You would think that the prospect of affordable, abundant energy would be welcomed by everyone. After all, the poor spend a disproportionate percentage of their income on home heating and transportation, and lowering energy costs would lower the prices of food and other essentials. New, clean energy sources would vastly improve the quality of life for the poor in America, not to mention the parts of the world which remain subject to the extremes of heat and cold and the problem of rotting food.
But while the overwhelming majority of humanity will benefit immensely from affordable, abundant energy, a few special interest groups are determined to make trouble. They stand to lose trillions of dollars to these new advancements, and they will do anything to hinder their progress.
Climate alarmists and radical environmentalists are already up in arms about both fracking and methane hydrate. They have slandered the practice of fracking, erroneously claiming that it pollutes groundwater. This myth persists, despite an admission from Environmental Protection Agency spokesperson Lisa Jackson that, “In no case have we made a definitive determination that the fracking process has caused chemicals to enter groundwater.” The EPA actually tested water in North Dakota supposedly contaminated by fracking, and found it to be perfectly safe.
Climate alarmists are deeply worried about the potential of methane hydrate as well. Natural gas does release some carbon dioxide when burned, although far less than oil or coal. But environmental extremists are being forced to explain the now widely accepted data that demonstrates that global warming has mysteriously stopped. Even the New York Times admitted recently, “The rise in the surface temperature of earth has been markedly slower over the last 15 years than in the 20 years before that. And that lull in warming has occurred even as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere at a record pace.”
The second set of losers in the new energy game would be countries whose economies are largely based on petroleum exports: Russia, Venezuela and much of the Middle East. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the anti-fracking propaganda movie Promised Land (starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski) was funded by the United Arab Emirates. No one should speak lightly of the collapse of national economies and the political turmoil that would likely follow. However, American energy independence would still be an undoubtedly positive development. And perhaps the millions who yearn to be free will find hope if their dictators are no longer propped up with oil wealth.
So in the midst of a struggling economy and an uncertain geopolitical landscape, there is much cause for hope. Let us pray our leaders do the right thing by allowing these advances in energy to bring relief and prosperity to billions.
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.