“A recent Politico article on the bad messaging of Democrats on climate and energy, Democrats Bite on Burgers and Straws–and Republicans Feast, is fair warning. It is high time the hometown paper of the center of the oil and gas industry stop the blatant bias against the very energies that consumers naturally prefer.”
There is no representation for conservatives or libertarians on the editorial board of the Houston Chronicle. So when it comes to energy, fossil fuels (because of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions) are seen as the enemy of the climate rather than a greening agent; protection against heat, cold, and precipitation; and a first responder after weather extremes.
Mineral energies in capitalist settings have much to do with the precipitous drop of climate-related deaths in the last century–and are essential to human betterment going forward. But the Chronicle is all-in against Trump energy policy and is Save Earth Malthusian otherwise.
While local and business reporters dutifully report the exciting news about the oil and gas boom that has propelled Texas and Houston, the paper’s editorial staff and news selectors report about every negative thing they can find about fossil fuels. The same decision-makers give regular voice to alarmists.
Even the letters-to-the-editor section routinely prints comments from members of the carbon-tax Citizens Climate Lobby, while rejecting critical letters from our side. I know this from my own (rejection) experience and that of Charles Batting, Allan Vogel, and others.
I have a long history of publishing op-ed’s with the Chronicle.  Never have I felt unwanted and subject to censure until the last several years. Sure, I can publish all I want on a sub-subject like offshore drilling, but a piece that challenges the climate narrative behind the Green New Deal? The energy-density problem that dooms wind power and on-grid solar? The moral case for fossil fuels? No, these worldview pieces are rejected.
The strategy is to reject editorials that question the whole enterprise of climate alarmism and forced energy transformation, instead accepting gentle articles from industry sources advocating particular policies. To wit, two articles by yours truly
- Fossil Fuels: Still Winning (August 2019)
- Businesses Should Avoid Global Warming Politics (July 2018)
have been rejected despite the facts that I am from Houston and happen to have founded an energy think tank whose Washington DC operations are (and have been) at the forefront of federal energy policy.
Sunday’s Edition (September 8, 2019)
Last Sunday’s Houston Chronicle was loaded with keep-it-in-the-ground, Green New Deal-type fare. Consider this:
- Q&A interview with Bill McKibben, “Pioneering Environmentalist Talks Urgency on Climate Change” (A4). All softball questions surrounding McKibben’s general theme of “dramatically moving off of fossil fuels by 2030, and finishing the job by 2050.” (McKibbon is scheduled to speak in Houston next Sunday.)
- “On Culpability, Energy Firms Keep Eye on Opioid Lawsuits” (B4), a reprint from the Washington Post, equating CO2 to life threatening pain killers.
- “More Green Flowing to Power Clean-Energy Projects” (B4), a reprint from Bloomberg News. New investment in solar and wind, author William Mathis states, “gives credibility to an effort by world leaders to slash climate-damaging greenhouse gases.” (Really? How are their nations doing under the Paris climate accord?)
The bone thrown to the opposition came in a piece by Peria Trevizo, “Group Calls Out Natural Gas Omit” (A3), which features a complaint from the industry-group Texans for Natural Gas about being excluded from the City of Houston’s 16-page Climate Action Plan.
Natural gas is about as far as the Chronicle will go–so long as it replaces coal and eliminates methane emissions. Business writer Chris Tomlinson supports natural gas in general and LNG exports in this regard. He also faults pipeline obstructionism of keep-it-in-the-ground environmentalists who end up either hurting natural gas in its quest to substitute for coal or oil, or forcing oil into tank trucks and rail cars.
At the Houston Chronicle, Tomlinson is a “conservative” toward natural gas but a ‘liberal’ when it comes to oil and coal. He is quite pro-renewable (and incidentally is married to a renewables executive, Shalini Ramanathan).
Fossil fuels win every second of every day with an 80 percent market share in the U.S. and 85 percent share of the global economy. Are consumers this wrong in their voluntary choices? Do they have a right to dependable, affordable energy? Have taxpayers subsidized uneconomic forms of energy (wind, solar, EVs) enough as it is? The Chronicle should check its premises and be intellectually fair, its anti-Trump politics aside.
Still, energy realism can come in through the Chronicle’s back door. At the end of a piece exploring the changing politics of Texas, “County GOP Plans 2020 Comeback,” Harris County Republican Party chairman Paul Simpson was quoted:
“They don’t want us to eat beef, drill for oil, or even use straws.” And the more Democrats highlight those positions, the more Republicans will gain ground, he said. “I can’t tell you we have an awful lot of enthusiasm that we haven’t had in years,” Simpson said.
Yes, a recent Politico article on the bad messaging of Democrats on climate and energy, “Democrats Bite on Burgers and Straws–and Republicans Feast,” is fair warning. It is high time the hometown paper of the center of the oil and gas industry stop the blatant bias against the very energies that consumers naturally prefer and leave the taxpayer alone. Just perhaps, perhaps, I can get a worldview op-ed accepted by my hometown paper in this regard.
 My Houston Chronicle op-ed’s under a prior editorial board include:
- “ExxonMobil on Right Path” (June 14, 2009)
- “Climate-Change Alarmism Runs into a Reality Check” (January 9, 2009)
- “False Alarms and Climate Change” (March 30, 2008)
- “Al Gore’s Telling Whoppers Again” (June 4, 2006)
- “Shoppers: There is a Bright Side to Rising Gas Prices” (April 18, 2002)
- “President is Correct to Ignore Climate Alarmists” (May 14, 2001)
- “Fear Not: The Energy Malthusians Are Wrong” ( April 21, 2000)
This opinion piece first appeared on MasterResource.
Robert L. Bradley Jr. is the founder and CEO of the Institute for Energy Research.
Photo credit: Public Domain via Flickr