Fossil Fuel Hysteria

When the Sierra Club declared war on natural gas, they might just have well declared war on humanity.

Fossil fuels have been targeted by environmental groups who say, oil is bad, coal is bad and natural gas is bad. Drilling must be stopped, fracking must be stopped, coal mines must be shut down, pipelines must not be built.

Environmental groups consistently malign natural gas, coal and oil, yet these fossil fuels are hugely beneficial to mankind.

Here are some of the ways that fossil fuels contribute to society.

Airplanes could not exist without jet fuel and gasoline derived from oil. There would be no travel by air, and companies such as Boeing would not exist.

Railroads could not exist without diesel fuel, coal or natural gas (LNG). The entire industry, including railroad companies, such as Union Pacific, and locomotive and car manufacturers, such as General Electric and Trinity Industries would not exist, including all the associated jobs.

Steel could not be made without coal. Without steel, sky scrapers and suspension bridges could not be built. Jet engines and gas turbines couldn’t be built.

Depiction of Modern City Benefitting from Fossil Fuels
Depiction of Modern City Benefitting from Fossil Fuels

Roads capable of withstanding the heavy traffic of speeding cars and heavy trucks couldn’t be built without asphalt or cement. Asphalt is derived from oil. Producing cement requires the use of oil, natural gas or coal.

Many plastics and other chemicals couldn’t be produced without oil, natural gas or coal. Some plastics, such as PVC pipe, and some textiles, such as nylon, and some solvents, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals couldn’t be made without oil, natural gas or coal. CDs, DVDs and vinyl records are made from oil.

Refrigerators and air conditioning units require steel or aluminum and a chemical refrigerant. Oil, natural gas or coal are required at some point in the manufacture of these products.

Glass for windows, bottles, cars and everyday glassware require the use of oil, natural gas or coal.

Heating of homes and buildings require oil, natural gas or coal.

Other products that require oil, natural gas or coal at some point during their manufacture include cans, for canned food, the manufacture of copper wire, essential for the electrical industry, the manufacture of automobiles, trucks, earthmoving equipment and even toilets.

For a few of these items it might be possible to substitute wood, but it’s doubtful there would be enough trees to meet all these requirements.

Mountainsides are being denuded in Africa by people using wood to heat their homes and cook their food.

The list of benefits derived from fossil fuels is endless, including low-cost electricity that can’t be reliably produced in large quantities by wind or solar.

In short, fossil fuels are essential to modern day living and to maintaining our standard of living.

A war on fossil fuels is a war on humanity.

It is simply another reason why attempts to cut CO2 emissions is a fool’s errand.

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14 Replies to “Fossil Fuel Hysteria”

  1. This particular article speaks volumes.

    The list of the positive aspects of “fossil fuel” can go on ad-infinitum. Solution for the tunnel-visioned and greenwashed environmentalists and those whose personal agendas damn the fossil fuel industries should be “banishment” from all things fossil fuel generated. Quite a thought provoking world they will be required to survive….a dark age, indeed.

  2. It seems that we agree that our economy and high standard of living is tremendously dependent on the world’s fossil fuel resources and we should be appreciative of it. In being so dependent, it makes sense to diversify our energy source needs to sustain these valuable contributions at a reasonable price into the long future. It doesn’t seem wise to continue to use them in such massive quantities when other energy sources could contribute. I am pretty confident that next generation nuclear plants can and will be developed to provide high grade industrial heat, turn large ship props, desalination and electrical power with amazing safety and at very low cost. The amazing aspect of nuclear is, when used efficiently, it takes so little to provide an amazing amount of benefits therefore mining, extraction and transport impacts are minimal. It also make sense to allow renewables where they make sense. Solar panels where there is an abundance of sun, wind turbines where there is lots of wind, geothermal where there is easy access, bio-fuels where there is an abundance of food, forest & agriculture waste, etc. Every energy source has environmental impacts and there should be real efforts to minimize all of them. Some humility and grace in our discussions, social understanding based on actual science, wisdom to use energy efficiently and a lot less hysteria would go a long way.

      • I am glad to contribute. I wish I could believe that a free market economy and real science could exist with so many variables stacked against it. A partial list of the variables comprise of having politicians cater to those that fund their political campaigns, myopic and entrenched environmental organizations, a media that sells fear mongering, short term outlooks by Wall Street firms, huge national economies like China that are definitely not free, the majority of wealth in the US being held by fewer and fewer people, and a fossil fuel industry that is so large it can buy and sell all their non-fossil fuel competitors with ease. The fossil fuel industry is so dominant that even a democracy succumbs to its will if the people who take a percentage of their income from the industry was to vote as a PAC. In nations in the middle east, the government officials are afraid for their lives if the fossil fuel revenue dries up. Even Saudi Arabia understands the time value of money and thus are not trying to conserve oil for the future markets. A free market will almost never favor conserving these amazingly valuable fossil fuels today for future generations. A free market and real science (even it had a soul) really doesn’t have a chance today. Wisdom and real leadership will be required to balance our needs and selfishness for a better tomorrow.

  3. Sorry, but I can’t agree. Also, Saudi Arabia is planning on installing concentrating solar in order to save its oil for sale in the future.
    It’s not perfect, but a free market economy has the best chance of reconciling all the variables. No other form of market or government can come close.
    So while I wish things were utopian, it behooves us to make what we have work as best as possible.

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