Higher energy costs for Americans are eminent along with worldwide ecological degradation and human right abuses from mining for wind, solar, and EV materials
By Ronald Stein
Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure, Irvine, California
The social changes with COVID-19 may have been prelude to life with less fossil fuels. With COVID-19 we have seen extensive self-imposed social adjustments to transportation that are very similar to what will be required to live with less fossil fuels in the future, i.e., with virtually no airlines, cruise ships, or automobiles.
The major caveat and benefit to the world’s populations is that the pandemic occurred in the present which allowed the world to take advantage of petroleum derivatives for thousands of products that were not available before 1900. Those “oil” products were a major benefactor to the medical and the communication sectors that supported a worldwide medical attack against COVID-19 and gave businesses the technology to continue operating virtually.
Electricity alone may support a simplifier lifestyle but cannot support the huge energy needs of transportation infrastructures, nor provide the thousands of products that societies demand from those petroleum derivatives that are the foundation of economies around the world.
The focus of America’s climate policies has been toward the energy industry that was virtually non-existent before 1900. Today, America has less than five percent of the world’s population (330 million vs. 8 billion) but targets its energy policies onto an industry that did not exist a century ago.
The oil and gas industry is not just an American business with a few stateside refineries to service the demands of its residents, but an international industry with more than 700 refineries worldwide that service the fuel and product demands of almost 8 billion living on earth.
More important than the various fuels to the world to operate planes, trucks, militaries, construction equipment, merchant ships, cruise ships, and automobiles are the more than 6,000 products that come from the derivatives of crude oil, including every part in solar panels and wind turbines.
Germany tried to step up as a leader on climate change, by phasing out fossil fuels and nuclear, and pioneered a system of subsidies for wind and solar that sparked a global boom in manufacturing those technologies. Today, Germany is failing to meet its climate goals of reducing carbon-dioxide emissions even after spending over $580 billion by 2025 to overhaul its energy systems. Germany’s emissions miss should be a “wake-up call” for governments everywhere.
Today, German households pay almost 50% more for electricity than they did in 2006 as power prices in Germany are now among the highest in Europe. Much of that increase in electricity cost is the Renewable Surcharge that has increased over the same period by 770%. Germany has learned that clean energy is not energy in totality as wind and solar only provide renewable electricity, and more accurately its only intermittent electricity at best. Renewables have also been the primary driver behind the high costs of electricity for residents of Australia and California.
While the shift to reduce America’s oil and gas industry, the United Nations warns that the unintended negative consequences of the shift to the exotic minerals and metals used to produce the parts for industrial wind and solar electricity and electric car batteries are highly concentrated in a small number of countries and their extraction and refinement pose a serious threat to worldwide ecological degradation and heinous human rights abuses.
In addition to the United Nations warning, there are numerous documentaries about the atrocities the workers are put through in the cobalt mines, i.e. actually digging the mines by hand along with horrendous living conditions. Amnesty International has documented children and adults mining cobalt in narrow man-made tunnels along with the exposure to the dangerous gases emitted during the procurement of these rare minerals.
The Democratic Climate Policy projects the prevention of 62,000 premature deaths in America every year by 2050, but the Democrats’ supporting the demise of America’s oil and gas industry should speak up and take accountability for supporting the elimination of the industry that could reverse the annual fatality atrocities occurring in those poor countries. Those underdeveloped locations in the world, mostly from oil and gas starved countries, are experiencing 11 million child deaths every year, mainly from preventable causes of diarrhea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, preterm delivery, or lack of oxygen at birth.
For those Western politicians, entertainers, and other elites who think climate change is the biggest threat facing mankind, they need to take responsibility and begin to imagine the future atrocities to most of the current world population of 7.7 billion that’s projected to reach 9.8 billion in 2050, and 11.2 billion in 2100. Six out of seven humans alive today live in developing nations. Most of the poor are trying to live in abject poverty but dying by the millions every year.
Those children in poor countries still lack purified drinking water, sewage sanitation, adequate nutrition, reliable electricity (or any at all), adequate health care, i.e., the infrastructures and products we take for granted that are all based on deep earth minerals and fuels. And by the way, adults in those poor countries barely live past 40 years of age.
There are more than two billion people today who are still without reliable electricity and thus forced to burn cow dung and rotted wood for energy. As an example, 600 million Africans do not have electricity, or reliable sources of electricity, to run their hospitals, turn on the lights, or cook their food.
America is taking giant steps toward following Germany’s failed climate goals which should be a wake-up call for governments everywhere, but it appears that America, from California to New York, wants to follow the German failure.
The Democratic Clean Energy Climate policy remains unconcerned with the worldwide ecological degradation and human rights abuses resulting from the mining for exotic minerals and metals that are highly concentrated in a small number of foreign countries that are used to produce parts for industrial wind and solar electricity and EV batteries.
Ronald Stein, P.E. Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure