In one of the least shocking developments thus far in 2019, Ivory Tower elites, environmentalists, liberal media talking heads, and a bevy of left-wing politicos have all hopped on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) “Green New Deal” bandwagon.
If passed into law—as unlikely as that might seem—the Green New Deal (GND) would crash the U.S. economy. The GND would ban fossil fuels in the United States over the next decade and implement a universal basic income program and single-payer health care model. It would also “upgrade” all buildings, including homes, to meet impractical environmental standards.
On the one hand, Ocasio-Cortez’s GND displays her utter lack of knowledge about basic economics and energy policy. On the other hand, it presents a wonderful opportunity to reinforce to the public the inherent value and necessity of fossil fuels. Such is the intent of this article.
For the most part, humans have eliminated the negative aspects of fossil fuel use. We can mine coal safely and burn it cleanly. Drilling sites that bring us oil and gas are safe and efficient. Yes, oil, natural gas, and coal will likely become very scarce someday, but it is very unlikely that this will happen during the lifetime of anyone alive today.
As explained by the late Thomas Gold, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy at Cornell University (ref. here, here, and, updating his work, here), research suggests we likely have enough fossil fuels to last hundreds of years into the future. And just in case those estimates are way off, we can rely on nuclear energy, which is essentially limitless.
It’s completely untrue that fossil fuels are running low, and there is absolutely no definitive physical proof that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel combustion affect Earth’s temperature. Only mathematical models support this farce.
Nevertheless, in recent years, Americans have been inundated with endless amounts of anti-fossil-fuel propaganda. Yet, we depend on fossil fuels, because they exhibit five characteristics that result in their superiority over all other potential energy sources, including: power density (the amount of power produced divided by volume), widespread availability, storability, ease of transport, and cost.
Although nuclear power outpaces all sources for power density, compressed natural gas is not far behind—followed by oil and coal. In fact, coal has 50–75 percent the power per volume of oil (ref. here).
While the United States leads the world in coal, natural gas, and oil reserves, all three can be found in most parts of the world (ref. here and here and here). Even better, America possesses the best technology to extract all three economically, efficiently, and safely.
When it comes to storability, a small pipe carrying natural gas can supply a home with all its heating needs, while a 12-gallon tank of gasoline can carry most cars more than 300 miles. Further, people can generally store oil, natural gas, and coal anywhere onsite, if need be.
Ease of transport is yet another way that fossil fuels trump all other power sources. Everyone has seen railroad cars filled with coal carrying energy across the nation. Likewise, natural gas pipelines crisscross the country. Oil can also be safely transported by rail and trucks, although safety concerns remain an issue.
Finally, the cost of fossil fuels has plummeted in recent years (ref here). Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling alone have cut the cost of natural gas and gasoline by half of what they were only five years ago.
All these fossil fuel wonders are ignored by Ocasio-Cortez and her allies, because they are more concerned with using climate change as their Trojan horse for socialism.
And of course, climate change alarmists are compensated rather handsomely to produce “data” that support this theory. For some reason, their false predictions have been ignored and swept under the proverbial rug by the “fake news” media. Even more puzzling is that life depends upon an abundance of carbon dioxide, a fact that is nearly always ignored.
Socialists and left-leaning lawmakers and environmentalists have put fossil fuels in their crosshairs, because they don’t care that fossil fuels are the lifeblood of America’s exceptional productivity and high standard of living. Perhaps they even want the U.S. economy to crumble so they can push big government “solutions,” including the Green New Deal.
Ocasio-Cortez’s and her fellow socialists’ long-term goal is to establish a government that controls everything—energy, health care, housing, education, and more. Life in such states is documented in books like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984. Better examples are the real-life tragedies taking place in Cuba and Venezuela.
The facts are on the side of climate realists, who advocate for the responsible use of fossil fuels, but most Americans don’t realize it because the alarmists still monopolize the media, schools, culture, and just about every other sphere of influence.
Our arguments are fully supported by the more than 100 scientists who participated in the writing of a 700-page report titled Climate Change Reconsidered Part Two: Fossil Fuels. We hope this will belay the public’s fears and energize them to combat the efforts of Ocasio-Cortez and others working to implement socialism through the guise of an unnecessary, unaffordable Green New Deal.
Jay Lehr, Ph.D., is the science director at The Heartland Institute. Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition.