Petrogram - Fall 2011 - (Page 25)
What Exactly Is the World Willing to Do About CO2?
Dan Gilligan, President, Petroleum Marketers Association of America
ver 30 years ago, a Newsweek magazine cover page focused on new science projecting the next “Ice Age” for planet earth. Scientists were concerned that climate patterns were trending towards global cooling and the ramifications could be catastrophic. In the 1980s, the concern reversed and the focus turned to global warming. Now, in the 21st century, the concern is both about global cooling, global warming and climate change in general. The most recent science now shows that the earth has cooled some in the past 10 years. No wonder the nonscientists are starting to ask questions. While the earth has cooled over the past 10 years the rhetoric has really heated up and, today, any person that questions climate science is called a “denier.” Using the term “denier” frames the debate in a context similar to the fight over evolution, where Clarence Darrow squared off against William Jennings Bryan in a Tennessee court room. Actually, it’s a little ironic because the people who fully embrace climate science are more “religious” and unwavering in their view than those who have questions. I, for one, am not a denier but, because I’m not a scientist, I doubt if my opinion matters. It seems logical to me that
excessive amounts of CO² in the earth’s atmosphere could affect the earth’s climate. What appears to get fuzzy is the science calculating just how much CO² and fossil fuels affects global climate change. Recently, the EPA projected that its new GHG Tailpipe regulations would reduce the earth’s temperature somewhere between .006°C and .014°C by 2100. Now stop and think about this for a minute. Can scientists really predict the temperature of the earth to a one hundredth of a degree 89 years from now? I guess they can; and who am I to question scientists? Putting aside the science, to me the bigger question is: “What exactly is the world willing to do about CO²?” The United States currently relies on fossil fuels for 80 percent of its energy needs. While we can reduce our fossil fuel consumption, is it realistic to think we can reduce enough to significantly change earth’s climate without costing U.S. jobs? If the U.S. Treasury was flush with cash, I suppose lawmakers could dramatically subsidize alternative energy sources but we all know Uncle Sam’s cupboard is now bare. It’s starting to look to me like lawmakers are going to crimp fossil fuel use, but really not enough to make any real difference in global climate projections. It’s akin to a weight-conscious person ordering the half-pound cheeseburger, with large fries and a diet soft drink. Just exactly who is the real denier? Recently, I was watching a spokesman for an environmental group doing a TV interview. To paraphrase his comments,
he said that the U.S. has amassed its great wealth by polluting the planet with CO² and that the U.S. needs to now pay reparations and voluntarily give up some of its wealth by reducing fossil fuel consumption. Huh? I had to check and make sure I was not watching the comedy channel. These kinds of anti-American sentiments, as they relate to energy, are rarely heard or understood by Americans. I can assure you that there are members of Congress who agree with the sentiment but package it differently. The public discussion is never about U.S. austerity, but about clean energy and going green. Americans love clean energy and going green until they see the price tag. The cap and trade bill that passed the House of Representatives in 2007 was specifically designed to increase the cost of gasoline, diesel and heating oil by $300 billion over 10 years. We were going to voluntarily raise the price of gasoline to combat global cooling/warming. Thankfully, that measure died in the Senate. The true beneficiaries of that law would have been countries in Asia and Africa who have no plans to reduce CO² and would gladly consume the oil while the U.S. diets. PMAA believes energy conservation is a very good thing and should be pursued aggressively within the context of a comprehensive national energy policy. When the alleged deniers and the actual deniers put down their swords, significant energy conservation measures will be adopted as part of a realistic national energy policy. ❍
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Petrogram - Fall 2011
Welcome, New Board Members
FPMA 2011 Convention and Sunshine Food & Fuel Expo!
FPMA Featured Advertiser Marketplace
Lien On Who?!
Out and About the Industry
Conference of Committees
Index of Advertisers/Advertiser.com
Petrogram - Fall 2011
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