Opinion: Fossil Fuels Aren’t the Enemy, Horrible Policy Is

The international elites are congratulating themselves again for saving the planet, marking the COP28 meeting with a commitment to “transition away” from using fossil fuels. However, over half of those in attendance had to settle for less as they wanted a complete “phase out.”

Haters of fossil fuels seem to forget or choose to ignore the tremendous blessings they possess with the abundance of affordable energy.

Positive and strong correlations exist between a rise in GDP, wealth, income, overall quality of life, life expectancy, and the use of fossil fuels because the resource has allowed numerous technological advancements.

The more opportunities to access inexpensive energy, the greater the overall productivity and health of the nation. The opposite is also true.

Ironically, the fuel hated by alarmists is the lone energy source that facilitates their yearly gatherings to denounce its usage. Attendance at COP28 peaked at around 85,000 this year, with hundreds or thousands who flew in on private jets.

The policies many international leaders have put in place to limit their usage are more harmful than anything fossil fuels could do to the environment.

One of the most significant developments from a COP meeting was the Paris climate agreement in 2015. Over time, the agreement created a net-zero movement, which seeks, in part, to replace fossil fuels with so-called green energy through government subsidization.

The Biden administration has done everything it can to curb fossil fuel usage and production: drilling moratoriums, stringent EPA rules, canceled pipelines, delayed permitting, additional fees on gas and oil, and plans to close coal plants.

Fossil fuels have hovered about 80% of the entire energy usage for some time; international oil consumption continues to increase. It isn’t plausible for intermittent solar and wind to replace reliable fossil fuels quickly.

States with stringent Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) require a certain percentage of electricity to be renewable and have additionally seen the most significant utility rate hikes, up to 50% higher than states that don’t have RPS because of the high implementation costs.

North American Electric Reliability Corporation expressed significant concerns in the most recent Long-Term Reliability Assessment. It noted “environmental regulations that are overly rigid” and put regions at high risk during periods of high demand. The report emphasizes that “reliability is a top priority for energy policymakers, regulators, and industry.”

In December 2022, nine states experienced rolling blackouts during Winter Storm Elliott. Unreliable renewables fell short. During this storm and others, coal saved the day, especially when the Texas power grid was only minutes away from collapsing.

If fossil fuels hadn’t been restricted, crises like these would have been avoided. 

Attempts are being made to eliminate cars powered by gas by forcing the sale of electric vehicles (EVs) through mandates and subsidies. This maneuver costs taxpayers, distorts markets, and causes reliance on China for critical minerals we refuse to mine in our country. The infrastructure required to charge EVs adequately on a significant scale is also lacking.

Consequently, the demand for EVs isn’t nearly as robust as anticipated, leaving inventory languishing at dealerships. Consumers aren’t sold on EVs because of the limited range, high costs, diminished capacity in cold climates, and charging anxieties. 

Automakers have lost billions of dollars.

Everything is inseparably linked to energy, and any missteps have massive implications that echo throughout the economy.

Net-zero policies are the root cause of today’s energy crisis because they have restricted investment in fossil fuels and transport and production. This has artificially suppressed supply, leading to shortages and high prices.

Inflation reached a 40-year record high while consumer confidence hit extreme lows. The agenda against fossil fuels may cost the economy of the United States $100 billion.

Policies are a regressive tax on people with low incomes, who then suffer the most. A more significant portion of their income is spent on energy, forcing some to choose between paying utility bills and buying food.

The genuine crime forbids countries that are fledgling the same essential luxuries and life-saving technologies we enjoy by not allowing them to use fossil fuels.

A billion people live without electricity, often in dangerous and harsh environments. Denying them inexpensive energy condemns them to a life of poverty and, for some, a death sentence. 

It is estimated that international spending on only physical assets to reach net zero will be $275 trillion between 2021 and 2050, or $9.8 trillion each year. The global GDP for 2022 was around $100 trillion.

It’s an astounding amount of money to curb temperatures globally by only a fraction of a percent.

We should promote reliable and affordable energy to prompt prosperity and economic growth in all nations. The demonization of fossil fuels does more harm than good.