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Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy, by Stephen Moore and Kathleen Hartnett White (Regnery Publishing, 2016), 256 pages, ISBN 1621574091, $19.24 on Amazon
Radical environmentalists have convinced the global elite the greatest threat to mankind is the changing climate produced by the burning of fossil fuels. It has become the dogma of much of the nation’s establishment, even though replacing fossil fuel with medieval technologies of wind, solar, and biomass is not feasible now and won’t be in the foreseeable future. No one has told the true story of the world’s, and particularly the United States’, vast, inexpensive nonpolluting fossil fuels as Stephen Moore and Kathleen Hartnett White have in their new book, Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy. Every high school student currently being bombarded by green lies should read this book. The authors’ lucid, precise, comprehensive, yet simple writing style can help set the world back on a course toward energy sanity.
The authors tell the story of the Industrial Revolution, showing how it was driven by energy development. For the first time in history, they note, all the people, and not just the privileged, reaped the benefits. Before doing so, they describe the travails of life for centuries without efficient and abundant energy, which provides a succinct description of the problems being foisted upon us today. “Most green energy policies undermine human progress,” they write. “They are regressive, disproportionately hurting low and middle income families by driving energy prices higher, thus eroding their standard of living.”
Moore and White describe the shale oil revolution and the people who made it happen, in a style reminiscent of a historic novel, making it a delightful read while not mincing words over the Marxist political philosophy that has turned green into the new red. Nor do they mince words over Obama’s desire forcibly to starve the United States of fossil fuels in spite of its ironic exponential growth during his administration. Their short summaries of evildoers such as Thomas Malthus, Paul Ehrlich, Lester Brown, and U.S. science czar John Holdren are excellent. The authors also describe my own mentor and colleague M. King Hubbert, who led the world to accept the false premise of peak oil energy for decades. Most of the doomsaying elites, they tell us, are candid about their contempt for the value of human life and their desire for an all-powerful, centralized government on a global scale to distribute the world’s wealth equally at the lowest common denominator. Their result is more than a billion human beings still with no access to electricity.
As Fueling Freedom makes clear, the United States is home to many great mineral formations yielding shale gas and oil, which truly make us the most energy-rich nation in the world. Objective scientific estimates recounted in the book place the value of these 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 100 percent by fossil fuel energy, a fact which many people don’t know. (In fact, wind and solar create even greater inefficiencies in electricity generation through the need for other fuel sources to be running idle until needed because of the intermittent nature of the renewable sources.)
Unfortunately, the Obama administration has allowed essentially no shale development on federal lands. Development has taken place on private lands only, where the owners also own the minerals below and can reap the benefits from their development. In the rest of the world, the governments own all mineral resources regardless of who owns the land, which discourages drilling. As a result, foreign countries are building factories in the United States because our energy prices are but one-third of the cost in the rest of the world. We would be doing even better in this regard if the Obama administration would open the federal lands to judicious, environmentally safe extraction.
The reader will learn a little basic chemistry and physics on the way to understanding the energy density of our fossil fuels versus wind and solar and the champion of all energy sources, nuclear power. In less words than you would expect, the authors offer a full history of the global warming fraud and expose the complete lack of scientific evidence that was ever available to support it. Concurrently, they offer a tutorial on photosynthesis and the wonders of carbon and carbon dioxide, which is not a pollutant but actually makes life on earth possible.
You may find it amusing to learn how the liberal Silicon Valley tech gurus threw in with the global warming alarmists to support wind and solar energy, completely miscalculating the enormous amount of energy necessary to operate their computer servers which now make up the “cloud.” You will learn how smart people can be so very stupid.
The reader may be surprised by how much the authors delve into agriculture, explaining how important energy is in our food production and distribution. They also explain how the Nobel Prize winning scientist Norman Borlaug developed a wheat strain that more economically utilizes the sun’s energy to produce edible grain.
Perhaps even more surprising and informative is their discussion of the amazing variety of important products made from petroleum and other fossil fuel sources. These include pharmaceuticals, plastics, chemical feedstocks, soccer balls, guitar strings, fabric softener, artificial limbs, electrical tape, shaving cream, hair color, and hundreds more. In fact, most textiles and clothing are now made from synthetic fibers from fossil fuels as well.
In the final chapters, the authors provide statistics to unveil the folly of the green energy plans through which governments foolishly—or diabolically—attempted to draw the world’s attention away from the benefits of safe, inexpensive fossil fuels. They use Elon Musk of Tesla Motors as the poster child for business owners’ gaming of U.S. efforts to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions, identifying the substantial government subsidies that made his $100,000 vehicles possible. The authors tell us he has now received $4.9 billion of taxpayer subsidies. They further show why the so-called “gigafactory” to produce Tesla batteries will turn out to be another disappointing hype job at Nevada taxpayers’ expense.
The fact is, there would probably be little if any solar industry if governments had not substantially underwritten it with taxpayer money for the past 30 years. Moore and White pointedly ask how many Solyndras the taxpayers have to finance and then watch crash and burn before the government cuts off this cronyism. The total share of electricity from U.S. wind and solar combined is expected to reach only 6 percent by 2040. This includes the $2.2 billion Ivanpah Solar Farm, which is producing only 40 percent of the promised energy output while killing 3,500 birds in its first year alone.
The U.S. government has poured more than $150 billion into so-called renewable energy over the years, even as hydraulic fracturing has changed the energy world. Moore and White refer to renewables advocates as “these blindfolded sages stuck with their green fantasy that wind turbines were the future.”
Few of my readers can fully comprehend the damage to Europe’s economy that has been done by worshiping at the altar of sun and wind. The EU set impossible targets for the reduction of carbon emissions. German and British consumers now face electric rates two to three times the average American retail rate, and their industries are fleeing to countries with cheaper energy. In 2014, they note, Germany incurred a net export loss of $67.6 billion because of high energy costs, according to the Financial Times. It is truly amazing how a nation known for its brilliant engineering could have so totally misunderstood that energy can neither be stored nor spilled but must be produced as required instantaneously. Germany made a national policy decision to push extensive amounts of intermittent and uncontrollable forms of supply onto an unforgiving electric grid. Germany now has to subsidize coal plants to get them back on line to support the nation’s crazed reliance on wind power.
For the first time since World War II, the British people face the prospects of wintertime blackouts and power rationing because of the misguided green policies of their politicians. So much money has been spent and so much prestige is on the line that Europe is only now starting to back down from its colossal mistakes. “They would rather make their pain and suffering our pain and suffering with a global treaty on climate change,” Moore and White note.
But not only is green energy ridiculous from a cost-benefit ratio, it encroaches on more land and more materials by far than conventional fossil fuels, and it is not really green at all. The authors note 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 but three metric tons of steel and 27 cubic meters of concrete per megawatt.
The United States’ misguided energy program is driven by an EPA regulatory spree unprecedented in U.S. history, and it is based not just on bad science but actually fraudulent science, as the authors explain well in this book. Of course, the U.S. Supreme Court played a role as well, when it declared carbon dioxide, a gas critical in making life on earth possible, is a pollutant. It based that ludicrous decision on false evidence from EPA.
In exposing the veritable crimes of EPA, Moore and White document the tremendous achievement of our nation in making our environment the best on earth, and they point out most of the advances did not come from federal regulation but rather from the efforts of private businesses. Many people erroneously think economic growth unavoidably leads to environmental degradation, but Moore and White show major improvements in our 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.
In their final chapter, “A Declaration of Energy Independence: America’s $50 Trillion Opportunity,” they turn their attention to the economic value of our nation’s good fortune in having 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,” they write. “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 these vast resources will never pay off any of the national debt if they are not made available for leasing, drilling and production.”
Their final recommendations include allowing drilling on federal lands, building a national network of pipelines, allowing the building of refineries, reining in the out-of-control EPA, building nuclear power plants, ending renewable energy standards, ending all subsidies for energy, and shutting down the U.S. Department of Energy.
The global war against fossil fuels is in fact a war against progress, prosperity, and the poor. No one has ever explained it better than Stephen Moore and Kathleen Hartnett White.