One of the biggest challenges in planning for our energy future is that opponents of oil and natural gas are quite unwilling to acknowledge the reality of our energy supply and demand. Two examples: First, from a new Sierra Club video (ably rebutted in full by Oil Sands Fact Check here):
“Moving America beyond oil isn’t that difficult.”
And second, from a Globe and Mail article featuring Jeremy Rifkin, a Maryland-based author and consultant:
“We have to be off carbon in 30 years.”
Now for the reality: The government projects oil and natural gas will supply 57 percent of our energy in 2035:
And 52 percent of the world’s energy that year:
So yes, moving America “beyond oil” would be “that difficult,” and yes, we need to plan to use carbon-based energy well beyond Rifkin’s window. That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t pursue alternative forms of energy. Oil and natural gas companies are leading the way in that regard. But there are simple realities. As Dr. Arun Majumdar, director of the Energy Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, noted last year:
- Futuristic technologies, including biofuels, electrofuels and powerful car batteries, remain just that: in the future. "The technologies that are required to make us secure ... all of them do not quite exist today," Majumdar said.
- To impact on a national scale car batteries must double the energy intensity of current lithium batteries, at one-third the cost, Majumdar said. "That battery really does not exist today," he said. "Not just in the United States but anywhere in the world."
- Electrofuels - using microorganisms to harness chemical or electrical energy to convert carbon dioxide into liquid fuels - are 10 to 20 years from hitting the market.
Which is why we need a real all-of-the-above approach to energy, one whose strategies and policies acknowledge our energy reality. Such as these:
- A commitment to increased access to America’s ample resources.
- A common-sense regulatory structure that operates transparently, is based on sound science and that includes legitimate cost-benefit analysis in rule making.
- A system for timely and efficient federal drill permitting and more lease sales to foster energy investment.
- Completion of the full Keystone XL pipeline.
Each of these will help create American-made energy to ensure we have the resources we need for a secure future.