Saturday, April 16, 2016

Climate Catastrophist for Fracking

Not all global warming catastrophists are created equal. Some want to shackle fossil fuels at all human costs, leaving energy privation and poverty in their wake.

But others are more sober, realizing that a transition away from fossil fuels they desire must proceed in accordance with the advance of heretofore unforeseen development of technology that will make “green” energy reliable and economical and a viable replacement. Of course, the radical catastrophists talk of “transition” as well, but the more sober catastrophists are willing to put their policies where their mouths are.

For example, the New Jersey Star-Ledger, a major believer in the climate catastrophe scenario, argues that Fracking, a help in the climate fight, deserves respect from greens. The Star-Ledger editorialized:

The leading reason the United States is reducing climate emissions is that power plants across the country, including in New Jersey, are switching from coal to natural gas, a move that cuts climate emissions in half.

But because that success is based on the boom in fracking, which carries its own risks, many environmentalists are resisting this conversion. In New Jersey 40 concerned groups, from labor unions to the Sierra Club, have formed a coalition to promote green energy, and one of its priorities is to block natural gas pipelines in the state.

This effort to block natural gas pipelines refers to what has been dubbed the “Jihad on Pipelines.” “What is going on here?,” queries an exasperated Star-Ledger. “Has the environmental movement lost its collective mind?” No, the environmentalist movement has not lost its collective mind. It is acting with full consistency. It is, at heart, anti-industrial and anti-development.

The Star-Ledger and other more sober-minded climate catastrophists are welcome but are operating at a disadvantage, as long as they hold the same basic premise as the radicals; the belief that we are heading for some kind of climate catastrophe. To the soberists, the catastrophe involves harm mainly to humans. But what they don’t realize is that to the radicals, the catastrophe is the reformation of the natural environment. They don’t care about humans. They care only that the Earth be “saved” from human development and technology.

I’m no fan of the Star-Ledger’s climate catastrophe scenario. Because of that belief, it supports things like carbon taxes, solar subsidies, and forced “conservation.” As long as they peddle the climate catastrophe scenario, they give fuel (so to speak) to the nihilistic radicals. Nonetheless, I applaud the Star-Ledger’s less unsensible (from a catastrophist perspective) approach to energy.

I left these comments:

Over the past hundred years—the era of global warming, helped along by human activity—life has gotten better to the extent reliable, economical energy is made available. Around the globe, every measure of human well-being—including food production and nutrition, access to clean water, life expectancy, health, protection from and susceptibility to climate dangers, per-capita income, to name a few—have risen to all-time highs, with extreme poverty reaching all-time lows, thanks to mass energy production.

Fossil fuels provide 86% of that energy. A large chunk of the rest comes from the only other two sources of reliable energy, nuclear and hydro (also opposed by environmentalists). Regardless of the extent to which climate change is making weather extremes more intense, if at all—and regardless of the extent humans contribute to climate change, one thing is certain: Life without reliable energy would be incalculably catastrophic beyond any scenario spun by the climate alarmists.

Nowhere on earth have so-called “renewables” proven to be capable of becoming a primary energy source—meaning, not requiring ready availability of backup from fossils, nuclear, or hydro. “Renewables” may, in some distant future, reach that point. Those who want to strangle fossil fuel energy production by any means—whether by stopping fracking, pipelines, imposing carbon taxes, or whatever—before “renewables” become viable replacements, in the quasi-religious hope that someone will somehow make their hopes a reality, are cruel and inhuman. Wars, conflicts, starvation, susceptibility to floods, storms, and other natural disasters? Plentiful energy reduces, not increases, those dangers. Disruption from climate change is not the threat. Climate dangers have always existed. Energy privation and poverty is the real danger.

The big picture: Every energy source has negative pollution side effects that must be managed. This includes so-called “renewables.” But the benefits of energy to human well-being far outweigh any negatives. Fossil fuels provide the bulk of that energy, which means fossil fuels improve human life and turn the hostile natural environment into a much safer place for humans to thrive. Given the big picture, fracking is the most important energy advance in modern times. People who value human life agree: Bring it on.

[Next, I’ll address a correspondents reply to my comments]

Related Reading:

Cheers to the Heroes Driving America's Oil and Gas Boom

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