GIVE TIL IT HURTS!

Putting fossil fuels into perspective

They power a lot more than just our automobiles.

Fossil fuel powers the economic engine of civilization. With a minor disruption in the supply of fossil fuel, crops wither, and supply chains crash. With a major disruption, a humanitarian apocalypse could engulf the world. Events of the past few months have made this clear. Without energy, civilization dies, and in 2020 fossil fuels continued to provide more than 80 percent of all energy consumed worldwide.

This basic fact, that maintaining a reliable supply of affordable fossil fuel is a nonnegotiable condition for the survival of civilization, currently eludes far too many American politicians, including Joe Biden. Observes energy expert and two-time candidate for governor of California Michael Shellenberger: “One month ago, the Biden administration killed a one-million-acre oil and gas lease sale in Alaska, and seven days ago killed new on-shore oil and gas leases in the continental U.S. In fact, at this very moment, the Biden administration is considering a total ban on new offshore oil and gas drilling.”

Another basic fact, easily confirmed by consulting the 2021 edition of the BP Statistical Review of Global Energy, is that if every person living on Earth were to consume half as much energy per year as the average American currently consumes, global energy production would need to nearly double. Instead of producing 547 exajoules (the mega unit of energy currently favored by economists) per year, energy producers worldwide would need to come up with just over 1,000 exajoules. How exactly will “renewables,” currently delivering 32 exajoules per year, or six percent of global energy, expand by a factor of 30 to deliver 1,000 exajoules?

The short answer is, it can’t. Despite the fanatical, powerful group-think that calls for the abolition of not only fossil fuels but also most hydroelectric power and all nuclear power, the reality is that most nations of the world are going to continue to develop every source of energy they can, and they’re going to do it as fast as they can.

Well, the smart ones will. Sadly, that would seem to exclude any of them currently being misruled by Senile Joe Biden and/or his shadowy Deep State handlers.

“At a time of war,” Biden wrote in an open letter to the industry on June 15, “high refinery profit margins being passed directly onto American families are not acceptable… companies must take immediate actions to increase the supply of gasoline, diesel, and other refined product.”

But US refineries are already operating at 94 percent of their capacity, with US refineries in the Gulf of Mexico running at 98 percent, which is the highest rate in 30 years. Running refineries at a higher capacity than that risks damaging the equipment. As such, Biden isn’t just wrong, he insulted some of the hardest working people operating in one of the most dangerous industries in America.

If Biden wants more American fuel, then he should allow the building of new refineries, right?

That’s the last thing FJB wants, as is evidenced by his actions, which as always speak louder than words.

But, on May 12, Biden’s Interior Department blocked a proposal to open up more than one million acres of land in Alaska for oil and gas drilling. Two days later, Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency blocked plans to expand an oil refinery in the US Virgin Islands.

Biden and his defenders said he had to block the expansion of the Virgin Islands refinery, given how polluting it was.

But had Biden’s EPA allowed the Virgin Island refinery to expand, the owners would have poured nearly $3 billion into retrofitting the plant so it produced gasoline and other products more cleanly, while significantly increasing production at the same time.

In truth, there are many things Biden could have done, and still should do, to lower energy prices. He could invoke the National Defense Act to accelerate the rate of oil and gas permits. He could set a floor of $80/barrel for re-filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), which would be a powerful incentive for the industry, because it would prevent prices from falling to unprofitable levels. Biden could announce trade agreements with American allies to supply them with liquified natural gas, which would incentivize more natural gas production and lower prices.

If Biden got America on a wartime footing, as he should be given Russia’s aggression in Europe, we would see the lowering of oil, gas and petroleum prices in less than one year.

Why won’t Biden do it? Because he has declared war on fossil fuels. “I guarantee you, we’re going to end fossil fuel,” Biden promised a student climate activist in 2019. “I am not going to cooperate with them,” he said, referring to the oil and gas industry.

And indeed, he hasn’t. When oil and gas executives visited the White House in June, Biden snubbed them by refusing to attend the meeting. Instead, at the very same moment, he met with wind industry executives. A few days earlier, Biden administration officials signaled they may support a large new tax on the oil industry proposed by a Senator from Oregon.

All of this has soured the oil and gas industry on investing in production. “If you were an oil company,” a senior executive at a major US bank told me, why would you invest hundreds of millions of dollars into expanding refining capacity if you thought the federal government or investors would shut you down in the next few years? The narrative coming from the administration is absolutely insane.”

Of course it is. Leaving Biden’s personal cognitive impairment out of it, as the venerable old truism has it: liberalism delenda est. It just floors me that, with Biden-caused disaster on every front, the clod’s approval numbers nonetheless remain in the 30-40 percent range, instead of around 10 or 12 percent where they truly belong. Back to the first article for our thrilling conclusion.

According to the most authoritative source on energy in the world, total proven reserves of fossil fuel currently total 49,023 exajoules. This means that just with proven reserves, and if only fossil fuel were used, and if global energy consumption were doubled to 1,000 exajoules per year, there would still be a 50-year supply of energy. How much more fossil fuel can be extracted from unproven reserves is anybody’s guess, but it is a safe bet that twice as much more is available, meaning there’s at least another century’s worth of fossil fuel even if we used nothing else to power civilization.

The benefits of abundant cheap energy are obvious: prosperity and voluntary population stabilization. In the decades to come, other forms of energy will be further developed. If hydroelectric power doubles, while nuclear power and renewables both go up by an order of magnitude, the three together would provide 636 exajoules of power per year. Under that scenario, fossil-fuel use could remain near current levels, and total global energy production would still double to 1,000 exajoules.

What is impossible, however, is for renewables alone to achieve this level of growth. More than half of renewable energy today comes from biofuel and biomass, which—ironically—is already wreaking havoc across the tropics as hundreds of thousands of square miles of rainforest are incinerated to make room for cane ethanol and palm oil plantations. And then there are the minerals required for the wind turbine towers, the silicon photovoltaics, and the billions of megawatt-hours of battery farm capacity. Where are the Malthusians when you need them?

Same place they always were—everywhere you look, for as far as the eye can see—in the bodily posture typical of their kind: with their heads jammed so far up their flues they have to yawn to see daylight. There’s a good reason why the ceaseless warnings of impending disaster issued by such as they never quite come to fruition: the purblind boobs arrive at their dire conclusions by projecting current conditions into the future unaltered, never taking technological advancement, human ingenuity and adaptability, and the ineluctable flux and churn of life on this planet into account.

Doomsday predictions can make for moderately interesting reading now and then, but ought to be taken no more seriously than you do your daily horoscope, the extended weather forecast, or your chances of winning gazillions playing the Powerball. Harmless entertainment, if that’s your bag, but not necessarily reliable indicators of what tomorrow will bring.

Update! Don’t let FJB’s play-acting at being “concerned” by the suffering his hideously expensive gas prices is inflicting on ordinary Americans fool you. This is exactly what he and his fellow shitlibs have dreamed of for years and years.

If you had the unpleasant experience this July Fourth weekend of paying close to $5 for a gallon of gas, you can always comfort yourself with the idea that your pain is for a good cause: the “liberal world order.” 

So said Brian Deese, White House director of the National Economic Council, when he was asked on CNN: “What do you say to those families who say, ‘Listen, we can’t afford to pay $4.85 a gallon for months, if not years. This is just not sustainable’?”

Deese, like his boss Joe Biden, is unmoved by the suffering of ordinary Americans, more than two-thirds of whom say gas-price increases are causing them hardship, according to a recent Gallup poll.

“This is about the future of the liberal world order, and we have to stand firm” until Ukraine defeats Russia, declared Deese.
He was echoing the president, who had referenced the Ukraine war a few hours earlier in Madrid, when he dismissed a similar question: “The war has pushed prices up. [Oil] could go as high as $200 a barrel…How long is it fair to expect American drivers and drivers around the world to pay that premium for this war?”

Biden responded with cold indifference: “As long as it takes,” he said.

If only there was some way Real Americans could properly thank him for it.

6

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