In Bonn, Trump’s Answer to Global Warming? Drill, Baby, Drill!
By Elizabeth Kolbert
November 15, 2017
Every year around this time, negotiators from across the globe meet in one city or another—Montreal, Marrakech, Copenhagen, Paris—to resolve that the world really ought come up with a plan to do something about climate change. This year’s Conference of the Parties, the twenty-third such gathering, is taking place in Bonn, and in addition to the usual impediments to progress—mistrust, inequality, bad faith—there’s now the Trump Administration to contend with. On Monday, the U.S. delegation used its sole official appearance at COP23 to tout fossil fuels.
Then, on Tuesday, the International Energy Agency, which is based in Paris, released its annual “World Energy Outlook.” One of the agency’s key findings is that global energy demand will continue to rise through 2040. Another is that, owing to technological advances like fracking, the United States is poised to become a major exporter of fossil fuels. “By the mid-2020s, the United States [will] become the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter and a few years later a net exporter of oil,” the agency predicts. It’s hard to say which of these announcements was the most depressing, but, on some level, it doesn’t really matter, since they’re all connected.
However incompetent the Administration may be in other realms, it has proven itself remarkably adept in this one.
Here at home, the Administration has promoted fossil fuels so aggressively that, at times, its efforts have bordered on self-parody. A comprehensive list of its fossil-fuel-boosting activities would fill several Web posts…
What’s key about all these moves is that they will lead to more investment in fossil-fuel infrastructure. Once a new offshore oil platform or natural-gas well is completed, it’s likely to live out its useful life. (Call it establishing facts in the ground.) At events like COP23, this is known as “lock in”; the more fossil-fuel infrastructure that gets built, the more carbon emissions get “locked in.” Whatever happens (or doesn’t) this week in Bonn, the Trump Administration and its cronies in the fossil-fuel industry—the two groups are, admittedly, often interchangeable—are making it that much harder to curtail emissions. The future that’s being “locked in” looks increasingly grim.
Elizabeth Kolbert has been a staff writer at The New Yorkersince 1999. She won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction for “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.”
Where to start? In two previous posts, I addressed the idiocy of not realizing that coal will remain one of the top three energy sources well-into the mid-21st century and that natural gas to nuclear is the only pathway to low-carbon energy (if such a pathway was necessary). So, I won’t dwell on that here.
So… It is ironic that the media and green mafia are bashing President Trump for his promotion of fossil fuels, carbon sequestration and nuclear power, when they should know that this is the only rational approach to AGW… if there actually was a need to have a rational approach to AGW.
Left-wing pseudo-intellectuals are a never-ending source of entertainment. The New Yorker literally brags about Ms. Kolbert’s scientific illiteracy by citing her “2015 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction for The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History”… not to mention the scientific illiteracy of those who awarded her a Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction for a work of enviro-fantasy… Anyone who describes the current extinction rate as a “sixth” mass extinction is mind bogglingly ignorant of basic science. And then, Ms. Kolbert outdoes herself here…
No, Ms. Kolbert, offshore oil platforms and other oil & gas infrastructure do not “live out” their useful lives. Nor do they even *out live* their useful lives. We are often forced to remove offshore oil platforms and other infrastructure long before they have out lived their *useful* lives.
In 2010, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE, pronounced “Bessie”) issued NTL 10-5, ostensibly to require the swift removal of oil & gas infrastructure no longer needed for oil & gas exploration in Federal waters. However, the letter of the regulation says:
Capable of production in paying quantities for a well means it can produce enough oil, gas, or sulphur to yield a positive stream of income after subtracting normal expenses. These expenses include actual royalty payments based on the well’s production and the direct lease operating costs allocated to the well.
Basically, BSEE can force an operator to plug and abandon a well, dismantle and remove a platform, pipeline or other infrastructure, if they determine that it is not economic for the oil company to continue operating such infrastructure. BSEE does not take the cost of abandonment under consideration – A platform can operate for years with a negative income stream and still have a greater net present value than the cost of abandonment. Nor does BSEE take the potential future value of the infrastructure for offsetting exploration and production under consideration, often critical for deepwater projects.
If anything, offshore platforms and other oil & gas infrastructure under live their useful their useful lifetimes.
The irony of a left-wing pseudo-intellectual ignorantly whining about President Trump’s “drill baby, drill” approach, while demonstrating total ignorance of oil & gas infrastructure and the English language is so… ironic.
Featured image from CNN.