Streetwise Professor

January 27, 2024

The “Pause” on LNG Permitting: Another Manifestation of “Elite” Hatred of Humanity, and a Monument to Stupidity

Filed under: Climate Change,Commodities,Economics,Energy,Politics,Regulation — cpirrong @ 7:25 pm

The Braindead Administration–sorry, sorry, the Brandon–I mean Biden!–Administration (understandable confusion there)–has announced a pause on permitting on new liquified natural gas (LNG) terminals. And how long a pause? How ’bout to a quarter ’til never:

The review will take months and then will be open to public comment which will take further time, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters in a teleconference.

This policy, if one can dignify it with such an appellation, is a sop to the ecoloonies upon whom the administration depends for support:

The growth [in LNG exports] has set off protests from environmentalists, part of Biden’s base. Activists say new LNG projects can harm local communities with pollution, lock in global reliance on fossil fuels for decades, and lead to emissions from burning gas and from leaks of the powerful greenhouse gas methane.

In brief, the administration (regime, really) wants to kneecap the remarkable energy revolution of the past 20 years, which has seen technological innovations that have turned the US from a nation worried about where its next MMBTU would come from to a natural gas production powerhouse, and which have allowed others to share in its bounty with the world.

But you see, to the ecoloonies that’s the bad news. Really bad. Climate change, dontcha know.

But even evaluated on those (dubious) terms, the policy is demented. Because the ecoloonies don’t understand basic economics. They are myopic, linear thinkers who are incapable of analyzing the ultimate impact of their policy.

In their thinking, less LNG exports from the US equals less fossil fuel consumption equals lowers carbon emissions equals saving the polar bears. Even overlooking the (again dubious) last step in the logical chain (hey, I’m a a generous guy) the analysis is flawed. Where it definitely breaks down is the third, and arguably the second, steps.

Yes, reducing US natural gas output (by choking one source of demand) will reduce world natural gas production. But the resulting higher world price will induce higher output by competing producers (e.g., Qatar, Australia, PNG, Africa, etc.), resulting in a net decline in world gas production smaller than the decline in US production–and it is world production that matters when considering “well mixed” GHGs. Further, some production that would have otherwise been exported will be consumed domestically instead, meaning that a given decline in exports does not result in an equal decline in production.

But more importantly, the rise in the price of gas relative to other fuels–notably coal–will induce substitution towards those fuels. Since those fuels are more carbon intensive than natural gas, it is possible, and indeed likely, that the net effect of the policy would be to increase the output of GHGs.

So at the very least, the amount of reduction in GHGs resulting from this policy will be far smaller than the reduction in US LNG exports that it will cause, and plausibly will result in an increase of GHGs.

Well played! All pain, no gain!

But the economic idiocy of ecoloonies is an old story by now. Perhaps you’ve read of the recent finding that the ban on “single use” plastic bags in New Jersey led to a tripling of consumer plastics consumption because of the substitution effects that the ban induced. Again, myopic, linear, one-step ahead thinking led to a policy that produced perverse results.

The foregoing analysis focuses on only one dimension–GHG output. But one also has to consider the cost incurred to achieve any GHG gains (if there are any, that is). But trade-offs (costs vs. benefits) is not something that ecoloonies do. They are monomaniacs, and monomaniacs don’t evaluate trade-offs.

This policy will also shtup European allies, whom in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine Biden promised would receive bountiful supplies of US gas.

To paraphrase Animal House: “You fucked up, Europe! You trusted Biden!”

The administration pinky swears that

the pause would not hurt allies, saying the plan will come with exemptions for national security should they need more LNG.

Yeah, because it’s just like turning the faucet on and off, right?

If you believe what they say, you are truly an idiot and probably believe they’ll respect you in the morning.

But none of this should be a surprise. After all, this is an administration that is infested with members of the “elite,” and which counts on the “elite” for its support. According to a recent Rasmussen poll:

An astonishing 77% of the Elites – including nearly 90% of the Elites who graduated from the top universities – favor rationing energy, gas, and meat to combat climate change. Among all Americans, 63% oppose rationing.

Face it. They hate your guts and want you to suffer. This “pause” on LNG exports is just another manifestation of their hatred.

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  1. Lets be frank about the “elites” interest in rationing. It is rationing for everyone else but them.

    Comment by MARK — January 28, 2024 @ 12:10 am

  2. @philipp: reg. ‘Beyond straight-line reasoning…stopping at conclusions’…so, Prof gave two examples, just calling it linear instead of straight-line…

    So, ‘they’ just needed to ‘reopen’ nord-stream and everything would be good again…

    …and Russia was right about the trustworthiness of the US gov and European vassals…and about their mental state and education levels…

    …logically, the US and other involved states should pay reparations for sabotaging nord stream…

    Henry Kissinger shares the same birth town with me, I’d ask him ‘Heinz, did you see this coming?’

    Comment by Mikey — January 28, 2024 @ 5:53 am

  3. By the way: when the talk started in Germany, fostered by the ‘established’ parties, about a ban of the AfD party, people got aware that there is a petition for a ban of the green party in Germany for quite a while. Subsequently it ‘exploded’, leaving behind the AfD petition, with currently more than 250.000 people signing for a ban of the green party in Germany…

    Comment by Mikey — January 28, 2024 @ 6:39 am

  4. Thanks for the writeup Craig, hopefully this is nothing more than political posturing and following primary season the Biden administration will take a more centrist stance on their energy policy. One can hope.

    Comment by James Duade — January 28, 2024 @ 11:08 am

  5. Putin’s shills who insisted that continued terrorism financing through “Nord Streams” was “pure business, nothing personal” are delighted, no doubt.

    Comment by Ivan — January 28, 2024 @ 3:12 pm

  6. @Ivan: great you’re back, still commenting predictable…
    Terror: the sabotage of nord stream was a terror act, talking about terror.
    Financing Russia: Did they lose the business and money, or do they make business now with somebody else, through somebody else, and something else?
    Russian Gas and Europe: funnily, when I google it, then Europe is now buying LNG from Russia, worth a billion every month, or 21% of Russian LNG would go to or through Europe…
    It’s not Russia who’s got a financing and resources issue, it’s Germany and other US ‘vassals’ or ‘allies’ who reportedly now ‘look like fools’…but you don’t care about Germans, we’ve had this before…

    (and I don’t live there anymore for over a century…

    …I’ve had a daydream, seeing a Deutschland flag in colors black-red-gold, but the gold was taken out of the flag and it was just left red and black only. So, that was the final reason to leave for me, and it became true…).

    Comment by Mikey — January 28, 2024 @ 4:03 pm

  7. The Biden administration is staffed by numbskulls. Film at 11.
    If we (W Europe) wanted to reduce GHG we’d be fracking like crazy. Liquifying, transporting and regassing LNG uses up 20% of the energy, when we have reservoir potentials of our own. The Bowland shale is reckoned to be 400 metres deep in places, so not even needing horizontal drilling (and maybe not even fracking) if you choose the right place next to a gas main and a conurbation.
    The British administration is imbecilic. Film at 12.

    Comment by philip — January 28, 2024 @ 4:40 pm

  8. @Mikey

    a lot of the guards at Auschwitz probably used the same reasoning: if you don’t do it, others will take the job, and you just lose good stable money in this unpredictable economy. Those poor Germans had families to feed, one has to be cruel not to feel for them.

    Comment by Ivan — January 28, 2024 @ 4:54 pm

  9. Hey – I have it on the authority of the man-child who unfortunately leads my country that there “is no business case” for exporting LNG from North America to Germany (and by extension, all of Europe. So get off it: it can’t and shouldn’t happen!

    Comment by dcardno — January 28, 2024 @ 7:49 pm

  10. Well, if it’s all about the business case: maybe there is already a company in Delaware with just the right expertise to do the hard work of determining who gets those exceptions. After all, we should not attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by pursuit of business opportunities. Unfortunate collateral damages notwithstanding.

    Comment by Ivan — January 29, 2024 @ 1:18 am

  11. @Ivan: so, you had no point, that’s why you needed to draw a comparison that is completely unfitting for the situation here. Are you maybe a fan of Ursula who tries her revisions on who freed Auschwitz, saying it were the allied forces instead of the red army?

    Comment by Mikey — January 29, 2024 @ 3:34 am

  12. Or, as they guy over at Powerlineblog would say, letting private industry free to solve a problem leaves “insufficient opportunity for graft.”

    Comment by Howy — January 29, 2024 @ 7:56 am

  13. @Ivan
    You’ve surely got it.
    Adding red tape to LNG export terminals is a business opportunity for those who can unravel the tape.
    Step forward a certain Hunter Biden, with deep expertise in gas companies, such as Burisma.

    Comment by philip — January 29, 2024 @ 3:36 pm

  14. *philip @11, you got me in stitches.

    Funny aside note: when I went to a fjord cruise to Norway back in August, I was secretly laughing at the locals with their righteous “green” speeches when bragging about their “exemplar sustainable industry” of LNG. The cruiseship guide proudly told us that a) Norway is the greenest of all countries b) instead of diesel the ship uses only LNG c) in 2024 the country stops all foreign cruise lines still using diesel from entering its waters.

    If they only knew what Brandon’s enviro-nuts think of their “cleanest-of-clean” LNG!

    Comment by Tatyana — January 29, 2024 @ 4:07 pm

  15. That’s probably a detailed article about the ‘Rassmusen poll’ amongst SCAE (so called American elite) Prof mentions…that was now quoted in German language alternative media. It’s not just about export…they’ve got nice plans for the US too:

    Comment by Mikey — January 30, 2024 @ 1:17 pm

  16. I do find myself increasing wishing for the return of Arthur, or Cromwell, or even Mussolini or Franco. Just someone who didn’t take any shit, would sort all this out, and would kill all the necessary people.

    Comment by Green As Grass — February 1, 2024 @ 5:15 am

  17. So much Western government decision-making has been so bad as to classifiable as treason. So: arrest, charge, try, convict, sentence, hang.

    The shooting of Admiral Byng should be the model (even though it was perhaps a bit harsh on him personally). There’s no use changing the oafs-in-office if you don’t change their incentives.

    P.S. I used to be opposed to capital punishment: no longer. String ’em up!

    Comment by dearieme — February 4, 2024 @ 6:27 am

  18. @Green as Grass. Or for us ‘Mericans, Andrew Jackson or W. T. Sherman.

    Comment by cpirrong — February 4, 2024 @ 3:07 pm

  19. @dearieme. As I am wont to say, there aren’t enough lampposts.

    I have often cited the example of Admiral Byng, and Voltaire’s sardonic take on it–“pour encourager les autres.” That’s exactly why it is needed. In Byng’s case it was probably somewhat unjust, but better to err on that side than the way we do, which is to let the bastards get off scot free, which means they are encouarged to wreak havoc.

    Comment by cpirrong — February 4, 2024 @ 3:12 pm

  20. @James Duade. Thanks. We can hope.

    Comment by cpirrong — February 4, 2024 @ 4:07 pm

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