Energy today stands at a crossroads.

On one side is the game-changing upsurge in oil and gas production, achieved through technological innovations first developed in Texas. These new technologies have unlocked untold energy resources that until recently have remained inaccessible beneath American soil.  And U.S. energy industries now utilize technologies that  virtually eliminate harmful levels of genuine pollutants. The energy opportunities created by the shale revolution would confer profound   benefits for human welfare and geopolitical stability:  jobs, increased income, rebirth of “made in America” manufacturing, and national security.  Taking full advantance of  our many energy resources   will not only profoundly strengthen the United States, but has the potential to spread well-being and prosperity around the globe.

On the other side is a federal climate policy designed to supplant the oil, natural gas, and coal based energy that now supply over 80 percent of U.S. energy. EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from America’s electric powerl sector 30 percent by 2030. And the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced over 80 percent by 2050 to avoid dangerous global warming.  Some have downplayed the sheer enormity of this transition, claiming that renewable energy can step in to fill the gap. Yet today’s renewables are not only more costly than fossil fuels, their lack of reliability and versatility make them far inferior substitutes for fossil fuels on a mass scale.

The outcome of attempts to rapidly move off fossil fuels can be seen today in Europe. Due to aggressive policies that mandate “renewable” energies, electricity prices in Germany are three times higher than in the U.S., and electricity is considered a “luxury good” across many European Union countries. It is society’s most vulnerable, the elderly, that most feel the brunt of these policies. Ongoing conflicts in Eastern Europe and the Middle East also have the potential to greatly limit supplies of energy, compounding the impact on the poorest around the globe.

The federal government’s increasing  efforts to decarbonize our energy supply are not only economically damaging, they are also are futile. EPA’s recently proposed Clean Power Plan would mandate a re-engineering our nation’s entire system of electric generation to lower CO2 emissions by only 30 percent.  Yet, this would only reduce supposed global warming by an immeasurable 0.01 degrees Celsius in 2050 according to the science endorsed by EPA.  When this inconvenient data was brought to EPA’s attention, the Agency admitted its power plan won’t stop global warming, but said it will symbolically demonstrate to the “international community” that the United States is willing to make sacrifices.

This is how EPA would justify a complete overhaul of the  power supply of the United States, deep-sixing the coal power on which 40 percent of U.S. electric generation depends?  EPA has announced it will soon propose CO2 regulations on refineries. And consider the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Natural Gas” campaign – modeled after their regrettably successful “Beyond Coal” campaign now used by EPA as a regulatory template.

Simply put: the transformative power of energy now faces the coercive power of government.

It’s time to get real about energy and distinguish myth and theory from hard facts. To this end, the Texas Public Policy Foundation is convening a Summit in Houston this September.  Called “At the Crossroads: Energy and Climate Policy Summit,” this gathering will include internationally acclaimed speakers to help those with most at stake to take stock of the scientific, economic, legal, and moral  issues surrounding this pivotal issue of our generation. When the hard facts about energy are set beside the politically manipulated, speculative science of man-made global warming, energy – and those who produce it – are the winners for mankind.

One of the Summit’s most compelling speakers is Mark P. Mills of the Manhattan Institute. He recently offered a poignant reminder of the world’s need for energy realism.

“Every realistic scenario,” Mills writes “sees the world consuming more, not less oil and gas in the future.  As for alternative energy, even if the hyperbolic goal of supplying all new global demand were met, the world would still consume 40 billion barrels of oil and natural gas annually.”

Mills takes stock of “the astonishing quantities of hydrocarbon resources” that U.S. entrepreneurs have unleashed only within the last few years. According to Mills, the volumes of this newly gained energy abundance would not only revive the U.S. economy but could end the Russian and Middle Eastern monopoly on oil and gas, so needed in Europe and elsewhere. He offers a refreshing dose of realism by showing that two million barrels of American oil sent to Europe per day would reduce by one-half the European Union’s dependence on imports of Russian petroleum. U.S. production has increased by three million barrels per day in a mere four years. If the federal government would allow even modest access to the oil and gas on the millions of acres of public land, the United States could handily afford to export to our European allies now caught within dangerous new geo-politics created by Russia.

Also keynoting the event will be Matt Ridley, whose latest book, The Rational Optimist, argues that human beings are not only wealthier, but healthier, happier, cleaner, cleverer, kinder, freer, more peaceful and more equal than they have ever been. Energy has played a key role in this process. As Ridley notes,

“resources such as coal [oil and natural gas] are sufficiently abundant to allow an expansion of both economic activity and population to the point where they can generate sustainable wealth for all the people of the planet without hitting a Malthusian ceiling.”

These are but two of the many internationally acclaimed thinkers, authors, and policymakers that will be gathering in Houston in September. Through the many world-class thinkers gathered to speak at this summit, we will make the case that America’s energy is the right and moral solution. We hope you will join us.