Following is the full transcript of the Hudson Institute event titled The Future of US Energy Production: A Conversation with Sen. Bill Cassidy
Disclaimer: This transcript is based off of a recorded video conference and periodic breaks in the stream have resulted in disruptions to the audio and transcribed text.
Good afternoon, everyone. I’m Tom Duesterberg, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, and we’re honored to have today with us Senator Bill Cassidy, from the great state of Louisiana. We’re going to talk about energy policy, both domestically and globally, much in the news in the last year or two, and especially in recent weeks. Let me first introduce our guest. Dr. Bill Cassidy represents the state of Louisiana. He is a native of Baton Rouge, attended Louisiana State for both undergraduate and medical degrees, and taught for many years at the LSU Medical School.
Amongst other accomplishments as a medical doctor, he co-founded the Greater Baton Rouge Community Clinic, the clinic providing free dental and healthcare to the working uninsured. In 2006, he was elected to the Louisiana State Senate. In 2008, he joined the U.S. House of Representatives to represent the Sixth Congressional District. And then in 2014, he was first elected to the U.S. Senate, reelected in 2020. He’s a member of the Finance Committee; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; Energy and Natural Resources Committee; and the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
We’re going to talk today about energy and its impact on domestic policy and international policy much in the news, not the least of which is because of the war in the Ukraine and increasing understanding of the role of Russia as an energy supplier. Dr. Cassidy has put together a comprehensive plan on US energy policy, “Resetting American Energy and Climate Policy,” where he calls for an Operation Warp Speed to speed up the evolution of our productive capacity in the United States. And I’m going to ask Dr. Cassidy to first tell us a little bit about that. And I note, Senator, that you link manufacturing strength in the United States to our energy policy, and perhaps you could say a word about that link as well.
Senator Bill Cassidy:
Yes, I will. They say a mark of a fine mind is the ability to hold two opposing thoughts at once and compare them. We’re all required now to have finer minds, because it’s not just two disassociated or even opposing thoughts, it’s four. There is a nexus if you will, between how do we lower carbon intensity, the national security, strengthening our economy, and having affordable energy. Now I say affordable energy because if a family is paying $6 a gallon for gasoline for an extended period of time, we’re going to lose political support for any policy, which they blame for basically making them bankrupt in the payment of their energy bills.
There’s a nexus: environment, national security, energy, and an economy, both of a nation and of a family. How do we balance these? Well, you recognize that if you only go after one, then you lose all four. So the administration, the current administration’s, been going after climate, they want to leave it in the ground. They don’t want to produce, they veto the Keystone XL pipeline the first week of the Biden administration. They attempt to make financing uncertain, all these kind of “death by a thousand cuts” of domestic energy production. Where has it gotten us?
It has gotten us to the point where one, we’re paying a heck of a lot of money for gasoline, but now the Canadians are building a pipeline to take their tar sands to the west coast of Canada, where they will ship those tar sands to China. And China will refine it using Chinese environmental standards, not ours. And so the global climate will be worsened. National security has worsened. A year ago, we were considered energy independent. And now we’re kind of groveling before Saudi Arabia, “please pump a little bit more,” and MBS [Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud] is not taking Biden’s calls.
A little humiliating and not a position that we wish to be in. And of course, our European allies are just sucking wind. 40 percent of their natural gas at least comes from Russia. And in the Eastern part of Europe, 90 percent of their natural gas comes from Russia. Now you can say that’s European national security, if you will, not US. But if we were looking for allies to confront Russia, we want the Europeans all in, because if they can’t afford their energy, then the political support in those countries to confront Russia will quickly erode.
There is a nexus. If you only focus on climate, then you are going to lose all four, including climate. By the way, if all you say is, “drill baby drill,” you’re going to lose your climate. So you’ve got to take these four things, recognize it as nexus and balance them all at once. By the way, we can build upon this as we attempt to address these issues. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that I was fortunate to play a role in had multiple provisions, for example, carbon capture utilization sequestration, hydrogen hubs, et cetera, that can lower emissions while at the same time attempting to use North American energy resources.
We actually have some things we’ve worked on that set the stage, but if you have permitting agencies that cannot make it happen, then it will not happen. That’s where I come to my Operation Warp Speed. Operation Warp Speed, we saw when we needed a coronavirus vaccine quickly. Dr. Fauci was saying it would take three years at a minimum, others were saying it would take 10 years based upon history. Congress had given these agencies the tools to do things in parallel as opposed to one after the other.
Under the emergency, metaphorically everybody was brought into a room, all the regulatory agencies, if you’ve got a problem and this person needs to fix it, fix it now so that you can proceed. And so instead of it happening serially, okay, we’re going to look at it for six months, ask for some more information. Finally, get it, send it to someone else who then looks at it for six months and sends this back. In the meantime, the operation officer and the original agency have left and the next person has to learn the new facts.
No, we’re going to get this all done at once. Working in parallel, advancing forward with just the advance of the vaccine a few steps ahead of the advance of the regulatory agency. And we did it safely. We can do the same thing now for energy production. I have two different people who have told me that they have operations, that if they had their permits today, would be shipping natural gas or would be bringing oil for refining into Louisiana to our refineries within year.
Now, they really say, “It’s going to take us two to three.” That’s not because their time of construction takes longer. No, it’s because the regulatory agency will take one to two years to complete their work. That is not the moment, the moment is that we have to get it done now. Considering this nexus, again: environment, climate, if you will, national security, the economy of a nation, the economy of a family, and our production of energy. Now by the way, I’ll also say for those who speak of renewables, two things about that.
I’m not doubting that this is part of a long-term solution, but when you speak to energy executives in Germany, they will point out, we heat our homes with gas. Even if magically we could suddenly expand all the renewables that we need to make up for our electron usage, we heat our homes with gas. And if you look at the Rural Valley, they are using oil and gas for feed stock for the chemicals that are essential to life. Everybody here is sitting before a computer screen made of plastics. The feed stock for those plastics comes from fossil fuel.
Either you shut down those economies or you ask people to freeze in a German winter, or you recognize that renewables in the short term cannot be all the answer, aside from the permitting into other aspects of building them out. Not disputing renewables, but we also have to recognize that to build renewables, there are certain critical minerals and certain other things that are right now primarily sourced out of Russia and China. Just as we have this kind of traditional energy problem, we have a renewable energy, uranium issue because these come out of Russia or in the case of uranium and critical minerals, out of Russia and China together.
We need to look for alternatives to that. To diversifying our supply chain. Somebody brought to me recently that if the United States approved the treaty of the sea, in that, the United States could begin to harvest critical minerals from the ocean bed. Other countries can do the same, but we have a spot that is specifically for the US, and that could replace some of our reliance upon China.
We have domestic supplies, but if you ask folks why we’re not mining them now, they go back to the regulatory state. We need an Operation Warp Speed, not just for traditional energy, but we need an Operation Warp Speed for the permitting and the environmentally safe mining of the critical minerals, we need to power a renewable energy grid as well. Let me just finish, whenever a guy from Louisiana starts talking about energy, people always assume that we give short shift to carbon emissions.
Oh, he’s just talking about traditional energy, he just wants to produce everything, he doesn’t care about climate. Let me establish a little street cred here. Louisiana has lost more land mass to rising sea levels than any other state in the nation. We may actually exceed everybody else put together. We’ve lost a land mass equivalent to the size of Delaware and more, and by the time this session is over, we would’ve lost another 100 square yards of land that a week ago was on a Google satellite map of my state and now looks like open water.
We understood rising sea levels is an issue. And so in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that I again have the privilege to work on, we have multiple provisions, as I’ve mentioned, that can actually take the emissions from oil and natural gas and can sequester or feed them into another product line. It creates a business model, if you will, that sustains the jobs that are associated with the jobs currently—you got to take care of families—but also gets us towards a net carbon-zero economy.
Now, you mentioned that I have a bill out there. And if you go to, I think it’s my website, cassidy.senate.gov/reset, R-E-S-E-T. It has the plan. And you’ll look at that and you’ll say, “Huh, they’re trying to…” And this is what we’re trying to do. I say we, because my team helps write it. What we’re trying to do is balance the energy needs of the world and our role therein. The energy needs of a family here in the United States, all intimately tied with our national security, with the need lower global carbon emissions.
I say global, because it’s not just sequestering that which we would be emitting, but it’s encouraging people to have avoided emissions. It’s encouraging folks to set up carbon sinks. We speak of forest, I would also speak of wetlands. If you restore an acre of wetlands in Louisiana, that’s far more carbon sequestered than a forest. And by the way, you can put a forest on top of the wetlands. But it also has things such as direct air capture, which would actually remove carbon from the atmosphere.
I’m going to finish Tom, just by resetting, we got a nexus here. We got to consider four things at once and it’s just difficult for people sometimes to break out of the blinders and say, “Let me just look at one.” If we’re going to be successful in any of the four, we have to balance all four and it would be energy, decreasing emissions, national security, and the economy of a nation and the economy of a family. I put those two economies together. If we do that, we’ll achieve all four, but if we ignore any one of the four, we’ll achieve none. So let me stop and look forward to the conversation.
Senator, thank you for that impressive overview. Let me dig in a little bit on some aspects of your plan and your thinking about balancing these four elements of a comprehensive plan. Let’s talk about natural gas. Louisiana is, I think, the nation’s leader in building facilities and exporting LNG [liquefied natural gas], you mentioned several times the need of the Europeans for natural gas, now that they’ve been trying to reduce or eliminate their dependence on Russia, which provided some 40 percent or more of their natural gas needs.
The Germans are paying three times more for natural gas than we do because of their dependency and their inability to produce on their own. Can you talk a little bit about the role of natural gas in general in transitioning to a less carbon-intensive environment? And second, whether Louisiana has or the United States has the LNG export capacity to make up for the Europeans’ loss of natural gas from Russian sources?
Senator Bill Cassidy:
Yeah, great questions. First, let’s start with the factoid that the amount of BTU or energy content per carbon footprint of natural gas is much better than that for oil, which is much better than that for coal. The energy content versus carbon emission profile of natural gas is about 100 percent better than that of coal, meaning twice as much energy for the given amount of carbon footprint. And it’s kind of paradoxical Tom, the Left, I think has this kind of sense that we have to make energy more expensive in order to make people use less of it if we’re going to reduce emissions.
But what we’ve seen again, just to repeat, with that mindset, now, Germany is going to burn a lot of coal because we don’t have the natural gas to supply them, and so we’re going to have a greater carbon footprint. It’s actually paradoxical. With the Shale Fracking Revolution, natural gas has gone from about $12 to $13 per MCF in 2007 to about $4 now, because it became so much less expensive, there’s been a substitution effect where coal-fired power plants have been replaced with state-of-the-art natural gas power plants.
Refineries, excuse me, chemical companies used to use oil as their feed stock for the chemicals and the plastics that we need for modernity, but they’ve replaced it with natural gas. Places in the Northeast that formerly used heating oil are now using natural gas. There’s been a substitution effect of something which has a lot more energy relative to its carbon footprint for a lot of other products. Because of that, we now have in absolute amounts, about the same emissions in the United States, as we did in 2005.
Now think about that, we’ve got a lot more people. Our economy is much bigger, we are actually producing more oil and gas. We’ve had a renaissance of manufacturing because of the inexpensive natural gas companies move here to take advantage of the cheaper fuel source and feed stock. And so we have more of that energy that is more carbon intensive. And yet, despite all that, we have a lower carbon intensity economy. If you do the ratio of carbon intensity over size of the economy or carbon intensity over the population, it just makes it more dramatic how much improvement that we have had.
We’ve done that because of natural gas. In the transition from a higher carbon past to a lower carbon future, natural gas is essential. Now, how would this apply to Europe? If we could supply them with more natural gas, the Germans would not burn their coal-fired plants, they would be using natural gas and they would have the same effect as we, a larger economy, but a lower emission profile. That comes to your second question, do we have adequate amounts of LNG to export?
Well, probably we in the United States cannot provide the entirety of their need, but it will be coming from a variety of sources, the Middle East, Australia, et cetera. Right now we’re maxed out, everything we have is being shipped, but we have several things online. And so we need to expedite the construction of these additional LNG export facilities. I’ll go back to my Operation Warp Speed. If the fellow says, “If I have my permits today, I could be shipping gas in 12 months.” That is because… But it’s going to take me two to three years. We need to have an Operation Warp Speed, where his permitting process in an environmentally safe way can be done in a compressed period of time. So it is not one to two years for them to be permitted, rather it is going to be two months to six months to be permitted. And that way we can increase our capacity to help the Europeans in their next winter type of problem.
Just to add a couple of facts too, since you gave this a comprehensive overview, the gas that is produced in Russia produces as a side effect much more methane than gas produced in the United States. The Russians are the leading emitters of methane, which is some 100 times or more potent as a greenhouse gas. And I also noted in looking up the numbers that the LNG capacity that has increased in the United States so much this year that we could replace the gas that European are foregoing from the Nord Stream pipeline that they just canceled. Let’s-
Senator Bill Cassidy:
I mentioned that though, it’s interesting, Tom, because I’m told that they’re afraid that the Asians will buy it all. That on the international market, yes, we’ve increased production, but there’s a lot of long-term contracts that have obligated that to go elsewhere. I think they’re seeing new capacity as being essential, where they buy into those long-term contracts, and it would not be obligated to Korea, but rather it could come to them. There’s also kind of, again, the economy we have to consider and the economy right now is, how do you finance and get a long-term contract? Oh my gosh, India bought it, so we can’t ship it to Germany.
Keeping on your theme of balance and timing. I mean, we’re in something of a crisis right now because of high prices, both domestically and internationally, plus the impacts that we are just barely beginning to understand of the war in the Ukraine and long-term transitions and energy supplies. But can you talk a little bit about the timeline for getting renewables online and some of the impacts on, perhaps, on American manufacturing?
I think you noted that we don’t have a lot of the crucial materials that are needed, going back to just minerals like silicon or in the case of producing electric batteries, cobalt, lithium, nickel, and we’re dependent on China and Russia for those. We have very little capacity for manufacturing solar cells, because the Chinese have undersold our producers and knocked so many of our producers out of the market. What is your thinking about the timing of getting renewables online and what do we need to do to revive the American manufacturing of everything that goes into a renewables-based economy?
Senator Bill Cassidy:
Tom, you got a lot in there, man. You got a lot in there.
Senator Bill Cassidy:
First, in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, there was an encouragement that there would be mining for critical minerals here in the United States. We actually have a lot of these assets. It’s just a question of whether or not we can do it. And there’s a variety of environmental regulations that are being used to thwart that. By the way, there was an editorial by Ezra Klein, quite a liberal fellow, in The New York Times this past week. And he mentions how environmental regulations have become the worst enemy.
He mentions specifically about how the Left’s employment of lawsuits based upon environmental law has limited the ability to deploy lower carbon technologies. It’s the old quote from Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” If you’re actually concerned about a lower carbon-intensity future, I recommend the editorial. Not often I recommend anything Ezra Klein writes, but nonetheless, in this one, I think he diagnoses the problem correctly. That laws meant to protect the environment are having the paradoxical effect of making it harder to lower carbon intensity.
And I would add to develop other traditional resources in an environmentally friendly way, just because somebody doesn’t want it to happen, not because it’s not a good idea. That’s number one. We have the resources, we just need to have an Operation Warp Speed to develop our domestic resources, so that we can begin to produce them. Secondly, we also have to recognize you went back to China, undermining our ability to compete. Now, let’s just tease that apart a little bit, I think that’s an incredibly important thing.
China does not enforce environmental laws, and as we know, will exploit child labor in the Congo to harvest or to mine those critical minerals that are then sent back to China, where, by the way, coal is 60 percent of their feed stock. And so the carbon intensity of producing a renewable battery for an electric car, a renewable device, if you will, it’s very carbon intensive. They also use slave labor. They are ignoring environmental regulations and workers’ rights in a way which allows them to underprice relative to the United States or others.
Indeed, there’s a paradoxical effect. If we ask Mexico to have environmental and labor standards, it raises the cost of production in Mexico, incentivizing companies to move to China. That is called an externality. The externality is, that because they ignore this, we have to absorb it in the international environment or higher unemployment or more illegal migration from South America or Mexico to the United States, because jobs are being lost to China.
In our bill, again, cassidy.senate.gov/reset, we have a carbon border adjustment fee. So if China’s using coal as feed stock, not enforcing environmental regulations, therefore polluting the international space, there would be an adjustment for that. You should not disadvantage a country in which it’s being done right, because another country does it wrong when it is affecting us directly. We would actually account for that externality in a way which would level the playing field. Long term, you start bringing that industry back because you make it equal in terms of pricing to produce here or to produce in China.
Let me try to pick up on one thing you mentioned and perhaps a less complex question, nuclear power. What is the role of nuclear power going forward? Do we have the political acceptance of keeping nuclear power as part of our grid? I noted that the Europeans finally, perhaps, were mugged by reality and are now saying that nuclear has a role to play in moving to a less carbon-intensive supply of energy. What do we need to do to keep nuclear as part of the mix? And do we have the proper political support to make that happen?
Senator Bill Cassidy:
You have to prize, if you will, be willing to pay a premium for low carbon energy. Again, in our bill that we have out, our reset bill, I’ll say it once more cassidy.senate.gov/reset, we would actually encourage companies to produce in a lower carbon-intensive way. Well, energy is a huge source of carbon. So if a company is rewarded for producing in a lower carbon-intensive way, they would pay a premium for carbon-free energy. Right now we have these large nuclear power plants putting lots of energy on the grid, but the cost of production or the operation, I should say, is greater than that of wind.
Wind is subsidized, you can sell wind from Iowa into Illinois and pay people to take it because your subsidies are so great that you can pay people to take your electrons. Now you can’t beat free. And so if nuclear in Illinois is trying to compete with free, it’s not going to be able to compete. But if you are paying for those electrons to go someplace in which you’re paying a premium for those electrons, then all of a sudden you have a market for them.
We also think that our legislation rewards a nuclear power plant that currently exists by having a company, incentivizing a company to pay a premium for that carbon-free energy. Going forward in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, we have, I think about $5 billion for advanced nuclear. How can we have small modular nuclear that would not take as much to operate, therefore less expensive, but that could provide energy for a small city or for an industrial complex, which going back to what I just said, instead of using a higher carbon intensity for their energy source, could now get their electrons from a small modular nuclear plant. There’s a role for the current fleet, but we also envision going forward a different paradigm that would be more localized.
Okay, thank you for that. Let me ask a direct question here: we are dependent to a certain extent on Russia and its satellite Kazakhstan for supplies of uranium, including enriched uranium. Should we cut off supplies from Russia as one means to incentivize production in, hopefully, the United States, but also maybe our close allies Canada and Australia?
Senator Bill Cassidy:
You’d like to actually have a net beneath you before you let go of the trapeze. And so going back to Operation Warp Speed, we need to have an Operation Warp Speed for both the mining of the uranium, which, North America has lots of resources, and we currently enrich. But we would have to have a greater supply to enrich as well as expand capacity of enrichment. And it can be in Canada, it can be in the United States or Australia, but if it’s in the US, I go back to my Operation Warp Speed, we are going to have to speed up the environmentally safe but regulatory pathway in order to increase the amount of mining of uranium, and then the enrichment thereof.
It goes back to that regulatory state, back to the Ezra Klein editorial. If we insist upon blocking everything, we’re going to end up worse off, both in terms of national security, in terms of the environment, we won’t create the jobs. We’ll be dependent upon others in terms of our economy and the climate will be worse. We need an Operation Warp Speed to make what you just described happen so that we can safely cut off from Russian uranium.
Let me switch back to perhaps where we started: high gasoline prices based on everything that’s going on that you’ve mentioned. Just in terms of timing, you talk to industry executives a lot. Is it realistic to think that we could ramp up production of crude oil enough in a reasonably short period of time to see a downward path on oil and gasoline prices? After all, it’s a politically potent, as you know, problem not only here, but with some of our friends in Europe and East Asia as well.
Senator Bill Cassidy:
Going back, again, my nexus, how do you take care of the economy of a family? If a family is paying too much for gasoline, you lose the political support to do anything. I do think it’s right to help the family, but it’s also right to keep an eye on political support. In about 45 days after the president said it, we’ll stop getting about 700,000 barrels a day from Russia. We’ve got to replace that 700,000 in 45 days, so to speak. We need market certainty.
I spoke to a trader yesterday and the trader said, “The problem is that people are not sure that there’ll be market certainty. So they’re bidding up the cost of current supplies.” If the administration sent market signals that they were willing to expand supply in the intermediate long term, the traders would feel more comfortable about the current supply and the traders would not be bidding it up. And so therefore the cost of oil would be less and the price of gasoline less.
One, we need signals from the administration. What could that be? Well, we spoke to the folks that run the rails from Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico, my state, to bring Canadian tar sands. They say we’re at historic lows for shipping Canadian oil to the Gulf Coast. The Canadians say they could increase about 400,000 barrels a day. We’re losing 700,000, we could replace 400,000 right now from a North American partner, shipping it by rail. And that could happen in a relatively short timeframe.
That’s one way, how do we expedite ramping back up the importation of that oil? Secondly, the administration loves to blame Exxon, Shell, Chevron, BP for high prices of oil, but the independent [oil and gas producers] provide about 80 to 90 percent of the oil that we produce. If you told them, listen, we’re going to be in a high-price environment, some of them are beholden to private equity. They may not increase. A lot of them are family owned, or they are… When I say family owned, think Harold Hamm, worth billions because he’s got such operations.
They say that they can ramp up production pretty quickly, but they need to have expedited permitting. I go back to Operation Warp Speed, you need to have a pipeline you can ship it through. You need to have the ability to repair that pipeline. In some cases, the federal government won’t give permission to repair a pipeline, so therefore you can no longer use it. You have to have the permits if it’s owned public land and you have to be able to get it pretty quickly.
I do think our swing producers, the smaller independents, would be able to ramp up as well. You put a lot of margins together, you put a lot of margins together, and then you can start replacing that which we lose from the Russians. And by the way, send that market certainty and so you’re not bidding up the price of current reserves. And as you do that, if necessary, you can release from the strategic petroleum reserve for those marginal effects that you’ve not yet made up for.
Senator, we’re getting to the end of our time, one perhaps hopefully quick question. You mentioned several times working with allies like Canada, but making the overall transition to renewables, less carbon-intensive economy, plus working our way through this transition period, which is going to require things like natural gas and probably some increase in Western supplies of oil and nuclear.
Are you encouraged by what you’ve seen in terms of cooperation with our allies, since the onset of the war in the Ukraine? Do you think we can work more constructively with them going forward than we have in the past? Even in things like producing the equipment needed for putting renewable energy in place, reducing our dependence on China for electric batteries for electric vehicles, do you see any sort of a sea change in our ability to work constructively with allies in the last couple of weeks?
Senator Bill Cassidy:
Yes, and maybe. Going back to we have this nexus that we have to consider, national security environment, the kind a nation of family and energy. Our allies in Europe, they know they’re vulnerable. They’re vulnerable not just to a cutoff of Russian oil and gas and uranium and coal, but they’re vulnerable to a cold winter next year when they have inadequate supplies. They’re also vulnerable to the fact, as one German told me, the average German family will pay €5,000 to €6,000 more a month for energy. Oh, I’m sorry for a year for energy, this coming year.
Think about it. $6,000 to $7,000 more, and they may have to shut down their industrial base with all their loss of jobs, if they don’t have an adequate amount of gas to simultaneously heat homes. Now, we’re talking about major recession and/or depression—as Samuel Johnson said, “There’s nothing like a hanging to sharpen a man’s mind“—but they have the same problem with regulatory reform as do we. They need an Operation Warp Speed. As one said, we need to simultaneously build the import capacity for the LNG as you build the export capacity to send it to us.
Then we need to build the pipeline simultaneously so that we can distribute that gas across our nation. They understand they have a problem, they want to work in conjunction with us, but they also understand that they’ve got their own regulatory issue. And if they don’t solve it, then they will be at the mercy of a cold winter and/or of a Russian people cutting off their energy supplies, because they cannot get their own permitting done. I hesitate to give advice to any, but they need an Operation Warp Speed too.
Senator, in view of your extremely busy schedule, I think we’re going to wrap this up, but I wanted to give you an opportunity to cover anything else that you had wanted to cover that we haven’t covered yet in this conversation.
Senator Bill Cassidy:
I just want to say that this is an incredible opportunity for the United States of America to refocus our energy policy and our now national security policy, our jobs policy, our climate policy. At a point in time where everybody’s attention is sharpened, where it doesn’t just continue by inertia with kind of a middling effect upon everything. But it now becomes sharply focused, but what it takes is the ability to manage four different issues simultaneously and looking to see how they all work together.
And if we do that, we will successfully confront not just Russia, but our dependence upon China, who’s even a greater geopolitical rival. And in so doing, we’ll be able to strengthen the economy of North America, whether it’s the United States, but also Canada and Mexico, as well as the economy of our allies in Europe. And in so doing meld together an alliance that then begins to become an alliance not just of economies, but of national security, that then more effectively in the future confronts these.
But we do it by looking at all four issues together and simultaneously. It is going to be our climate, our energy policy, the economy of a nation and the economy of a family, as well as our national security. If we do that, 20 years from now, we will look upon this as the best opportunity the West ever had. And if not, I fear the consequences.
Senator, thank you so much for your incisive comments, best wishes to you in pursuing these important issues, and thank you to our audience for being with us today.