By Jude Clemente
Let’s start with the basics: fossil fuels supply 80% of the world’s energy and about 80% of the energy consumed in the U.S.
Energy is the driving force of modern life, so fossil fuels are thus the inherent inputs to just about everything that we do, make, and consume.
One could therefore not think of a more inflation encouraging policy than an anti-fossil fuel policy because it increases the cost of our input fuels, especially those policies blocking development of the oil and gas that constitute 65% of America’s energy supply.
As I see it, coal, oil, and natural gas are so essential that investing in them is the epitome of “sustainability” because these fuels “sustain” our privileged way of life and our $25 trillion economy.
Oil, for instance, provides 95-97% of our energy for transportation; coal and gas generate 60% of U.S. electricity.
For electric cars and everything else, fossil fuels are used to transport a lot of parts and materials, and to power the machines and factories.
I mean really, is there anything that’s not made using electricity and then transported?
Coal, oil, and gas are thereby ingrained in our lives and will continue to build the world around us.
And that world is constantly growing and demanding more energy: we will add some two billion humans and about double global GDP to $200 trillion by 2050.
Modern civilization will remain fundamentally dependent on fossil fuels for a very long time.
Fact check: renewables in particular are much more vulnerable to higher interest rates than oil and gas because they rely heavily on debt markets.
To demonstrate the absurdity, one could argue that a coal miner has a “green job” (whatever one of those is) – certainly more than the environmental lawyers and administrative assistants that typically get counted in those infamous “green job” tallies.
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About 70% of the world’s steel production has coal (met/coking) is dependent on coal as a core ingredient (i.e., purified coal, “coke”).
ArcelorMittal reports: “To build one wind turbine (inland), around 225 to 285 tonnes (248 to 314 tons) of steel is required.”
A coal miner mines the coal…that makes the steel…that makes the windmill.
Without coal, or more likely with coal but at a higher cost if the anti-fossil fuelers have their way, there’s no windmill or the windmill is preventatively too expensive.
Blocking fossil fuel development, and thus increasing the cost for renewables themselves, makes it much harder for these already intermittent energy resources like wind and solar to penetrate the energy complex.
Even with Herculean gains for wind, solar, and electric cars, the world’s demand for fossil fuels is at record levels and rising.
Dictated by physics and cost and profit considerations, Energy Realism doesn’t care about your feelings.