Government regulations do little to help the environment and instead hurt economic growth, said Myron Ebell, director of the Center of Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Monday at the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art.
Ebell is recognized nationally as a leading critic of global warming science and climate change theories. His organization, based in Washington, D.C., advocates for more free economic markets and less federal regulation of industries.
The event was part of a speaking tour series, sponsored by the New Mexico Prosperity Project, the Rio Grande Foundation, and HEYCO Energy Group for Ebell to address representatives of the state’s oil and gas industry.
Bill O wen of David Petroleum Corp. helped organize the event and said it was designed to be informal and casual. “It’s an opportunity we don’t get very often, to have someone of this caliber to come speak to us,” he said.
HEYCO Energy Group President George Yates said Ebell “has all the right critics,” such as Greenpeace, Rolling Stone Magazine and Al Gore.
“Myron has been called the most dangerous man in America,” he said. “All of that is a tribute to his credibility and effectiveness.”
Ebell said the events also allow him to hear from those directly affected by the issues he talks about.
“Washington is a bubble,” he said. “It’s good to hear from real Americans.”
In his lecture, Ebell said environmental and energy regulations contribute to economic stagnation and cost agencies about $1.8 trillion a year, according to the Institute’s data.
He said “global warming alarmism” is becoming institutionalized in federal regulations, such as those that require organizations include climate change management plans.
Regulations discourage big corporations from investing in natural resource projects in the U.S., he said, and instead choose countries such as Canada, where permits take less time to attain.
“There is a belief that we have to save the planet and that means putting oil, coal and natural gas back in the cupboard,” he said.
He noted emissions are down, but mostly due to heavy manufacturing being moved out of the country. Over-regulation could also make fuel more expensive, as refiners choose to export products.
Most regulations that include plans for climate change also involve the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which he considers the greatest threat to prosperity.
“It does little to save a species and more to stop economic growth,” he said.
Ebell acknowledged there is global warming and climate change, but noted that there hasn’t been significant global warming in 16 years.
Most of global warming science is hypothetical, he said, and based on computer models, not historic data.
“Climate is always changing,” he said. “That doesn’t mean there’s a crisis.”
As for southeastern New Mexico, Ebell said its energy boom contributes much to the economy and prevented the country from having a recession last year.
He encouraged attendees to make legislators “know you exist,” so that they would vote for affordable energy.
“The state would not exist without the oil and gas industry,” he said. “You ought to have representatives who recognize what your state depends upon.”