Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Suicidal Demonization of Fossil Fuels

The New Jersey Star-Ledger ran a guest column by NJ Republican state Senator Christopher "Kip" Bateman titled In new year, a renewed focus on making N.J. energy efficient. In the article, Bateman laments that “New Jersey fell two spots to No. 21 in the nation for energy efficiency” according to a survey. He writes:

That's unfortunate because energy efficiency is the easiest, most cost-effective way to cut climate-disrupting carbon pollution, as well as other types of air and water pollution caused by burning dirty fossil fuels like coal and gas.

I left these comments, slightly edited:

That’s a strange statement, since plant food—aka carbon dioxide—is not pollution; our air is cleaner than ever, thanks to advanced anti-pollution technologies; and reliable fossil fuel energy is responsible for making clean water plentiful and readily available.

One of the greatest frauds ever perpetrated by “experts” and “leaders” is the demonization of fossil fuels. Fossil fuel industry and technology is the second greatest human life-promoting advance ever—second only to the discovery of freedom and individual rights, which made the development of large-scale, economical energy possible. Energy, in turn, made possible our immensely longer, healthier, cleaner, happier, more leisurely, more prosperous lives—lives that are safer from nature’s inherent dangers than ever before. Individual liberty liberated human beings from subjugation to man-made tyranny. Dependable energy is the industry of industries that has liberated human beings from subjugation to the tyranny of nature’s wrath. Fossil fuels have been and still are, far and away, the best energy technology available. Fossil fuels are good, not bad. Without fossil fuels, our lives, for those of us who would manage to survive, would be terrible. Fossil fuels have enabled man to turn a hazard-filled natural environment into a safer, cleaner, liveable environment.

And, since the only other energy source capable of providing the energy we need on the scale we need it—nuclear—has been itself demonized into stagnation, fossil fuels are still the fuel of the future. Solar, wind, and conservation are highly uneconomical, which is why they need massive subsidies accompanied by burdensome taxes and regulations imposed on fossil fuel competitors. Furthermore, Solar and wind are burdened with two intractable problems; diluteness and intermittency. This is why “green” energy needs a fossil fuel and nuclear foundation to back them up. The problems of economic viability, diluteness, and intermittency will dog “green” energy for decades to come, if those problems can ever be solved. Nowhere on Earth is an independent, stand-alone “green” energy plant planned, let alone operational.

Meanwhile the pollution problems of fossil fuels are becoming less and less of a problem. Aside from the non-polluting plant food called CO2, technology has been making fossil fuel burning cleaner and cleaner over time. Besides, solar and wind have pollution problems of their own in the massive mining, processing, transportation, manufacturing, construction, and maintenance operations they require. “Green” energy is not all that green.

The benefits of fossil fuels to human life dwarf their negative side effects. Even the negative effects of climate change, such as they are, don’t alter these facts. Climate-related extremes have always plagued mankind. Even if fossil fuel CO2 emissions are contributing to climate change, and even if—and it’s a big IF—this is making weather extremes, rising sea levels, and other pre-existing dangers somewhat worse: So what? These dangers have always been around. Life in any climate without reliable energy like fossil fuels has always been dangerous and life threatening. Better to have plentiful energy and deal with the side effects than not have it and die. There is no “climate crisis” today, climate change or not, natural or man-made. Thanks to fossil fuels, the climate crisis, for man, is over.

Unlike “green” energy dogmatists, I’m not a hater. I don’t hate solar, wind, or conservation the way they hate fossil fuels. I don’t want to crush “green” solar and wind energy producers with taxes, regulations, and laws outlawing their use. I want to leave “green” energy producers free to compete in an energy free market. I want to leave people free to conserve as they judge best, without coercive “nudging” by politicians. I just face facts. Fossil fuels are great. They’re good for human life. The ongoing demonization of fossil fuels is unjust, cruel, and dishonest. The drive to outlaw fossil fuels in the quasi-religious hope that expensive, unreliable, unscalable “green” energy will somehow replace them is suicidal.

Related Reading:

The False Promise of ‘Clean Solar Powered Utility Scale Energy’

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