Late last month, the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) released the fourth installment of its annual report outlining the top companies investing in America today. But despite their overall findings that we are still suffering from a significant lack of investment and business capital spending, there are those who are still “betting on America’s future,” especially […]
William O'Keefe's Articles
Next month, nations of the world will gather in Paris for the 21st meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to continue the pursuit of a binding agreement to solve what they term as the climate change threat. Each year, the scenario is the same. There is always great uncertainty about what will be […]
Presidential campaigns and daily coverage of candidates are a stark reminder that politics has become a blood sport where demonization is the coin of the realm. Candidates and their campaigns spend too little time discussing their views on issues and programs and too much time following the principle of “go negative early”. Civil discourse is […]
The Pope’s encyclical appears to focus on climate change and environmental degradation but the larger focus is his indictment of capitalism and the presumed greed that it spawns, leading Pope Francis to call for a global government solution. The language in the encyclical looks like it came from the UN’s Agenda 21 and the Club […]
Mark Twain once observed that he was not troubled by all the things that people didn’t know; just troubled by all the things they know that just aren’t so. So it is with Pope Francis. Pope Francis has been a welcomed breadth of fresh air to all independent of their religious affiliation. He practices what […]
The October 22 edition of the New York Times ran an article, Nation’s Confidence Ebbs at a Steady Drip, that focused on the public’s loss of confidence in the Federal Government, the President, and Congress. The article pointed out that the President began his presidency committed to restoring public confidence that had been severely damaged […]
Last week Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Representative Henry Waxman moderated an event hosted by the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change. It featured panelists who make a career of attacking, sometimes viciously, industries that do not toe the environmentalist line on climate change. One of the panelists asserted that industry attempted to cover up the health […]
This Congress is so dysfunctional that changing the face of the Majority Leader or anyone else at that level will have no impact on energy policy or priorities. The Republicans and Democrats are like the Germans, English and French during World War I. They both carried out warfare from trenches with neither side doing more […]
Letter from the Chief Executive Officer It is with very mixed emotions that I announce that Jeff Kueter is resigning as Institute President to become the President of the University of Iowa Alumni Association and return to his home state. Jeff’s last day will be July 31. This is a great opportunity for Jeff and […]
Talking about the challenges that “Washington faces with its network of infrastructure”, is a reflection of the infrastructure problem. The oil and gas transportation infrastructure is privately owned and operated. It is not Washington’s. Many of the energy problems, as well as other problems, we face could be more easily addressed if there was clarity […]
Trying to tie the Syrian situation to oil or human caused climate change is an exercise in fiction.
Over the last four decades the country has pursued at least seven major energy policy initiatives, all based on beliefs grounded more on illusion than fact: scarcity, independence, security, environmental risk, and government prescience. These have driven attempts to develop alternatives to oil and reduce our reliance on fossil energy. Guided by wishful thinking, they have failed.
Canada has become an even more important producer of oil as a result of the recent growth in its production from vast deposits of oil sands. Over the past few years, Canada has become the leading supplier of oil imports to the US. Some project North American energy independence within a decade as a result of continued growth in Canadian production as well as ours, mainly from our oil shale deposits.
Tuesday’s election will be the most significant in generations. The differences in the philosophy of the two candidates, how they approach public policy issues, and their views on the role of government could not be more different. We are at a major crossroads. We know based on the past four years where one road will take us and we have to rely on speeches and policy papers to judge where the other will take us. In simple terms, the choices are between an outcomes oriented society and an opportunity society.
“There have been at least seven major energy policy initiatives since 1973. Stripped of rhetoric, all were based on a set of beliefs grounded more on illusion than fact. Those beliefs were scarcity, independence, security, environmental risk and government prescience. They have driven attempts to develop alternatives
An important role of the government is to provide fair rules and a level playing field on which businesses can function and compete. The Rule of Law should be paramount. When the government proposes to tilt the playing field against specific industries, it is treading on very dangerous ground. Once begun, where is the stopping point? Instead of functioning as an impartial referee, the government will be the bookmaker who fixes the game. The unintended consequences will be profound.
In recent years, technological advances and resource development have yielded new opportunities to increase energy production here at home. In fact, earlier this year the US exported more energy than it imported for the first time since 1949. Unfortunately, much of the progress that’s been made has been met with vocal cynicism, not only from concerned local citizens, but often from activist groups with their own agendas.
“Entrepreneur” used to refer to someone who assumed the risk of a business venture with the expectation of making a profit. In the political world, however, our overregulated economy has spawned a new type of entrepreneur: the political entrepreneur, who exploits the regulatory and legislative process for profit and whose assumed risk is mitigated or even eliminated by political and government connections. Cooperation with government for financial gain all too often leads to crony capitalism, and we have a bad case of it.
What are the greatest energy challenges facing the country right now? Where do climate change and energy security fit into this debate? What can the private sector, state and local governments, and other countries do to get closer to tackling some of the biggest hurdles while Washington is gridlocked?
Children and politicians say the darndest things! Energy Independence has been a political slogan since 1973 and the history of efforts related to it demonstrate that policy based on slogans is not an effective approach to policy planning.
This summer’s high temperatures, prolonged heat wave and “extreme weather” gripping a large part of the country have brought climate change back to public attention. The media see reducing emissions as the solution.
Whatever the outcome of November’s elections, our economic well being requires that the dysfunctional relationship between the White House and Congress change. Governing needs to replace posturing.
The Obama Administration’s clean energy program is reminiscent of the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. It is taking on water, the crew has no idea of what to do, and the band plays on.
In a world where facts mattered, the funding for the rural energy program—an ethanol subsidy—would be zero. But Congress and the White House don’t live in that world. It also validates H.L. Mencken’s observation that for every problem there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.
It is said that a problem poorly defined is poorly solved. A corollary may be that a question poorly asked risks being poorly answered. The form of this week’s question and its implications are potentially misleading.
The outlet This Week features an article by former White House reporter PaulBrandus (“Why You’re Wrong About Gas Prices And Politics”) that addresses some popularly held myths. Two deserve comment because they create myths about myths.
Are EPA rules the reason the coal industry is declining? Or is natural gas and other market forces the cause? The very short answer is YES!
An AP “Fact Check” released earlier this month claimed that domestic drilling doesn’t drop gas prices, stating:
American writer Darrell Huff intended his bestselling 1954 book to serve as a “primer in ways to use statistics to deceive.” He justified its purpose, explaining “the crooks already know these tricks; honest men must learn them in self-defense.”
Al Gore’s self-aggrandizing claim that he “took the initiative in creating the Internet” has haunted him since he first uttered it during a 1999 CNN interview. It makes sense. In a society where people expect to be rewarded for their hard work and good ideas, the public generally abhors those who take credit where it’s not due.
In the 1930s, Germany started producing the Volkswagen as the peoples car. In 2010, GM, which some call Government Motors, started producing the Volt which according to the CEO of Audi of America is an idiots car.
Based on the experience of the past three years, it is a safe, Romney-like wager that this proposed regulation over states the benefits and understates the cost and difficulty of meeting the compliance schedule. EPA under Lisa Jackson has lost credibility on issuing regulations that strike a balance between legitimate environmental challenges and our technological […]
When President Obama recently addressed Congress on his latest jobs proposal, he seemed to be setting the stage for a Truman like campaign against a “do nothing” legislature.
The current economic mess is mainly a result of government meddling, using the budget, regulations, and the tax code to push an agenda that Washington deems best. The notion that politicians can “green” the economy is, to quote Hemingway, a triumph of hope over experience. Just this month, The New York Times reported: In the […]
The current economic mess is mainly a result of government meddling, using the budget, regulations, and the tax code to push an agenda that Washington deems best. The notion that politicians can “green” the economy is, to quote Hemingway, a triumph of hope over experience.
When gasoline prices rise, as they did earlier this summer, politicians are quick to blame oil companies. When prices begin to decline, as they are now doing, the same politicians become mute.
As President Clinton famously once observed, politics is a contact sport. And the politics surrounding climate science is no exception. The latest example stems from the climate establishment’s reaction to a research paper by University of Alabama climatologist Roy Spencer published in the geography journal, Remote Sensing. (Dr. Spencer, who also happens to be on […]
Last week’s White House announcement of 2025 CAFE standards reinforces the notion that D.C. is 100 square miles surrounded by reality. Two reasons can explain the decision to mandate increased standards before it’s clear what technology would enable auto manufacturers to achieve the existing 2016 target of 35.5 mpg. It either stems from a political […]
Last week’s White House announcement of 2025 CAFE standards reinforces the notion that D.C. is 100 square miles surrounded by reality. Two reasons can explain the decision to mandate increased standards before it’s clear what technology would enable auto manufacturers to achieve the existing 2016 target of 35.5 mpg. It either stems from a political agenda or a detachment from reality.
In a little-noted comment during his press conference this month, President Obamasaid “one of the most important things we can do for debt and deficit reduction is to grow the economy.”
Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regularly avoids the public comment process on potentially controversial and excessively expensive regulations. The technique is known as “sue and settle.” Environmental laws contain citizen suit provisions which are intended to provide recourse by affected parties—states, for […]
Policymakers have debated the future of coal for decades, mainly because of environmental concerns. Those concerns continue. This EPA seems determined to make regulations affecting the fuel’s use ever more stringent. And yet, coal remains the largest source of electricity generation in the United States. In its most recent energy outlook, EIA projects generation from […]
It is rare for cabinet secretaries or other high administration officials to speak with clarity and candor. Secretary Chu seems to be an exception. In commenting on the failed legislation to repeal the effective ban on incandescent light bulbs, he said, “We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money.”
Market manipulation for political purposes is never a good thing and in this case is likely to have unintended consequences greater than the intended ones. If this sounds cynical, the Obama Administration has provided reasons for cynicism.
Congress appears to have gotten religion when it comes to spending.
The lesson of federal ethanol subsidies is one of misguided policy and unintended consequences. One bad idea backed by a strong constituency—the farm lobby, in this case—begets more bad ideas.
Each passing week brings more evidence that our political system is dysfunctional. Take, for example, Medicare. Weighing in at a cost of $500 billion annually, the program’s expenditures are out of control; analysts forecast its spending could grow to account for as much as 10 percent of GDP in 2080.
Market forces should drive fuel efficiency and are. With high gas prices, new light duty vehicle purchasers are looking at smaller and higher mileage vehicles. CAFE regulations now being implemented will lead to further improvements in miles-per-gallon (MPG), but at a price–$1000.00 or more per vehicle. Before proposing post 2016 standards, the Department of Transportation should have an independent analysis conducted of how well the new standards are working and at what cost to consumers and manufacturers.
Canada is the United States’ leading source of oil imports. Its production of oil from oil sands is increasing and will continue to do so independent of what the U.S. State Department does in its review.
Former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm is touring the country to promote a national clean energy policy. Working with the Pew Clean Energy Project, she’s pushing Congress to impose a renewable energy mandate, quadruple taxpayer spending on “green” energy research, and increase electric vehicle sales.
Energy choices facing policymakers call to mind a Frost poem. There are two approaches to address pain caused by high gas prices, and reason should compel us to take the one less traveled.
During a 1980 presidential debate, Ronald Reagan countered a mischaracterization by President Carter with a simple — though now infamous — phrase: “There you go again.” The five CEOs summoned before the Senate Finance Committee last week could have duly applied the same line.
Federal Regulators Plan to Tax U.S. Drivers By Tracking How Far They Drivetory, Invasive, and Costly
If the Obama administration intended the release of its draft “Transportation Opportunities Act” to serve as a trial balloon, it’s finding that it floats as well as lead. Buried in this massive document for reauthorizing transportation programs was a proposal to tax vehicle miles traveled (VMT).
As surely as the wind follows the rain, political posturing and bickering follow spikes in gasoline prices. And the proposed solutions to high energy costs are all too often driven by politics rather than objective realities.
Former Secretary of Energy, James Schlesinger, once observed that “ the tool of politics…is to extract resources from the general taxpayer with minimum offense and to distribute the proceeds among …claimants…” That describes how the energy subsidy process works. And from an unlikely source of wisdom, Groucho Marx, “politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” And, that describes our energy policy.
Although there is a lot of talk in Washington DC about the national debt and deficit spending, the President and some in Congress persist in promoting alternative energy sources with subsidies. These proponents talk about investing federal dollars and recapturing some from oil companies by limiting tax credits that are available to all business.
Tuesday night’s State of the Union address offers further evidence of this administration’s rhetoric as a triumph over reality. In order to truly understand the White House’s agenda, the public first has to cut through the spin surrounding some of the president’s sound bites on energy.
In life, facts constitute reality, and perceptions are negotiable. The reverse seems to be true in politics. And the conclusion of President Obama’s National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling exemplifies that observation. In the commissions report made public Tuesday, conflicting notions are revealed that represent a textbook example of […]
The George C. Marshall Institute released a new paper examining the viability of electric cars. Authored by the Institute’s CEO, William O’Keefe, Electric Cars: Not Ready for Primetime, considers whether public subsidization of electric vehicles is worthwhile, concluding: “Like many of the solutions to national problems that are invented in Washington DC, there is less to […]
Bad-mouthing the rich and often vilified industries is a tactic made famous by Chicago activist, Saul Alinsky, who counseled “pick a target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it” back in the ‘70s. Now as President Obama and Democrat leadership on Capitol Hill hustle to convince the public that raising taxes on any individual who […]
Obama commission is long on environmentalists, short on engineers At the start of the Obama administration, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel bragged about never letting a crisis “go to waste.” Two years later, the president’s commission on the Gulf of Mexico catastrophe looks like the latest manifestation of that political tactic. Its makeup […]
Simple measure could be a top weapon against global warming. Bill Shireman, president and CEO of the Future 500, has successfully advocated environmental causes for 30 years, and now brings business and activists together to develop collaborative solutions to economic, social, and environmental challenges. Bill O’Keefe, CEO of the George C. Marshall Institute, is president […]
Climate change represents a tough and complex policy issue. That’s the reason U.S. lawmakers — more than 30 years since scientists first introduced the concept of global warming into the American political dialogue — continue to debate the best way to structure legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions without damaging the economy. As […]
There needs to be an open, transparent, and independent reassessment of our temperature record since the end of the end of the Little Ice Age because that record is the foundation for climate change legislation.
Energy expert explains 2010 “Snowpocalypse” would have cost more under cap and trade WASHINGTON – The record-breaking winter storm Washington, DC experienced this week offers unique perspective on another snow job in the nation’s capitol. Commenting on climate policy lessons courtesy of Mother Nature, William O’Keefe — CEO of the George C. Marshall Institute and […]
After a dumping in the Washington area, critics are delighting in the irony, and supporters are saying the snow fits the pattern of global warming. By Jim Tankersley, Los Angeles Times of February 11, 2010 http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-na-climateqa12-2010feb12,0,6038596.story As record snowfall buried the nation’s capital this week, the quickest joke around town was, “So much for global […]
It’s the philosophy of John F. Kennedy: “Let’s not seek the Republican answer, or the Democratic answer, but the right answer.” Last week’s Massachusetts election has raised the already high stakes for this week’s State of the Union address. The GOP upset was just the latest in a series of signals that the American people […]
This year’s co-Nobel Prize winner in economics, Elinor Ostrom, has sagely observed: “Humans don’t like to be suckers.” She arrived at this conclusion after studying local programs working to overcome the tragedy of the commons where individual actors competing against each other might exploit beyond sustainability common resources, be they fish in the sea, drinkable water, air quality, etc.
In 1984, the late historian Barbara Tuchman wrote The March of Folly, in which she chronicled the phenomenon of governments throughout the ages pursuing policies directly at odds with their self-interest. Tuchman used the term “wooden-headedness” to describe the tendency of leaders to assess situations using preconceived notions while ignoring or rejecting any contrary signs. […]
The American people have had enough of convoluted, indecipherable financial schemes and the opportunists who exploit them. The public is understandably angry about Wall Street’s exploitation of Main Street, and yet our political leaders are setting the stage for another complex trading market, ripe for corruption. The future Enrons and Bernie Madoffs of the world […]
The bottom line is that a growing population and growing economy are not compatible wit lower emissions, given the state of today’s technology and the technologies that could be in the market in the next decade.
If the roadmap leads to a stronger commitment to investment in technology and more effective global collaboration, the Bali meeting will have made a useful contribution.
On November 1, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee took the first step to approve legislation to “avert catastrophic global warming,” by imposing draconian reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, meaning energy use, without any idea of how to achieve them or the consequences of trying. No one who understands the role of energy in […]
The George C. Marshall Institute commends President Bush for his leadership in promoting a dialogue among major greenhouse gas emitters on a post-Kyoto road map to climate change policies. Together, the nations participating in this meeting account for 64% of greenhouse gas emissions. By building on the successful Asian-Pacific Partnership model, this meeting demonstrates that […]
No government can effectively and efficiently control a dynamic economy. Attempts to do so cause serious economic harm and loss of personal freedoms.
We urge great caution in reading too much into the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Summary for Policy Makers until it can be compared with the underlying scientific assessment, which will not be released for public scrutiny for several months. Claims being made that a climate catastrophe later this century is more certain are unjustified.
The call for the United States to significantly reduce its use of crude oil and move toward energy independence dates back to the 1970s. Beginning with President
Nixon’s demand for complete independence on imported energy by the end of the 1970s, to President Carter’s bold assertion that the U.S. would never use more
imported oil than it did in 1977, to President George W. Bush’s claim that American is addicted to oil, presidential focus on “oil supply disruptions” and “dependence on
Middle Eastern oil” have helped define U.S. energy policy for nearly 40 years.
The Supreme Court last Wednesday heard arguments on a petition by 12 state attorneys general (AGs) — or perhaps more appropriately “aspiring governors” — to compel the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gas emissions: primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) from trucks and automobiles. The AGs’ action followed an EPA judgment it lacks authority from […]
Climate change is a very complex subject. It is understandable that people in the media have difficulty grasping that complexity. That is reason for caution and for emphasis on doing what journalists are supposed to do in developing a story…
The IPCC, the US National Academy of Sciences, and the US Climate Science Strategic Plan, which has been endorsed by the NAS, clearly demonstrate that there are many critical uncertainties in our understanding of the climate system.
From the beginning of the climate change debate, advocates claiming that activities such as heating homes, operating factories and driving cars are causing global warming based their claim on an asserted scientific consensus. The foundation for their claim was the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) process, which involves scientists from around the world and […]
The failure of Kyoto has caused many to recognize that technology and not energy starvation is a better road to take. Mr. Gore is an exception.
The campaign of personal destruction propagated by environmental advocacy groups hit a new low with the release of the May issue of Vanity Fair and the subsequent press conference today by the National Environmental Trust. Their accusations about Dr. Frederick Seitz are unfounded and unbelievable. It reflects a campaign of character assassination and the lack […]
Assumptions are a wonderful way of avoiding facts and hard realities. Frank Gaffney’s Jan. 24 article, “Energizing America,” does just that by making it appear that the United States can easily achieve “energy security” — read oil independence — at a low cost and with no adverse economic consequences. Self-sufficiency has emotional appeal, but that is not how the world works.
Good public policy also needs strong and sustainable public support which can come from reporting that is fact based, and objectively informs.
The CEO of GE recently committed the company to “define the cutting edge in cleaner power and environmental technology” through increased R&D spending. He also pledged significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 2012 and doubling the revenue earned by cleaner technologies to $20 billion by 2010. A commitment to improved environmental stewardship is commendable but […]
Make no mistake about it, when advocates make their case for reducing energy use or moving away from oil, they are really talking about affecting how citizens live.
Senators McCain and Lieberman plan to once again introduce legislation—The Climate Stewardship Act—to mandate reductions of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Since the principle GHG, carbon dioxide, comes from energy use, their legislation will force a reduction in the use of fossil fuels, primarily coal and oil, and create a rationing scheme called “Cap and Trade” […]
Though they may use different terms, all scientific researchers are familiar with the concept of a SWAG (Scientific Wild-Ass Guess). It is what their gut instincts tells them the right answer will be long before they have sufficient data to derive that answer. Good researchers know not to trust SWAGs; they are wrong too many […]
On June 8, 2004, William O’Keefe, President of the Marshall Institute, and Kurt Gottfried of the Union of Concerned Scientists held a debate on the politicization of science on NPR’s Justice Talking radio show. Science or Censorship? Date of Debate: June 08, 2004 Overview Concerned scientists voiced opposition when warnings about global warming were dropped from […]
Remarks by William O’Keefe, President of the Marshall Institute, at the EPA Science Forum 2004 I have been dealing with the climate change issue for 15 years. On reflection, I believe that this period has been dominated by unproductive advocacy and rhetoric over science, how much we know about the climate system, human attribution and […]
With such great uncertainty, these models have limited value as policy tools. Their value is primarily as research tools to help is learn more about the climate system and to better focus research efforts.
Serious charges alleging the misuse of science by the Bush Administration have captured public and political attention recently. The allegations assert that the Bush Administration has “suppressed or distorted scientific analyses . . . to bring these results in line with Administration policy” and that “the scope of manipulation, suppression and misrepresentation . . . […]
The current climate change debate isn’t about action or inaction. It is about whether proposed actions are consistent with our state of knowledge and other important societal priorities.
Resiliency, which is associated with prosperity, is the best way to deal with an uncertain future. Promoting long term global prosperity will involve producing and consuming more energy, not less.
A Book by the George C. Marshall Institute edited by Michael Gough ISBN: 0-8179-3932-6 $15.00 paperback 313 pages Politics and science make strange bedfellows. In politics, perceptions are reality and facts are negotiable. The competing interests, conflicting objectives, and trade-offs of political negotiations often lend themselves to bending the truth and selectively interpreting facts to […]
At the start of the 108th Congress, Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut) held a hearing on climate change in preparation for legislation they have since introduced. The legislation would mandate a cap and trade system for greenhouse gases. The idea is to cap greenhouse gas emissions and let market forces search for […]
WASHINGTON The Global Climate and Energy Project announced last month by Stanford University is a welcome collaboration between academia and the private sector that holds the promise of shedding much-needed light on the debate on global warming. The project?s purpose is as ambitious as sending men to the moon once was: to foster the development […]
Remarks by William O’Keefe delivered at the AREA Canada Climate Conference, October 7-9, 2002 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada I am honored to be back in Calgary for this year?s conference. I want to commend your conference organizers for addressing climate change as your government considers ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. Because climate change is such […]
A Washington Roundtable on Science and Public Policy
When the Bush Administration announced that it would not take steps to implement the Kyoto Protocol, environmentalists and many politicians, especially those in the European Union (EU), were apoplectic. Someone who is not a cynic might find that reaction surprising. Where had these outraged critics been since 1997? In that year – before the Kyoto […]
North Africa and the Middle East have caught a contagion — the quest for political freedom. After being surprised by the revolts in Tunisia, Egypt, and now Libya, the rest of the world can only guess how far and how fast these revolutions will continue to spread.
Industry has an important role in advancing our understanding of the climate system, in bringing forward new technology, and in promoting the economic aspirations of people around the globe without diminishing the well-being of generations that will follow us. Realizing these outcomes, however, will require a change in strategy and approach.