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The Environmental Case for Fossil Fuels: ‘Fossil fuels have made our environment amazingly good’


Via Master Resource:

Excerpt: Every region of the world, in its undeveloped state, is full of deadly environmental hazards such as indoor air pollution, bacteria-filled water, excessive cold, excessive heat, lack of rainfall, too much rainfall, powerful storms, disease-carrying insects, lack of sanitation, disease-carrying crops and animals, etc.

And yet some nations, such as the US, have the best air, water, indoor temperature, crops, sanitation, water supplies, storm-protection, disease-prevention, sanitation, and overall environmental quality in human history–while others are plagued by heat waves, cold snaps, drought, storms, crop failures, malaria and dozens of other dread diseases, filth, dung-burning fires, lack of clean drinking water.

The reason for this is development–the improvement of nature to meet human needs. Development means water purification systems, irrigation, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, genetically-improved crops, dams, sea walls, heating, air conditioning, sturdy homes, drained swamps, central power stations, vaccination, pharmaceuticals, and so on.

Every aspect of development has one common requirement: cheap, plentiful, reliable energy. And we would not have cheap, plentiful, reliable energy without the fossil fuel industry. Fossil fuels have transformed hazardous natural environments the world over into healthy human environments–environments that include an unprecedented ability to explore and safely enjoy nature.

Whether you’re drinking clean drinking water, listening to a thunderstorm with pleasure instead of fear, or going to the Grand Canyon, you should be thanking Big Coal, Big Oil, and Big Gas.

And when you hear heartbreaking stories of children with diseases that we once had but no longer do–malaria, tuberculosis, even the plague–you should commit yourself to bringing about a world that produces more energy. Much more energy–at today’s global level of energy production, only 2.5 billion people out of 7 billion could use as much energy as Europeans do.

Energy Poverty, not CO2, Is the Problem

But to listen to the environmental establishment, the cause of the problems of the bad environments is not the blatant deficiency in energy and development. The alleged problem is the energy that makes development possible: the 85% of energy production that comes from fossil fuels. Generating power from fossil fuels increases the trace percentage of CO2 in our atmosphere. (Revealingly, “environmentalists” find reasons to oppose the other, CO2-free, sources of practical power, nuclear and hydroelectric.) That CO2 is, amazingly, the villain in all our environmental ills.

That the good environments exist is an inconvenient truth. If acknowledged, one could not pretend that the environmental problems of North Mexico vs. the environmental health of South Texas were caused by today’s climate.

Consider this highlight clip from Bill McKibben, “the nation’s leading environmentalist” according to The Boston Globe, in which he blames certain increases in malaria, dengue fever, cholera, and salmonella on CO2-induced climate change.

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