Sharing our blessings

This Thanksgiving we should give thanks for fossil fuels – and promote them for rest of world

This Thanksgiving weekend is a good time to express our gratitude for the jobs, living standards, and life spans we enjoy today – largely because of abundant, reliable, affordable energy, 83% of it still because of fossil fuels. As my CFACT colleague Craig Rucker suggests, we should also be grateful that we live in a country that can provide hundreds of millions of turkey dinners, at a price anyone can afford, all on the same day, thanks to our free market economy (and fossil fuels).

Thanksgiving is also an opportunity to ponder why billions in our human family still do not enjoy those blessings, have electricity only sporadically or not at all, and try to survive on a few dollars a day or less. It’s a time to reflect on what we can do to help change policies that perpetuate that situation.

For thousands of years, humanity was mired in poverty, disease, malnutrition, misery, and average life expectancies of 40 years or less. Even nobility in their fancy homes had few of the luxuries we take for granted today. Then, in the late 19th Century, a sudden surge in life expectancy, health, and wealth transformed much of the world, as the growing use of coal and petroleum powered incredible advances in construction, sanitation, transportation, communication, medicine, agriculture, and other technologies.

In 1882, Wisconsin’s Hearthstone House became the world’s first home lit by hydroelectricity. No one then could have foreseen how electricity would dominate, enhance, and safeguard our lives in the myriad ways it does today – or envisioned the many ways we generate electricity today.

Today, Asian countries are roaring far beyond where they were just two decades ahead, as they adopt freer economies and use coal to generate electricity, create jobs, and bring hope, health, technology, and prosperity to billions. Africa still lags behind, but here too coal and natural gas are providing electricity to a continent where more people still lack access to electricity than the combined populations of North and Central America.

Pollution from coal-fired power plants remains a problem in countries where bringing electricity to billions has been deemed more important than eliminating unhealthy emissions. But that is changing, as electricity brings jobs, modernity, and prosperity – and people demand cleaner air. Once scrubbers are installed, the only emissions will be what now comes out of U.S. and EU “smoke” stacks: water vapor and plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide, which alarmists still claim is causing weather and climate chaos.

A real irony in all this is that China is financing and building many of these power plants – instead of the United States and Europe, which pioneered electricity generation and pollution control technologies. This is largely the result of U.S. and EU policies driven by global warming ideology and politics.

Too many still-impoverished nations have been ruled by corrupt, self-centered leaders who care little about their people. But all too often in recent years, when countries wanted to build coal or gas-fueled power plants, a cabal of climate activists in every position of power and privilege told them to drop dead.

Literally. Certainly that has been the result of their policies. It is as though we have returned to the days when Mayans drowned children in cenotes to appease the gods and prevent droughts – and then saw a century-long drought end their civilization.

This 100-year anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution memorializes how Communist regimes starved and murdered over 100 million helpless, innocent Russians, Chinese, Cambodians, North Koreans, and others unlucky enough to have been born in those places and times – to serve that savage ideology. Even now, Castro protégé Nicolas Maduro is sending countless Venezuelans to early graves.

Today, countless millions are sacrificed on the altar of Gaia, because callous environmentalists continue to tell the world’s most destitute, energy-deprived families they must be content with whatever living standards they can derive from wind and solar – and must never employ fossil fuels. Even in Britain, deaths have risen 40% in the past year among elderly people who cannot heat their homes properly, because renewable energy policies have made energy costs unaffordable for too many pensioners.

Those “fuels of the past” are not sustainable, green ideologues say. They’re running out. They cause dangerous climate change. We will tell you what living standards you may aspire to. Better that you die today from diseases of preventable poverty, than perish tomorrow from man-made climate cataclysms.

One source of these attitudes is Obama science adviser John HoldrenHe wrote in 1974 that it was essential to “de-develop the United States,” bringing its economic system and consumption “into line with the realities of ecology and the global resource situation.” Once that is underway, he continued, the U.S. should focus on de-developing other industrialized nations and on the “ecologically feasible development” of under-developed countries. These views strongly influenced President Obama.

In 2009, Mr. Obama told Ghanaians they should refrain from using “dirty” fossil fuels and utilize their “bountiful” renewable energy. In 2013, he told South Africans, if “everybody has got a car and … air conditioning and … a big house, the planet will boil over – unless we find new ways of producing energy.”

His Overseas Private Investment Corporation refused to support construction of a power plant that would provide clean, affordable electricity from natural gas that companies were just burning in Ghana’s oil fields. President Obama refused to support South Africa’s request for a World Bank loan to continue building a state-of-the-art, coal-fired power plant. In 2013 his Power Africa initiative for a “sustainable Africa” energy strategy emphasized wind, solar, biofuel and geothermal power – but not fossil fuels.

It’s all part of the “wrenching transformation of society” that Al Gore has said is absolutely necessary.

Today, climate claims increasingly reflect a desperate determination to remain relevant and keep the research gravy train on its shaky tracks. “Global warming might be especially dangerous for pregnant women,” says one new study. “Climate change may be making bearded dragons less intelligent,” wails another. (It’s a good thing deep fat fryers are cooling the planet down a bit.) Climate Crisis, Inc., doesn’t seem to care that its depraved ethics have lethal consequences.

Thankfully, developing countries are no longer listening. They have built hundreds of coal-fired generating units and have 1,600 more under construction or in planning. Most now realize industrialized nations will not contribute billions (much less trillions) of dollars to the Green Climate Fund. They are beginning to understand that, if they want health, wealth and jobs, they should not do what many rich nations are saying or doing now that they are rich; they should do what those nations did to become rich.

After 50 years of Nazi and Communist domination, Poland is charting its own destiny, catching up to Western Europe, thumbing its nose at the EU, using more coal to generate electricity, and importing coal from the USA. (The UN’s 2018 climate meeting in Katowice, Poland, will be very interesting.)

The UK government says there will be no new renewable energy subsidies until 2025. Even Germany’s “utopian dream of transforming itself into the world’s green powerhouse is collapsing as its political and media establishment is mugged by reality,” says Euro climate and energy observer Benny Peiser.

Al Gore, Barack Obama, Tom Steyer, Nat Simons, George Soros, and their elitist ultra-green comrades will never give up their jet travel, limos, mansions, wealth, perks, and privileges – to “save the Earth” or for any other reason. How dare they lecture us “common folk” – and tell families in impoverished countries what kinds and amounts of energy, homes, cars, and consumer goods they will be “permitted” to have.

As we enjoy our turkey dinner leftovers, let us give thanks in the best, most humanitarian way possible: by promoting free market principles and selling, financing, and building large-scale modern coal, gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric power generation equipment, pollution control systems, and other technologies that will improve and save lives all over this wondrous planet.

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About the Author: Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for CFACT and author of Cracking Big Green and Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.

  • pkwz

    I honestly think that most people in America don’t really know how good they have it.

    • cshorey

      I think it would better if all American CFACT fans were deported. Congratulations on being the CFACT fan I think may be the lowest rung. At least Immortal tried to bring citations. But he can’t explain how a sealed car gets warmer than the air around it in a sunny parking lot. Can you?

      • pkwz

        That’s why we have the 2nd Amendment.

        • cshorey

          So you can explain how a car in a parking lot heats? Are you shooting guns off in your car. That would be consistent with your idiocy.

  • cshorey

    Blaming folks for criticizing the status quo they have to live in, are you? Sigh.

    • pkwz

      Doesn’t it get tiring being miserable all the time? Or do lefties live on self-righteous sandwiches!

      • cshorey

        Ha! I’m having such a fun relaxing time just making fun of you, you have no idea. It’s kind of like shooting fish in a barrel, but I think I’ve known smarter fish than you.

      • cshorey

        Let me be a little more descriptive for you so you get a clearer picture. I have a deep background in climate science, so I just plain know your climate science denial is just flat wrong. As such your argument only comes across as “I want the best standard of living for me so I can stuff my face and drive my gas driven car all I want with no cares or worries.” Seriously, that seems to be your position. Meanwhile sea level rise has been measured to have increased from about 3mm/yr to a current rate of 5mm/yr. There is every reason to think that is going to increase over this century. Twaites glacier and Pine Dale glacier in Antarctica could really mess things up. This is about generational ethics. There is strong evidence that your refusal to try to curb and slow climate change, and even argue against the known evidence, is going to cause hardships on future generations. God told us to be stewards of this Earth, and wanting to ignore warning signs so you can have your best standard of living is exactly the downward path. And so I see you as an enemy of future generations and have no hesitation to tell you when you’re wrong. It’s a public service. And who knows, maybe you’ll stop thinking about just yourself, and letting CFACT and blog sites convince you of an alternate reality that hurts your children’s future. There are real science journals out there and they’re screaming that there is an issue at hand. Denial only causes future suffering in the face of that. I truly hope you’ll wake up to this before you’re name is cursed by future generations.

        • pkwz

          Have you heard of the paragraph? Not that it matters for your rants. Nobody is reading them.

          • cshorey

            You’re guilty of obfuscation. You’re morality is waning.

  • pkwz

    Does anyone notice that you never see a “person of color” environmentalist? While the greenies talk about doom and gloom in the distant future unless we curb CO2 emissions, billions suffer privation now and millions die from the poverty they suffer.

    The white greenie’s solution to the current dilemma of the poor is to have them eat cake, also known as ridiculously expensive “renewable” energy.

    Poor nations only signed onto AGW because they thought they would get big bucks. Now that Trump has smashed that hope, you’ll be seeing a rush to the exits.

  • socalpa

    Truly excellent article !
    .
    The irony of the Green claims CO2 emissions as a “danger” ,without addressing what the LACK of the sources of those emissions means to billions .. poverty and early death !
    .
    And, the hysteria of those Greens is rising in direct proportion to their collapse into the dustbin of history as 21st century science reveals the exaggerations and falsehoods of the Climate Change advocates ,pretending to be unbiased scientists .
    .
    The “Arctic Death Spiral ” ? A myth , Arctic has been gaining in Ice extent as the AMOC ocean cycle reduces the flow of warm water to the Arctic, the observed melt a cyclic ,natural event . . Now projected to increase next decade(s) .
    .
    Antarctic ice shelf collapse and resulting sea level rise of feet to meters ? Another myth as NASA shows Antarctic expanding sea ice since 1979 , and increasing continental ice for decades , reducing ,not contributing ,to sea level .
    .
    Sea level rise estimates by UN sponsored Ice2sea 2013 ,4 years ,24 countries ,project a BAU emissions scenario sea level rise range by 2100 of 3.5cm -36.8cms ,mid range most likely of 18cms or ~ 7 inches .
    ;
    Just a few examples of science demolishing the hysterical attempts to instill fear for political purposes in the public mind . There are more available including no CO2 effect on global tropical storm activity per NOAA , No decline in crop yields ,USDA and UNFAO report record yields past decade.
    .
    The global warming by Man is a myth that had its time . Those that continue to promote it despite mounting evidence of tragic health and economic effects on countries that bought into it , should be brought to trial in the Hague for crimes against Humanity.