Epstein: "Fossil fuel energy has not taken a naturally safe climate and made it unnaturally dangerous; it’s taken our naturally dangerous climate and made it unnaturally safe."
"The International Disaster Database, a nonpartisan organization that tracks deaths from climate-related causes—such as extreme heat, floods, storms, and drought—shows that such deaths have been plummeting as CO2 emissions have been rising. How is this possible? Because of the fossil fuel energy that emitted the CO2, which has empowered us to climate-proof our environment with heating, air-conditioning, sturdy buildings, mass irrigation, and weather warning systems. Fossil fuel energy has not taken a naturally safe climate and made it unnaturally dangerous; it’s taken our naturally dangerous climate and made it unnaturally safe. Fossil fuels are not an existential threat. They are an existential resource because they increase something much more important than the level of CO2 in the atmosphere: the level of human empowerment. Increased life expectancy, income, health, leisure time, and education are all tightly linked to increased access to fossil fuels.
Wind and solar energy generation is growing, but it’s still an incredibly small part of the global energy mix, according to statistics compiled by the oil giant BP. Meanwhile, fossil fuels — coal, natural gas and oil — accounted for 85% of global energy consumption in 2018, BP reported Tuesday as part of its annual energy report. In fact, BP reported the U.S. led the world in oil and natural gas production growth. U.S. petroleum output saw the biggest annual growth ever recorded in any country, BP said. In other words, shale is booming. The U.S. surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia in 2018 to become the world’s largest oil-producing nation. “Oil remains the most used fuel in the energy mix,” BP reported in its annual energy review. “Coal is the second largest fuel but lost share in 2018 to account for 27%, its lowest level in 15 years. The share of natural gas increased to 24%, such that the gap between coal and gas has narrowed to three percentage points.”
The EIA (U.S. Energy Info Admin) AEO 2019 report shows that in year 2018 wind and solar energy resources provide about 3% of U.S. total energy consumption while fossil fuel energy resources provide about 81% of total energy use.PTC (Production Tax Credit) subsidies for renewable solar and wind projects in the U.S. have now reached about $50 billion dollars in cumulative payments through year 2018 with these resources providing about 3% of our countries total energy consumption in that year...Additionally these annual wind and solar subsidiies now total more than $8 billion dollars per year.
Mark P. Mills: "There’s a reason Warren Buffett decided to bet $10 billion on the future of oil and natural gas...For a bellwether reality-check, note that none of the wealthy nations that are parties to the Paris Accord—or any of the poor ones, for that matter—have come close to meeting the green pledges called for. In fact, let’s quote the International Energy Agency on what has actually happened: “Energy demand worldwide [in 2018] grew by . . . its fastest pace this decade . . . driven by a robust global economy . . . with fossil fuels meeting nearly 70% of the growth for the second year running.” The reason? Using wind, solar and batteries as the primary sources of a nation’s energy supply remains far too expensive. You don’t need science or economics to know that. Simply propose taking away subsidies or mandates, and you’ll unleash the full fury of the green lobby...
None of the wealthy nations that are parties to the Paris Accord—or any of the poor ones, for that matter—have come close to meeting the green pledges called for...
Green forecasters are likely out over their skis. All the predictions assume that emerging economies—the least wealthy nations—will account for more nearly three-fourths of total new spending on renewables. That won’t happen unless the promised radical cost reductions occur."
Michael Shellenberger: Like a lot of people, I used to think that subsidies to promote the switch from fossil fuels to solar and wind would be a one-time thing. Once a solar or wind farm was built, I thought, it would produce electricity forever, without further subsidy, because sunlight and wind are free. Renewables would thus allow a “sustainable” and even “circular” economy without waste or mining because everything would be recycled. But it turns out that only nuclear can produce sufficient clean energy to power a circular economy. That’s partly because nuclear plants have seen their efficiency increase dramatically. Nuclear plants used to operate for just 50% of the year. Now, thanks to greater experience in operations and maintenance, they operate 93%of the year.
Environmentalists have for decades argued that energy is too cheap and must be made more expensive in order to protect the environment. Greens viewed energy as the source of humankind’s destruction of the natural world and sought to restrict energy supplies in order to slow and eventually reverse the destruction. Indeed, the reason environmentalists turned against nuclear energy in the 1960s was that it was cheap and effectively infinite.
Greens got the relationship between energy and the environment backward. As people consume higher levels of energy the overall environmental impact is overwhelmingly positive, not negative. As we consume greater amounts of energy we can live in cities, stop using wood as fuel, and afford to have fewer children. And as humans use more energy for agriculture in the form of tractors and fertilizers, we are able to grow more food on less land, allowing marginal lands to return to grasslands, forests, and wildlife.
Unlike the original New Deal, a Green New Deal would thus result in what Greens call “de-growth,” not growth.
Wind and solar do not eliminate the need for traditional power plants. This is the most disappointing problem of all. Because of intermittency, a backup system must always be on standby, ready to seamlessly take over the full load the instant the wind stops or the sun sets. The dominant source of that backup in the United States is natural gas (methane)—an improvement over coal but still a carbon-generating fossil fuel. Perhaps that is why so many fossil fuel companies strongly support renewables even as ExxonMobil and other fossil companies are budgeting billions over the next decade to expand their fossil fuel production. They seem to believe that wind and solar are, far from being a threat, a way to ensure a continuing need for their fossil fuels.