Paul Driessen


Paul Driessen is a senior fellow with the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, nonprofit public policy institutes that focus on energy, the environment, economic development and international affairs. Paul Driessen is author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power, Black death

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Finally! Some fuel economy common sense

Aug 8, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards were devised back in 1975, amid anxiety over the OPEC oil embargo and supposedly imminent depletion of the world’s oil supplies. 

But recall, barely 15 years after Edwin Drake drilled the first successful oil well in 1859, a Pennsylvania geologist was saying the United States would run out of oil by 1878. In 1908, the US Geological Survey said we’d exhaust our domestic oil reserves by 1927; in 1939, it moved petroleum doomsday to 1952.

Somehow, steadily improving technology and geological acumen kept finding more oil. Then the horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) revolution postponed the demise of oil and natural gas production for at least another century. The fuels that brought wealth, health, longevity, and modern industrialization, transportation, communication and civilization to billions will continue doing so.


Environmentalist scare stories—Never mind!

Jul 29, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Environmentalist scare stories--Never mind, bee-pocalypse
“Baby boomers” will remember Gilder Radner’s Saturday Night Live character from the ‘70s—Emily Litella, who would launch into hilarious rants against perceived problems, only to discover that she had completely misconstrued what she was fuming about. 

“What’s all this fuss about endangered feces?” she asked in one. “How can you possibly run out of such a thing?” Then, after Jane Curtain interrupted to tell her “It’s endangered species,” she meekly responded with what became the iconic denouement of the era: “Ohhhh. Never mind.”


Luddite eco-imperialists claim to be virtuous

Jul 22, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Luddite eco-imperialists claim to be virtuous
Not every poor person in impoverished places around the world aspires to the modern living standards they see and hear about: indoor plumbing, electricity for lights, a refrigerator and stove, a paucity of disease-carrying insects, top-notch schools and hospitals, their children living past age five. But many do.

Not every poor African, Asian or Latin American farmer wants to give up his backbreaking, dawn to dusk traditional agricultural practices, guiding his ox and plow, laying down meager supplies of manure to fertilize crops, surviving droughts, repeatedly hand spraying pesticides to battle ravenous insects—to reap harvests that often barely feed his family, much less leave produce to sell locally. But many do.


Rejecting carbon colonialism

Jul 15, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Rejecting carbon colonialism
We recently explained how Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) use manmade climate change alarmism to justify lending policies that reject funding for fossil fuel electricity generation, promote expensive and unreliable renewable sources, and thereby help keep impoverished nations poor.

Now, in a daring show of humanity and common sense, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has broken ranks with the World Bank and its like-minded carbon colonialist brethren. The AfDB has announced that it will once again finance coal and natural gas power generation projects. As AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina puts it, “Africa must develop its energy sector with what it has.”


Multilateral anti-Development Banks

Jul 8, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Multilateral anti-Development Banks
“Foreign Operations” appropriation bills now working their way through Congress supposedly provide funding to “advance U.S. diplomatic priorities overseas,” “increase global security,” and continue “life-saving global health and humanitarian assistance programs for the world’s most vulnerable populations.”

The bills include handsome funding for the World Bank and other so-called Multilateral Development Banks: some $1.8 billion in total. The United States is by far the World Bank Group’s largest donor, and a major funder of four other MDBs: the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.


Keep it in the ground…by blocking pipelines

Jul 1, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Keep it in the ground…by blocking pipelines
You can understand their frustration, as the steady stream of radical environmentalist successes during the Obama years has been replaced with endless setbacks. Oil, gas and coal leasing, permits and production have risen significantly. Big Green just lost its first Big Cities v. Big Oil climate change shakedown lawsuit. President Trump pulled the USA out of the economy-wrecking, all-pain-no-gain Paris Climate Treaty and will soon nominate another Supreme Court justice.

The fracking revolution (horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing) not only slipped in under their radar. The technology they absolutely detest has utterly destroyed their mantra that the world is rapidly running out of petroleum—and now is helping create millions of jobs, generate billions in government revenues, launch a petrochemical resurgence, and turn the United States into an oil and gas exporter!


500 days of unleashing our economic engine

Jun 17, 2018 — Paul Driessen

500 days of unleashing our economic engine
The “mainstream media” remains riveted on alleged Trump-Russian collusion and how the Trump-Kim Jong Un deal will fail. But it mostly ignored reports on Russia-environmentalist collusion and China-environmentalist collusion—and milestones reached during the Trump Administration’s first 500 days.


Freeze, reduce or eliminate CAFE fuel standards

Jun 10, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Freeze, reduce or eliminate CAFE fuel standards
Saying the air traffic controller work force was “too white,” the Obama Federal Aviation Administration allegedly replaced hiring standards based on science, math and ability to handle intense pressure with rules designed to increase racial diversity. It’s hard to find a more flagrant example of bureaucrats putting people’s safety and lives so low on their list of priorities. Difficult but not impossible.

Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards also play with people’s lives. Enacted in the 1970s amid fears of imminent oil depletion, the rules require that cars and light trucks on average across each manufacturer’s entire smorgasbord of vehicles must get better and better mileage over a period of years.


Speculative climate chaos v. indisputable fossil fuel benefits

Jun 3, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Speculative climate chaos v. indisputable fossil fuel benefits
Judge William Alsup has a BS in engineering, has written computer programs for his ham radio hobby, delves deeply into the technical aspects of numerous cases before him, and even studied other programming languages for a complex Oracle v. Google lawsuit.

As presiding judge in People of the State of California v. BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell, he insisted that the litigants present their best scientific evidence for and against the state’s assertion that fossil fuel emissions are causing dangerous climate change. Now he wants to see, not just the alleged damages from burning oil, natural gas and coal—but also the immense benefits to humanity and the people of California from using those fuels for the past 150 years and more.


Real Russian collusion the Dems and MSM ignore

May 20, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Real Russian collusion the Dems and MSM ignore
Robert Mueller’s politicized investigation into allegations that President Trump or the Trump campaign or some Trump associate somehow colluded with Russians continues unproven but unabated. Many think partisan politics ensure it will not be concluded or terminated before the fall 2018 elections.

Federal District Court Judge T. S. Ellis may have rebuked Mueller for attempting to wield “unfettered power” and actually being motivated primarily by a desire to hurt the President. But Mr. Mueller seems determined to find collusion somewhere—except where it seems blatantly obvious: in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s dealings with Putin oligarchs and the Clinton Family Foundation, her presidential campaign’s ties to Russia in funding and utilizing the Steele-Fusion GPS dossier that launched the Mueller probe, a host of top Obama Administration and Democratic National Committee officials who connived to spy on and disrupt the Trump campaign and transition, and multiple other activities.


“Evil” GE foods and “eco-friendly” organics

May 18, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Evil GE foods and eco-friendly organics
Across the globe, genetically engineered (GE) crops face opposition from environmental and organic food activists, who claim the crops harm the environment and endanger human health.

How factual are their claims? The evidence strongly supports GE over organic crops.

Not long ago, Vijay visited the Sprouts organic food store in San Jose, California. To his surprise, organic vegetables that had shorter shelf-life and higher risk of bacterial contamination and thus serious illness were priced two to ten times more than their GE and conventional food alternatives. The store is famous among millennial techies in the Silicon Valley and enjoys reasonable sales. One possible explanation would be the false notion that GE foods are risky or injurious to health; another is that buyers incorrectly believe organic produce have fewer pesticides, are more nutritious or better protect the environment.


The ethanol gravy train rolls on

May 14, 2018 — Paul Driessen

The ethanol gravy train rolls on
Like most people I’ve spoken with, I have no innate, inflexible antipathy to ethanol in gasoline. What upsets me are the deceptive claims used to justify adding mostly corn-based ethanol to this indispensable fuel; the way seriously harmful unintended consequences are brushed aside; and the insidious crony corporatist system the ethanol program has spawned between producers and members of Congress.

What angers me are the legislative and regulatory mandates that force us to buy gasoline that is 10% ethanol—even though it gets lower mileage than 100% gasoline, brings none of the proclaimed benefits (environmental or otherwise), drives up food prices, and damages small engines. In fact, in most areas, it’s almost impossible to find E-zero gasoline, and that problem will get worse as mandates increase.


Perverse, conflicted ethical systems

May 6, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Perverse, conflicted ethical systems
Third Reich Forest Minister Hermann Goering was an avid hiker and ecologist who once sent a man to a concentration camp for cutting up a frog for fish bait. In 1933 he and other Nazi Party leaders enacted anti-vivisection laws to stop what he called “unbearable torture and suffering in animal experiments.”

Intensely hostile to capitalism, the Nazis controlled all industries and envisioned large-scale wind turbine projects that would generate “huge amounts of cheap energy” and create millions of German jobs.


Ending secret science at EPA

Apr 29, 2018 — Paul Driessen

social cost of carbon
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has proposed to end the longstanding EPA practice of using secretive, often questionable, even deceptive science to support agency policy and regulatory initiatives. His proposed rules will ensure that any science underlying agency actions is transparent and publicly available for independent experts to examine and validate—or point out its flaws.

It also responds to growing concerns that extensive scientific research in environmental, medical and other arenas cannot be replicated by other scientists, or is compromised by cherry-picked data, poor research design, sloppy analysis or biased researchers. The situation has led to calls for increased sharing of data and methodologies, more independent peer review and other actions to weed out problems. There is no excuse for hiding data when studies are funded by taxpayers or used to justify regulations.


Climate adaptation, reparation and restoration

Apr 22, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Climate adaptation, reparation and restoration
This Earth Day (April 22) we need to ask whether environmentalism has gone completely bonkers.

Back in the 1970s, I skied Colorado’s cross-country and downhill slopes pretty regularly. Some years were incredible: many feet of snow as glorious to behold as to ski on. Other years, like 1977, I’d come around a bend on my XC skis, see nothing but rock in front of me, and just ditch.

Who knew the industry I worked for in the later 70s was causing these climate and weather mood swings—even then, long before carbon dioxide levels hit the cataclysmic 400 ppm mark? Who knew profit-hungry oil companies were already preventing the Centennial State from having endless seasons of perfect ski conditions, followed by ample spring meltwater for cities, agriculture and trout streams?


The double standards industry

Apr 16, 2018 — Paul Driessen

The double standards industry
It’s a good thing environmentalists have double standards—or they wouldn’t have any standards at all.

Empire State legislators worry that anything above the current 0.0001% methane in Earth’s atmosphere will cause catastrophic climate change, and that pipelines will disturb wildlife habitats. So they oppose fracking for natural gas in New York and pipelines that would import the clean fuel from Pennsylvania.


Politicians must consider unintended consequences

Apr 9, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Politicians must consider unintended consequences
It’s become a recurring, frustrating pattern, as legislators and regulators ignore the immutable laws of unintended consequences, to drive political agendas or aid favored constituencies, while harming others.

A good example is corporate average fuel economy (CAF√â) standards on vehicles. Originally enacted in 1975 to offset the impacts of the OPEC oil embargo and US oil price controls, and slow the rapid depletion of oil reserves, the mileage standards grew increasingly stringent. During the Obama years, the earlier justifications were replaced with claims that a vastly tougher 54.5 mpg standard would somehow help prevent “dangerous manmade climate change.”

However, EPA’s own analysis showed that the new mileage standard would have brought emission reductions of a barely perceptible 3 billion tons of CO2 over the lifetime of vehicles covered by the new standards—out of an estimated two trillion tons of CO2 emitted worldwide during the same period.


Climate chaos claims continue causing consternation

Apr 2, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Climate chaos claims continue causing consternation
Anyone who thought “manmade climate cataclysm” rhetoric couldn’t possibly exceed Obama era levels should read the complaint filed in the “public nuisance” lawsuit that’s being argued before Federal District Court Judge William Alsup in a California courtroom: Oakland v BP and other oil companies.

The allegations read at times like they were written by a Monty Python comedy team and a couple of first year law students. Defendant companies “conspired” to produce dangerous fuels, the complaint asserts, and “followed the Big Tobacco playbook” to promote their use, while paying “denialist front groups” to question “established” climate science, “downplay” the “unprecedented” risks of manmade global warming, and launch “unfounded attacks on the integrity” of leading “consensus” scientists.


Those fraudulent climate litigation shakedowns

Mar 8, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Those fraudulent climate litigation shakedowns
The ultra liberal enclaves of New York City and San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Marin, and Imperial Beach, California all claim to be deeply worried about manmade climate cataclysms. They detest petroleum, oppose pipelines, fracking and onshore and offshore drilling, and strongly support renewable energy and expensive electricity: already 17-18¢ a kilowatt-hour for families, rich and poor.

They also have huge government pension fund shortfalls (NYC alone has a pension debt of some $65 billion), and are suing BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhilips and Royal Dutch Shell. They’re gunning for a collective litigation windfall of several hundred billion dollars, to help bail them out. (They’d probably sue coal companies, too, but the Obama era war on coal drove many into bankruptcy.)


Will Congress finally get tough on junk science?

Mar 5, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Will Congress finally get tough on junk science?
A growing problem for modern industrialized Western societies is the legion of government agencies and unelected bureaucrats and allied nongovernmental organizations that seem impervious to transparency, accountability or reform. Their expansive power often controls public perceptions and public policies.

Prominent among them are those involved in climate change research and energy policy. In recent years, they have adjusted data to fit the dangerous manmade climate chaos narrative, while doling out billions of taxpayer dollars for research that supports this perspective, and basing dire predictions and policy demands primarily on climate models that assume carbon dioxide now drives climate and weather (and the sun, water vapor, ocean currents and other powerful natural forces have been relegated to minor roles).