To the editor:
Recently, James Avallon wrote a very thoughtful, professional and restrained critique of Bill McKibben's presentation on global warming at Endicott College.
The shortcomings that Mr. Avallon pointed out lead one to believe that McKibben's pitch was more propaganda than an information update. If this year's mild winter was anthropogenic global warming, why didn't Europe benefit also?
Sanctifying global warming and acting like it's a cult of believers against the "deniers" leads to bad choices and unconvincing rebuttals that are contradicted by the fundamentals.
To fill up your tank with 25 gallons of "green" ethanol takes 450 pounds of corn. That's enough to feed one person for one year! Besides, your mileage will drop by about 30 percent, as ethanol is considerably less energy dense than gasoline, but not less expensive.
The improvements in the standard of living starting in 1900 began with not having to utilize one-quarter of the food grown to feed horses.
Ms. Rosenbaum's later rebuttal was not up to Mr. Avallon's standard. It's misleading to describe the Keystone XL pipeline as "going through the Oglala aquifer," when the aquifer is 400 feet below the surface.
Nor does she seem to recognize that the oil market is worldwide. Economics 101 points out that in the face of increasing worldwide demand, prices go up everywhere. There must be a significant increase in supply to reduce the cost for everyone.
The U.S. has excess refining capacity, so in addition to the construction jobs, the pipeline would provide additional, long-term American jobs in the Gulf region, refining gas for the world market. That also helps reduce our trade deficit.
Besides, getting oil from a friendly neighbor doesn't carry the political burdens associated with Middle Eastern or Venezuelan oil.
While there are speculators who push the spot market prices up and down, the fundamental drivers of oil and gas prices are the supply-demand curve and the soundness of the dollar. Our dollars are being devalued by the Federal Reserve "creating" more dollars by keystrokes on a computer. (They just increase the value of a bank's account at the Fed.)
If the dollars are worth less, OPEC demands more of them for a barrel of oil. The intrinsic value of a commodity doesn't change because the dollar is less valuable.
Command-and-control economies (Russia under Stalin, China under Mao, etc.) don't work. Politicians pick friends, not winners (Solyndra, Evergreen, etc.). We don't need to inflict future generations with worthless dollars (Weimar Republic) and massive debt payments in order to verify that Europe's flirtation with socialism is a failed experiment.
Even Energy Secretary Chu acknowledged in testimony before Congress the other day that his stated pre-election goal of increasing gas prices to "the levels in Europe" is not helpful to the current economy. But after three years of stifling oil production in federally controlled areas (ANWR, offshore, etc.), the damage has been done and there is no quick fix left.
There are too many narrow, "progressive" influences supporting exaggerated social justice/nanny agendas — and not enough emphasis on getting people back to work.