Capitolizing on Energy

Views on D.C. energy and politics with William O’Keefe

“Rigidifying” Climate Policy

In her book, March of Folly, the late historian Barbara Tuchman coined the terms “mental standstill” and “rigidifying” to describe a state  “where principles … governing a problem are fixed and then made rigid when dissonances and failing begin to appear.  This is the period when … rethinking, and change of course are possible”.  Instead, […]  More »

Politics: the hobgoblin of clear thinking

If foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, what is foolish inconsistency?  In politics, it probably is the hobgoblin of clear thinking and candor. The President has made campaign comment after comment about the need to eliminate oil imports and if not eliminate them cut them in half by 2020.  He has gone on […]  More »

Taxes, Tolls and Politics

It is usually refreshing when a political promise is kept, but when prevailing circumstances and economics justify making a change, a pledge can be taken too far. Absolutes in politics can lead to unintended consequences.  Rather than trust citizens to understand and accept circumstantial changes, politicians often just remain dogmatic. The anti-tax position of Virginia […]  More »

Oil Industry Profits: Debunking Statistical Lies

In 1954, Darrell Huff wrote How to Lie with Statistics, a primer on ways to use statistics to deceive.  Much earlier, Mark Twain counseled journalists: “Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.”  The Center for American Progress (CAP) has recently demonstrated that it knows how to skillfully […]  More »

Don’t Let Panic Dictate Climate Policy

Early on in the Obama Administration, former chief of staff and now mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, asserted, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”  Well, it is now clear that climate alarmists took his counsel to heart.  A prolonged heat spell, some extreme weather, and a new report from a well-respected […]  More »

Renewable Fuels and the Helping Hand

Last week, President Obama appeared to denigrate successful business people by claiming that they had “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.”  According to, National Review’s Rich Lowry,  “The Obama theory of entrepreneurship, which seems to be the theory of the democrat leadership as well, is that behind every successful businessman, […]  More »

Energy, Politics and Insanity

Every four years, debates on the presidential campaign trail inevitably turn to energy policy.  Some of what is said makes sense – some of the time.  But, when the elections are over, energy policy actions always seem to go down two tracks.  One is supposed to move us toward energy independence, the march of folly.  […]  More »

Bad Law Begets More Bad Law

In 2007, The Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gases were a pollutant under Section 2 of the Clean Air Act and therefore EPA had the authority to regulate them, especially carbon dioxide.  In time, this Court decision will go down as one of the worst.  In reaching its decision, the Court liberally interpreted the Clean […]  More »

The Slowly Sinking Clean Energy Policy

The Obama Administration’s clean energy program is reminiscent of the Titanic after it hit the iceberg.  It is taking on water, the crew has no idea of what to do, and the band plays on. Germany and other EU clean energy advocates are facing up to the reality that they can’t right their economies while […]  More »

The Vanishing Peak

One of the most enduring myths about oil is the Peak Oil theory.  The theory, first articulated by a geologist, M. King Hubbert, in 1949, hold that since petroleum is a finite resource, production will lead to exhaustion .  From then until his death in 1989, he routinely predicted that the end of the oil […]  More »

Driving, Demographics and Policy

For the past 60 years or so, owning a car, and the mobility it provides, has been one of America’s most idealized priorities.  The automobile has been canonized countless times across the silver screen, and for generations getting one’s drivers’ license has been a rite of passage.  But just as industry met the increased demand […]  More »

Energy Innovation Driven by Experience

Over the past 40 or so years, our society has evolved from accepting accidents as events that occur in spite of best efforts to a point where they are viewed as unacceptable and when they occur someone has to be punished. That state of mind is dangerous because it leads to excessive risk aversion and […]  More »