(Part three of a three-part series on energy.)
“We’re being asked to wage trillions of dollars and substantially curtail freedom on climate models that are imperfect and unproven. (With) the consensus far from being as solid as they say it is, and the debate as over as they say it is.”
George F. Will
In President Nixon’s day, dirty tricksters did things the old fashioned way—with black gloves and flashlights. The result was Watergate, the eventual legacy of which may be that anything corrupt contains a word ending with “gate.”
The latest incident is Climategate. It began about three weeks ago when a computer hacker broke through a server used by the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England.
Unlike Watergate, which started a grand conspiracy, last month’s hacker-heist may unravel one. It appears as if the stolen e-mails reveal collusion by climate scientists to withhold scientific information. Some scientists don’t want the public to know the shocking truth—that the climate is NOT getting warmer.
The hacked e-mails from men and women of science include discussions on how to silence climate change skeptics. The e-mails also discussed how to censure scientists who dare to have contrary views on global warming and included derogatory remarks about climate skeptics. Finally, the e-mails discuss how to prevent actual data from being revealed under the Freedom of Information Act—an action that seems to have little to do with freedom and less to do with information.
For example, after learning that the scientific journal Climate Research had suggested that perhaps the world isn’t burning up, Penn State professor Michael Mann wrote in an e-mail: "I think we have to stop considering Climate Research as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in this journal."
Besides a seeming tendency to write people off in true Stalinist fashion, Mann has made a living writing about the dangers of global warming. He helped build the “hockey stick graph” shown below.
“Remember that this is not an academic exercise,” wrote The Atlantic. “We contemplate outlays of trillions of dollars to fix this supposed problem. Do the scientists involved deserve to be trusted? No. These people are willing to subvert the very methods—notably, peer review—that underwrite the integrity of their discipline.”
But the story gets even better. At the end of November the University of East Anglia admitted losing raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.
It means that nobody can check basic calculations that supposedly show a long-term rise in temperature for the past 130 years.
With Watergate Nixon gave the old, “The dog ate my homework” excuse. (Actually Nixon’s secretary Rose Mary Woods said she accidentally erased the recording of the president’s meeting with H.R. Haldeman that took place three days after the break-in.)
With Climategate, the University of East Anglia is saying the computer ate the data.
According to the University’s Website: “We do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (quality controlled and homogenized) data.”
Even if you accept that the University isn’t cooking the books, the environmentalists have a problem. They claim that world temperatures have risen one degree Fahrenheit in the past century. However the starting point—around 1880—was colder than average. Furthermore, the timing of temperature changes does not fit the theory of global warming. Most of the rise came before 1940, or before greenhouse gases were significant.
A Bright Future for this Old Resource
In the end I think global warming will turn out to be more myth than fact. If that’s the case then a lot of alternative energy investors will be tempted to jump-off the windmills they invested in. And as it is demonstrated that fossil fuels are not going to flood the world and kill off all the polar bears, core energy investors should do spectacularly well. In fact, the biggest profits might be in the oldest resource—coal.
Coal-fired power plants account for half of the U.S. electricity supply. More importantly, coal is also America’s most abundant natural resource.
We have seen in the first two parts of this series that we live in a dangerous age—a period where renewable energy technologies have not yet been realized and a time when America is becoming dangerously dependent on Arab oil.
This third part to the series focuses on a tangible solution—coal. In all of its abundance and its utility, coal will power America deep into the 21st Century.
Just last month The Wall Street Journal ran an article titled: Coal Warriors: Why U.S. Coal Producers Could Still Have a Bright Future.
The WSJ stated: “Coal is and will remain a huge part of the electricity mix in the U.S., despite—or perhaps because of—congressional action on energy and the climate.”
The United States — the Saudi Arabia of Coal
The heady days of petroleum in America are far behind us. Over the course of the past 30 years America’s oil imports have surged threefold—from 2.6 million barrels per day (mb/d) to 7.6 mb/d.
The fundamental fact is that the United States and the world are hungry for energy. Consider the following:
- U.S. demand for all types of energy is expected to increase by 31 percent within 25 years.
- Electricity demand in the U.S. will grow by at least 40 percent by 2032.
New power generation equal to nearly 300 1,000 megawatt power plants will be needed to meet electricity demand by 2030; as many as half of them will be coal.
Luckily, coal is the one resource the United States has plenty of. The U.S. has the largest coal reserves in the world, just short of 250 billion tons. That is almost the combined reserves of the next two largest reserve countries China and Russia.
In fact, the U.S. is one of the world’s leading exporters of coal, and is expected to ship 65 million tons this year. That total will grow as nations like India and China ramp up their industrial revolutions with King Coal.
Future world demand for electricity is expected to be so strong that Exxon-Mobil is planning on spending a record $25 billion to $30 billion annually over the next five years finding new hydrocarbon deposits.
“The global economy is experiencing a downturn but at Exxon-Mobil we are focused on the long-term,” said Rex Tillerson, the company’s chairman and CEO.
Power up Your Portfolio with Arch Coal
Any conversation about meeting future energy needs must include coal. Even the “greens” realize this. According to left-leaning CNET News, “Coal is a major source of air pollution, mining accidents, and environmental damage. Unfortunately, we can’t live without it.”
The International Energy Agency (IEA) agrees. In its World Energy Outlook, the IEA says global energy demand will surge by 45 percent between now and 2030. The number one resource to meet this demand will be coal.
That makes investing in coal a smart choice, especially when you consider how depressed coal company stock prices have been over the past 15 months.
My favorite blue-chip coal company is Arch Coal Inc (ACI, NYSE).
Arch mines and sells steam and metallurgical coal from surface and underground mines to power plants, steel mills and industrial facilities in the United States. Arch operates 20 active mines and owns some 2.8 billion tons of proven and probable recoverable reserves.
As you can see from this graph, Arch is selling for about $20 or just one-quarter of its 2008 high. The recession and the growing fears over “green” politics, starting inside the White House, make Arch an incredible bargain. Meanwhile the world is slowly learning the truth—that global warming is a hoax perpetrated by the left-wing establishment and a liberal media.
And if that was not enough, the Federal Reserve and the Obama administration continue to expand the U.S. money supply at a shocking and unprecedented rate. You can read more details on this by going to my Nov. 11 column, Obama’s Bear Market: How to Survive and Prosper.
This surge of new money and continued easy credit is certain to lead to excessive inflation and continued dollar devaluation.
Taken as a whole, these factors could result in the doubling of Arch Coal’s price over the next 18 months. That’s something you don’t often get with a large market cap stock. Yet I think we are going to see with Arch.
Action to take: I urge you to buy Arch Coal (ACI, NYSE) at market. Call you stockbroker today.
Yours for real wealth and good health
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report