American suppression of fossil fuels courts a national security disaster
By Ronald Stein
The capacity of a modern economy to produce food and products for its citizens, and weapons and fuels for its military to project power, are the undeniable twin pillars of global power. Both depend on reasonably priced and readily available products made from the oil derivatives manufactured from crude oil. In other words, American literally runs and fights on products from fossil fuels.
The renewables of wind and solar only generate occasional electricity but manufacture nothing for society.
Take for example the medical industry that did not exist just a few hundred years ago, that is now maintaining the health and well-being of the 8 billion now on this planet. Today, as an exercise in energy literacy, try to identify something, anything, in your doctor’s office, or the hospital, or the pharmacy, which was not made from the oil derivatives manufactured from crude oil.
President Biden has been campaigning for years for the elimination of fossil fuels. But ridding the world of oil, without a replacement in mind, would be immoral and evil, as extreme shortages of the products manufactured from fossil fuels will result in billions of fatalities from diseases, malnutrition, and weather-related deaths. Shortages of fossil fuel products would necessitate lifestyles being mandated back to the horse and buggy days of the 1800’s and could be the greatest threat to the planet’s eight billion residents.
The ruling class in wealthy countries are not cognizant that the planet populated from 1 to 8 billion in less than two hundred years, and that population explosion began right after the discovery of oil. That growth in the population was not just based on crude oil by itself, as crude oil is useless until it can be manufactured into something useable. Today, through human ingenuity, we have more than 6,000 products currently benefiting society and fuels for the 50,000 jets moving people and products, and more than 50,000 merchant ships for global trade flows, and the military and space programs.
Sadly, the U.S. is killing fossil fuel transport pipelines, curtailing permitting of refineries and natural gas export facilities, suppressing oil and gas leasing and drilling and, worst of all, stifling longer-term investment in the industry. Driven by an all-encompassing determination to limit CO2 emissions, Europe, and now America, have declared war on fossil fuels. Meanwhile, Russia and China burn oil, gas and coal and emit greenhouse gases at levels that dwarf the West’s.
- QUESTION: Today, how can the ruling class in the few wealthy countries of Germany, Australia, UK, Canada, and America, believe that all the infrastructures and products manufactured from crude oil, such as medical, electronics, communications, and the many transportation infrastructures such as airlines, merchant ships, automobiles, trucks, military, and the space programs, are not needed by future generations?
Ridding the world of fossil fuels would result in a reduction in each of the following, as they all exist because of the products manufactured from crude oil, that cannot be manufactured by either wind or solar.
- The medications and medical equipment at pharmacies and hospitals.
- The 50,000 heavy-weight and long-range merchant ships that are moving products throughout the world.
- The 50,000 heavy-weight and long-range jets used by commercial airlines, private usage, and the military.
- The tires for the billions of vehicles.
- The asphalt for the millions of miles of roadways.
- The number of cruise ships that now move twenty-five million passengers around the world.
- The space program.
- The communications systems, including cell phones, computers, iPhones, and iPads.
- The water filtration systems.
- The sanitation systems.
- The fertilizers that come from natural gas to help feed billions.
- The pesticides to control locusts and other pests.
- The number of wind turbines and solar panels as they are all made with products from fossil fuels.
The world leaders are experiencing a “dangerous delusion” of a global transition to “just electricity” that eliminates the use of the fossil fuels that made society achieve so much in a few centuries. From the proverb “you can’t have your cake and eat it too” tells us that:
1.) you can’t rid the world of fossil fuels and
2.) continue to enjoy the products and fuels manufactured from fossil fuels.
National economies and nations’ militaries still run on fossil fuels. There is no substitute for fossil fuel dominance, even on a longer-term horizon. To believe and act otherwise is suicidal. It’s the real “existential threat.”
You cannot run households, businesses, hospitals, and the military on occasional electricity!
By pursuing climate-driven elimination and suppression of fossil fuels, the United States and its Western allies are heading for national security/defense, global/geostrategic disasters. Economies and militaries run on fossil fuels and, more than any other nation, America’s military would be emasculated without fossil fuels. The climate change imperative gripping the West is self-imposed civilizational suicide.
Ronald Stein is an engineer, senior policy advisor on energy literacy for CFACT, and co-author of the Pulitzer Prize nominated book “Clean Energy Exploitations.”