Additional Titles









The Virtues of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide









by Arthur Robinson

March 24, 2008

One year ago, the annual cost of energy imported into the United States was $300 billion. Now in March 2008, the price is about $600 billion � for the same amount of energy. What can we expect to be the course of this price in the future? I expect this price to rise to a maximum and then decrease to essentially zero. U.S. importation of energy will end.

Will it end because the American people build sufficient nuclear and hydrocarbon energy generating capacity to provide this energy for themselves or because Americans do without this energy? Tragically, the answer is almost surely the latter.

U. S. politicians are not showing the slightest interest in rolling back the taxation, regulation, and litigation that has stifled American energy production.

Not a single nuclear power plant is under construction in the U.S., and the current waiting period for government approval for construction is now estimated to be four years. Demonized by the myth of human-caused global warming, expansion of American hydrocarbon energy has essentially stopped, too. For reasons well familiar to American engineers, there are, at present, no other practical means of generating lots of useful energy.

So, if we cannot produce energy, why will we cease to import it? The reason is simple. We can no longer afford it. We are being outbid for energy in the world market.

Prices, as denominated in U.S. dollars, of the most valuable material things in the world are now rising at historically unprecedented rates. Energy, grain, metals, machines, and luxury real estate are all rising far faster than even the most extreme estimates of monetary inflation would justify. Even ordinary homes are selling at prices that the majority of Americans cannot afford without becoming enslaved to large debts that they are increasingly unable to maintain.

Everywhere one turns, the price of the best of everything is being bid to levels beyond the reach of most Americans. A mundane example is found in used earth-moving equipment � for which a large auction market exists. At auctions in the U.S. of such equipment today, the newest and best one-third of the equipment is purchased by foreign buyers � the poorer, more worn out equipment is purchased by Americans.

Money serves as a medium of exchange, a standard of value, and, if the money is sound, a storage medium for unspent capital. Each day, the choice of money and value of money are determined in the market by hundreds of millions of individual transactions. The actual market exchanges, however, are goods for goods, services for services, goods for services � things of value for other things of value. Money facilitates these transactions.

Americans are being outbid for energy � and all other things of great value in the world market because they no longer produce sufficient things of value to offer in trade.

With a government-controlled educational system that has sharply reduced the number of productive Americans and with policies of high taxation, regulation, and litigation that constantly increase restrictions upon the activities of the productive people who remain, United States production of useful goods and services has declined to a level that will no longer sustain the current American way of life.

So far as energy and other valuable items are concerned, the American people are attending a world auction. They are weaker buyers than are the people who now supply most of the world's goods. They are being outbid by these people.

Prices at this auction will simply rise until the weaker bidders fall away. These weaker bidders are over-governed, over-taxed, over-regulated, over-litigated Americans who simply can no longer compete in world markets � because their government has placed such huge unproductive burdens upon them.

As the 30% of energy that is now imported into the United States is lost to other bidders, a lot of things are likely to change. Of the remaining 70%, more than half is used for essential activities such as food production and distribution and winter heating. So, at least 60% of U.S. discretional energy use will end.

With this end will consequently come the end of many luxuries. Air conditioning, night-time lighting, vacation and other non-essential travel, non-essential computer and Internet activities, and many other things that Americans now take for granted will become unavailable to them.

It is much easier to rise in prosperity than it is to fall. The political repercussions of the coming sharp fall in American prosperity � which is now inevitable � will be severe.

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As a result of this fall, Americans will either succumb to the greed, fear, irrationality, and envy that has led them to elect those who have caused these problems � thereby worsening their plight, or they will cast off their chains and rebuild their country.

In the current election cycle, Americans are clearly choosing more politicians of the kind who have caused this tragic disaster. When conditions become much worse, whom will they choose?

� 2008 - Art Robinson - All Rights Reserved

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Art Robinson was educated in chemistry at the California Institute of Technology and the University of California at San Diego. Immediately after graduation, he was appointed to the faculty of UCSD and carried out research there and at Stanford University. In 1973, Linus Pauling and Art Robinson founded a research Institute that was known as the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine. Robinson was President and Director of that Institute. In 1980, Art Robinson, his scientist wife Laurelee, and several colleagues founded the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, where he is currently President and Research Professor.












U. S. politicians are not showing the slightest interest in rolling back the taxation, regulation, and litigation that has stifled American energy production.