Matt Towery is off this week. The following column is by Stephen Moore.
President Obama has been mocked, and appropriately so, for his ludicrous comment that the upcoming climate change summit in Paris will be a "powerful rebuke" to the terrorists. No. This summit is a powerful rebuke to common sense.
It says a lot about the lack of clarity and commitment to the growing threat of the Islamic State that the world leaders are gathering in the city where the murderous attacks just happened, with the blood barely dry, and the prime topic of discussion will be how to stop the rise of the oceans.
Amazingly, the White House then wonders why so few voters have any trust in his handling of the terrorism crisis.
The concern isn't just that climate change derangement syndrome has such an obsessive grip over this president and other world leaders that they choose to take their eyes off the ball. It's worse than that: The entire global-warming agenda is an impediment to the war against terror.
One of our most effective economic swords to use against ISIS — and Iran, Putin's Russia and OPEC — is America's vast shale oil and gas reserves as well as our 280 years' worth of domestic coal resources. This point should be self-evident: Every barrel of oil we produce here at home is one less barrel we have to purchase from abroad.
We know from intelligence reports that the Islamic State receives as much as half a billion dollars a year in petro-dollars. ISIS' access to Middle Eastern oil finances a growing army of terrorists that are well armed, trained, and coordinated to wreak havoc on the Western world.
Why then do we continue to buy oil from those who are trying to kill us? That's especially crazy given that we now have the capacity to achieve real energy independence within five years by pursuing a pro-America energy development strategy.
Our own Energy Information Administration reports that we have access to more recoverable fossil fuel resources than any nation in the world thanks to the new and ever-improving smart drilling technologies. We have hundreds of billions of barrels of oil underneath us, and by 2020 we can and should become the energy-dominant nation in the world. This could be an economic and geo-political game-changer, yet President Obama recently nonsensically declared in a speech on climate change that we should keep these resources in the ground.
No matter how severe one believes the threat of global warming, the inescapable reality is that for at least the next decade and even with a rapid conversion to renewable energy, the U.S. and the rest of the world will continue to rely heavily on oil, natural gas and coal for about two-thirds of our transportation fuel and electricity. If we don't produce our vast domestic fossil fuel energy, the world will buy oil and natural gas from somewhere else — and the terrorist networks will grow richer and more militant.
This may be an inconvenient truth, but it's an economic reality. Another reality is that regardless of what the U.S. does to force-feed expensive and unreliable green energy into our economy, the rest of the world is building hundreds of new coal plants every year and drilling for oil wherever they can find it.
President Obama could and should announce several emergency steps either with the stroke of a pen or with congressional approval to make America less reliant on terrorist oil and the blood money that too often goes with it.
First immediately repeal the 1970s law that prohibits the exporting of American gas and oil. Doing so could increase US production by as much as $50 to $100 billion annually.
Next build the Keystone XL Pipeline and many other pipelines awaiting government approval so we can safely and swiftly transport North American oil to the markets where it is needed. This could create thousands of high-paying union jobs as well.
We should also allow drilling on federal lands that aren't environmentally sensitive. More than 90 percent of the drilling boom has been on private lands. Use the royalties to retire some of our debt and for an anti-terrorism fund.
Finally, suspend some of the more strident EPA rules that are shutting down our coal producers across the nation even as Asia is building 500 new coal plants this year alone.
Until two weeks ago, Barack Obama and many European leaders were insisting that their highest priority was combating climate change. Now they've been reminded — and, hopefully, we all have — that free nations face a much more dangerous and imminent threat to our ways of life.
Of course, domestic drilling won't by itself thwart ISIS' operations. But it is a small, vital step in diminishing this snake's global reach and influence. President Obama keeps saying that he is taking every possible step to prevent more terrorist attacks. Alas, this isn't true. Instead of going to Paris to talk about the weather, Obama should be devising an urgent strategy to defund the terrorists and help rebuild the U.S. economy by making America the energy-dominant nation on the planet.
Stephen Moore is a distinguished visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation, economics contributor to FreedomWorks and author of "Who's the Fairest of Them All?" To find out more about Stephen Moore and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: Charles Henry