose is to raise the cost of oil by frustrating its discovery and production.

Somebody needs to ask Barack Obama, pointedly, whether he agrees with the purpose of this lawsuit. Of course, that would require a national press corps that was not completely in the tank for the guy.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 10, 07:53:00 AM:

C'mon Tigerhawk, you know that if the Bush family would stop taking the $2/gallon they get directly for each of us pumping the price would come back to "where it's supposed to be". It's just the man f*$king the little guy, in the name of corporate profits. In an election year, and virtually all the time, it plays well for the left to whine about the little guy while doing jack sh*t to help him.

Obama wants us "rich" guys to shoulder our "fair share". He should do some research and realize it's the other way around.  

By Blogger randian, at Tue Jun 10, 08:18:00 AM:

Do you seriously believe Bush has anything to do with oil prices?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 10, 08:22:00 AM:

Randian ... I was clearly poking fun at the kooks who think he does. Supply and demand, the rise of and consequent demand for oil from former third world nations, and constraints on new refineries drives the price. I would like to see better mass transportation systems in this country, and some rationale solutions to waste (airliners on the tarmac burn a lot of fuel annually), traffic jams (see mass xport), etc.


By Blogger Dan Kauffman, at Tue Jun 10, 08:47:00 AM:

If the Polar Bear population has increased by a factor of 5 since 1960, then Global Warming must be good for them and to support the new Threatened Species designation, we need to be burning MORE Oil not less  

By Anonymous Midget Launcher, at Tue Jun 10, 09:15:00 AM:

You're giving them far too much credit. It's the old malice-vs-stupidity thing.

I doubt that any of the environmentalists pushing this nonsense has the slightest idea what the polar bear population is doing. They saw a picture of a bear on an ice floe and got all emotional. It would never cross their minds to look into it any further. The narrative's too good to check.

Their feelings tell them this is the Right Thing, and they feel that Doing the Right Thing will always make everything nice, at least for anybody who counts. They figure anybody who gets hurt probably deserves it anyhow. If it hurts anybody who doesn't (by their murky, emotional standards) deserve it, they can just blame Big Oil or white people or something. Whatever's handy. Their feelings tell them that as long as they can spin it to themselves as somebody else's fault, it's not a problem.

We on the right aren't immune to that kind of thinking either, but at least we sometimes act like adults.  

By Anonymous tyree, at Tue Jun 10, 09:21:00 AM:

During the oil embargo of 1974 my father said, " If people think gasoline is expensive now, they will really be shocked when we have to compete for it with China and India." That was a long time ago, and few politicians since then have spent any time preparing us for this.

We knew the polar bear protection law was all about stopping oil production. We know that liberal support for illegal immigration is to change conservative areas into socialist ones. We know that not all white people are racist, and many colored people are.

The lack of honesty from our politicians and their lobbyists is a huge problem that has to change.  

By Anonymous JackHawk83, at Tue Jun 10, 10:21:00 AM:

Their feelings tell them this is the Right Thing, and they feel that Doing the Right Thing will always make everything nice, at least for anybody who counts Spot on Midget Launcher. If all the fly-over people just drove Priuses, the world would be a better place... and for those of us who don't want to drive a Prius they have a solution. Personally, I like small cars but a Lotus Elise is more what I have in mind in terms of efficiency.

I would also note that when they talk about taxing "excess" oil co. profits, they are really talking about robbing all the shareholders of XOM, not to mention CALPERS and every other pension plan that thought to invest in an energy stock. But that is all right, because really none of us should have a private retirement account, the Dem's will take care of us all with Social Secuirty!!!!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 10, 10:24:00 AM:

Why don't we lower the cost of oil by increasing the supply of available energy through renewable fuels and the like, as many people including Obama and our own President have suggested? This might be done through directly funded government research or competitive grants, whatever floats your boat.

Oil firing plants are still pretty efficient during times of grid congestion, so obsolescing these plants would free up the oil they consume. This has benefits in terms of minimizing the power of OPEC over our economy, avoiding price competition with India and China, and avoiding competition with various nations as they try and claim the Arctic holdings. Additionally, such power tends to be cleaner, solving the pollution harms to the environment and medical claims of respiratory problems, worker's comp, and the like.

Aside to the people who don't like gov't funded research: who got the the moon first, a free market enterprise or NASA? Followup: without looking, what do you think NASA's budget is today? Normalizing for 2008 dollars, this is (100-66)/2 billion (concealed to avoid seeing by skimming, and about $10B less than at it's peak.) This chart: http://www.richardb.us/nasa.html#table1
compares this amount to other agencies.

Final Question: What are some of the more important discoveries to come out of NASA that the free market DIDN'T give us ahead of time?

If you said "Tang," you're both cute and wrong (as it was invented by General Mills previous to it's use in missions.) My favorite highlight: structural analysis, the math behind a core engineering concept that makes much of the stuff you see in real life work. Alternatively, look here
for a more inclusive listing.  

By Blogger SR, at Tue Jun 10, 01:31:00 PM:

Who figured out the human genome first? Private industry or multiple governments? Bingo. That is until Bill Clinton decided to make an offer nobody could refuse.
I have no doubt whatsoever that the government spent more getting to the moon than any private profit making firm would have needed to. That assumes, of course that the government would have given them a chance.
If by alternate energy sources you mean nuclear, well then we can talk. Ask Obama about nukes, and he will change the subject.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 10, 03:09:00 PM:

And what the hell did going to the moon get us?

The answer to that question explains why the government spent a shit ton of money to do it versus a private entity.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 10, 05:47:00 PM:

Moonrocks? Basic knowledge? Technologocial acceleration? Tang? An important psychological victory in the Cold War (Frank Borman's favorite answer, and he is nobody's dummy)?

All of the above?

Increasing basic knowledge of the universe is hard to quantify in dollars and cents value, versus "technological developments", which usually have a near term money-making application.

I remember reading about the DoD deployment of the GPS constellation of satellites system some 25 years ago, which got a rather ho-hum appraisal by the writer (it was just a military gizmo), who was technically knowledgeable, but could not have foreseen the vast applications of hand held GPS (not envisioned yet).

Just my dull opinion.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jun 11, 10:55:00 AM:

We need to change the statute governing the desgination of a species as "threatened", so as to stop stop anti-constitutional social engineering like this. If the nutcase environmentalists want to reorganize our economy, lets debate the issue openly in Congress and see who loses, instead of allowing lawsuit driven back door screw-jobs by idiots to determine the outcome.  

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