More Keystone (Pipeline) Kops

Two days ago Tom Friedman weighed in urging further civil disobedience to block the Keystone Pipeline.  The title of the column is ironically apt: “No to Keystone; Yes to Crazy.”  Apparently Friedman is in competition with Paul Krugman to be the most egregiously wrong NY Times columnist, which is rather like a contest between Hitler and Stalin to see who is the worst tyrant—a contest impossible to judge since they both operate at a plane so far below all other human beings.

Yes to crazy indeed.  As fellow NY Times columnist Joe Nocera noted sensibly a couple weeks ago, do environmentalists think they can block every pipeline, new refinery, and oil field?  He called opposition to Keystone “boneheaded.”  I wonder if Friedman was in town that day?

It really gets fun when you take in the latest news that Japan is advancing quickly with research and development into methane hydrates in the ocean.  So even if the enviros succeed in blocking Keystone and strangling natural gas fracking (unlikely in either case), there looks to be, according to the nifty chart below produced by Der Spiegel, something like 1,000 years of natural gas to be had from the oceans—many times more hydrocarbons than the existing proven stocks of oil, gas, and coal on land combined..  How are the enviros going to stop that?  Is Greenpeace going to buy an entire navy and run blockades?  How long can Bill McKibben tread water?

Here’s the fun part.  Guess who else is researching how to unlock natural gas from ocean-bound methane hydrates?  The Obama Department of Energy.  His saintliness Stephen Chu announced progress in the research.  Here’s the announcement from last May:

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today the completion of a successful, unprecedented test of technology in the North Slope of Alaska that was able to safely extract a steady flow of natural gas from methane hydrates – a vast, entirely untapped resource that holds enormous potential for U.S. economic and energy security.  Building upon this initial, small-scale test, the Department is launching a new research effort to conduct a long-term production test in the Arctic as well as research to test additional technologies that could be used to locate, characterize and safely extract methane hydrates on a larger scale in the U.S. Gulf Coast.

As I once heard a climate alarmist say, “If we unlock methane hydrates from the ocean, it is game-over for the climate.”  Does Tom Friedman know the Obama Administration is supporting this?


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