The Masters of the Universe aren’t all-knowing after all.
“The last four years have been a net setback for the green movement,” wrote influential New York Times columnist Tom Friedman March 10. “(We) failed to anticipate that new technologies (particularly hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling at much greater distances) would produce new, vastly cheaper ways to tap natural gas trapped in shale as well as crude oil previously thought unreachable, making cleaner energy alternatives much less competitive.”
Is Friedman so naive? The history of energy markets is that entrepreneurs have found the cheapest fuels to meet economic demand. Yet Freidman advocated - and Washington bet – billions on expensive, unproven technologies that the Left guaranteed were the future. It’s easy to spend other people’s money.
Freidman has good company in the White House. “I told him of the revolution in the oil and gas industry and how we have the capacity to produce enough oil to enable America to replace OPEC,” oilman and fracking pioneer Harold Hamm recalls of his visit to Obama in 2011.
The president’s reaction? “He turned to me and said, ‘Oil and gas will be important for the next few years. But . . . [Energy] Secretary [Steven] Chu has assured me that within five years, we can have a battery developed that will make a car with the equivalent of 130 miles per gallon.’”
Billions in battery losses later – squandered on firms like A123 Systems and LG Chem – Obama’s future is nowhere in sight.
So in his State of the Union speech, he took credit for Hamm’s technological revolution despite pooh-poohing it just two years ago: “I’m proud of the fact that under my Administration oil production is higher than it has been in a decade or more.”
Such arrogance, such ignorance. But if Friedman and Obama know little of the future, Americans should know enough not to listen to their next prognostications.