Yves here. It’s pretty remarkable to see Big Oil via its current favorite front, Joe Manchin, push for “Frack baby, frack” when shale gas will not substitute for Russian oil. And worse, apparently no one in the climate change opposition has bothered to learn enough about oil production and refining to call this nonsense out. Yours truly is NOT on the energy beat. The fact that I’ve worked that “fracking will not solve our Russian oil problem” with only minimal contact with this topic, and supposed full-timers haven’t, is yet more proof of why the left sucks. It can’t get past emotionally-appealing sloganeering to understand how things actually work.
The US needs heavier grades to mix in with very light (shale gas) or light (Saudi light sweet crude) to produce diesel and home heating oil. Russian oil is apparently moderately heavy and therefore a very productive source for diesel and home heating fuel. Absent heavier grades, we have a problem with diesel, already in short supply globally, and home heating fuel. Yes, they apparently can be produced from lighter grades, but those “lighter” grades have shorter carbon chain which means are lower energy density. So using light sweet crude to make diesel is inefficient and will put price pressure on gasoline.
The US was willing to suddenly kiss and make up with Venezuela to get heavy crude for mixing purposes. Even though the Biden Administration had allegedly been thinking of “normalizing” relations with Caracas, it hadn’t done much of anything along those lines. So its plan to make nice in exchange for Venezuela’s oil ran into a firestorm of criticism and the Administration chickened out. And even if that initiative had succeeded, it would not have provided enough heavy sour crude to fully replace the lost Russian supply.
And don’t fool yourself about Canadian tar sands. From reader Skeptic:
“Syncrude” from tar sands oil is extremely light after pre-refining and, therefore, maybe not so helpful for diesel. Venezuelan oil is heavy and sour–also has high vanadium which will poison refinery catalysts. They are not good substitutes for each other…
I think the Canadian syncrude is mostly expected to be exported from our Gulf Coast rather than refined in USA. That would be why one of the arguments against Keystone XL is that Canadians should build their own pipeline from Athabasca to a port in British Columbia and not put USA water at risk.
By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at God’s Spies
First, I strongly recommend subscribing to climate writer Brad Johnson’s Substack site “Hill Heat.” It’s brief, it’s daily or nearly so, and it covers the nexus between politics — especially Democratic Party politics, which is where the critical (in)action is — and the increasingly desperate climate reality everyone with children is facing.
Second, from Hill Heat, there’s this:
Manchin pulls away the football
Joe “Lucy” Manchin is pulling away the climate football from the Charlie Brown Democrats. After President Joe Biden and his top advisors called for a full mobilization for clean energy independence, Manchin got to work. On Thursday, he called for a massive increase in oil and gas drilling. On Friday, he got rapturous applause from oil and gas executives as he trashed federal backing for electric vehicles. Today, he announced his opposition to climate hawk Sarah Bloom Raskin’s nomination to the Federal Reserve. It’ll be fun to see what he kills next.
I’m sincerely hoping that the advocates who are paid quite well to convince the U.S. Congress to enact strong climate policy now adjust their strategy away from “make a deal with Manchin,” because it ain’t gonna happen.
How the DC consensus kills the climate
THE CONSENSUS VIEW: Experienced climate journalists report that politicians support oil and gas development to bolster national security, and cite a non-partisan think tank which argues doing so would be good for climate action.
THE CONSENSUS VIEW, BEHIND THE CURTAIN: The authors (Ben Gemanand Andrew Freedman) of a fossil-fuel-industry-sponsored newsletter (Axios Generate, presented by ExxonMobil, Chevron, et al.), present fossil-fuel industry talking points (“industry and Republicans say”) and then link to an essay at a fossil-fuel-funded think tank (Center for Strategic and International Studies, funded by BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, et al.) written by a former fossil-fuel industry executive (Nikos Tsafos, the former Global Gas Practice Director at PFC Energy).
An excellent observation. There’s more at the link, but let’s look just at the point made above.
What We Learned
A couple of observations:
1. This is the section of the Axios Generate newsletter referenced above:
Oil and gas have fresh political mojo. The industry and Republicans say high prices and Europe’s reliance on Russia make a case for more U.S. leasing and LNG export approvals.
• But that could lock in new fossil infrastructure for decades (here’s a reminder that LNG is complicated on the climate front).
• The White House backs more near-term oil production and LNG shipments, even as it pushes clean energy as a lasting fix.
Note the final paragraph — “it [the White House] backs more near-term oil production, even as it pushes clean energy”.
So is the “White House” — Joe Biden — in favor of more oil and gas production, or opposed to it?
2. Here’s the answer, via Jerri-Lyn Schofield at Naked Capitalism:
Biden Administration Greenlights More Fossil Fuel Drilling Permits in 2021 for Public Lands and Waters than Did Trump in 2017
As he moves into his second year as President, it seems the only promise Joe Biden has made good on is his pledge that “Nothing fundamental will change.”
This promise even applies to policies on climate change where voters might have expected Biden to pursue initiatives that curtailed expansion of the oil and gas industry. No such luck. Instead, Biden seems to be following in the footsteps of the last Democratic president, who proudly and publicly took credit for the oil and gas boom. Positively gloated. And if you don’t believe me, watch the video clip contained in this post, which I posted – again! – less than a fortnight ago (U.S. Interior Department Moves to Block Some Oil and Gas Leasing on Alaska’s North Slope).
The Biden Fossil Fuel Record: Full Speed Ahead for Drilling on Public Lands
3. And there’s much more where that came from. See “Industry Calls the Climate Shots in the Biden Administration” for a massive taste of his criminal climate deeds from inauguration through last June.
4. Which means only one thing. Both Brad Johnson and I are wrong — Brad for calling Joe Manchin “Lucy” in the “Lucy and the football” metaphor, and me for implying it with my lead cartoon (above).
Joe Biden — and all the other oil-and-gas complicit members of the Democratic Party — are Lucy, not Joe Biden.
Manchin, in reality, is the football, something placed before climate-fix hungry progressives and voters as a way to “fix the Party” by fixing Joe Manchin. But Joe Manchin can never be fixed. He can only be used as a focus of our anger — and misplaced energy and “footwork.” Which means, I fear, that the Party can never be fixed.
As the old joke goes, it only takes one psychiatrist to change a light bulb, but the light bulb has to want to change. Does the Democratic Party, as currently controlled, want to change? Or do its leaders resist reform with a fervor greater than their resistance to Republicans?
If Manchin’s not the perp, the actual cause of our frustration, then the Party is the cause, and Manchin’s just the bait, the distraction that leads us to misplace our anger.
If you doubt that this is right, consider what you read above, then prove me wrong.