The boom is not limited to North Dakota. At least 16 other states have more than 150,000 workers associated with the energy industry. In the states most associated with the fracking revolution -- Pennsylvania, Colorado, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Wyoming -- statewide employment growth has beaten the national average.
Is the domestic energy expansion bad for the environment? Certainly not when natural gas replaces coal. Besides, the world has not yet figured out how to power itself with other energy sources. Ethanol, which consumes 40 percent of all corn grown in the U.S., provides only 5 percent of transportation energy. Renewables, including hydropower, biomass wood, wind, solar and geothermal, accounted for just 9.3 percent of U.S. energy use in 2012, despite government subsidies. The developing world, including China, India and Brazil, are unwilling to sacrifice economic growth on the altar of climate change. Germany, which made a hasty and emotional switch away from nuclear power after Fukushima and made a heavy investment in wind power, is now building dirty coal generation plants to cope with rising prices.
Democrats can sneer at so-called deniers all they like, but they themselves are denying a hard reality: Hydrocarbons will continue to power the world for the foreseeable future. There is no other fuel that can put planes in the air, for example. If carbon dioxide is causing the planet to warm (and the models significantly overpredicted the amount of warming so far), mankind will have to find ways to cope with the problem other than massive taxes to discourage CO2 use. Maximizing natural gas usage is one such step. Basic R and D on improving batteries, solar cells and other technologies is another. Seawalls, dikes and other ameliorating efforts are a third.
In the interim, the energy boom in the U.S. is a job creator, a boon to our friends (like Canada, Britain and Israel -- also poised to exploit the new technologies) and a setback for our adversaries.