Wednesday, July 31, 2013

We Are Doomed Without, Not Because of, Fossil Fuel Use

House of Representatives Republicans are looking to slash the so-called "clean energy budget"—subsidies to solar and wind companies and consumers—and the Left is predictably up in arms about it. The NJ Star-Ledger wrote: 

"We are facing an epic dilemma: Our use of fossil fuels isn’t being curbed by supply or demand. Domestic natural gas supplies are growing, and prices are dropping. Yet if we burn all the fossil fuels that are accessible with modern techniques such as fracking and directional drilling, we are doomed.

"Burning coal, oil and natural gas releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming. This is what causes extreme weather like blazing heat waves, prolonged droughts, storm surges and intense flooding."

The editors claim that "fossil fuel bosses" have Republicans "by the throat."

I left these comments: 

So, "blazing heat waves, prolonged droughts, storm surges and intense flooding" never happened before the industrial revolution?

Of course they have, and they historically brought widespread death and misery to human beings. The industrial revolution changed all that. Along with a rising standard of living, industrialization gave man the ability to protect himself from these natural disasters. Not to minimize the suffering that still affects some people struck by weather extremes, we no longer have famines from droughts, mass death from drownings during storm surges or river flooding, or mass suffering from heat waves; all owing to irrigation systems, modern mechanized global agriculture, the transport of mass quantities of food to drought-stricken areas from other areas with plentiful rainfall and mass evacuation techniques facilitated by modern transportation, central air conditioning, and levies and other flood control projects. 

And what powers our industrialization? Primarily fossil fuels. 
Who still suffers from natural calamities?—non-industrialized, backward regions.

The "fossil fuel bosses" should be lauded as the heroes that they are. This industry provides the fuel 
for the industrialization that has transformed earth's hostile natural environment into one hospitable to human life and flourishing. The "power" of the fossil fuel industry comes directly from our willingness to buy their products because they improve our lives and, whether we care to admit it or not, vastly improve the earth's environment. And if weather extremes really are getting a little more extreme—a dubious assumption—then the most insane thing we can do is hamper and demonize the production of reliable sources of energy like fossil fuels, and thus hamper our ability to cope. 

We will be doomed if environment totalitarians succeed in crushing the fossil fuel industry.

Enemies of fossil fuels typically ignore the benefits of fossil fuels. The rest of us do at our peril.

Related Reading:

Why I Don't Trust the "Climate Consensus"

Attack on "Carbon Pollution" an Attack on Human Life

Related Viewing:

How Coal Improves Our Environment

McKibben vs. Epstein Debate on Fossil Fuels

No comments: