A hopeful, non-binding resolution has been introduced to both houses of Congress. Representative Alexander Ocasio-Cortez, (D) for the 14th District of New York, god bless her fast beating heart, and Senator Ed Markey (D) from Massachusetts are jumpstarting again the notion that the world can change in its entirety in fifteen years. Suffice it to say nether congresspersons were history majors at their alma maters.
The resolution is aggressive in its nature and far-reaching in its concepts. The Green New Deal (GND) proposes getting off fossil fuels altogether and becoming “carbon-neutral” by 2030. The U.S. has had a presence in Afghanistan and Iraq longer than that with no real end in sight. I don’t think the world changes that fast even in the high-speed communications culture we live in today.
We have come a long way from the horse and buggy days where the life expectancy of the average human was a little over 40 years. If life expectancies are double that now, it is because of the advances made possible by the integration of fossil fuel research and development of thousands of products from fossil fuels into our daily lives.
The honorable Sen. Markey and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez would beg the idea that we can do without these advances and that they do more harm than good so they must be lassoed, driven back into the ground from whence they came and never heard from again.
Getting-off-fossil fuels would reverse much of the progress society made over the last few centuries. 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 electricity to the world’s economies around the clock.
Electricity alone, especially intermittent electricity from renewables, has not, and will not, run the economies in the world; electricity alone is unable to support the energy demands of the military, airlines, medical industry, cruise ships, supertankers, container shipping, and trucking infrastructures.
Further, Intermittent electricity from low power density renewables is expensive to consumers and have contributed to California household users paying 50% more, and industrial users paying more than 100% more than the national average for electricity.
Most of the world has become accustomed to the improvements to the standard of living provided by the elaborate infrastructures and the militaries that support the prosperity of growing populations based on energy from fossil fuels.
The key is the gradual degree to which we wean ourselves off the level of dependence we have on deep earth fuels while supporting developing technologies that will energize our world much the same, if not better than, fossil fuels ever have.
With respect to the debate, getting off fossil fuels would negatively impact the following industries and infrastructures that are driven by the energy density of oil, coal, and natural gas:
- Medications, vaccines, antibiotics, and medical equipment that are all made with the chemicals and by-products of oil.
- Electronics that are all made with the chemicals and by-products of oil.
- Commercial aviation, with 23,000 commercial airplanes worldwide that has been accommodating 4 billion passenger annually.
- Cruise liners, each of which consumes 80,000 gallons of fuels daily, that have been accommodating more than 25 million passengers annually worldwide.
- The USA has 98 operating nuclear power reactors in 30 states providing 20% of carbon free electricity in the USA.
- The 52,000 merchant ships moving products worldwide worth 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.
- More than 8,000 coal power plants in America providing 24/7 electricity to citizens.
- Vehicle manufacturing as all parts are based on the chemical and by-products from fossil fuels.
- The usage of asphalt for road construction.
The get-off fossil fuel pundits, two-time California Governor Jerry Brown, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Steyer and Al, “An Inconvenient Truth”, Gore would have you believe getting off fossil fuels immediately is our best chance to save the world. What they seem to be oblivious to is 100 percent of the industries that use fossil fuels to support the commerce of the world are increasing their usage of the chemicals and the thousands of products manufactured from those same deep earth fuels, not decreasing it.
These products have literally eliminated weather related deaths, are responsible for extended life expectancies and have critically reduced fatalities of mothers and babies during childbirth. The search for a cure for cancer is partially driven by chemicals developed from and used in laboratories built by fossil-fuel by-products.
For the sake of argument, yes, getting-off-fossil fuels would reduce harmful emissions, but such an abrupt stop like the one proposed by the newly introduced resolution working its way through Capitol Hill would also drastically impact the lifestyles to which we’ve become accustomed and consequently move us backward to medieval times.