Posts tagged “Thomas Friedman”
Bringing together climate policy and innovation to form a cohesive carbon tax proposal reframes U.S. climate advocates’ near-myopic focus on carbon pricing, mandates, and subsidies and expands the discussion on how we can use those tools to spur innovation, writes Matthew Stepp.
Robert Rapier had an interesting post on his R-Squared column. He claimed that Tom Friedman was mistaken in his most recent column (Pass the Books. Hold the Oil) in saying that Taiwan has succeeded because they have no natural resources; therefore they can be a model for how other countries can become successful by investing in their people. Robert says that’s not the whole story: even though they don’t produce oil, they are still dependent upon it. Again, I find myself defending Friedman, and that’s really not my default.
Robert does a good job of showing how much oil Taiwan actually uses, and his numbers here are great – and important. I had no idea that Israel consumes more oil per capita than the EU. The common thread, unfortunately, is that growing economies require growing amounts of oil.
Twisting Facts to Support an Agenda
Thomas L. Friedman, a New York Times Op-Ed Columnist, frequently writes on the topic of energy and the environment. One persistent habit he has is to omit certain important facts from a story — facts so important that they would greatly undermine the point he is trying to make. His latest column provides a perfect example:
His premise is that Taiwan is a model for other countries to follow, because they have no natural resources, and yet have managed to be very successful by investing in their people:
Because rather than digging in the ground and mining whatever comes up, Taiwan has mined its 23 million people, their talent, energy and intelligence — men and women. I always tell my friends in Taiwan: “You’re the luckiest people in the world. How did you get so lucky? You have no oil, no iron ore, no forests, no diamonds, no gold, just a few small deposits of coal and natural gas — and because of that you developed the habits and culture of honing your people’s skills, which turns out to be the most valuable and only truly renewable resource in the world today.
Count me among those who strongly believe in educated citizens. Unfortunately, Friedman’s essay does not advance that cause, but rather misleads by omitting some very important facts. The thrust of his argument is that Taiwan did not need natural resources to become so successful. Unfortunately, what Friedman omits is that Taiwan IS heavily dependent upon natural resources, they just get them from other countries.
A Changing U.S. Energy Picture
This weekend, Thomas Friedman posed a question in his Sunday New York Times column: “Should the US join OPEC?” I generally don’t like to get into Friedman’s columns, as his name-dropping and taxicab reporting will drive you crazy. However, he probably has the widest readership of anyone in this field, and he does a good job of simplifying complicated issues.
Friedman says the “debate we’re again having over who is responsible for higher oil prices fundamentally misses huge changes that have taken place in America’s energy output, making us again a major oil and gas producer — and potential exporter — with an interest in reasonably high but stable oil prices.”
I hate to say it, but he’s right – although we’re nowhere near being a petroleum exporter today (a clear requirement for membership in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), I believe that fundamental changes in America’s supply and demand over the next 20-30 years mean that we’re moving towards a world where the U.S. has a real interest in exports – probably not of unrefined crude oil, but of all energy products.