THE ENERGY DEBATE: A LOT OF HOT AIR - Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again Hardcover Donald Trump (2016)

Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again Hardcover Donald Trump (2016)




AS OFTEN ATTRIBUTED TO Mark Twain, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Apparently we’re trying to prove him wrong.

We are actually blaming weather patterns on man-made causes. First, the so-called “experts” told us we were responsible for global warming, but then, when temperatures started dropping, scientists began referring to these variations as “climate change.”

Now these “experts” can’t figure out whether it’s getting too hot or too cold, so the new term is “extreme weather conditions.” That covers everything from boiling heat to frigid ice. However, the point is the same: By sending the by-products of burning fossil fuels into the atmosphere, we have supposedly changed the natural weather patterns.

In his 2015 State of the Union speech, President Obama declared the biggest threat on the planet today is climate change. The biggest threat?! We have ISIS troops chopping off the heads of innocent Christian missionaries. We have a coalition of adversaries in Syria supporting a dictator who uses chemical weapons on his own people. We have millions of Americans who have mortgages greater than the value of their property, while middle-class incomes are stagnant and more than 40 million citizens are living at poverty levels.

And our president is most concerned about climate change?

If you go back in history, you’ll find that the biggest tornadoes we’ve had in this country took place in the 1890s, and the most hurricanes occurred in the 1860s and ’70s. Violent climate “changes” are nothing new.

We have even had ice ages.

I just don’t happen to believe they are man-made.

I do agree that so-called global climate change is causing us some problems: It’s causing us to waste billions of dollars to develop technologies we don’t need to fulfill our energy needs.

President Obama introduced a program known as “cap and trade,” which sets a ceiling, or cap, on annual carbon dioxide emissions for companies. This would have forced them to reduce those emissions or pay a tax for the excess released above their cap. Because he could not get this legislation through the Congress, he has had his minions at the Environmental Protection Agency try to impose this plan through rule-making.

This plan has succeeded mostly in doing one thing—keeping oil at an inflated price. Even after oil has dropped to $50 a barrel, we still live with prices at the pump that are too high.

The truth is, we have sufficient energy supplies in this country to power us into the next century—all we have to do is develop them. Among all the gifts that God gave to America was an abundant supply of natural energy. According to the Department of Energy, the natural gas reserves we have in the ground could supply our energy needs for centuries.

For example, the Marcellus Shale Fields lying under New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia could produce the equivalent of tens of billions of barrels of oil, giving us plenty of time to develop sensible and cheaper alternative forms of energy.

Right now, we are greatly dependent on oil. The cost of energy is one of the driving forces of our economy. Job creation is tied directly to the cost of oil. The more it costs to get it out of the ground and to the consumer, the fewer jobs that are created in all the industries that run on oil. We don’t even know how much oil is sitting buried under your feet as you read this book right now.

Researchers at Rice University in Houston, Texas, have estimated we might have two trillion barrels of recoverable oil, enough to last the next 285 years. Technology has changed so much in the last few years that a Goldman Sachs study has estimated that by 2017 or 2018, we could overtake both Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s largest oil producer.

The oil is there for the taking; we just have to take it.

I’ve never understood why, with all of our own reserves, we’ve allowed this country to be held hostage by OPEC, the cartel of oil-producing countries, some of which are hostile to America. For the last few decades, the leaders of OPEC have been sitting around their conference table, setting the price of oil and laughing at us.

They know we have no leadership and we’ll pay whatever price they conspire to create. For years I’ve been urging our politicians to have the guts to bust the OPEC cartel, but then I remember something else Twain said: “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

We can’t be fooled or lulled into a sense of security by the current drop in oil prices, which is unpredictable and still insufficient, given the amount of oil out there. Those oil prices are like the weather: guaranteed to change. We need to be prepared to drill our own oil. And we need to take advantage of every opportunity, including approving the Keystone XL Pipeline.

It’s an outrage that Obama has delayed and probably even killed the 1,179-mile-long pipeline that would carry oil from Canada’s tar sands to Nebraska, where it would connect to existing pipelines that would take it all the way to Texas, and at the same time create thousands of construction jobs. The excess of oil on the market, which has caused a great drop in prices, has made it seem less vital today, but eventually the world will need that oil, and we will need the good jobs that it will create.

One of the main criticisms of the pipeline has been the possibility of oil spills. Even the State Department has said the pipeline will be safe, and far better and safer than the existing system of transport. But mere possibilities shouldn’t prevent progress. You prepare for these situations, taking as many precautions as possible, and when they occur, you clean them up.

We need to expand our own sources of oil, because the Middle East, our largest external source, is becoming more and more unstable. We still need Saudi Arabian oil, although we’re less dependent on their product than we were only a few years ago.

But Saudi Arabia is a main target of or in some cases the home of terrorists. Given the Saudi overreliance on oil exports and their lack of a sustainable economy outside of oil, they are probably going to need our help at some point to stay in business. That’s a real threat, which is why we need to reduce our foreign oil dependence considerably.

Our first priorities need to be approving the Keystone XL Pipeline and starting to drill everywhere oil is accessible.

There has been a big push to develop alternative forms of energy—so-called green energy—from renewable sources. That’s another big mistake. To begin with, the whole push for renewable energy is being driven by the wrong motivation, the mistaken belief that global climate change is being caused by carbon emissions. If you don’t buy that—and I don’t—then what we have is really just an expensive way of making the tree-huggers feel good about themselves.

The most popular source of green energy is solar panels. They work, but they don’t make economic sense. They don’t provide enough energy savings to cover the cost of installing and using them. They are the most highly subsidized form of green energy in America.

Some estimates claim it takes as long as several decades after installing solar panels to get your money back. That’s not exactly what I would call a sound investment.

Even if that number is only half right, what kind of investment do you make that takes 20 years before you break even? I understand solar energy is eventually going to become more efficient and maybe even cost-effective. Maybe. When it proves to be affordable and reliable in providing a substantial percent of our energy needs, then maybe it’ll be worth discussing. Meanwhile, we have to keep our cars and trucks running and our homes and buildings heated. There are much more efficient, cost-effective, and reliable ways of doing that.

It’s no secret that I’ve had serious personal issues with the supporters of wind turbines. For several years I battled the Scottish government over its plan to construct a really ugly wind farm consisting of eleven giant turbines right offshore of one of the most beautiful golf resorts in the world in Aberdeen.

The Trump International Golf Links Scotland resort in Aberdeen is a great tourist attraction that will benefit the Scottish economy and create jobs, while these turbines destroy some of the great beauty of the world.

There isn’t sufficient wind power anyplace else?

To me, this policy never made sense. Even at its peak output the Scottish government was going to have to spend millions of pounds a year subsidizing this wind farm. We held up the project in court for almost five years and during that time the price of oil fell so drastically that this project no longer makes economic sense. So it is never going to be built. I did Scotland a big favor.

Like other countries, Scotland is trying to completely fulfill its energy needs from renewable sources within the next decade, but there is considerable skepticism about that plan. Bill Gates said flatly in 2015, “Renewable energy can’t do the job. Governments should switch green subsidies into R&D.” The cost to generate that much power from solar and wind energy would be, he said, “beyond astronomical.” He told the Financial Times that the answer to supplying our future energy needs is going to come from technological breakthroughs yet to be achieved. Gates said he intended to invest as much as $2 billion in renewable energy research—but not in the development of wind and solar energy.

There are also a lot of questions about the damage that solar and wind power do to the environment. A recent study reported by a British think tank concluded that wind energy is “inordinately expensive and ineffective at cutting CO2 emissions.” Not only that, it added, “wind power, backed by conventional gas-fired generation, can emit more CO2 than the most efficient gas turbines running alone”—and building these steel monsters, mostly in China, causes many pollutents.

Ironically, at the same time the wind farm in Scotland was going ahead, a similar project was denied approval in Doonbeg, Ireland, where I am building another beautiful resort. The plan there was to spoil the lavish views with nine 413-foot turbines—that’s like lining up nine vertical football fields, including both end zones.

Fortunately, this plan was denied because the turbines might harm the estimated 7,000 freshwater pearl mussels, an endangered species on the European Union list, that were living in the Doonbeg River, and also be bad for tourism.

This magnificent golf course resort, absolutely one of the best in the world, was offering huge benefits to the local economy.

We were saved by mussels.

The bottom line is that we are going to remain dependent on oil and natural gas to fill our energy needs for a long time into the future. So if we are going to become energy independent, we need to keep drilling. The good news is that we have tremendous supplies of fossil fuels. We just need to decide to go after it.

We need to use every cost-effective method we have available to retrieve these resources. That includes fracking. For those who don’t know, fracking is a technology that involves injecting fluids into shale beds at a very high pressure to free locked-in resources. It makes it possible to recover vast amounts of oil and gas that otherwise can’t be reached through traditional methods.

While New York governor Andrew Cuomo has banned fracking, this technology has created an economic boom in North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. There were more jobs created and less unemployment in those areas than practically anywhere else in the country. Upstate New Yorkers would like to replicate that boom in their region, lower taxes, and pay off massive New York State debt.

The bottom line on energy is that until there is a better “alternate” or “green” way of supplying our energy needs, we must put our resources to work for us, and now.