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The Global War Against Fossil Fuels

August 16, 2016

The global war against fossil fuels is a war against progress, prosperity, and the poor. No one has ever explained this better than Stephen Moore and Kathleen Hartnett White do in Fueling Freedom

Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy, Stephen Moore and Kathleen Hartnett White (Regnery Publishing, 2016), 256 pp., ISBN-10: 1621574091; $19.24 on Amazon.com.

In their new book, Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy, Stephen Moore and Kathleen Hartnett White explain the massive benefit the world’s vast and inexpensive supplies of fossil fuels have had and continue to have for people  worldwide.

U.S. high school students, who are currently being bombarded with a steady stream of radical environmentalists’ lies, should read this book.

Moore and White show the Industrial Revolution was driven by fossil fuel development with all people—not just the privileged— reaping benefits from the energy revolution.

Moore and White do not mince words when describing the Marxist political philosophy, which they say has caused a great deal of damage to middle-income and poor people around the world when applied to energy policy.

“Most green energy policies undermine human progress,” wrote Moore and White. “They are regressive, disproportionately hurting low and middle income families by driving energy prices higher, thus eroding their standard of living.

Fossil Fuels Are Valuable

As Fueling Freedom makes clear, the United States is the most energy-rich nation in the world. Objective estimates place the value of U.S. energy reserves at $50 trillion. Periodically, Moore and White point out the pitifully small contribution wind and solar make to our energy needs, all of which must be backed up by fossil-fuel energy sources.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration has prevented the United States from realizing its energy potential. It has essentially prevented shale development on federal lands, driving virtually all shale operations to private lands, where the owners also own the minerals below and can reap the benefits from their development.

Throughout the rest of the world, governments own all mineral resources—regardless of who owns the land—which discourages drilling. Foreign companies are building factories in the United States because our energy prices are one-third of the costs experienced throughout the rest of the world.

The reader may be surprised to learn of the critical role energy plays in agriculture and the amazing variety of important products made from petroleum and other fossil-fuel energy sources. As Moore and White point out, these products include pharmaceuticals, plastics, chemical feedstocks, soccer balls, guitar strings, fabric softener, artificial limbs, electrical tape, shaving cream, hair color, and hundreds more. In fact, even most textiles and clothing are now made from synthetic fibers, which are developed in part from fossil fuels.

Green-Energy Boondoggles

In the final chapters, the authors show the folly of green-energy plans, through which governments foolishly undermine the development of safe, inexpensive fossil fuels while diverting scarce resources to expensive, unreliable green-energy businesses.

One example of this green crony capitalism is the solar industry, which probably would not exist if governments stopped propping it up using taxpayers’ money, as they have for the past 30 years. Despite the U.S. government pouring more than $150 billion into so-called “renewable energy,” the total share of electricity from U.S. wind and solar combined is expected to reach only 6 percent by 2040.

Green energy also uses more land and materials than conventional fossil fuels, which the authors note makes it questionable whether wind and solar are really “green” at all. For instance, Moore and White point out an average wind farm uses 460 metric tons of steel and 870 metric tons of concrete per megawatt produced, whereas a natural gas plant requires only three metric tons of steel and 27 cubic meters of concrete per megawatt.

The authors also offer a valuable and complete history of environmentalists’ fraudulent global warming arguments, and they explain how there is a lack of scientific evidence available to support the claim humans are responsible for catastrophic global climate change. Moore and White also show how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) misled the Supreme Court concerning the safety of carbon dioxide in order to get the Court to declare it a pollutant, which allows EPA to have the power to regulate it.

Many people erroneously think economic growth unavoidably leads to environmental degradation, but Moore and White show major improvements in air quality occurred as our use of fossil fuels doubled. New coal plants, for example, emit 90 percent less sulfur dioxide than plants built 50 years ago. Moore and White rightly point out most of the advances that have been made are the result of efforts undertaken by private businesses to improve efficiency, not laws imposed by the national government.

A ‘$50 Trillion Opportunity’

In their final chapter, “A Declaration of Energy Independence: America’s $50 Trillion Opportunity,” Moore and White turn their attention to the United States’ good energy fortune. According to the authors, America has more recoverable oil and gas than Russia, twice as much as China, and three times as much as Saudi Arabia.

“America has won the lottery,” Moore and White wrote. “We have hit the jackpot. ... Achieving energy self-sufficiency will generate enough money in royalties and corporate income taxes to pay off much of the national debt without any other tax revenues.”

But as the authors point out, this will only happen if the government allows leasing, drilling, and production on federal lands and does not restrict oil and gas exploration on state and private lands.

The global war against fossil fuels is a war against progress, prosperity, and the poor. No one has ever explained this better than Stephen Moore and Kathleen Hartnett White do in Fueling Freedom.

Jay Lehr, Ph.D. (jlehr@heartland.org) is science director for The Heartland Institute.

Author
Jay Lehr, Ph.D. is science director at The Heartland Institute.
jlehr@heartland.org

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