Low-Carbon Fuels: Are We Serious About Energy Security or Not?

One of the many campaigns the environmentalist left has organized to cripple U.S. energy production and consumption is an attack against high-carbon fuels, i.e., fuels that are derived from heavy crude that requires additional refining. In the brave new world we live in, carbon is bad because it contributes to global warming/climate change/doom.

In simpler terms: The American greens hate the success of Canada’s oil sands and they want to prevent any similar development in the United States, including shale oil.

In California, the political means being applied is a low-carbon fuel standard dictated by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and now being put into effect by the California Air Resource Board. (Details here.)

Legislation has also been introduced in Congress to disadvantage Canadian oil, H.R. 1787, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard Act, and S. 1095, America’s Low-Carbon Fuel Standard Act.

Just as some environmentalists seek to artificially limit U.S. access to Canadian (and Mexican and domestic oil, as the case may be), the Chinese are getting into the business.

From Don Martin, a columnist with The National Post, the nationwide Canadian newspaper, “China dives into oil sands as U. S. balks“:

To lift a quip from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Arctic sovereignty policy and apply it to the American view of Alberta’s oil sands: Use it or lose it.

The Chinese government pushed its shovel deep into Canada’s energy motherlode yesterday when it announced a $2-billion stake in a five-billion-barrel reserve of “dirty oil” that Americans increasingly find unworthy of fuelling their vehicles.

The 60% claim by Petro-China in two projects owned by Athabasca Oil Sands Corp., while small compared to the great gobs of capital pouring into oil sands expansion and extraction, are the global giant’s largest investment in Canadian energy yet.

And China usually buys into products it aims to consume.

Investor’s Business Daily comments editorially in “Shifting Sands,” noting, “We balk at importing ‘dirty’ oil from Canada, but others aren’t so reluctant. Exempt as a ‘developing’ nation from Kyoto-like agreements, China has decided to help Canada develop its energy-rich oil sands.” The Canadians, IBD reports, are already talking about a pipeline to bring Alberta oil to the West Coast so it can shipped via tanker to China.

It’s the producers’ oil to sell as they see fit, but it would be a policy mistake of the highest order for the United States to turn its back on its No. 1 oil supplier, a reliable supplier and solid U.S. ally, motivated only by dreams of a new “green” economy that bears little connection to reality. And if U.S. policymakers refuse Canadian oil sands, then they will logically have to refuse any future domestic energy from any U.S. shale or oil sand deposits.

To promote low-carbon fuel mandates is to reject U.S. energy security, plain and simple.

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