Extremely irresponsible decision makers and activists naively and stubbornly believe they can replace fossil fuels, including every barrel of oil, with energy derived from either wind or solar.
What they are overlooking, however, is the fact that a significant portion of every barrel of oil is used for products that cannot be produced from any other rootstock.
Let’s consider the big picture they continue to ignore.
Fossil fuels originally served to create electricity. There, I said it. It is an indisputable inconvenient truth, true to this day.
The majority of electricity in the world is still produced by fossil fuels. That is because electricity is a secondary power source. It has to be produced because it does not naturally occur in nature, lest we learn how to capture lightning!
What about wind turbines and solar panels, you ask? You can’t mine the raw materials or create the finished products you need to make either the turbines or the panels. Hence, it is a misnomer to consider wind turbines and solar panels as “natural” energy sources.
Moreover, you can’t have on-demand electricity, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year without fossil fuels because the wind doesn’t blow nor does the sun shine throughout the day and year. Nor, can you make batteries to store these weather-dependent intermittent supplemental energy sources without fossil fuels.
There was — and will be — no industrial revolution without oil. Sans the ongoing industrial revolution, we would still be living in huts and caves, lest we denude the environment of any and all materials that burn for our energy and heat source. Let us not forget that before we learned to develop fossil fuels, the world was burning such things as whale oil for a fuel source.
You can’t make plastic without oil. Plastic is the most widely used product in the world, and it has no replacement.
Moreover, you can’t produce an electric car, or any other car for that matter, without oil.
According to Resource Innovation “Currently, there are about 30,000 parts in a vehicle, out of which one-third are made of plastic. That would include the body, the upholstery, the fuel system, the instrument panel and the lighting to just name a few. In total, about 39 different types of basic plastics and polymers are used to make an automobile.”
You can’t pave a road without oil, nor can you produce the tires that run on them. You can’t ship products around the world without oil because you can’t build or fuel ships without oil. Nor can you make the infrastructure for buildings, dams, bridges, planes, trains and automobiles without steel, and you can’t make steel without fossil fuels.
You can’t produce enough food, via commercial agriculture, to feed this country or the world without fossil fuels, as they are used to make fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides and herbicides.
And lest you think we could depend on backyard or community gardens to sustain ourselves, too many people live in that concrete and asphalt jungle to make that a realistic proposition.
Aspirin, one of the most common medications used to treat pain, inflammation and fevers, consists of benzene, a hydrocarbon typically derived from petroleum. Moreover, chewing gum, lipstick, CDs and DVDs, rubbing alcohol, cortisone, hand lotion, heart valves, telephones, synthetic rubber, laptops, Styrofoam, dish soap, televisions, contact lenses, artificial limbs, linoleum, along with polyester (which is the raw material in 60% of the world’s clothing), not to mention toothpaste and 6,000 other products are all produced with derivatives of fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels are nature’s gift to our quality of life and the most important raw materials known to man. We have nothing to replace them.
It is high time we appreciate that which we rely on each and every day.
Andy Caldwell is the COLAB executive director and host of “The Andy Caldwell Show,” airing 3 to 5 p.m. weekdays on KZSB AM 1290, the News-Press radio station.