By Ronald Stein
Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure, Irvine, California
The Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors climbing up the agenda in the banking industry to divest in fossil fuels is a desire to reach a world like that in the 1800’s, when the world was previously “decarbonized”.
Back in the 1800’s, we had no coal or natural gas power plants, and we had not discovered crude oil as something that could be manufactured into usable products. Life was hard and dirty, and most people never traveled 100-200 miles from where they were born, and life expectancy was short.
Today, there is a lost reality that the primary usage of crude oil is NOT for the generation of electricity, but to manufacture derivatives and fuels which are the ingredients of everything needed by economies and lifestyles to exist and prosper. Energy realism requires that the legislators, policymakers, and media that demonstrate pervasive ignorance about crude oil usage understand the staggering scale of the decarbonization movement.
The efforts to cease the use of crude oil could be the greatest threat to civilization, not climate change, resulting in billions of fatalities from diseases, malnutrition, and weather-related deaths.
In the worldwide frenzy to achieve the goal for “net zero” emissions, over the last 5-10 years, “ESG”–standing for Environmental Social Governance–has gone from an acronym that virtually no one knew or cared about, to a cultishly embraced top priority of financial regulators, markets, and institutions around the world. Today, the ESG divesting efforts are applying to all 3 fossil fuels of coal, natural gas, and crude oil.
The Net-Aero Banking Alliance developed with the support from the United Nations, now includes seven of the largest and most influential banks in the United States, including BOA, Citi, J.P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, and Amalgamated Bank.
Allowing banks to collude to reshape economies so that they are in line with the preferences of banks and other financial institution is a very dangerous precedent. The American people never voted to give banks this sort of control over our country.
The domino effects from tinkering with the supply chain of crude oil, is supply shortages and soaring prices for thousands of products that support the economies of the world. Products based on oil are the basis of the entire medical industry, all branches of the military, airports, electronics, communications, merchant ships, container ships, and cruise liners, as well as asphalt for roads, and fertilizers to help feed the world. Fossil fuel shortages encourage inflation as it imposes serious damage on the energy and raw materials infrastructures.
Climate alarmism seems to be inexhaustible and if history is any guide, ESGers admitting their mistakes and rushing to undo the damage is not at the top of the list of likely responses. Thus, by divesting in crude oil infrastructure we can look forward to supply shortages of thousands of products manufactured from oil and crippling power prices and unreliable supplies to meet the demands of society.
The oil products that reduced infant mortality, extended longevity to more than 80+ and allowed the world to populate from 1 to 8 billion in less than two centuries, is now required to provide the food, medical, and communications to maintain and grow that population. How can world leaders consciously support the demise of crude oil that would take us back to the 1800’s when life was hard, dirty, and short?
Today, with all the products manufactured from oil, according to the United Nations the global population of centenarians 100 years old or older is projected to grow from more than 500,000 in 2021, to exceed 2 billion in 2050.
We already know that the poorer developing countries, currently without the usage of the 20th century products manufactured from crude oil, are experiencing about 11,000,000 child deaths every year due to the unavailability of the fossil fuel products used in wealthy countries.
More than 70 per cent of those child fatalities in developing countries are attributable to six causes: diarrhea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, preterm delivery, or lack of oxygen at birth. About 29,000 children under the age of five – 21 each minute – die every day, mainly from preventable causes.
Without replacements for those derivatives manufactured from crude oil, there will be gigantic reductions in living standards of the population in the current healthy and wealthy countries as the world migrates back to the pre-1900 era, and any attempt to develop the colonial countries would come to a dead stop.
“Net zero” will be taking us back to a time before 1900 when the world had not yet discovered the benefits to society from the 3 fossil fuels. Net-zero policies are demonstrably precipitating ever more serious, unsustainable socio-economic and environmental damage, with several advanced economies routinely experiencing blackouts, and steeply escalating electricity prices that are leading to class-based electricity poverty, excess winter deaths, organized social and political pushback and ever more violent confrontations.
Before the 1900’s we had NONE of the products used in the medical industry nor any of the 6,000 products from oil and petroleum products. By ceasing oil production and fracking, the supply chain to refineries will be severed and there will no need for refineries as they will have no crude oil supply to manufacture derivatives and intotransportation fuels demanded by the world’s heavy-weight and long-range infrastructures of aviation, merchant ships, cruise ships, and militaries.
Divesting is already impacting supply shortages of jet fuel as reported by Energy Information Administration (EIA), as less production and more demand have reduced U.S. jet fuel inventories since 2014 for the 23,000 commercial airplanes and 20,000 Private jets.
The IEA report points out that the demand growth for plastics and fertilizer are outpacing the demand growth for steel, aluminum, and cement. Petrochemical product demand has nearly doubled since 2000 and the U.S. and Europe use twenty times as much plastic and ten times as much fertilizer as India, Indonesia, and other developing countries on a per-capita basis. A decarbonized world without the three fossil fuels of coal, natural gas, and crude oil CANNOT manufacture any of those petrochemicals from a wind turbine or solar panel.
As Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) divesting in fossil fuels progresses, the short memories of petrochemicals’ golden goose contributions to societies are leading the world to an era of Extreme Shortages Guaranteed (ESG) like we had in the decarbonized world in the 1800’s!
Ronald Stein, P.E.
Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure