Wednesday, February 09, 2011
The numbers are in.
In the United States, which contains 8 percent of the world's forests, there are more trees than there were 100 years ago. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), "Forest growth nationally has exceeded harvest since the 1940s. By 1997, forest growth exceeded harvest by 42 percent and the volume of forest growth was 380 percent greater than it had been in 1920." The greatest gains have been seen on the East Coast (with average volumes of wood per acre almost doubling since the '50s) which was the area most heavily logged by European settlers beginning in the 1600s, soon after their arrival.
There is indeed an argument -- I believe it is made in this book -- that there are more trees in North America than there were before the white man arrived in the 17th century.
A new drilling technique is opening up vast fields of previously out-of-reach oil in the western United States, helping reverse a two-decade decline in domestic production of crude.
Companies are investing billions of dollars to get at oil deposits scattered across North Dakota, Colorado, Texas and California. By 2015, oil executives and analysts say, the new fields could yield as much as 2 million barrels of oil a day -- more than the entire Gulf of Mexico produces now.
This new drilling is expected to raise U.S. production by at least 20 percent, or a million barrels per day, over the next five years. And within 10 years, it could help reduce oil imports by more than half, advancing a goal that has long eluded policymakers.
Energy security, brought to you by America's oil companies.
Somehow technical advances in "old" non-green industries are never highlighted.
A couple of years ago I was at a client site in Western Colorado and I commented on all the gas drilling going on. He said there were lots of people in Denver that didn't like the visual impact (roads and small buildings after drilling was done). I said that Wind had the same roads and small buildings plus gigantic towers for a fraction of the energy production.
I guess you can't please some people.
Oil engineers are applying what critics say is an environmentally questionable method developed in recent years to tap natural gas trapped in underground shale.
Count on the EPA or some green group to do their best to put the brakes on it.
We made a big mistake not opening up Anwar a decade ago. It would have added tens of thousands of jobs, lower the price of gas (which I believe helped precipitate the Great Recession), and the royalities would have lower our budget deficit (and kept money out of Middle East). And it wouldn't have cost the government a cent.
Start drilling now so that we can have it when oil is $200/barrel in 2018!