Commisioner Hedegaard posed this question:  “While some argue that the U.S. cannot afford climate and energy legislation, my question is: Can the U.S. afford not to have ambitious legislation that paves the way for a more energy-efficient future? We all know that we are in for a future where energy and resources will be still more expensive, and the companies and nations that are the most energy-efficient will prosper the most.”

CFACT Executive Director, Craig Rucker responded to her question.

Commissioner Hedegaard’s Denmark may have surrounded itself with wind turbines, but could not afford such feel good luxuries if it were not for the vast income and energy it derives from Danish North Sea oil and gas.

America and the world will be cleaner, greener and more prosperous with an abundant supply of energy. It was heartening to hear President Obama acknowledge this reality saying, “the bottom line is this: Given our energy needs, in order to sustain economic growth and produce jobs, and keep our businesses competitive, we are going to need to harness traditional sources of fuel.” Unfortunately, as the President took a step forward and finally permitted us to tap new areas of our offshore energy resources; he also took a step backward by closing off other areas that offered much potential. While we dither, other countries race to tap their oil and gas to sell to us. Russia is preparing to drill off the coast of Cuba, right outside our back porch.

We at CFACT hope President Obama and the Congress will make the full journey towards energy realism and concede that we can’t run our country on subsidies and technologies that feel good, but don’t meaningfully produce the energy needed to fuel our economy. So far the climate and energy proposals being floated in Congress have been all pain, no gain. Cap and trade, offsets, and subsidies will enrich a few carbon profiteers, but do nothing to secure our energy future, nor meaningfully affect our climate.

According to a recent Gallup poll, public belief in the global warming scare is at a low point — and rightly so. Climategate and new revelations of politicized science have impacted public opinion and opened minds. More realistic assessments show that CO2 is neither a pollutant, nor the demon we’ve been led to believe. Anyone who tells you that restricting prosperity and redistributing wealth will alter the climate is selling something.

People live better and the environment is cleaner in free, prosperous societies. The people of the developing world are entitled to continue their advance into energy and economic self-sufficiency. How dare we propose to trap them in poverty and deny them the high standards of cleanliness, education, nutrition, healthcare, and energy we take for granted. Our prosperity is good for them — as theirs is for us.

A sound energy policy will permit us to harness energy from areas both offshore and in Alaska. It will ensure the rapid expansion of nuclear energy. It will not force us to subsidize unproductive sources of power, but rather expand research and development toward discovering genuine alternative energy solutions. We need to decouple our energy policy away from the global warming issue, and instead focus instead on ensuring we have enough energy to meet our needs and thereby continue to be a source of innovation and prosperity for the rest of the world.

This article originally appeared in the National Journal.


  • Craig Rucker

    Craig Rucker is a co-founder of CFACT and currently serves as its president.