If We Rid Ourselves of Gas and Oil, We're Going to Be the Flintstones
If we don't make any energy, there won't be any energy
Have you heard the latest from Biden’s Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen?
So, according to Yellen’s comments on the video, we’re now “well on our way” towards eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels? Really? Because it sure doesn’t look like it:
This gives you a good idea of how things are looking, but I think this illustrates what Yellen is saying even more clearly:
Do you see that tiny green line at the top? Yellen is saying that line is going to take the place of all the other lines soon. Does that seem likely to anyone? Not so much, right? Now consider that burning wood, which has been around for almost all of human history, and hydroelectric power, which has been around since 1878, make up 42% of “renewable energy” while wind and solar only make up 33%. What Yellen and company are talking about is actually 1/3 of that green line engulfing most of that chart. Maybe that seems possible to old-school Star Trek fans who were used to seeing the crew of the Enterprise figure out 40 years of technological developments on the fly to get themselves out of some jam with the Klingons, but back in the real world, that doesn’t happen very often. We can point to a few examples of extremely fast technological developments that were made possible by putting large amounts of resources into them like the nuclear bomb, putting a man on the moon, or the way that computers and the Internet have taken off, but they’re far from typical. If anything, as Mark Steyn noted in his excellent book, After America, the general pace of technological progress has slowed down tremendously:
Picture a man or woman of the late 19th century, perhaps your own great-grandfather or great-great-grandmother, sitting in an ordinary American home of 1890. And now pitch him forward in an H G Wells machine, not to our time but about halfway – to that same ordinary American home, circa 1950.
Why, the poor gentleman of 1890 would be astonished. His old home is full of mechanical contraptions. There is a huge machine in the corner of the kitchen, full of food and keeping the milk fresh and cold! There is another shiny device whirring away and seemingly washing milady's bloomers with no human assistance whatsoever! Even more amazingly, there is a full orchestra playing somewhere within his very house. No, wait, it's coming from a tiny box on the countertop!
...But then he espies his Victorian time machine sitting invitingly in the corner of the parlor. Suppose he were to climb on and ride even further into the future. After all, if this is what an ordinary American home looks like in 1950, imagine the wonders he will see if he pushes on another six decades!
So, on he gets and sets the dial for our own time.
And when he dismounts he wonders if he's made a mistake. Because, aside from a few design adjustments, everything looks pretty much as it did in 1950: The layout of the kitchen, the washer, the telephone... Oh, wait. It's got buttons instead of a dial. And the station wagon in the front yard has dropped the woody look and seems boxier than it did. And the folks getting out seem ...larger and dressed like overgrown children.
And the refrigerator has a magnet on it holding up an endless list from a municipal agency detailing what trash you have to put in which colored boxes on what collection days.
But other than that, and a few cosmetic changes, he might as well have stayed in 1950.
Let's pause and acknowledge the one exception to the above scenario: The computer. Instead of having to watch Milton Berle on that commode-like thing in the corner, as one would in 1950, you can now watch Uncle Miltie on YouTube clips from your iPhone. But be honest, aside from that, what's new? Your horseless carriage operates on the same principles it did a century ago. It's added a CD player and a few cup holders, but you can't go any faster than you could 50 years back. As for that great metal bird in the sky, commercial flight hasn't advanced since the introduction of the 707 in the 1950s.
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The fact of the matter is that there are already ungodly sums of money flowing from government coffers to well-connected companies and researchers to help develop alternative energy sources. The problem IS NOT a lack of resources. It’s never-ending government regulations. It’s a population popping pills for anxiety and trying to figure out what gender they are instead of working for themselves and trying to come up with the next great invention. It’s government bureaucrats steering the course of science with grants instead of scientists driving the process with new discoveries. On top of all that, it’s that once it gets to a certain level, technological leaps slow down and become harder to come by. How long have people been talking about flying cars? How long have we been trying to cure cancer? Star Trek came out in 1966, so people have been thinking about the idea of phasers, transporters, and holodecks for a long time. Do we have any of those? No, we don’t.
Contrary to what so many liberals seem to believe, we cannot create technological progress via government decree. If you want a great example of that, look at California where last month, they announced that only electric cars could be sold in the state after 2035. Liberals love that idea. So forward thinking! So brilliant. Except in the here and now:
California residents are being asked not to charge their electric vehicles to conserve energy amid a brutal heatwave — just days after the state announced a plan to ban sales of new gas-powered cars by 2035.
... “California is now telling people to ‘avoid using large appliances and charging electric vehicles’ from 4-9pm,” Scalise tweeted.
“This from the same state that’s going to force everyone to buy electric cars by 2035. This is what Democrat control looks like — and they want it nationwide. What a joke,” he seethed.
Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) sounded a similar note, tweeting: “This is the reality of backward Democrat leadership. Their ‘green energy’ infrastructure can’t even support their expensive electric vehicles.”
California state Assemblyman Vince Fong, a Republican, also pointed a finger of blame at Newsom’s energy policies.
“California is in an energy crisis and is struggling to keep the lights on,” Fong tweeted. “A crisis worsened by the Governor’s attempt to shut down essential oil & gas production when we need reliable & affordable energy the most.”
There’s nothing wrong with trying to encourage clean energy usage per se, but there’s always a big price to be paid for ignoring reality – and the reality is that alternative forms of energy are very expensive and very inefficient compared to fossil fuels and are unlikely to produce enough energy to replace oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear power in the next few decades. If you don’t want to take my word for it, maybe you’ll take the word of a billionaire who’s highly invested in solar energy and operates on the cutting edge of technology:
The world must continue to extract oil and gas in order to sustain civilization, while also developing sustainable sources of energy, Tesla founder Elon Musk told reporters at a conference in Norway on Monday.
“Realistically I think we need to use oil and gas in the short term, because otherwise, civilization will crumble,” Musk said on the sidelines of an energy conference in the southern city of Stavanger.
Asked if Norway should continue to drill for oil and gas, Musk said: “I think some additional exploration is warranted at this time.”
“One of the biggest challenges the world has ever faced is the transition to sustainable energy and to a sustainable economy,” he said. “That will take some decades to complete.”
He said offshore wind power generation in the North Sea, combined with stationary battery packs, could become a key source of energy. “It could provide a strong, sustainable energy source in winter,” he said.
In the world of liberal politics, pleasing environmentalists is a much higher priority than having a sustainable energy policy. However, back in the real world where all of us live, having cheap, reliable energy is the highest priority.
It’s like there are two sides to a scale. On one side, you have, “In a hundred years, based on our primitive understanding of the climate and climate models that have never worked, we think there could be global warming. It would be bad!” On the other side, “It’s ninety degrees out and we have no power. Also, gas is so expensive that I can barely afford to drive anywhere IF I still have a job in six months because the economy is so bad.” Increasingly, we have people going all in on the first side, mainly because they think it makes them sound like they care about the environment, without considering the other side of the scale at all. That is a decision with huge consequences and guess what? It’s not so easy to fix mistakes. You can’t wave a magic wand and build a pipeline, create new infrastructure, or bring new power plants online once an area goes dark. That’s why the way people like Joe Biden, Janet Yellen, and Gavin Newsom are approaching this problem is completely unworkable. You start by making sure cheap, abundant, efficient power is available and THEN, you start looking for ways to make it even better and even cleaner. When you do it the other way around, you’re setting your country up for disaster.
You know what I really wish? That people, other than the choir, would read your essays, articles and suggestions for a better world based on logic and common sense. But...on the upside, you give your readers plenty of facts to add to our conversations with those who need to hear the message.
Fantastic piece, as usual. But I'd go even farther; every unit of economic activity has a unit of energy behind it. And we don't use fossil fuels because we're thoughtless gaia-murdering pigs. We use them because there simply aren't any better alternatives at this point in history. If you refuse to understand that, there's simply no helping you.