William O'Keefe's Articles

William O'Keefe, Chief Executive Officer of the Marshall Institute, is President of Solutions Consulting, Inc. He has also served as Senior Vice President of Jellinek, Schwartz and Conolly, Inc., Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the American Petroleum Institute, and Chief Administrative Officer of the Center for Naval Analyses. Mr. O'Keefe has held positions on the Board of Directors of the Kennedy Institute, the U.S. Energy Association, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Global Climate Coalition. He currently serves on the Economic Development Authority and Finance Committee for New Kent County.

Supporting Energy Means Investing in America’s Future

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 […]

Senator Whitehouse Whitewashes Climate Change Reality

In recent months, climate advocates have stepped up efforts to silence and intimidate organizations that question the climate orthodoxy that human activities involving the use of fossil fuels are leading to a climate catastrophe.  Their tactic is to urge that organizations expressing any skepticism be investigated under RICO—Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. They have […]

Climate Radicalism

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 […]

Solar Flim Flam and More Snake Oil

The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan once observed that we are all entitled to our own opinions, not just our own facts. Proponents of solar energy are long on opinions and pseudo-facts, just not real ones. What are some of those? It is claimed that 2015 is “on a pace to be the hottest year the […]

Facts Confronting Illusions

Over 200 years ago, John Adams made an observation that has stood the test of time: “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence; nor is the law less stable than the fact…” In recent decades, […]

Don’t Buy the Environmental Hype Against Crude Oil Exports

Allies of our nation’s environmentalist movement are not about to let facts get in the way of swaying public opinion in their efforts to garner support for its overreaching agenda.  Case in point: a recent column by the Center for American Progress (CAP) attacking efforts to lift the ban on U.S. crude oil exports. The […]

Hurricanes, Katrina, and Facts

It was as predictable as sunrise that climate advocates would use the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina for propaganda purposes. And true to form, they did, including President Obama, even though he was asked by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal not to do so. Climate advocates use sea surface temperature increases to claim that hurricane activity […]

Climate Industry’s Annual Meeting

Each year, the UN holds a major conference of about 200 nations to deal with the alleged threat from climate change. It has become the equivalent of the climate industry’s annual meeting. Attendance is in the thousands and not only includes UN officials and government representatives but special interests that make money off of the […]

Commentary: Fossil Fuels are the Solution, Not the Problem

The George C. Marshall Institute has recently released a study on fossil fuels and the economic well-being, http://marshall.org/energy-policy/fossilfuel-energy-and-economic-wellbeing.   It describes why energy is an essential input to economic activity. Because fossil fuels are such a large part of the world’s energy supply, they play a dominant role in enabling people everywhere to enjoy a […]

Aspirations Need to Reflect Reality

President Obama has just announced tougher emissions reductions for EPA’s Clean Power Plant regulation—32% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030. Since actions have consequences, there are two simple questions that need to be answered to understand this proposal. The first is how the reductions are to be achieved. The second is what are the economic […]

U.S. Energy Exports Are Fundamental Global Energy Security

Very rarely does Congress put the level of effort and attention into one topic as they have in debating domestic energy exports. But rightfully so. The shale oil and natural gas revolution has dramatically changed the U.S. energy portfolio in ways most could not have predicted and our current policies tuned to the notion of […]

Commentary: Greece and Puerto Rico: Looking at the Future

George Santayana famous quote about those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it, should be taken very seriously by our federal government and our economic situatiion. The economie disasters in Greece and Puerto Rico are analogous to looking in the mirror. Both have piled debt upon debt, have low labor participation […]

Demonization: The Death of Civil Discourse

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 […]

Making it Work

The Pew Research Center has conducted polls over the past several years on the public’s confidence in government. The results are not encouraging nor surprising. In 2010, 74% rated the federal bureaucracy as only fair or poor. Last year, 75% said they trust the federal government to do what is right only some of the […]

Pope Francis’ Call for Global Governance

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 […]

The Reemergence of the Club of Rome

In the early 1970s a group called the Club of Rome published Limits to Growth, which based on a complex computer model predicted the exhaustion of natural resources and mass starvation resulting from population growing faster than food production. All of these catastrophic events were to take place before the century.  Of course, none did. […]

Market Assessment Based on Muddled Thinking

Seeking Alpha is a financial and market website. In a recent post, it took ExxonMobil to task for its Chairman’s annual meeting remark about renewables. In answering a question, he said, “We choose not the lose money on purpose”. Seeking Alpha maintains that renewable energy is clearly on the rise (with solar PV showing particular […]

Abundance and affordability, overlooked characteristics

Although energy is just one input in the wealth production process, it is generally recognized as a critical one. Labor, capital equipment, technology, investment are combined with energy to produce goods and services, with energy being the catalyst. The growth of economic activity, as reflected by growth in GDP, can be directly linked to the […]

Mobility and the Fuels of the Future

Although the media give a great deal of coverage to electric vehicles, advances in battery technology and nonconventional modes of transportation, both the International Energy Agency and the Energy Information Administration (EIA) project that the consumption of liquid fuels — oil and gas — will continue to increase over coming decades. The increase in natural gas consumption will be primarily for electric power generation. Crude oil is refined primarily into transportation fuels — gasoline, diesel and jet fuel — almost 80 percent.

The resurrection of McCarthyism

In the 1950s, the late, and now infamous, Senator Joseph McCarthy used the fear of communism to gain national recognition by making reckless charges against a wide array of public figures, the film industry, a war hero, and the President of the United States. In the end, his reckless disregard for facts, evidence, common decency, […]

NextGen Vehicle: An Unclear Path

Although there is a great deal of hype about the next generation vehicle, thanks to the elaborate marketing of Tesla by its found Elon Musk, the path to that vehicle is not at all clear and its timing less so.  The enthusiasm over these efforts should be tempered by past experience.  Remember the Clinton Administration’s […]

The Devastation of Energy Poverty

The McKinsey Company has recently issued a report, Powering Africa.  The first sentence makes a statement that is obvious—“There is a direct correlation between economic growth and electricity supply”.  It goes on to state that “if sub-Saharan Africa is to fulfill its promise, it needs power—and lots of it”.  The sub-Saharan region is starved for […]

Is Aging Energy Infrastructure a Problem?

The answer to all problems is not for the federal government to throw money and its power at them. In the case of our energy infrastructure there is clearly a role for the federal government but it should be directly related to what part of the infrastructure is being addressed. In the case of our […]

Environmentalists Promote Poverty and No Economic Growth

There is a long history demonstrating that free trade promotes economic growth and that as nations move up the economic latter and become wealthier they invest more in environmental protection. Opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership is very short sighted. The basic objective of the agreement is to remove barriers to trade, improve investment opportunities, and […]

Correspondent of the Day: Column disguises opinions as facts

The following is a letter by William O’Keefe, CEO of the Marshall Institute published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Editor, Times-Dispatch: It is distressing that Mona Sarfaty and Marybeth Montoro use their medical and public health backgrounds to mask a political agenda. In their Op/Ed column, “Climate change is harming our health,” they assert that allergy […]

President Obama, consult Groucho Marx

President Obama recently stated that climate change was personal to him because it caused his daughter’s asthma. He has also made a number of other claims to justify his crusade to reduce CO2 emissions and suppress fossil fuel use. If he only made one factual error it would be easy to dismiss because no one […]

Exposing the Fraud

The Steyer Next Gen Climate campaign is built on a misleading foundation that uses climate change to mask an extreme environmental objective that is its anti-fossil fuel agenda. Candidates can expose this with a few indisputable facts and that could produce a backlash against NextGen and its leadership. In the 1960s, the late historian Daniel […]

Failure is Preordained

The climate establishment continues to push for deep emission reductions even though they are impractical and would certainly do more harm than good. Meetings like the one that will be held in Paris are detached from reality and simply provide the attendees with a taste of the good life. The emerging economies want to achieve […]

Response of William O’Keefe to Senators Markey, Boxer and Whitehouse on Institute Climate Research

On February 25, 2015, the George C. Marshall Institute, along with 99 other organizations and corporations, received a letter from Senators Edward Markey (D-MA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) requesting information about payments made by the Institute to scientists for their research and details about our funders.   Their letter was widely seen as an […]

Forecast the Facts, merchants of smear

This piece is in response to a Congress Blog piece by Sylvie Stein of Forecast the Facts that takes issue with O’Keefe’s previous piece in the Contributors section. Sylvie Stein’s recent piece in the Congress Blog, “Don’t help the merchants of doubt,” tells a great deal about Stein and her organization. Stein and the authors […]

Supreme Opportunity for a Supreme Correction

In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that EPA had authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate CO2 as a pollutant.  It reached that conclusion even though Congress in the 1990 Amendments explicitly denied EPA that regulatory authority.  The Court also ignored the scientific facts that CO2 is a nutrient, has been much higher in […]

Warren has right diagnosis, but wrong prescription

The only reason that large companies can game the system as much as they do is because the regulatory state has been advancing at an increasing pace. The CEO of Dow Chemical, Andrew Liveris, in interviews says that he learned that “if you are not at the table, you’re likely on the menu.” At first […]

Through the Looking Glass Regulation

EPA’s mercury and air toxics regulation, indeed most of its recent regulations, takes on the appearance of Alice in Wonderland. As Humpty Dumpty said to Alice, “When I use a word, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.” So it is with this regulation. The Clean Air Act […]

An inviting opportunity for the American energy renaissance

Last month the White House submitted President Obama’s annual economic report to Congress. Nestled in the findings is a compelling case for lifting the country’s antiquated ban on natural gas exports. “An increase in U.S. exports of natural gas, and the resulting price changes, would have a number of mostly beneficial effects,” the report states, […]

RFS: A Bootlegger’s Dream

In the 1980s, Professor Bruce Yandle of Clemson University developed the Bootlegger and Baptist theory of public choice to describe how private interests use political action to extract profits by wrapping their activities in the garb of the public good. The theory derived its name from bootlegger support of Baptist efforts to prevent the sale […]

Climate Skepticism: Today’s Witch Hunt and McCarthyism

Although the Salem witch trials took place in the 1690s, witch hunts are still used as a tactic of social persecution and a means to censure and demonize those who do not conform to the climate orthodoxy. From Salem to McCarthyism to today’s increasingly strident attacks on so called “climate skeptics,” witch -hunts are a […]

What’s next for Keystone? Shenanigans and More Theater

It is shameful that the President engages in the theatrics of trying to create the impression that he can stop Keystone XL in its tracks. He can’t but he can add to its costs and further delay the economic benefits to the domestic economy. The fact is that while the President postures about his veto […]

Should We Keep the Jones Act? NO!

The Jones Act, formerly the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, mandates that waterborne shipping within the United States must be on US-built ships, that are registered in the U.S. and crewed by mostly U.S. seaman. The main purpose of the Jones Act was to preserve the Merchant Marine fleet after World War I. Whatever its […]

A Lesson from Alaska’s Fiscal Crisis: Approve AKLNG

Decades ago, the construction of the Trans Alaska Pipeline (TAPS) transformed the state into a cornerstone to strengthen  American energy security, fuel the state’s revenues, propel unparalleled economic growth, and provide job security to thousands of Alaskans.  However, Alaska appears to be reaching a turning point in its history. Today, with the recent downturn in […]

Oil Price Amnesia

Since the decline in oil prices began late last year, there has not been a day on which the media has not devoted considerable time to oil prices and the implications of the current state of affairs.  A lot of the commentary has been borderline apocalyptic because share prices of oil companies have declined, capital […]

Hobgoblins Are Poor Policy Drivers

The late journalist H L Mencken once wrote that the whole aim of practical politics is to menace the populace with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of which are imaginary. Several decades later, the former Librarian of the Library of Congress, Daniel Boorstin, wrote that more and more illusions dominate our lives and that […]

A Meaningless Poll on Global Warming

he New York Times, Stanford University, and Resources for the Future recently collaborated on a public opinion poll on global warming.  The Times then ran a long article stating that “ an overwhelming majority of the American public, including half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming.”  Surprise, Surprise! For over 20 years, […]

Congress Needs To Free U.S. Energy Resources

For Americans, the steep increase in U.S. supply of oil and gas has brought with it a bounty of benefits. The energy sector has increased employment in states that otherwise saw economic decline, and the growth in direct jobs has indirectly benefited communities throughout the country. At the same time, the taxes paid by the […]

Spend Time on Things Going Nowhere, Ignore Things That Matter

The President’s proposal is just another example of environmental zealotry and pandering to those who don’t care much for economic development and state sovereignty. To call this refuge an “amazing wonder (to be) protected for future generations” is to reveal how little he knows about it. It is a frozen desert, although the pictures shown […]

The Steady Erosion of Truth

According to an August 2014 CNN poll, “public’s trust in government is at an all-time low.  …”The number who trust the government all or most of the time has sunk so low that it is hard to remember that there was ever a time when Americans routinely trusted the government,”  This poll is not an […]

Ideology is a Poor Policy Compass

The US energy renaissance has taken place in spite of President Obama who has a deep hostility to fossil fuels. Private lands and private sector innovation and capital have been the drivers for the increase in oil and gas production. Someone who was not obsessed with environmental zealotry would have learned some important lessons over […]

Fairness Calls For a Thank You

Since the first Arab oil embargo in 1973, every time the price of crude oil and gasoline has increased, so called consumer advocates and opportunistic politicians have accused oil companies of price gouging, price fixing and the like.  Over this time, the FTC has conducted numerous investigations of those charges and every investigation  has produced […]

Keystone: A case of cognitive dissonance

President Obama likes to take credit for the increase in domestic oil production and its contribution to economic growth and job creation. But when it comes to doing something positive about oil, his true biases come to the surface. The President’s tendency is to pander to his environmental constituency. He typically reflects his hostility to […]

Begin Anew

The Federal Highway system and Trust Fund are roughly 60 years old. Instead of just increasing the fuel tax to cover the shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund, something that clearly is needed, Congress should rethink the interstate highway system and how to maintain and improve it in the 21st century. No program should just […]

Mark Twain and the Vatican

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 Politics of Distortion

As a candidate, President Obama made famous the phrase, “words have meaning”.  And, propagandists know that if you repeat a false statement long enough, it will eventually be seen as truth.  So it is with the oft repeated use of the term “carbon pollution” to describe carbon dioxide—CO2– which in fact is a nutrient.  It […]

What was the Biggest Energy Success Story of 2014?

The continued resurgence of North American oil production tops the list. Just a few decades ago the conventional wisdom was that US imports would continue indefinitely, that we would be hopelessly at the mercy of OPEC and that “peak oil” would soon bring the end of the age of oil. Those predictions have now been […]

We need to solve the real climate problem

The debate over global warming — which morphed into climate change — over the past 25 years has misled politicians and the public about the nature of the real problem. The real problem is not increasing carbon dioxide emissions, as has been asserted by environmentalists and the climate establishment for years and accepted uncritically by […]

What did Lima Achieve? Waste Resources; Increase Emissions!

It’s back to the future with shades of the Rio Treaty. Twenty years ago when Al Gore was promoting what became the ill fated Kyoto Treaty, many moderate people proposed what was called “Pledge and Review and No Regrets” strategies. They were ridiculed and since then 193 nations have participated in a charade called the […]

A Martian Looks at Climate Negotiations

An interesting mind game involves thinking about what a Martian would think if he/she came down and observed the activities in Lima at this year’s COP.  It doesn’t take much a stretch of the imagination to conclude that upon returning to Mars, he/she would report that there doesn’t appear to be intelligent life on earth. […]

OPEC: The Equivalent of the Wizard of Oz

Since the first embargo in 1973, energy officials and many members of Congress have accepted the notion that since OPEC is called a cartel, it must be one. In reality it is like the Wizard of Oz behind the screen. Its power comes from being seen as powerful. The reality is nothing like the image. […]

What Goes Up Comes Down and What Goes Down, Comes Up

Oil prices are cyclical. They don’t stay up forever or stay down forever. Investments are made on price expectations over the life of a production project. Most if not all of the investors in shale oil factored this reality into their investment analysis. OPEC’s decision was based on a number of factors, mostly involving politics. […]

Are state-level renewable-energy laws good policy? No!

There are two reasons why states and environmental advocates have promoted “renewable portfolio standards (RPS).” First, a concern that we would run out of natural gas. Second, a belief that CO2 emissions must be reduced to avoid adverse climate change. Neither reason withstands close scrutiny. The evidence is unmistakingly clear, renewable mandates are a back […]

Three Pinocchios

Over the past months and right after the Senate defeated legislation authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline, President Obama said that the pipeline was just to move Canadian oil through the US to the Gulf Coast for shipment overseas.  He has also said that he is concerned about it environmental impacts, the small number of jobs […]

What’s the Climate Pledge Worth? Absolutely Nothing

It is amazing that anyone could take this agreement seriously. It clearly demonstrates that clear thinking is a victim of zealotry. The agreement is analogous to a race between two high performance cars where the driver of one agrees to run on four cylinders. Little doubt about who wins. China, which is building a new […]

Our Snookered President

The applause for the climate agreement between President Obama and China ought to be an embarrassment.  The President was snookered and apparently doesn’t know.  China promised to cap emissions in 16 years and the President promised to increase emission reduction actions now.  What kind of deal is that?  It’s a bad economic and environmental. China’s […]

Will Obama Veto the Keystone XL pipeline? Probably

The President has dithered over this issue for six years. His slow walking may make him look good to his environmental base but to almost everyone else he looks like a foolish ideologue. This project has been studied to death and it is clear that it is in the best interests of both the United […]

The IPCC: Nostradamus Reincarnated

Throughout history, at least back to 2800 BC, the world has had more that its share of apocalytics.  Nostradamus was perhaps the most famous but he had a lot of good company—google  A Brief History of the Apocalypse. Now the apocalyptics rely on sophisticated computer models to convince us that life as we know it […]

What Would A GOP Senate Mean for Energy Policy? It All Depends

Both parties have to figure out how to advance their longer term agendas with a Congress controlled by Republicans. A lot depends on President Obama and whether he morphs into Bill Clinton after 1994 when he willingly worked with Newt Gingrich to pass legislation and benefit from a booming economy that occurred. President Obama may […]

Do Falling Oil Prices Change the Math on Keystone? Probably Not

Keystone XL is a long term capital investment. As such, the economic decision to proceed with it, all other considerations aside, depends on the long term outlook for oil prices and alternatives. The current decline in prices is not likely to affect the decision to proceed unless they substantially reduced TransCanada’s capital spending. Even with […]

Hobgoblins, Fuzzy Math, and Wishful Thinking

In a recent post on the National Journal on-line, the founder of the Stella Group asserted that it is “nonsense…that renewable energy cannot meet the world’s energy needs… and many peer-reviewed global and country studies show just the opposite”.  He went on to state “most or all of our nation’s or globe’s energy needs can […]

Government Overhaul: Long Overdue

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 […]

Disinvestment: Political Correct Hypocrisy

The so-called “disinvestment” movement fails to meet any standard of moral legitimacy. Disinvestment sounds powerful but if those who have joined the campaign meant to sell their holdings in fossil energy companies, why didn’t they say that they had done so? If the goal is to discourage others from investing in those companies, then arrogance […]

Time to “Simmer Down” on Fiscal Crises

Fiscal brinksmanship – those seasonal scenarios during which our government tiptoes to the edge of the latest government shutdown, fiscal cliff, or sequestration – has become as much a part of the Washington political culture as seersucker on summer Thursdays. And thanks to the fact that we have grown accustomed to funding our government through […]

What’s the Impact of Falling Oil Prices? Only Time Will Tell

The history of oil prices is that they never rise forever and don’t fall forever. The current situation is partially the result of the oil renaissance in the US. Production has reached levels not seen since the early 1970s. This increase represents about 90% of the increase in global production this year. But, this increase […]

Ebola outbreak partly fueled by misguided priorities and misallocated resources

With each new case of the Ebola virus reported by the media, there is also more speculation about a pandemic if Ebola gets out of West Africa, which unfortunately it has. A pandemic is an epidemic that spreads across continents. The world has experienced pandemics at least as far back as the Middle Ages, when […]

Are Energy Sanctions Working?

The history of sanctions is mixed at best. They have not worked on Cuba or North Korea. They worked too well against Japan, leading to World War II and it is unclear whether they will lead to productive negotiations with Iran. In the short run, there is no evidence that the targeted sanctions against Russian […]

The Corruption of Science

The late Dr. Michael Crichton in a speech at the California Institute of Technology made the following observation: “I want to …talk about … the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus […]

First Connect the Dots

Revitalizing the US nuclear arsenal is essential but should follow, not precede, a comprehensive strategic review. The triad was planned and built to deter the Soviet Union and ensure survival for retaliation if the US was attacked. Mutual Assured Destruction may seem insane today but it worked and contributed to the eventual collapse of the […]

Success is Not an Option

When 120 world leaders meet to discuss action on climate change, it is a sure bet that optics will trump substance. The leaders will claim success even though it is unlikely that anything of substance will be accomplished. Emerging economies will demand that the developed world commit billions of dollars in compensation for the emissions […]

McCarthyism is Alive and Well

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 […]

Hope Springs Eternal

Every time in the run up to one of these climate summits, there are expressions that this time the outcome will be different and each time the summit ends with a lot of rhetoric but not much in the way of substance. Why should it be different this time around? The reasons cited in the […]

America’s New Energy Paradigm

Since the first Arab oil embargo, US energy policy has been driven by the search for “independence”, concerns about energy security, a commitment to alternatives to move the economy off oil.  Policy initiatives have wasted hundreds of billions of dollars in pursuing these objectives because they were not based on energy realities. Over the past […]

Searching for Hobgoblins in All the Wrong Places

H.L. Menken once observed ”the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed… by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” That certainly describes EPA’s approach to regulation. There is nothing too small or insignificant to escape its heavy handed regulation. The Obama administration might as well […]

It’s Blowin’ in the Wind

Politicians usually campaign one way and govern another. Campaigning is about getting plenty of favorable media attention and rounding up delegates to actually get the nomination. Mrs. Clinton, like every other candidate, will look at where she can get the needed delegates and tailor her messages to those voters. Those messages might seem more pragmatic […]

The New World of Energy Management

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) the relationship between electric power consumption and economic growth is changing after decades of being very strongly correlated. Between 1975 and 1995 the “two growth measures were nearly equal in value.” Looking to the future, EIA estimates that the “rate of projected growth in electricity use will be […]

Climate Change Polls Are like the Weather: Everyone Likes to Talk About it.

Polls are interesting tools for persuasion but their validity depends on sample size and how the questions are asked. Most polls on issues that concern Americans put the environment near the bottom. While people may express concern about climate change, it is not what concerns them the most and it is less of a concern […]

Empirical Evidence Provides the Answer

The question of whether drilling can be conducted safely is not a theoretical one. The oil industry has decades of experience drilling safely in hostile environments. In spite of a solid track record, environmentalist always, always, make the same claims and have for decades.  Evidence to the contrary does not deter their rhetoric or campaigns, […]

The Magic of Models

A study recently published in the journal Nature Climate Change has gained a lot of attention in the environmental community and mainstream media—National Geographic for example. According to the study, the Keystone XL pipeline could produce four times more greenhouse gases than the State Department estimated in its final review in January. Since the study […]

Son of Kyoto

The MIT analysis should be a sobering message to the climate change cultists. The Global Change Program at MIT is first rate and is comprised of serious scholars. Jake Jacoby is a well regarded economist and the study conducted by him and his colleague is rich in significance. It is unfortunate, however, that the study […]

Where Have All the Thinkers Gone?

In the years since World War II, the US was blessed with great foreign policy strategic thinkers like George Marshall, Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brezezinski  and James Baker among others.  A recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Kimberly Strassel—Meet Obama’s Kissingers—documented that unlike past presidents who staffed their National Security Councils(NSC) with foreign and […]

The Fog of Uncertainty

Former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld was know for his comments about knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns. The economic impact of the sanctions on the Russian oil and gas industry and Putin’s patrons can be reasonably known. The potential effects on European nations can also be known within reason. Those effects will not be trivial, […]

The Presumption of Knowledge: The Fatal Conceit

This week, Senate Democrats were engaged in hand wringing and excessive rhetoric during a Senate Budget Committee hearing titled “The Costs of Inaction: The Economic and Budgetary Consequences of Climate Change.” Committee Chairman Patty Murray talked about the fiscal budget. The hearing was choreographed with the release of a report by the Council of Economic […]

Open The Spigots

Instability and conflict in the Middle East is on the rise and with it there is a greater risk that oil production could be interrupted. In Iraq, ISIS forces have put the country on the brink of civil war. Oil production in the North has been disrupted but that has been offset by production in […]

Science Not Pseudo Science

The form of the question is a strong reason to keep the federal government out of setting standards for teaching climate change science. Paraphrasing Mark Twain, if you don’t read or listen to the popular media, you will be uninformed and if you read or listen to it, you’ll be misinformed. Any effort to teach […]

Murkowski”s Moment

This week Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will meet with Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to discuss expanding the classification of refined oil exports to include condensate products. The meeting comes as part of an important larger movement in Washington to relax decades-old restrictions that create a glut of domestic crude oil here at home. Sen. Murkowski […]

Climate Denier: A Tool to Intimidate

CNBC recently invited Marshall Institute Chair Will Happer, just retired as a tenured physics professor from Princeton University, to appear on   Squawk Box to address comments he had made about the demonization of CO2.  It was a good example of an interviewer, Andrew Ross Sorkin, acting like a prosecuting attorney instead of someone trying to […]

Crony Capitalism is Never Good

The Export-Import Bank came into being 80 years ago when President Roosevelt promoted it to finance trade with Russia. It became an independent agency in 1945. The Bank borrows money from the Treasury to provide below market loans, loan guarantees, and capital and credit insurance to facilitate US exports. Is that really the best use […]

The Highway Trust Fund: Important and Necessary Government Spending

While liberals and conservatives constantly debate about the necessity of government spending on various programs and projects, there is bipartisan agreement among voters on the need for maintaining our highway infrastructure.  To that point, the Highway Trust Fund must remain adequately financed to keep our roads and bridges operational and safe. The fund currently lacks […]

The Demonization of CO2

Since 1989, we have been told that climate change was an impending apocalypse. As a result, CO2 has been labeled an environmental criminal. Zealots have repeatedly asserted that CO2 emissions are primarily responsible for increases in global temperatures and unless they are reduced there will be unprecedented climate events–hurricanes, droughts, species extinction, and flooding caused […]

The House Always Wins

Wall Street is like a Las Vegas casino. It always wins by making money under almost any set of circumstance. Just think of all the imaginative ways that it did that with derivatives, carbon trading, and hedging before the last bubble burst. Climate change like politics makes strange bedfellows. Environmentalists will team with anyone who […]

Free Trade Should Not Exclude Domestic Crude

The ban that has existed on exporting domestic crude oil was the result of a political knee jerk reaction to the 1973 oil embargo. It made no sense then and it is without any redeeming value today. Democrat and Republican Administrations and Congresses have been complicit in keeping the law on the books.  We have […]

Alaska’s Historic Natural Gas Equity

When it comes to domestic energy, Alaska gets it. Alaska is a state rich in natural resources, and through sensible policy it has historically worked with industry to develop those assets in an efficient manner. Yet, keeping pace with shifting energy dynamics requires a tax structure that fosters investment, which voters will decide later this […]

Mark Twain on Climate Alarmism

Mark Twain once observed that he was not bothered by all the things that people didn’t know; he was bothered by all the things they know that just aren’t true.  If he was alive, he could direct that comment to the former Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson who is now speaking out as a […]

Complexity Equals Uncertainty and Vulnerability

The proposed power plant rule is one of the most complex rules ever drafted by EPA. The complexity creates a vulnerability and significant risk that it fall or get substantially modified. There is a significant likelihood that the rule cannot be finalized by the time President Obama leaves office. If that is the case, and […]

Rearranging the Deck Chairs on the Titanic

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 […]

Leadership Change at Marshall Institute

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 […]

Failed Risk Management

The renewed combat in Iraq has caused oil prices to increase, although modestly so far.  The prospect of a possible curtailment in Iraq’s production has oil markets rightfully nervous.  Some analysts see oil prices increasing another $30 if production was shut off or significantly reduced.  That would take prices back to the $140 level that […]

The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back?

Elections normally don’t turn on one act or event. There is generally an accumulation of factors that influence voter preferences. As in many situations in life, a tipping point can be reached that results in an unexpected and significant change. The EPA rule could prove to be a tipping point. Even before the climate rule […]

Carbon: All tax, no benefit

The Obama administration’s decision to use its regulatory authority to regulate carbon emissions has led to renewed interest in a carbon tax as a more effective alternative. Some in the media and business community are trying to give new life to a carbon tax. Giving Congress the power to tax carbon would be analogous to […]

The Snookering of Obama

The President has claimed that his new Clean Power Plan shows the leadership and commitment to address climate change that will encourage other countries, namely China, to take serious action.  While that is a possibility, it chances more likely falls into the slim and none category. First, his plan faces a large number of hurdles […]

OPEC: The Myth and the Reality

On June 4, the Marshall Institute released a new paper by Institute CEO William O’Keefe, formerly Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the American Petroleum Institute, examining the role of OPEC in contemporary energy policy debates.  OPEC remains a highly influential symbol of the dangers of import dependence, but facts suggest its actual influence has […]

Crony Capitalists Exploiting Consumers and Economic Growth

The recently introduced carbon rule from the Environmental Protection Agency is crony capitalism run amok. If the proposed rule goes into effect, which is not a certainty, companies who profit from influencing regulations will be the winners. Those who are guided by the marketplace, including consumers, will be the losers. Of course, the Obama Administration […]

The Best Way to Write a Climate Rule is by leaving the Paper Blank

The notion that EPA can write a climate rule that does not do far more harm than good is truly a triumph of hope over experience. That fact that the Obama Administration is even trying is a manifestation of Hayek’s Fatal Conceit. Over the years, environmental regulations have become more complex, more intrusive, and more […]

What’s at Stake at FERC?

There are two parts to this question. First, is Norman Bay someone who is seen as fair and moderate or is he seen as an ideologue? Second, has Harry Reid so poisoned the atmosphere in the Senate that no appointment can get confirmation? Clearly Mr. Bay has outstanding academic and professional credentials. But, has his […]

Red Queen Rules EPA

In Alice in Wonderland, the Red Queen is known for many remarks that stand logic on its head.  One of the best known is, “verdict now, trial later.”  EPA Administrator McCarthy has done the Red Queen one better. Verdict now, no trial. EPA asserting authority under the Clean Water Act has begun a pre-emptive veto […]

Dysfunction, Ideology, and Illusions Undermine Serious Policy

The democrats want to pass the Shaheen-Portman legislation which is not very meaningful. Yet, they will not permit amendments to the legislation. The Republicans want a vote on Keystone XL and one on LNG exports which Senator Reid won’t permit. So, nothing gets done. Indeed, the Senate failed to vote for cloture Monday. Not passing […]

The EPA Terminator

EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, in a recent speech said, “we’re coming after you” in discussing criticism of EPA science from some members of Congress and so called conservative groups.  Her remarks were in response of efforts to obtain studies on which the agency has based some of its regulatory actions. If it wasn’t for the […]

Leadership: AWOL

The President’s slow walking on such an important energy project could make a glacier’s movement seem like a sprint. Shameless and inexcusable are the only words that come to mind for the President’s inaction. It is ironic that the President has spent a great deal of time over the past few weeks talking about income […]

One Size Shouldn’t Fit All

For most of our history, states have been viewed as the laboratories of democracy, allowing them to determine what is in the best interests of their citizens. Individual state policies, programs, and related matters can be assessed by other states as part of the learning experience that can lead to a movement toward “best practices”. […]

Catastrophe is always on the Horizon

The IPCC just released its last assessment report dealing with mitigation.  Like the two previously released work group reports, the latest also sounds the alarm bell that catastrophe is just around the corner unless dramatic action is taken soon.  The latest report calls for a 40% reduction in emissions from 2010 levels by 2050. With […]

A Needed Wake-Up Call

In regards to our nation’s energy grid systems and vulnerabilities, what this country needs is a wake-up call. Instead of focusing on what Senator Murkowski stated was “a dangerous leak of highly sensitive information”, the media should instead be focusing on why so little has been done to reduce grid vulnerability. It has been known […]

The Wind Production Tax Credit: Past Its Prime and a Complete Waste

There is no economic or energy justification for reviving the renewable-energy production tax credit. Doing so would be a case of legal larceny whereby the government authorizes stealing from the many for the benefit of the few. The renewable energy production tax credit is a classic case of crony capitalism. The beneficiaries of the credit […]

The Bankrupt Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Last week with much fanfare, the IPCC released its Summary for Policy Makers on climate change impacts.  The Panel’s chairman declared that this report was its most terrifying because human caused climate change was going to cause famine, disease, extreme weather, and war.  These effects will occur because crop yields will be reduced as will […]

Methane Madness

The White House plans to cut methane emissions is reminiscent of the Red Queen shouting verdict first, trial later. The fact that the Administration is calling for a plan before having any idea of the extent of emissions or the cost andimplications of reducing them is just one more example of the mindless, ideological pursuit […]

The Unintended Consequences of Going Green

The Ukraine crisis and the possible use of natural gas as a weapon against the Ukraine and Western Europe is an unintended consequence of EU excessive focus on emissions reduction and green energy.  By focusing on its green agenda to the exclusion of energy and economic security, European nations have made their current energy problem […]

Free Trade & Economic Self Interest Boost Diplomacy

It is unfortunate that the Ukrainian crisis has been the catalyst for renewed attention to the export of natural gas. In truth, the need for natural gas exports was already plainly obvious. The current limits beyond exports to free trade agreement countries are just another reflection of misguided energy policy. US LNG exports are being […]

Natural Gas: The Hostage of History

On March 25, Senator Landrieu, the new chair of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing addressing the logjam on exports of natural gas.  That this hearing should even be held is a prime example of the unintended consequences of federal laws that have long since become obsolete. In 1938, Congress […]

There are No Free Lunches

Although this week’s question addressed electric power, gas and water, our most critical need is to upgrade the electric power grid. The problems of upgrading the grid reflect the complex structure of the electric power system, the lack of real competition in about half of the states, and a lack of a national strategic vision […]

The Consequences of Procrastination

The Crimean situation demonstrates the unintended consequences of procrastination and policy driven by climate ideology.  Although the US and EU may impose biting sanctions on Russia for its invasion of the Ukraine, the economic and political consequences may be worse because of the repeated failure of the West to face up to the reality of […]

The Wrong Kind of Bi-Partisanship

Senators Levin (Michigan) and Inhofe (Oklahoma) have recently introduced legislation to promote the adoption of natural gas vehicles( NGVs).  While the nation would benefit from a greater effort between republicans and democrats to find common ground, this initiative would take us further down a road that should be less traveled.  When legislation is introduced to […]

Portman and Shaheen: The Dumb Consumers Protection Act

Underlying all government interventions to achieve greater energy efficiency is the belief that the market has failed and consumers are not smart enough to act in their own self-interest. This legislation continues to reflect the philosophy that government knows best how consumers and business should allocate their resources and which trade-offs they should make. This […]

Growing Momentum for Energy Exports?

Support for lifting restrictions on U.S. energy exports is gaining momentum in Congress.  Recently, members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee put their support behind the growing chorus to lift restrictions on U.S. energy exports.  They join Senators Murkowski and Landrieu, the ranking member and now-chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee. […]

Presentation by William O’Keefe on Energy Policy

Presentation by Marshall Institute CEO William O’Keefe at the February 25th Institute event discussing energy policy.  More information on the event is available at http://marshall.org/events/energy-policy-priorities-identifying-principles-and-actions/.

Why Should the US Invest in Nuclear Power

The question isn’t should the US invest in nuclear power. It more appropriately is why should the government invest in an energy source that the private sector won’t invest in and utility owners believe is too risky to invest shareowners money? For decades, nuclear power has been tomorrow’s energy of choice. But until the cost […]

The Death Knell for Climate Change Orthodoxy?

In the short space of less than two weeks, there have been several  climate change actions that might be signs bordering on desperation.  First, Secretary of State John Kerry stated that climate change was like a weapon of mass destruction.  And then, President Obama announced plans for additional heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas […]

How Much Safety and Reliability Is Enough And How much are We Willing to Pay For?

Almost every hour of the day and almost every day of the year, our electrical system provides the power that consumers and industry need and expect. But, as we have learned from blackouts over the past 20 some years, from weather related outages, and now from reports of attacks on substations and transformers, that is […]

Embrace America’s energy renaissance

Institute CEO William O’Keefe published the following op-ed in the Richmond Times Dispatch – http://www.timesdispatch.com/opinion/their-opinion/columnists-blogs/guest-columnists/embrace-america-s-energy-renaissance/article_7dd17ac0-49e8-54c9-8dcd-f4bd93dc50da.html   During his most recent State of the Union address, President Obama had an opportunity to speak directly to the nation, to take a step away from partisan rhetoric that has informed poorly reasoned policy and step toward an embrace of […]

Leading From Behind, Again

The President’s acceptance of the current oil and gas boom as a major economic driver reminds me of the man who runs to the front of a parade and then claims to be leading it. For several years, the President employed an “all of the above” rhetoric that did not match his actions. Now, in […]

Commentary: Keystone XL — the cost of politics and illusion

For over five years, the Obama Administration has delayed a decision on the Keystone pipeline because of alleged concerns about environmental impacts, especially climate change.  The Administration’s non-decision process has been strongly supported by its activist environmental allies who have made extreme and unsupportable claims.  Now, the truth comes out from the former Secretary of […]

Hamlet Obama: Giving Slow Walking a Bad Name

The fact that the State Department has issued its “fifth final environmental impact statement” is unambiguous evidence that President Obama is attempting to run out the clock to avoid making a decision as long as he can. Unlike Hamlet, who couldn’t decide, the President simply won’t decide. The delay in approving Keystone XL Pipeline’s final […]

Allow the Renewable-Fuel Standard to Rest in Peace | Commentary

Ronald Reagan once observed that the closest thing to perpetual life was a government program. They start but never seem to end. Congress can make an exception to Reagan’s truism. Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., have introduced legislation to repeal the federal ethanol mandate. Coburn said, “This misguided policy has cost taxpayers […]

What’s the State of Obama’s Energy and Climate Agenda?

State of the Union addresses have become a real life version of land of the living dead. They are rituals that have little to do with the state of the union or actions needed to improve it. They are 40 plus minute laundry list of actions that the President wants accomplished that rarely set major […]

Punish Success And Reward Rent Seeking and Bigger Government

Real Clear Politics recently ran an article by a writer from the so- called Center for American Progress.  I say so-called because from the content of the article, the organization would be more accurately named the Center for American Distress or the Center for Political Bambozzle.  It uses and misuses tired old assertions about oil […]

Climate Change: The Crumbling Foundation

In the early days of the Global Warming debate, now called climate change, writer Ron Bailey in an article observed, freeze or fry, wet or dry the problem is always the same—human consumption of fossil energy—and the solution is also the same—more government control over energy use and personal freedom.  The recent “arctic vortex” has […]

What’s So Hard About Moving Oil: Red Tape, Bureaucracy, and a Slow Walking President

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 […]

No Scarcity of Economic Ignorance in Congress

With US oil production booming, pressure has increased to repeal an archaic law that prohibits the export of crude oil without a license.  The law dates back to the early 1970s when OPEC nations imposed an embargo on exports to the US.  That was a time when many in the nation were obsessed with predictions […]

Quit Digging

An old adage about life is that when you are in a hole quit digging.  With trust in government at an all time low, actions that further erode trust and credibility are just more examples of keep on digging.  The Wall Street Journal recently reported a case of EPA doing exactly that. It is no […]

The Pretense of Knowledge and Hubris, and Predictions of Dread

In accepting the Nobel Prize in economics, Frederich Hayek’s remarks dealt with the The Pretense of Knowledge. Those remarks included prescient observations about the consequences of actions that do not reflect the limits of knowledge. “If man is not to do more harm than good in his efforts to improve the social order, he will […]

The EU’s Lost Decade

In the aftermath of the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, the EU, led by Germany, remained in the forefront of climate policy by pledging to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020.  To achieve this objective and show the rest of the world how to be successful and green, EU nations adopted renewable […]

Tax reform: A mountain too tall to climb?

The chairs of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees have made tax reform a top priority.  Both are making a concerted effort to develop a consensus within their committees.  In addition, the special budget committee co-chaired by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has made tax reform a major […]

Policy by Illusion and Myth

George Schultz, former Secretary of Treasury, Labor, and State, and Fred Smith, CEO of FedEx, recently published a Wall Street Journal opinion piece—Making the Most of the U.S. Energy Boom—in which they argue that the US should establish a national goal of oil displacement. They assert that forty years after the first oil embargo, “de-linking […]

Market Forces

Market Forces: The Best Driver of Energy Policy

On November 4, 2013, Institute CEO William O’Keefe appeared at a conference sponsored by the Conservation Leadership Council to discuss a framework for energy policy making. His remarks are available in the attached document.

The Presumption of Knowledge

Over the past few weeks attention has been focused on the roll out debacle of the Affordable Care Act—aka ObamaCare.  This is a case that is the opposite of too big to fail– too big to succeed.  While it might seem that there is no connection between ObamaCare and alternative energy policies and biofuels mandates, […]

Biofuel

Biofuel Policy Follies

In this Policy Outlook, Institute CEO William O’Keefe examines federal biofuels policy concluding that history of federal subsidies and mandates for ethanol and its derivatives (notably, cellulosic ethanol) have failed. O’Keefe argues that federal mandates and monetary supports for biofuels have had little positive impact, but have come at great cost to the American public. He […]

Is the (Energy) Price Right?

A look back over the past few decades clearly demonstrates that government meddling in the market and its industrial policy initiatives have made the price of energy more expensive. Proposed EPA rules on power generators, Tier III standards, and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) simply are more confirmation. The basic drivers of price are supply […]

Handouts are not Helping Hands

The Center for American Progress (CAP) and similar liberal organizations contend that government must help change the US energy mix.  Although past efforts over the past 40 years make clear that as former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers told President Obama, “the government is a crappy venture capitalist.”  The verdict is in: industrial policy doesn’t work! […]

California’s Energy and Climate Agenda: California Dreamin!

The land of make believe is an economic nightmare that can’t have a happy ending on a Hollywood set. A report by the California Budget Project concluded that “government is dragging down the economy.” A survey of business executives ranked California the worst state in America to do business. It ranks last in new business […]

Approaching the Grand Bargain: The Reality and Myths of Energy Tax Credits

While Washington, DC is in the midst of a government shutdown and looming under the specter of the debt ceiling, discussions on Capitol Hill have turned to a grand bargain as a potential exit strategy.  Grand bargains are complex and probably involve too many elements to get quick agreement. The quickest way to ensure that […]

The Difference Between Wishing and Doing

The Obama Administration has a strong commitment to promoting electric vehicles and has made billions of tax payer dollars to achieve its policy objective.  And yet, electric vehicles remain mainly niche vehicles for the well to do who want to demonstrate their environmental values. Although GM, Fiat, Nissan, Volkswagen, and the overhyped Tesla are pushing […]

wg1cover

The IPCC’s Magic Touch

Like a magician who uses misdirection to focus attention on what he appears to be doing and not on what he is actually doing, the just released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report (AR5) tries to shift attention from significant uncertainties by issuing a statement that it is extremely likely that warming since 1950 has been mainly caused by human activities. Indeed, it increases its probability estimate from 90% to 95%.

Popular Delusions and the Madness of Government

The time is long past when the entire ethanol boondoggle should be shut down.

Syria: Connecting the Wrong Dots or Correlation is Not Causation

Trying to tie the Syrian situation to oil or human caused climate change is an exercise in fiction.

The Next IPCC Report: Leaks, Spin, and Efforts Not be Embarrassed

One thing seems certain. The IPCC will not admit to past errors in its assessments or to the inadequacy of the models on which it has relied on to support its preconceived judgments.

Yucca Mountain and the Rule of Law

In 1982, Congress passed and the President signed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act that directed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to approve or disapprove DOE’s application to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain. Although Yucca Mountain was extensively studied for over a decade, confirming it the best site for nuclear waste, nothing was done until 2008 when the Bush Administration filed an application with the NRC.

When Is Government Intervention in the Energy Market OK?

Marshall Institute CEO William O’Keefe, formerly COO of the American Petroleum Institute, and Dr. Sergey Mityakov, an economist from Clemson University, discuss when government intervention in the energy sector is justified and the conditions that determine success.

Nothing New Under the Sun or Who’s to Blame for High Gasoline Prices

When gasoline prices go up so does the level of agitation on Capitol Hill. It is as predictable as sunrise.

More North American Energy Will Help Alleviate Fuel Prices

Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will revisit an all too common topic discussed on Capitol Hill: how changes in domestic oil production, refining and distribution could be affecting U.S. gasoline and fuel prices.

The Outlook for Coal: A case of muddling through

The Obama Administration doesn’t like fossil energy but it has few real options for backing them out of the economy. Coal is the predominant source of electrical power and will remain so until coal fired units are replaced by natural gas or a viable clean coal technology. The turnover of capital stock is slow and attempts to accelerate that turnover or replace coal with “alternatives” will drive up costs and threaten the reliability of the grid.

EV Bamboozle

From the rubble of failed energy industrial policy initiatives—Solyndra, Fisker Motors,A123 battery for example—we are told by the mainstream media that there is a success to celebrate.

Opponents of US gas exports wrong

The export of American natural-gas reserves to allies in Asia, Europe and elsewhere is under consideration by Congress again this week. Approvals for new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities are on hold indefinitely, but the economic and political benefits for the United States should it become a top exporter of LNG are too great to ignore.

Son of a BTU

Ever since the Clinton Gore Administration, climate advocates have been working on schemes to put a price on carbon. Their goal is to force fossil energy out of our economy. The first attempt was the ill-fated BTU tax, introduced in the early days of the Clinton Gore Administration. Clinton-Gore quickly abandoned their proposal when confronted with a powerful political and public backlash over the impact of the BTU tax on energy prices and the economy. The backlash was so severe that BTU became a verb and no politician wanted to be BTUed.

New Opportunities for US Natural Gas Industry with Japan’s Entry to TPP

During his confirmation hearing, Secretary of Energy designate Moniz gave a strong endorsement for the export of natural gas, and just last week the US Trade Representative gave the go ahead for Japan’s entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership(TPP).

It Works in Theory Just Not in Practice

On April 8, George Schultz, one of the nation’s most distinguished public servants, and Nobel laureate Gary Becker wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal explaining Why We Support a Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax.

What is Infant Industry? Applications to the Energy Industry

Dr. Sergey Mityakov, William O’Keefe, and Jeff Kueter discuss a recent Marshall Institute study on government subsidies for the energy industry.

Hydrocarbons Forever?

Beginning with King Hubbard, the creator of the Peak Oil Theory, geologists and others have been predicting the end of the oil and gas era for decades.  In fact the predictions of resource exhaustion predate Hubbard by decades.  And, like the horizon these predictions keep receding as the end dates are approached. In this decade, […]

Hot Air About Natural Gas Exports

In his February 1 article on Reason.com, Ron Bailey writes, “To the extent we live in a ‘post-truth’ era” lobbying policy-makers “is in good measure because it pays so well to dissemble, exaggerate, and spin for government grants and favors.” If he had written that today, he might have been referring a recent Wall Street Journalopinion piece by Dow Chemical’s CEO, Andrew Liveris, called “Wanted: A Balanced Approach to Shale Gas Exports.”

Potential Is Not Necessarily Practical

Productivity gains generally correspond to improvements in innovation and technology; efficiency on the other hand is related to producing a given level of output with less input. A quick scan of the summary material for the Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy reveals the group doesn’t appear to make a clear distinction between efficiency and productivity, and in places it seems to use them interchangeably. For the purpose of this topic, those terms will be used in the more traditional way.

The Anti-Environment Environmentalists

No matter what our political orientation, we are all environmentalists and the spectrum of our environmental beliefs runs from pale to dark green.  The dark green environmentalists are often characterized as zealots. It is not unfair to assert that many, if not most, who are characterized as environmental zealots use the environment as a Trojan […]

Don’t Limit LNG Free Trade

A new special interest group, America’s Energy Advantage, is advocating restrictions on LNG exports in an effort to manipulate prices, thereby allowing AEA member companies to enjoy outsized gains on the sale and export of their products.

Divorce Court and Public Policy

Columnist and author Bob Woodward recently observed about Congress and the White House that we have a situation that is like permanently being in divorce course with no settlement on who gets the kids.

More than Anticipated Less than Possible

Four years ago, if one were to predict that domestic oil production would reach a 19 year high in 2012 or that a natural gas boom would changing the shape of the economy, they would have been laughed at. President Obama’s ideology, and that of his appointees, has been hostile to fossil fuel energy. In spite of their opposition, domestic production is up, imports are down, and jobs and investment in the oil and gas industry are growing – all largely a result of affordable natural gas.

Wind Tax Credit Advocacy: Blowing Smoke

A number of the comments supporting extension of the wind production tax credit are based on half truths, illusions, and special interest politics.

The Wind Tax Credit: Green Welfare

Senator Alexander makes a strong and compelling case for not just ending the wind tax credit but also corporate welfare designed to force technologies that either don’t exist or are not commercially viable.

William O’Keefe: Will the Carbon Tax Make a Comeback?

‘I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you’ve made me a better president.” So said President Barack Obama after winning re-election. But on the subject of energy it isn’t clear what he has learned. If news reports are accurate, the president’s second-term agenda may include pushing for a carbon tax ostensibly to reduce the deficit and address climate change.

Thelma & Louise, or Reagan & O’Neill?

Gridlock in Washington today poses a very real threat of throwing the country over the fiscal cliff and into a double-dip recession, all compliments of political dysfunction inside the beltway. And the consequences, however unintended, promise to have a dangerous impact on the energy industry. The agreement that created this dilemma may have appeared to be smart politics at the time but it was bad legislation, showing mainly that government wasn’t working.

Energy Policy Needs To Be Based in Reality, Not Wishful Thinking

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.

Generational Amnesia

If the Obama Administration and Democrat leaders in Congress pursue a carbon tax as part of their deficit and climate policies, they will test the old axiom that if you don’t learn from history, you are condemned to relive it. In 1993, President Clinton proposed a BTU tax on energy in his first budget. The […]

Markets Work

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.

Election 2012: A Dramatic Crossroad

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.

Lessons Not Learned – The March of Folly

“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

Climate Policy: It’s All A Matter of Priorities

For a number of years, environmental issues in general, and climate in particular, have not been at the top of the public’s list of concerns. That is why the issue has been largely absent in this year’s campaign. The public is focused on jobs, economic growth, deficit spending on steroids, and the national debt. If […]

Electric Cars: Flawed Business Model = Flawed Results

Washington seems incapable of learning that industrial policy doesn’t work, and the fate of the electric car is tied to the President and Congress attempting to mandate a technology that simply is nowhere near being commercially viable.

The Green Trifecta Give Away

With this week’s announcement that battery manufacturer A123 has filed for Chapter 11, we have another example of a failed government industrial policy boondoggle. First, Solyndra, then FiskerMotors, and now A123. Of course, other green companies who fed at the public trough have gone under as well but this 3 have received the most attention from the Obama Administration.

Punish Success, Reward Failure?

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.

Trade Disputes Stem from Our Own Policy

Our trade conflict with China over renewable energy issues is a conflict of our own making. China is simply responding to follies the US has made through large subsidies, production tax credits, and renewable performance standards and mandates. The worst thing that the government can do is to continue its industrial policy of propping up energy technologies that are not commercially viable. As former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers previously stated, the government is a poor venture capitalist.

“Rigidifying” Climate Policy

In her book, March of Folly, the late historian Barbara Tuchman coined the terms “mental standstill” and “rigidifying” to describe a state  “where principles … governing a problem are fixed and then made rigid when dissonances and failing begin to appear.  This is the period when … rethinking, and change of course are possible”.  Instead, […]

Protect Local, Not Special, Interests

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.

U.S. Has a Bad Case of Crony Capitalism

“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.

Tackling Energy’s Biggest Hurdles

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?

Seeking Energy Independence & Other illusions

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.

Let the Market Reduce Emissions

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.

Country Needs White House, Congress Focused On Energy

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.

Crony Capitalism in Biofuels Policy

The starting point for any consideration of a biofuels policy is an acknowledgement that the biofuels initiatives over the past two decades have been a government sanctioned scam that did nothing more than promote crony capitalism. They took money from taxpayers and enriched the few. These programs have not worked and more of the same will not work either. Proponents seek profit though laws and regulations because they can’t compete in the market place for fuels.

The Slowly Sinking Clean Energy Policy

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.

High Cost of Federal Energy Mandates

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.

Safe Doesn’t Mean Risk-Free

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.

Unjustified EPA Intrusion Into Fracking

Reactions to EPA’s newly released fracking rules from the environmental community—at least, by some—have been sullen but not mutinous. And industry generally seems satisfied with the time allotted for compliance but concerned with cost. Both of these responses suggest that, for once, EPA got it right. But that could be a rush to judgment. Here are some reasons why.

Congress, The President, and The Myth of Gas Price Control

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.

The Law of Unintended Consequences

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!

EPA’s Backdoor Approach to Cap-and-Trade

Last week, EPA announced its landmark plan to limit greenhouse emissions from newly constructed power plants. The proposed emission rules are the first move by the world’s largest economy to broadly regulate these emissions. It exemplifies Groucho Marx’s observation that “politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and […]

Gas Price History Lesson: Drop in U.S. Drilling & Rising Energy Costs

An AP “Fact Check” released earlier this month claimed that domestic drilling doesn’t drop gas prices, stating:

Lies, Damn Lies, and Obama’s Energy Statistics

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.”

What the Heartland Response Reveals About Climate Activists

A reporter for a national newspaper covering the reaction to the stolen Heartland Institute documents asked me: Why does the question of climate change science matter so much to conservatives? Why do they fight these battles with liberals and scientists so fiercely, when no one on the national level is suggesting nationwide limits on greenhouse […]

Wow, Even Tom Friedman Wants to Drill Baby Drill?

Can we talk about oil? Tom Friedman now evinces excitement about his discovery of the emergence of America as “a major oil and gas producer.” (See his Sunday New York Times column.) No kidding. He was, he says, tantalized by a tongue-in-cheek idea; the U.S. could join OPEC.

Government Plays Key, But Limited Role in Energy R&D

Government can play important roles in advancing the creation of knowledge. In fact, investing in basic research is a considerably underdeveloped area in this regard. Applied research is also appropriate if it is on generic technologies or where clear criteria are met for spending on specific technologies. However, that should not spill over into areas where the technology is close to commercialization and the private sector has the incentives to bring it to market.

GM Unplugs from Business Realities with Chevy Volt Re-Launch

General Motors just announced that it is going to relaunch its Chevrolet Volt. To paraphrase a down south saying, you can put a dress and lipstick on a dog, but it’s still a dog. The Volt, like the EV-1 before it, is a car that is not ready for prime time and is a monument to willing technology before its time.

Debate Over Need To Panic About Global Warming

Last month, the opinion pages of The Wall Street Journal feature a column signed by 16 scientists—a group of distinguished physicists and engineers—which challenged the conventional wisdom of an impending climate catastrophe. Its authors made the case that there are no compelling scientific arguments support the calls made by activists and politicians for drastic action […]

Obama Mimics Al Gore, Claims Credit for Others Work

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.

Keystone XL’s 1,222-Day ‘Rush’ Decision

The President’s decision to reject the Keystone XL project is an insult to the intelligence of anyone familiar with the issue. The justification that the Congressional deadline failed to provide enough time for him “to determine whether the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest” doesn’t withstand scrutiny. In the 3 years, 4 months, 5 days that have passed since TransCanada first filed the permit, the administration has reviewed over 10,000 pages of environmental studies, which showed the proposed pipeline posed no significant risk (a conclusion the State Department has reached twice).

ETHANOL: Another Monument to Government Arrogance

The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 contained a provision requiring that gasoline contain up to 10% oxygenate, which was a code word for ethanol. At the time, there was an abundance of technical data demonstrating that reduced tailpipe emissions could be met without the mandate. But, Congress wanted to enrich corn farmers so the mandate became law.

Industrial Policy Unplugged

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.

Zealotry Takes Over

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 […]

Ethical Questions Surround Climate Advocacy Group

Washington D.C. attracts a seemingly infinite number of special interests and advocacy groups lobbying for federal policies crafted to enrich them. Many of these groups have names that ring of high principle and social responsibility, regardless of the merit of their actual goals. And this month one more entered the scene: the National Climate Ethics […]

Immorality in UN Climate Talks

The meeting is Durban will likely follow the script of all past meetings. Self important government bureaucrats and special interest rent-seekers will spend the better part of rushing from meeting to meeting and wringing their hands over the lack of action and consensus. At the 12th hour of the last day, ministers and lead negotiators […]

The BEST Is Not Good Enough

Though Mark Twain originally provided Rudyard Kipling with the advice to “get your facts first, and then you can distort ‘em as much as you please,” it appears as if some modern day authors have adopted the mantra. And one need look no further than the coverage of the release of physics professor Richard Muller’s […]

Climate Change and National Security: Are They Linked?

Increasingly, it has become common to assert that environmental change brought on by rising temperatures caused by humanity’s industrial activities and lifestyle choices will negatively impact U.S. national security interests.  A new paper by Institute CEO William O’Keefe examines the basis for these claims. In Climate Change and National Security: Are They Linked?, O’Keefe examines the […]

Oxford Climate Book Contradicts IPCC Findings

Though Mark Twain originally provided Rudyard Kipling with the advice to “get your facts first, and then you can distort ‘em as much as you please,” it appears as if some modern day writers have adopted the mantra. In a chapter of the newly released book entitled “The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society,” […]

Obama’s Tax Hike Trojan Horse

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.

Climate Science Money Trail Calls into Question Motive of Editor’s Resignation

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 […]

Ozone Exemplifies Diminishing Returns

The fact that President Obama had to direct his Environmental Protection Agency to delay its proposed ozone NAAQS illustrates just how ideological and myopic the agency has become. Regulators lacked compelling reason or legal requirement to issue a new rule before 2013, when the ozone standard will come up for its 5-year review required by […]

O’Keefe Discusses the Ineffectiveness of Technology Mandates

William O’Keefe, CEO of the George C. Marshall Institute, discusses the CAFE standard and the role of government in mandating technical progress.

O’Keefe Discusses the Impact of CAFE on Automobiles

William O’Keefe, CEO of the Marshall Institute, discusses the CAFE standard and its effect on automobiles.  

O’Keefe on How Automakers Deal with CAFE Standards

Institute CEO Bill O’Keefe discusses how automakers respond to U.S. fuel efficiency standards.

Hurricane Irene and Natural Disaster Fanaticism in the Climate Debate

Presidential politics have given media a new reason to cover climate change. By focusing on perceived differences on the issue among Republican candidates (ie Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, etc.), the most recent surge in news coverage misses a very important distinction. The question at hand is not what role human activity plays in […]

Perry, Romney, and Climate Change Consensus in the Presidential Race

It’s the nature of media (and, perhaps, society in general) that it often works to build controversy where none exists. Few places is that more evident than political races. When Texas Governor Rick Perry official entered the presidential race last week, he made comments about climate change and the adequacy of the science. Candidate Mitt […]

Gov. “Green” Push Puts U.S. in the Red

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 […]

Gov. “Green” Push Puts U.S. in the Red

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.

Federal Analysts Finger Government For Gas Price Volatility

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.

Climate Science Money Trail Calls into Question Motive of Editor’s Resignation

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 […]

Standards Detached From Reality

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 […]

Standards Detached From Reality

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.

What Obama Needs to Do to Save the Economy

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.”

Green Group Lawsuits Fuel Increase In Federal Regulation

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 […]

Despite EPA Rules, Coal Keeps Dominance

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 […]

Federal Bulb Ban Brings to Light “Fatal Conceit” of White House

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.”

Bad Precedent, Bad Politics

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.

Lawmakers Settle for Semantics Over Substance in Energy Subsidies Debate

Congress appears to have gotten religion when it comes to spending.

Ethanol Subsidies: Misguided Policy

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.

Senate Vote Against Niche Ethanol Subsidies Gives Perspective to Debate Over Broader Tax Cuts

Ethanol is no longer politically sacrosanct. The U.S. Senate sent that message last week when it voted 73 – 27 to eliminate the 45 cent per gallon tax credit for ethanol refiners.

Frivolous Partisan Politicking Costs U.S. 2 Million Barrels of Domestic Production Oil Daily

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.

U.S. Unemployment Rises; Government Pushes Billions to Clean Energy Special Interests

Earlier this week, Steven Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute published an interesting note on “clean energy” investments. First, he pointed out that the definition of clean energy is not precise but generally is thought to mean solar, wind, and hydropower (although environmentalists oppose hydropower where ever it is used.)

Market Forces Drive Fuel Efficiency

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.

Alternatives Are Bigger Ecological Risks

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.

3 Myths About Breaking U.S. Oil Habit

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.

CAFE Standards Fail to Alter Consumption

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.

Congressional Researchers Warn Senate Oil Tax Bill Would Raise Gas Prices

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).

Apply Political Pressure to Oil Prices

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.

Attack on Oil Subsidies a ‘Ruse’

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.

The misuse of tax dollars to promote non-economic energy

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.

Obama’s Speech Misleads on Energy

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.

China Ups Ante On Rare-Earth Metals

High-stake issues such as defense problems regarding China’s relationship with North Korea and trade concerns over the yuan’s contested value dominated media commentary during Chinese President Hu Jintao’s U.S. this week.

Oil Spill Commission Report a Case Study in Self-Delusion

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 […]

O'Keefe - Electric Cars - Not Ready for Prime Time

Electric Cars: Not Ready for Prime Time

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 […]

Obamaism: The Even Distribution of Misery

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 […]

Is Obama Doomed to Repeat Past Economic Blunders?

Although George Santayana’s observation that those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it is generally viewed as wise counsel, political leaders often think themselves immune. The late Barbara Tuchman validated this phenomenon in “The March of Folly,” which chronicles examples of leaders who acted against their own self-interest by ignoring information […]

A Wellspring of Politics, Not Science

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 […]

A Novel Approach to Climate Change Policy: A Tax Shift

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 […]

EPA Limits On Greenhouse Gases Will Shift U.S. Production Overseas

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 […]

The Battle Between Image and Reality

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.

DC Winter Storm Underscores Climate Policy Snow Job

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 […]

Snowstorm and Climate Change

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 […]

Message Obama Needs for State of the Union has Mass. Roots

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 […]

Put ‘Hot Oil’ Lessons to Use in Climate Policy Debate

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.

Cap-and-Trade Would Make the American Dream a Nightmare

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. […]

A Bad Bill For Cap-And-Trade

The bottom line is that Waxman-Markey will leave our economy weaker and our families poorer; only traders and the politically favored will be better off. That’s a deal that we can do without.

Next Bernie Madoff? Emissions Cap-and-Trade Aids the Corrupt, Hurts the Little Guy

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 […]

Kueter - The Myth of Vanishing CO2 Emissions

The Myth of Vanishing CO2 Emissions

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.

Where Will the Bali Roadmap Lead?

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.

O'Keefe and Kueter - Caps, Taxes and Technology - How Do We Respond to Climate Change

Caps, Taxes and Technology – How Do We Respond to Climate Change

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 […]

Major Economies Can Set the Course for Post-Kyoto Policy

Major Economies Can Set the Course for Post-Kyoto Policy

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 […]

O'Keefe - Assessing the Supreme Court's CO2 Ruling

Assessing the Supreme Court’s CO2 Ruling

No government can effectively and efficiently control a dynamic economy. Attempts to do so cause serious economic harm and loss of personal freedoms.

O'Keefe and Kueter - Statement on the IPCC Fourth Assessment Summary for Policy Makers

Statement on the IPCC Fourth Assessment Summary for Policy Makers (SPM)

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 Illusion of U.S. Energy Independence: An Assessment of the Current State of Energy Use

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.

Clean Air Theater

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 […]

O'Keefe - Open Letter to Matthew Quayle, Executive Producer of Squawk Box on CNBC Presentation Fire and Ice

Open Letter to Matthew Quayle, Executive Producer of Squawk Box on CNBC Presentation “Fire and Ice”

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…

Kueter and O'Keefe - Response to the Royal Society's Letter

Response to the Royal Society’s Letter

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.

Group Think Masquerading as Consensus

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 […]

Climate Zealotry Produces Bad Policy: Observations on Al Gore’s New York University Speech

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.

Vanity Fair – Wrong on the Science, Disgraceful in Supporting Personal Attacks

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 […]

Senate Climate Conference Offers One-Sided View

WASHINGTON – The Domenici-Bingaman White Paper and scheduled “conference” appears to raise a number of important questions to stimulate discussion leading to the development of legislation, but it is clear that the objective is not a search for the right path; it is a justification for a regulatory program based on a mandatory “cap and […]

‘Self-sufficiency’ vs. economic reality

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.

William O’Keefe responds to U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) support of a mandatory program

“Senator Bingaman is wrong on the science, wrong on the economics and wrong on the politics. There is virtually no support from his Senate colleagues to implement a mandatory program in an effort to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. If there was, Bingaman would have already introduced it as a bill or at the very least […]

Evaluating the Bush Environmental Record

Good public policy also needs strong and sustainable public support which can come from reporting that is fact based, and objectively informs.

Climate Policy: A Reality Check

Healthy skepticism makes good journalism and is recognized as a virtue. In the climate debate, unfortunately, it has been treated as a vice. It should not be.

Washington Post: G-8 Urges Action on Global Warming, With General Goals

[A] drastically slimmed-down version of earlier G-8 drafts, states that although some uncertainties about climate change remain, “we know enough to act now and to put ourselves on a path to slow, and, as science justifies, stop and then reverse the growth of greenhouse gases.”

Technology & LCDs are Proper Focus for G-8 Summit

When leaders of the G-8 nations meet this week their discussions of climate change policy should focus on ways to accelerate the transition of technologies presently used in their own countries to the developing world, with particular emphasis on China and India. The international dimensions of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are frequently overlooked in discussions […]

General Rent Seeker

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 […]

Climate Change and National Security

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.

O'Keefe - The True Costs of the Climate Stewardship Act

The True Costs of the Climate Stewardship Act

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” […]

O'Keefe and Kueter - Climate Sensitivity - Still a SWAG

Climate Sensitivity – Still a SWAG

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 […]

Science or Censorship?

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 […]

O'Keefe -The Challenge of Making Climate Science Policy Relevant

The Challenge of Making Climate Science Relevant

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 […]

O'Keefe and Kueter - Climate Models - A Primer

Climate Models: A Primer

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.

O'Keefe and Kueter - Politics and Science - Is Science Politicized

Politics and Science: Is Science Politicized?

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 . . . […]

Climate debate isn’t about action, it’s about knowledge

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.

Global Warming Debate Heats Up Capitol Hill

Canadian businessman Stephen McIntyre and economist Ross McKitrick of Canada’s University of Guelph charge that the Nature report contains numerous errors regarding temperatures from the past six centuries.

Climate Change Skepticism: A Virtue or Vice?

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.

Politicizing Science: The Alchemy of Policymaking

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 […]

Climate Policy and Energy Use and Objective Realities

The only way to achieve a big absolute reduction in emissions is through a substantial reduction in economic activity. That simply is not politically realistic nor desirable for growing populations seeking to increase their standards of living.

Cap and Trade: The Moral Equivalent of Bamboozle

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 […]

Automobile Fuel Cells – Potential and Challenges

For at least one hundred years, there has been steady progress in increasing energy efficiency. The amount of energy needed to produce a unit of economic output has been declining and that has produced what is known as the “decarbonization” trend that characterizes the U. S. economy as well as the economies of other developed nations.

Remarks Before the Final Plenary Session of the U.S. Climate Change Program’s Planning Workshop for Scientists and Stakeholders

Science advances through debate, controversy, skepticism and the competition of ideas. In the climate arena, skepticism has been made a vice, not a virtue.

A Global Climate and Energy Project – Big Ambitions at Stanford

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 […]

Putting Climate Science and Kyoto in Perspective

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 […]

Does Energy Policy Matter?

A Washington Roundtable on Science and Public Policy

Candor about Kyoto

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 […]

What Middle East’s Civil Revolts Mean For U.S. Energy Policy

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.

Climate Change: A Political Assessment

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.

Partner & Fellow Blogs