fossil fuelNovember 14, 2013

Lawrence Solomon

http://opinion.financialpost.com

 

When governments try to impose large-scale renewable technologies, they lay waste to nature

Non-renewable energy is sustainable; renewable energy is not, not even close, not by any meaningful yardstick, not in our lifetime or in that of our children. Renewables cannot passably meet any of the important needs claimed by their champions, whether economic or environmental. Despite the hundreds of billions of dollars governments have spent over the decades in aid of kick-starting a large-scale renewables industry, wind and solar complexes are generally incapable of helping humanity progress today or in the foreseeable future. Fossil fuels, in contrast, have gone from success to success for several centuries now, with no end in sight.

Prior to the industrial revolution of the 1700s, when the world depended almost exclusively on renewable energy, poverty and subsistence was the rule. The rise of mass affluence only came when highly concentrated energy – in the form of fossil fuels — made sustainable progress possible, both material and social. Lifespans improved along with living conditions and eventually the environment did too, as fossil fuels curtailed the denuding of forested lands to obtain charcoal for industry and wood fuel for heating.

Fossil fuels continue their dominance unabated – recent projections by the International Energy Agency show the world will be consuming ever more in the decades ahead as the United States becomes self sufficient and China and India become major importers of oil and coal, the better to bring their poor out of poverty. Despite all the fossil fuels consumed in recent centuries, the world’s available store continues to increase – at existing rates of consumption, the world has centuries of fossil fuel left.

 

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