Focus; The Bush Energy Plan
Good morning and welcome to focus 580 This is our telephone talk program. My name's David Inge. Glad to have you listening this morning. This morning we'll have another conversation about energy policy in the United States and talk about some of the recommendations that the Bush administration has made. We've done a couple of shows on this topic this week and it was very clear that the guests that we had were critical of the president's approach.
In the interest of providing some balance in a range of opinions on the issues. This morning we'll be talking with Myron Ebell from the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington D.C. and the institute has been quite supportive of the president and his approach. Myron Ebell oversees all global warming and international environmental work at the Competitive Enterprise Institute that he's director of global warming and. Environmental policy certainly sure have some things to say about that. And sure would he would respond to whatever questions comments people have. As we talk here over the next hour or so the telephone number here in Champaign-Urbana is 3 3 3 9 4 5 5. Also we have a toll free line that means it would be a long distance call for you. You may use that number and we will pay for the call that's 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5 3 3 3 wy L.L. and toll free 800 1:58 wy low point here.
People who are listening are certainly welcome to call the only thing we ask of callers is that you try to be brief in your comments so that we can keep things moving along and accommodate as many different people as possible but of course anybody is welcome to call again. Three three three and have toll free 800 1:58 WLM.
Mr. Abel Hello. Good morning thanks very much for talking with us today. We appreciate you for having me. The at the time that the president started talking about his energy plan and your Institute put out press release and one of the quotes here comes from you and you said that the energy plan released today meaning. On the 17th of May represents an important move away from the disastrous anti energy policies of the last decade and I'd like to start by asking you if you could talk a little bit about in in what ways you think indeed the policies of the previous administration were anti energy.
Yes I think that's absolutely the right place to start because we have gotten into the energy problems that we now have because of very consistently pursued policies by the Clinton-Gore administration to lower energy production constrict energy supplies and raise energy prices. Now they never articulated these aims because of course most people would be opposed to raising energy prices and having having a scarce energy. But. This agenda fit in very well with the environmental agenda of the current Gore administration which is that in the first place alternative energy sources such as windmills and other renewable technologies can't become competitive price wise until conventional energy gets more expensive. So we have to raise the price of energy. Secondly of course is the issue of global warming. And as you know Vice President Gore was I mean he may not have invented the Internet but he did pretty much invent global warming. And he really truly believes that people have to use a lot less energy particularly fossil fuel energy and raising prices is clearly that the. The way to do that so the previous administration spent a lot of time throwing up supply bottlenecks in particular on the supply of energy production they you know. Roped off millions and millions of acres of federal land from oil and gas exploration. They closed down the largest deposit of Queen coal in the United States in the second largest in the world. But really what they focused on were the supply system. The permitting process for building natural gas pipelines was tightened up for example. No new oil refineries have been built in this country for a long time but the oil refiners have gotten around that by upgrading existing refineries. The Clinton-Gore administration put in place new regulations which will make it virtually impossible to upgrade existing oil refineries. Those are the kinds of bottlenecks that they they sought to put into the system and we're now paying the price for that in terms of energy shortages rolling blackouts higher prices and I think that the Bush plan is is a U-turn away from that approach.
So just in short if I'm understand what you're saying that you're saying that the goal of the previous administration was they were concerned about the quality of the environment. Their answer to protecting the environment was to try to cut down on energy use and there were their chief way of getting people to cut down on energy use was to do what they could do to make energy is make energy more expensive.
Yes but that's that's an excellent summary.
Let me. Because many I think many environmentalists one of their chief criticisms of the administration's approach is its continued reliance on fossil fuels on petroleum on coal on natural gas that as a result of their burning and putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. One of those things that has been identified as being important in global warming something that that many many people feel is a problem is a continuing problem and we should be doing something about it and I wonder how it is. And this applies specifically to this area that I know you you're interested in work in global warming. What do you think about that criticism that says. This is the wrong approach because we're still relying so much on fossil fuels. And the reason that's wrong is that it contributes to global warming.
Well yeah we may have to have a long excursus year into global warming but it mean in terms of the Bush administration putting together their energy plan I think that they they were simply recognizing reality that in terms of the United States's energy needs and demands there would be no way to satisfy these demands by by trying to suppress fossil fuel consumption. It's just too big a chunk of the total. And I think Vice President Cheney put it very well when he he said to address the problems that have been created and I don't have an exact quote. He said that we we can't we can't concentrate on any one sector of the air energy mix we have to have the entire mix so we can't get rid of nuclear we can't get rid of hydro power. We have to count on more alternative technologies we have to count on on technological progress but we also still have to rely on fossil fuel. Now it's clear that technological advances can perhaps change that. But the administration clearly recognizes that they can't change it change direction on a dime that it's going to take.
Two or three decades not two or three years to move out of fossil fuel into into other energy sources. And one of the problems that is always we face in dealing with criticisms of this is the idea that there is off the shelf technology already available that will allow us to do all kinds of other things.
The problem is yes there's lots of advanced technology available that for special applications will allow us to do lots of other things but at the cost of the people at it in order to provide affordable energy these off the shelf technologies right now are very expensive. Yeah there are. They're there but they're not ready to build big power plants or to or to change the. Electrical grid to a local system where people generate electricity in their backyards. That may come but you know to meet today's needs and build power plants now requires making massive capital investments. Right now for the next 20 30 years we can't wait 10 or 15 years for some technological advance.
I have some callers here I want to get right to him promise them. These folks are not going to make them wait forever and and as you say I don't I don't really think we want to turn the program into a program about global warming which it easily could. Yeah but I do want to ask you your reaction to this report that just was announced yesterday. And this is a report that was written by a number of atmospheric sciences or members of the National Academy of Sciences and here I'll just read from. Part of the story here this was a New York Times yesterday and the story reads today's report reflects the increasing certainty of the scientific community here and abroad that the warming of the last 50 years is probably because of the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations the panel said the degree of confidence in this conclusion was quote higher today than it was 10 or even five years ago. And the headline on the story is panel tells Bush global warming is getting worse. What do you think about this report.
Well I think that that news account is is really wrong. But I have I see I know why it's wrong the report was very cleverly put together in order to both fan the flames of global warming alarmism but also be scientifically respectable. The first few paragraphs of the summary are very broad brush and very unqualified hand. They no doubt will be the report will be waved around by global warming alarmists as it has. This is the final proof you know the top scientists in the country have affirmed it. In fact the report if you go through it and read it qualifies all of those big statements with all sorts of uncertainties and and conditions in hand.
Areas of of you no doubt. So I think for example.
One of the questions they were asked was to review the United Nations report on global warming and compare them to the summaries that are prepared the so-called summary for policymakers. The reports themselves are thousands of pages the Summary for Policymakers 10 15 20 pages. They said that well for the most part they did the summaries did accurately represent the the the full report. But the key word is mostly that most of the claims in the summaries are substantiated in the report they left out. They didn't tell give us the detail but they left open the possibility that most could be you know 51 percent of the claims and the rest are not substantiated. The report is full of those kinds of qualifications and uncertain in and of admissions of uncertainty so I think that. You know the scientists on the panel have tried to really have it both ways. They've tried to tried to stoke the fuel of popular passion while still remaining respectable scientists.
Our guest this morning in this part of focus 580 is Myron Ebell. He's director of global warming and international environmental policy for the. PETTIT of Enterprise Institute in Washington D.C. And we're talking about the Bush energy proposals we've been talking about that and on a number of programs over the last week or so. Mostly we've been hearing from people who were critical. We want to provide you a different point of view give you the opportunity to hear from the guest ask questions and you're welcome to do that here in Champaign Urbana 3 3 3 9 4 5 5. Also toll free 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5. We have two people here ready to go will start off with Peoria line number four.
Good morning Mr. Abel. I have not familiar with the Competitive Enterprise Institute. How long has that been around. It was founded in 1984 by our president Fred Smith Fred Smith. And you're the director of global warming. Yes. OK. And how many people are on staff there. Oh about 35 35. And how do you is it a nonprofit. Yes we're a nonprofit public policy institute. And could you tell me who your five largest contributors are.
You know I can't because they don't know but I can tell you that our annual budget is over three million dollars and we receive approximately one third from individuals one third from corporations and one third from charitable foundations.
And who would some of those individuals and corporations. I mean I don't know I don't pay any attention to that stuff. You don't know. You don't know who pays your salary. Yes the Competitive Enterprise Institute pays my salary. David this is something that I've been meaning to mention and you know you have to find spokespeople where you can. But in the future I think I think you'd be doing all of us a great service if we could find out who's paying for these institutes. Think tanks all of that. You know it to me this just sounds like he's working for an energy company. And what's your background in environmental or global warming. MR.
Well I've been following the issue since before the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated in 1907 and I've been actively involved in it. What's your academic credentials. I was a undergraduate at Colorado College. I was a graduate student at the University of California-San Diego majoring in philosophy in the London School of Economics. Political theory and Peterhouse Cambridge University in history.
Anything in the environment or biology or anything like that. No but you're willing and able and competent to say that these scientists are alarmists.
I think you you have to understand that the science when it meets public policy is not a question just for the the the sort of people who belong to the to the trade union. It's something that's open to all of us. I think any citizen of normal intelligence can understand these public policy issues and I am one of them. I think I have more qualifications than the average spokesman for an environmental group that you hear on the radio or on television.
Well I guess as far as I'm concerned when I hear someone representing an institute or a think tank and they're either unable or unwilling to tell me who's funding down then your credibility is really very low for me. So on. I'll hang up lists the rest the program it's a very good thing right.
Is that Mr. Evil is that information available on the CEI website or is it for people who are interested in that is there some way to find that out.
I think I think under under the IRS codes people can request what's called her 990 form which details some of the sort of larger areas of of our fundraising. I should I should mention as I said before our budget is over 3 million dollars a year. We get about equal amounts from corporations charitable foundations and individuals. I don't pay attention to who those people are the we don't accept grants from. Corporations are or individuals that are tied to specific projects it's just it's just a grants to the institution so we don't tie or work to a particular contribution that we would stop with someone else in Urbana as the next person in line number two.
Hello. Yes hi I'm calling from my car phone for the very first time because I am like the previous caller absolutely infuriated at your speaker who clearly is representing big oil corporations is a scientist and who refuses to divulge who is funding his institute which clearly has a conservative anti environment bias and it behooves everybody to check out this institute and this speaker is without any scientific credentials. Oh hang up and let someone else pursue this matter because clearly this is an outrage being perpetrated on the public by this institute.
Well all right let me let me just reply to that briefly.
I I think that the ad hominum attack really has limited usefulness. It's really not where people come from what they look like what color their skin is where they get their money it's what they argue. And I think that the ad hominum attack is typically used by the left to try to tar people when they when in fact the left has no arguments to offer no evidence to offer no facts to offer now. As far as this big industry stuff. I work for a free market a group that supports free markets and I would just put it to your listeners that free markets are not something that big business or big bed industry white and free markets don't particularly benefit. Big bad business. Free markets benefit consumers because they allow the sort of competition between different products and services so that people can choose what they want to buy. And yes free markets also help to provide products that are of higher quality at a lower price than socialist markets. So I really I resent the tie to to begin the stree I would rather be tied to big consumers. That is the American people. But that's a that's a matter of interpretation so I'll leave it at that.
We're talking this morning with Myron Ebell He is director of global warming and international environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington D.C. We're talking about energy policy in this country and your questions are welcome and I really must say Mr. Abel I'd We didn't invite you on the program with the hope that people would attack you personally. We're we're doing the show and I want to make sure people are listening know that we're doing the show specifically in response to listener comments about some of the other shows that we've been doing on looking at the Bush energy policy saying that it was too one sided that it leaned to the left and so we were trying to provide a different sort of point of view.
That's fine. And questions I have for I'm here for the punches.
Well let's go to some other callers here. Next is champagne line number.
One fellow you know hardly know where to begin. You know you talk about competitiveness and I would just point out that nucular energy which the Bush administration would like to push wouldn't be competitive at all if it weren't for massive subsidies that have been pumped into the industry you know ever since the beginning and continue to this day plus you know these artificial protections that that are given to them so they don't have to be responsible for the any damage that they might do to the environment to communities. And I just I just like the other callers I find much of what you have to say just thoroughly ludicrous and unfounded it just is. It's just astonishing.
Well I absolutely agree with you that the nuclear industry has in the past received large amounts of subsidies because of course the nuclear industry providing us with electricity came out of the Defense Department work on on nuclear weapons. It is also true that the nuclear industry has liability protection of the Price-Anderson Act provided by the federal government. Now I think I think I would say two things. First of all I don't support any particular kind of energy. It seems to me that these are all competitors in the marketplace. And if one form of energy can provide. The product had a better price and higher quality and that includes environmental quality. Then those people will will win customers. The nuclear industry has received huge amounts of subsidies in the past. It isn't receiving the subsidies now so it seems to me that what we're talking about is future power needs not what happened in 1067. As for the Price-Anderson Act No we don't support providing that kind of federally guaranteed liability protection to the nuclear industry. And I think that's a myth. I think it's a mistake and I think it's one of the few real flaws in the Bush energy plan.
So you would actively prefer pursue repealing Price-Anderson. Yes we have for a long time been opposed to price Anderson. Well then would you also say that other forms of energy should have to also be factored into them the environmental cost. You know that somehow you need to factor in and to know the cost on the environment. You know pollution. Well you know I mean I you talk about a free market but yeah I think that you know this is a very qualified sort of you know free market is most people what they refer to in free market they're they're talking about something that is skewed very much in particular ways.
Well yes the markets are skewed in it's almost always that they're skewed by by rent seeking interests one interests or another tries to go to government and get some special favor or subsidies for instance. We also oppose federally subsidies subsidies to promote clean coal technology. We opposed the 1.7. Cents per kilowatt hour subsidy to wind power. We oppose a whole range of government interventions in the in the market that we think provide special breaks to one big company or another. So I think I think we basically agree but we may have a slight You know there may be a slight attitude difference between us but I basically agree with you. There is no call to subsidize clean coal technology or wind power. Let them compete in the market.
Well I just find that notion that the market who brought all of this to be ludicrous I mean if we if we know that we could promote something that we very beneficial why not put our resources in to developing I mean you know if you know on that notion why have public education why you know maybe you don't support the idea of public education. But you know I mean there are public goods that we can put our resources to that you know can and can have a great benefit. And I just you know I don't I just find this all very very ludicrous.
Well I have another guy briefly at the governments of the call I have some other folks here I want to get to in fact I'm losing people because I think. I've been keeping them waiting too long I say I apologize from Illinois.
No need for you to apologize. Let's go on to another caller and I think this is Aurora and line number four.
Hello. Yeah. I didn't hear a lot of the first part of the program but I just want to say and possibly what I'm going to say is an exam is how I feel and I. Possibly it doesn't fit into your program this morning. I don't understand who is the problem. I'll just ask the questions and I'll hang up. Who is a free market. Who. And then. I guess I see America as a very gluttonous company country. They take and take and take they pollute and pollute and pollute. When are we going to decide that. We've we've done enough. We have to step back. We have to tighten our belts. We have to do things differently so that we can fit in to what the the suffering that the rest of the world is doing there's many many countries that do not have what we have or even come close to it. Why do we have to have so much. Why can't we start. Tightening our belts again as I said before. Why do we have to have so much in America and other countries have nothing.
Well let me. I appreciate the caller's comments and I'm particularly I'm interested I guess in and also trying to connect this to the energy issue I think it does connect.
I think you can experience clearly.
Well and also because it seems that you know the part of the criticism of the Bush plan seemed to come from a feeling that the caller articulated not just from people who maybe were strongly environment less but the feeling that the caller and ticket a ticket that says there really should be a strong place for conservation and efficiency in this whole thing and they really faulted the administration for downplaying that.
Well there are about three or four maybe four issues here and I'll try to address each one very briefly.
First of all in terms of environmental protection the World Bank kicky met with an interesting study some time ago in which they showed very clearly that the countries in the world with the highest environmental quality were the richer countries that is the richer you are the better environmental quality you have. So consequently the best way for countries to improve their environmental condition is to first improve their economy so that they are have a richer populace. Now in this country the reason we have such high environmental quality is because we are very wealthy now. Many people feel that we're too wealthy and that somehow government should do something about that. I feel that there is something Democratic in an anti consumer in this attitude in there really. I'm not quite sure why in the energy field government coercion is somehow acceptable to force us to consume less. It seems to me these are private decisions I'm all for conservation and in fact I would associate myself with Vice President Cheney's remarks. Conservation is a laudable private virtue. But forcing conservation there is something wrong with telling people that you must consume less because I think that's a good idea. That's I don't think that's how a democratic society should operate. It seems to me that if I want to consume less I will and of course I in my family try to conserve in every way we can and of course there's an incentive for conservation of energy is called saving money. When I when we go around turning out the lights when they're not needed or we only own one car even though we have several children. This is saving money we're rewarded for our conservation efforts and I think that's an important factor to keep in mind. The idea that somehow the American people should rise up and demand that everyone stop consuming so much I think is really offensive. And I. It's it's I think it's ultimately based on the idea that that coming out of the 1970s where it was predicted because of the energy crisis of the 1970s which were largely caused by price controls that we were running out of energy and we had to save it in people who used energy were wicked in the more you use the more wicked you were. Well we're not running out of energy and it's not we could to use energy as the basis of our standard of living.
People live more comfortable safer and brighter lives because of energy. And I don't see why if you make X amount of money and you spend a certain percentage of it on energy. Why you are somehow morally inferior because you spend more of your budget on energy than someone else does. If you typically people conserve save energy and they have budgets in their household to save a lot of money and then they spend it on on a trip or something. Well a trip uses a lot of energy too. Or they invest it and well investment goes to capital. In in our infrastructure in a lot of that investment goes to our energy infrastructure so I don't see the distinction between energy use and other kinds of consumption. And I think there's really something offensive about people saying that we must force the government to force people to use less energy.
We're moving into our last 15 minutes of the program I have three people on hold I want to try to get them all again. Bill can help us if they can try to be brief. We'll just go right at it and the next person in line is Urbana line number two.
I think I just have a quick question if that alternative energy is not competitive particularly wind. I'm jus happen could you give me some figures on the price per kilowatt hour of wind.
I can actually give you some prices and compare that with coal or oil you know that's a good question no I'm sorry I was I didn't speak very clearly. I'm saying IF.
If wind power isn't competitive there is no reason why the white taxpayer should be giving it a 1.7 cents per kilowatt hour subsidy which is what it currently has. Similarly if coal has to have a subsidy in order to promote clean coal research into clean coal technology research that's been it's not being competitive. Not against women however and I think it's becoming more competitive every day.
You know I write you spoke in more of an hour you know and I know that you kind of those figures in have incentives for clean coal and it's giving tax incentives for oil companies and is giving tax incentives for other fossil fuel then for nuclear power. So actually you do not support the Bush energy plan. I do.
I think. Well let me. Yes that's a very good question. I support what I think are the is the main focus of the Bush energy plan which is to remove bottlenecks in the supply system so that it's once again possible to build a natural gas power pipelines electricity transmission lines new oil refineries in new power and those are going to be taking using eminent domain to take away private lands in order to build those transmission lines.
Should those be fairly paid for and if we're going to be using to take away private land or using public dollars should we be using that to promote say wind which we could probably get at 5 or 6 cents a kilowatt hour year.
Yeah I mean there is a which there is a problem with wind but and I'll try to to say it just very briefly which is it's competitive per kilowatt hour but it requires utilities to make it double capital investment because they have to invest in a base flood plan and then they have to invest in wind which is intermittent and unpredictable. But leaving that aside I do not support what I think are the minor elements in the Bush plan which are subsidies for one kind of. One sort of energy or another. I think those are misguided but if you look at the plan they are a very small part of the plan. Well they actually are a very big part of the plan.
Any doubt going up at 5.
Well that I think just to numb not to belabor this point but I think that some people would argue that here we've been talking about the problems that alternative renewable sources face wind and solar. And they would argue that the reason that they're not competitive with gas and oil is that indeed that the gas and oil industries have for a long long time enjoyed the benefit of subsidies and you know that's that's incorrect.
But we own you wouldn't you don't think that that's that's not.
No this is subsidies in the various industries that by far the larger ones have gone to the alternative technologies per per unit of output. I don't deny that virtually every industry in America has gotten North Korea's getting right now some subsidies. That's absolutely true. But the the main focus of subsidies have been in alternative technologies. The. The total Bush package of subsidies and incentives is about 10 billion dollars over a number of years.
Now I don't think. I think. I'm against the subsidies and I'm against the incentives but I think the 10 billion dollars of taxpayer money is a lot less than the many in Congress want to spend on the subsidies. And it's a sort of it's a small price to pay for the hundreds of billions of dollars of private investment that will be encouraged by removing some of the regulatory bottlenecks that have been created. So it's essentially the Bush plan is saying spend 10 billion dollars of taxpayer money and will that will help us pass this plan which will lead to hundreds of billions of dollars of private investment in new energy infrastructure new pipelines new power plants new oil refineries.
Let's continue. We'll go next to Belgium line number three. Hello yes.
Listening to hear your comment here in front of the white Why says the other individual. We can't tell people just try to consume as possible. We feel you seem to really feel no more responsibility to say to slow this train down a little bit. Right. I just got to hang out.
Well thank you. You've talked about that a little bit I don't know if you want to go any further on that point.
Well no I I do think that it's a incent odd feeling that is really right now is really strongly focused on the sort of. To tell a Tarion Puritans puritanical attitude is very strongly focused right now on energy use. There's something sinful about it even using any energy is somehow wicked in the more you use the more wicked you are I just don't see it. We're not running out of energy. It's not. It's not some magic substance it's. It's part of the resources of the world we're.
It's like saying we should we should force everyone to lose weight. You know let me. Should the government should the government coerce weight loss. We are the most obese station in the world. We eat too much.
Should the government pass laws that say you can only consume you know 20 200 calories a day. I don't think so I think that's. That's authoritarian and repulsive.
Just a quick for example. A lot of people on the environmental side say one thing that would be very simple that we could do that would save us a lot of energy would be to mandate an increase in fuel efficiency for our cars and trucks and for example the. Say if an SUV is that don't now have to meet the standards for cars if we just increase their mileage by 3 miles a gallon we would save our air consumption oil consumption would drop by forty nine million gallons a day. What's wrong with with that what's wrong with a mandate that says says to the people who make cars and trucks we expect you to increase your the mileage that your vehicles get.
Well yeah I think it's that's a pretty good example of the problem. There are tradeoffs in every area and forcing people into into smaller cars that are that get better gas mileage will improve our. It will it will reduce the amount of petroleum consumed by by automobile travel. But again it takes power out of the hands of people and puts it in the hands of a government that knows best. The fact is that there are tradeoffs between fuel efficiency for example and safety. Larger cars are safer than smaller cars on average. I'm not saying every large car is safe and every small car is unsafe but there is a direct connection between the size of the vehicle you're traveling in and the safety of it. Many people value safety over saving gas. The reason SUV is become so popular is because of the CAFE standards the CAFE standards applied to automobiles have been ratcheted down so much that basically big cars and station wagon same particular companies can't offer them. I mean Volvo offers big cars big heavy cars but they have to pay a penalty every year to the government because they don't meet the automobile fuel efficiency standards. The big automakers want to meet those standards and so they have gotten rid of station wagons they don't sell them anymore instead they call an SUV. A lot of people need larger automobiles. They need they they carry have family members. They have children they have their pay elderly parents living with them they need larger cars forcing them to pay a whole lot more in order to get one of those cars because the way the fuel efficiency standards work is that it doesn't mean that big cars can't be made it just means that a lot fewer of them can be made. And if you make a lot fewer you'll have much higher prices for them. If forcing people for instance that have to drive two cars wherever they want to go strikes me there's something wrong about that. And so I think there is there are tradeoffs whenever the government intervenes and interferes in the choices that consumers make. And we should allow consumers to have a wider choice of products and services not a narrower choice.
I want to. I really should give more time to call or see because we're getting short on time. Yes and really quickly again let me introduce our guest We're speaking with Myron Ebell from the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington DC. We'll continue here our next person in line is Urbana line one.
Hello. Yeah. Your guests the dozen or Stan what the difference would be with this product consuming energy that it would be another as well like keep raw problem is that the impact of waste products is just not being received by you to the public properly or you're in the industry for sure. And it's kind of from an engineering sense it's kind of a feedback problem and it's exemplified by the way you put down the scientific consensus. Another thing when you say the free enterprise when you say free enterprise I will certainly change. I'm almost completely certain that you don't mean that. For example labor would have a powerful say so in the economy which is my definition of a true free enterprise. Because if so they certainly would be against the reprocessing the nuclear fuel that pushes so much for the US someone just this radio station yesterday you pointed out that not only would the reprocessing of nuclear fuel be dangerous for workers but if you create plants to take up this new reprocess nuclear fuel that it involves a liquid waste which is much far more dangerous for both workers and the environment and the other thing is that when you're so for free enterprise. But are you willing to pay Brazil for keeping its amice Amazon jungle pristine and undeveloped because we are certainly benefiting from the oxygen produced by the Amazon. And I don't hear any company anywhere suggesting we should pay them. And but I've got a question and you can move obviously.
You can help us by being quick because we're really short on time.
Whatever happened to using the rest of the world's resources before our using our own I mean fossil fuels are our lifeblood is you and it's as if I had a pacemaker and there are only so many batteries in the world and I would buy up those from other countries before using up the ones in my own country where I have been using up the rest of the world's resources before using our own I'll hang up and let you go thanks.
Well of course there's a global market in energy and we import a 55 but more than 55 percent of our petroleum we import little of our coal because we have hundreds and hundreds of years of coal supply. I would just through this idea that. I'd like to get back to an earlier comment he made which was about pollution and I would just reiterate what I said before. The quickest way to improve the environment is to increase wealth. The countries that have the worst pollution problems are very poor countries like India India. The per capita electricity consumption per year is somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 kilowatt hours. Our electricity production is per capita is somewhere in the neighborhood of 13000 kilowatt hours. But we have much much less pollution than they do in India. We don't burn dung for inside our house for to cook our daily meals. We don't have anywhere near the sort of air pollution water pollution soil pollution that they do. So if we can help them get wealthier they will be a much healthier more environmentally inviting place to live.
Will try to get at least one more. Another urban a caller-ID here line too.
Well I'm not a subject of pity I simply have to go back to the oil think leasing allowance. It seems to me that for the harpist energy subsidy of course and probably before subsidies ever given to alternative sources of energy. MR.
No we disagree but I don't think we have time to go through that. Add up the numbers. There are many subsidies for the problem with government when you decide that one industry should be favored and should get a subsidy because they they are somehow morally superior their product or the way they do business is morally superior to another product. The problem is that then every other industry wants to come in and get a subsidy from the US taxpayers and we have this now. You haven't answered the question. No.
Well yes I disagree no the oil depletion allowance is not subsidy per the reduction of per bt you produce it is not a.
Again there are some people who would say on this whole issue and I know you have said that you disagree with the point of view but that when it comes to the petroleum industry in this country that we mean we've made the decision because we think it is morally superior but we made the decision that particularly because of ties between people in politics and people in the business that this is the that this is the source of energy that we're going to back. And I know that some people there's a great wave of cynicism out there in the country that says well we shouldn't be surprised that this administration research supportive of these sources of energy because the vice president and the president and other members have ties to the industry.
Well of course this is this is I think a misunderstanding. The oil industry and this this could be said of energy any industry it's producing energy. They are making higher profits on their capital investments now because of shortages than they are ever going to make once more abundant and affordable energy is provided because the Bush plan. I would expect that return on capital will go down as we build new power plants new oil refineries new natural gas pipelines. These efforts are directed at benefiting consumers who need more energy. Our energy consumption our energy demand is going up. It's been going at it at a fairly good clip for a long time and we haven't been building in rebuilding our energy infrastructure and consequently we have electricity shortages we have natural gas shortages and we have a wide variety of gasoline shortages because we have all these different environmental mandates for each area of the country. But I don't I doubt that the profits of the big energy companies will be as high.
Once there is more abundant energy supplies in this country than there is now it's in their interests it's in their shareholders interests to have shortages. That's why they can sell this electricity to California for for marginal rates that are you know unbelievable.
This transcript is machine-generated and has not been corrected. It is likely there will be errors.
- The Bush Energy Plan
- Producing Organization
- WILL (Radio/television station : Urbana, Ill.)
- Contributing Organization
- WILL Illinois Public Media (Urbana, Illinois)
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- Call-in show discussing the Bush Energy Plan with Myron Ebell, Director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Several listeners call in to express concerns about his lack of credentials on science or global warming and his employer's source of funding.
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- Energy; Environment; Government; Politics; George W. Bush
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Producer: Brighton, Jack
Producing Organization: WILL (Radio/television station : Urbana, Ill.)
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Illinois Public Media (WILL)
Identifier: focus010608a.mp3 (Illinois Public Media)
Illinois Public Media (WILL)
Identifier: focus010608a.wav (Illinois Public Media)
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- Chicago: “Focus; The Bush Energy Plan,” 2001-06-08, WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 18, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_16-222r49gf6t.
- MLA: “Focus; The Bush Energy Plan.” 2001-06-08. WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 18, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_16-222r49gf6t>.
- APA: Focus; The Bush Energy Plan. Boston, MA: WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_16-222r49gf6t