Fifty years ago, in the wake of the Yom Kippur War, the Arab members of OPEC initiated an oil embargo against the United States. The boycott was retribution for America’s support of Israel during its brief war against Egypt and Syria.
What was true in 1973 remains true in the wake of Hamas’s brutal terror attack on Israel on October 7: America’s national strength depends on the availability of cheap, abundant, reliable energy.
Our national security, and that of our allies, depends on energy security. Energy is the economy. We forget these realities at our extreme peril.
Fortunately, some things that were true a half-century ago are no longer so. Over the past decade or so, the geopolitics of energy have shifted dramatically in favor of the U.S., due mainly to the shale revolution. Instead of relying on oil imports, the U.S. has become a huge exporter of both oil and natural gas. We are now exporting about four million barrels of crude oil per day and record amounts of natural gas (about 20 billion cubic feet per day).
Even more remarkably, the U.S. is leading the world in energy efficiency and CO2 reductions. According to the latest Statistical Review of World Energy, per-capita energy consumption in the U.S. fell by about 20 percent between 1973 and 2022. In addition, U.S. CO2 emissions have dropped by about 915 million tons since 2000, the biggest reduction of any country on the planet.
But this progress is being threatened by climate-focused NGOs who are relentlessly promoting “net-zero” schemes that will bankrupt our economy and spell disaster for low- and middle-income Americans, as author Ruy Texeira explains in a trenchant essay, “The working class Isn’t Down with the Green Transition.” Indeed, the grassroots opposition of farmers, factory workers, truck drivers, and construction workers in North America, Europe, and Oceania is already leading to a reassessment of alt-energy policies, most notably in the United Kingdom and Germany.
The Middle East crisis suggests that the net-zero energy scheme is becoming a national security risk. In the seventies, domestic oil production was faltering, and the U.S. was becoming more reliant on oil from the Middle East. Today, a major threat to America’s energy security is the $4.5 billion-per-year NGO-corporate-industrial-climate complex, an interconnected group of activists who are raking in hundreds of millions of dollars from some of America’s richest people, including Michael Bloomberg, Laurene Powell Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and John Doerr.
The all-renewable agenda pushed by NGOs and the Biden Administration’s EPA threatens the reliability and resilience of our electric grid. Regulators and policymakers have repeatedly warned about the looming crisis. For instance, in May, members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission delivered stark warnings to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The agency’s acting chairman, Willie Phillips, told the senators, “We face unprecedented challenges to the reliability of our nation’s electric system.” FERC Commissioner Mark Christie echoed Phillips’ warning, saying the U.S. electric grid is “heading for a very catastrophic situation in terms of reliability.” Commissioner James Danly warned of a “looming reliability crisis in our electricity markets.” Danly continued, saying that policies and subsidies “designed to promote the deployment of non-dispatchable wind and solar assets” are causing reliability concerns because the subsidies are helping “drive fossil-fuel generators out of business.”
Given the uncertainties roiling global energy markets, what should the U.S. do now to ensure its energy security? First and foremost, the U.S. should embrace increased domestic energy production. The administration and Congress should immediately begin encouraging domestic mining and enrichment of uranium as well as domestic mining and refining of critical metals and minerals, including copper, graphite, rare earth elements, and high-strength magnets. They should also immediately begin refilling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Finally, they must recognize that the energy provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act make us, and our allies, more vulnerable to the impacts of the war in Gaza, which has already changed energy geopolitics.
Read the rest of this piece at American Mind.
Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director for Urban Reform Institute. Learn more at joelkotkin.com and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.
Robert Bryce is a Texas-based author, journalist, film producer, and podcaster. His articles have appeared in a myriad of publications including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Time, Austin Chronicle, and Sydney Morning Herald.