Looking back just a few short centuries, we’ve come a long way since the horse and buggy days, before medications, doctors, cosmetics, plastics fertilizers, and transportation from jet engines, diesel trucks, and automobiles that has been the primary cause of globalization, as well as the thousands of products that we get from fossil fuels that are the basis of every infrastructure in our daily lives.

Back in those horse and buggy days, life was hard and dirty, with many weather and disease related deaths, and life longevity that was only in the 40+ area. Over the last couple of centuries, the prosperity of using fossil fuels has reduced infant mortality, extended longevity from 40+ to more than 80+, allowed us to move to anywhere in the world via planes, trains, ships and vehicles, and virtually eliminated deaths from most diseases and from all forms of weather.

Getting-off-fossil fuels would reverse much of the progress made over the last few centuries. Just a few of the thousands of products that we get from fossil fuels that would be eliminated from our society and lifestyles would be: Medications, Cosmetics, Plastics, Fertilizers, and Transportation fuels for planes, ships, trucks and automobiles.

Electricity alone, especially intermittent electricity from renewables, has not, and will not, run the economies of the world, as electricity alone is unable to support the energy demands of the military, airlines, cruise ships, supertankers, container shipping, and trucking infrastructures. Getting off fossil fuels would virtually negatively impact the following industries and infrastructures that are driven by the energy density of oil, coal, and natural gas:

  • Medications and medical equipment that are all made with the chemicals and by-products of oil.
  • Commercial aviation that has been accommodating 4 billion passenger annually.
  • Cruise liners that have been accommodating more than 25 million passengers annually.
  • Merchant ships that products worth move billions of dollars daily.
  • The military presence that protects each country from each other, is increasing each year to save the world.
  • Usage of fertilizers that accommodates growth of much of the food that feeds billions annually.
  • 62,500 coal power plants around the world operating today proving 24/7 electricity to citizens around the world.
  • Vehicle manufacturing as all parts are based on the chemical and by-products from fossil fuels.
  • The usage of asphalt used for road construction.

Interestingly, the primary economic reasons refineries even exist is to manufacture the aviation, diesel, and gasoline fuels for our military and transportation industries worldwide. It may be shocking to most, but there are no economic reasons JUST to manufacture the other “stuff” of chemicals and by-products from crude oil that are the basis of the more than 6,000 products from petroleum that are part of every infrastructure and virtually everything in our daily and leisurely lifestyles.

The get-off-fossil fuels leaders like Al Gore, former California Governor Brown, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Steyer, and now Governor Gavin Newsom are crusading to pursue intermittent renewable electricity from wind and solar to “save the world”.  Those “leaders” of the get-off-fossil fuels campaign seem to be oblivious to the fact that 100 percent of the industries that use fossil fuels to “make products and move things” to support the economies around the world are increasing, not decreasing, their usage demand from fossil fuels each year.

Intermittent electricity from low power density renewables is expensive to consumers and have been contributory to California household users are paying more than 50% more, and industrial users are paying more than 100% than the national average for electricity. Those high electricity costs in California are illustrated on a recent YouTube video about the California Electricity Flame Out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CJCNJppvIg by Mark Mathis of Clear Energy Alliance.

In addition to intermittent electricity’s’ inability to support the infrastructures of the world, intermittent electricity from wind and solar are incapable of supplying the thousands of products from petroleum that are demanded by every transportation infrastructure, electricity generation, cooling, heating, manufacturing, agriculture, and virtually every product that are the basis of everyone’s standard of living.

Further, until electricity storage technology can support intermittent electricity from wind and solar, the world will continue to have redundant fossil fuel backups for those windless and cloudy days to provide 24/7 electricity to the economy.

The world has become accustomed to the improvements to the standard of living provided by the elaborate infrastructures and the military that support the prosperity of growing populations that are all based on energy from fossil fuels, but the unintended consequences of getting off those fossil fuels would most likely begin to reduce life longevity from the current 80+ range back toward the 40+ range we had just a few hundred years ago.

Yes, getting-off-fossil fuels would reduce those fossil fuel emissions, but it would also drastically impact the lifestyles that we’ve become accustomed, and surprisingly few would live beyond 40+, as getting-off-fossil fuels would result in reverting back to extensive diseases and weather related deaths, which fossil fuels have virtually eliminated, and thus an unintended benefit would be a virtual elimination of those unfunded pension liabilities!


  • Ronald Stein

    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.”