Fossil Fuels Aren’t Going Anywhere

Fossil Fuels Aren’t Going Anywhere

January 18, 2022

Environmental activists and Green New Deal proponents are quick to criticize fossil fuels, but they ignore the obvious benefits of these energy sources – namely, their reliability. When people need energy to heat their homes in winter or electricity to keep the lights on, the source of that energy is less important than its availability. Writing in The Hill this week, author Robert Bryce makes this point regarding coal, which saw a 17 percent increase in usage in 2021.

The surge in domestic coal use is significant for two reasons. First, it proves again that coal remains an essential fuel for electricity producers both here in the U.S. and around the world. Second, it shows that the Biden administration’s pledge to decarbonize the electric grid by 2035 is little more than wishful thinking.

The Green New Deal peddles energy fantasies that are not based in reality. The fact is that the growing populations and healthy economies require steady supplies of energy, and renewable fuels are simply not up to the task, as Bryce explains:

The hard reality is that decarbonizing the global electric grid will require finding economically viable — and socially acceptable — substitutes for coal and natural gas. Sure, renewables are politically popular and they are growing. But both wind and solar are facing increasing headwinds because of land-use conflicts. Since 2015, more than 300 local communities from Maine to Hawaii have rejected or restricted wind projects. The backlash against Big Solar is also gaining momentum. Over the summer, Big Solar projects in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Montana were rejected. Among the most recent rejections: In November, regulators in Henry County, Va., rejected two large proposed solar projects.

Speaking of solar, that “clean” energy sector has an embarrassing supply chain issue. Nearly half of the world’s polysilicon, the key ingredient in solar panels, has been coming from Xinjiang province, where the Chinese government has a program of systematic repression and forced labor. Last year, the U.S. State Department declared that China was practicing “genocide and crimes against humanity” against predominantly Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang, including forced labor to produce polysilicon for solar panels

So, when policymakers and their activist allies tell people they don’t need fossil fuels, the simple fact is they’re not telling the truth. So-called renewables are not ready for prime time and come with their own risks and problems. The reality is that fossil fuels like natural gas are a critical source of energy for billions of people, and will be for some time to come.