The Economic Cost of Eliminating Fossil Fuels

By Andy May

The debate on how much impact humanity has on climate change continues. As nearly everyone knows by now, there is no observational evidence that humans have a significant impact on climate, so the debate is mostly over which future climate projection is likely. It also isn’t clear that the changes we might cause are bad, most of the evidence suggests that additional CO2 and warming have been beneficial so far and will likely be beneficial in the future. But what if we do decide to eliminate fossil fuels? What is the economic impact?

Gregor Semieniuk, and nine co-authors have just published an open-access paper in Nature Climate Change discussing this option. The net present value of future lost fossil fuel profits exceeds $1.4 trillion, with $0.4 trillion lost in the U.S. alone. Compare this to the loss of about $2 trillion in U.S. home value during 2008, according to Zillow, due to the housing crisis. Note the two numbers are not directly comparable, as we are comparing fossil fuel profits to total home value, not homeowner’s equity. Average 2021 U.S. home equity is about $153,000 and the average cost of a home is about $374,900. This ratio reduces the $2 trillion-dollar 2008 loss in home value to a loss of 0.8 trillion in home equity. We could expect a serious economic shock from the loss of oil, gas, and coal assets.

Most of the risk falls on private investors who are overwhelmingly in OECD countries, especially in the U.S. and U.K. To better put this into perspective, the OECD GDP for 2021 was $59 trillion and the U.S. GDP was $21 trillion.

Those that believe that climate change is dangerous want a fast phase-out of fossil fuels, which will necessitate the write-down of fossil fuel assets. The article tracks the ownership of these assets. Once the assets are stranded, who loses? The fossil fuel industry is very large and contains 43,439 oil and gas production assets, not to mention many coal mines. The oil and gas assets are owned by almost 70,000 individual oil and gas companies.

The ultimate owners of these assets are predominantly managed investment funds (whose largest customers are pension funds), banks and other lenders, and self-managed pension funds as shown in Figure 1. The highest losses relative to GDP are in countries where government ownership is significant, as in Russia and Norway.

Figure 1. Losses due to the fast phase-out of fossil fuels by financial sector (top) and by country (bottom). Source: (Semieniuk, Holden, Mercure, & al., 2022).

Discussion

The article claims that compensating the entire loss of the oil and gas companies would “only” cost one to two percent of GDP. However, they do not count the losses of oil and gas service companies or the total resulting unemployment, which is likely more than nine million job losses in the U.S. alone. This does not count the 42,117 jobs in the U.S. coal mining industry.

Suffice it to say their estimate of the cost of curtailing or eliminating fossil fuels is way too low.

As Vaclav Smil makes clear in his new book, oil, gas, and coal underpin all of modern life. Besides energy, they are essential to feed, clothe, and shelter us. He calls ammonia, steel, concrete, and plastics the four pillars of modern civilization, and currently these can only be made with fossil fuels. These four indispensable materials use 17% of the worlds primary energy supply and produce 25% of all CO2 emissions. The IEA reports that 14% of the worlds oil and 8% of the natural gas are used as feedstocks for producing petrochemicals. Further, between 1973 and today the fossil fuel share of energy production has barely decreased at all, and the decrease is nearly entirely due to additional nuclear energy production. If fossil fuels are eliminated, or “phased out” using the euphemism from the article, the result would be catastrophic for the entire world, with nearly unimaginable consequences.

Works Cited

Lomborg, B. (2020, July). Welfare in the 21st century: Increasing development, reducing inequality, the impact of climate change, and the cost of climate policies. Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 156. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040162520304157

Semieniuk, G., Holden, P., Mercure, J., & al., e. (2022, May 26). Stranded fossil-fuel assets translate to major losses for investors in advanced economies. Nature Climate Change. doi:10.1038/s41558-022-01356-y

Smil, V. (2022). How the World Really Works. Viking. Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/How-World-Really-Works-Science-ebook/dp/B09CDB69WT/ref=sr_1_1?crid=15LL4YNFP77F&keywords=how+the+world+really+works&qid=1653753577&sprefix=How+the+World+Really%2Caps%2C79&sr=8-1

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John Garrett
May 28, 2022 2:13 pm

Over the course of my lifetime, I have witnessed several instances of collective human insanity.

The two most memorable episodes were The Great Stock Market Internet Bubble of 1998-2000 and the whole lunacy of The Drug-Addled Hippie Flower Children.

I have consigned the current delusion arising from widespread acceptance of the evidence-light “Catastrophic/dangerous, CO2-driven anthropogenic global warming/climate change” CONJECTURE to yet another case of collective human delusion.

It is nuts.

Last edited 1 month ago by John Garrett
Rud Istvan
Reply to  John Garrett
May 28, 2022 4:01 pm

I’ll add one you overlooked.In 1968-69, I was a freshman at Harvard College on a full ARMY ROTC scholarship (only way my military family could have afforded it—Alternative was West Point).
In May 1969 the ‘Students for Democratic Society’ (SDS), came to campus and held a big rally and then a ‘VOTE’ at Weld Hall, Harvards largest lecture auditorium—seats 1200. SDS wanted to occupy Harvard Yard to protest Vietnam. We students voted them down, twice. I went home at 1Am, and awoke to them having taken over University Hall (center of Harvard Yard and University admin, in front of which is the famous Harvard ‘statue of three lies’ illustrated and explained in the intro to my ebooK ‘The Arts of Truth’. Taught me a lot about leftist ‘Democratic Societies’
Let’s just say nothing good happened after, except my budding Army officer career was brutally terminated by faculty vote that summer reversing Harvard policies stemming from the Civil War
Well, at least I got in my 60 days of basic training, so was disqualified from the then draft.

Reply to  John Garrett
May 29, 2022 1:52 am

The main difference between Net Zero and a video of a slow motion high speed car crash, is that we’ll be in the Net Zero car crash.

Barnes Moore
Reply to  John Garrett
May 29, 2022 5:22 am

It’s called mass formation psychosis – as explained by Robert Malone re: the covid vaccines, but is equally applicable to globalclimatewarmingchange. https://rwmalonemd.substack.com/p/mass-formation-psychosis?s=r

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  John Garrett
May 29, 2022 10:09 am

I think insanity is the wrong term as this type of self-destructive thinking is not due to any psychiatric pathology but rather something built into all of us – the tendency to think emotionally rather than critically. Emotional decision-making works great when you must react in fractions of a second to a rapidly approaching predator or a spouse to whom you have just said something ill considered, but not when making impactful decisions about the complex and interrelated systems that support modern societies.

Thinking critically takes time and effort that we don’t naturally apply in most decision-making situations. We need to stop and make a concerted effort to be objective and follow a scientific analysis before making decisions. It takes significant self discipline and effort. Having raised a few generations of people who have largely been protected from any real traumas or privations in their life, it is not surprising that so many of us have let that already rare tendency to critical thinking whither even further so that what appears to be mass hysteria is really just our natural tendency to go with the flow, follow the crowd and believe whatever is most convenient.

Our education system is certainly not doing much of anything to correct this deficit, a not surprising outcome when you realize our educators have the same failure of critical thinking as a large part of the general population.

It seems we are at a point where only our own self-induced discomfort and loss will prod us back to thinking about things a little deeper and trying harder to make decisions that are truly based on objective evidence rather than emotional convenience.

Gary Pate
Reply to  John Garrett
May 29, 2022 11:03 pm

I call it Climate Scientology.

Ron Long
May 28, 2022 2:23 pm

The thing that infuriates me is that the big generators of CO2 China and India, have no intention of abandoning fossil fuels, so the other countries cripple their economies for nothing (for nothing anyway as CAGW is nonsense). One can only hope that sanity prevails some day, like after the next election cycle.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Ron Long
May 28, 2022 3:00 pm

Ron, true. But my guess is not for long. Too much at stake. And Biden’s mess is hastening the US midterm awakening, from all the data I see—with a few exceptions like the moderate Dem losing to a progressive Dem in lunatic Oregon.

Ron Long
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 28, 2022 3:24 pm

Rud, I was born in lunatic Oregon, when I left it went to hell, I’ll be back.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Andy May
May 28, 2022 3:34 pm

The sooner, the better.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Andy May
May 28, 2022 4:28 pm

‘I continue to be amazed that the left (including Biden and swamp) will not change direction even though it is obvious they are wrong and have to.’

They don’t have to because if they ‘change direction’, their base will abandon them. They’ll press on for the same reason good men got chewed up in futile frontal attacks in WWI – they’ve been ordered to.

What we should be concerned about is the RINO’s going squishy on ‘common sense gun control’, in which case the Republican’s populist base will bail and allow the Left to maintain control.

Derg
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
May 29, 2022 3:56 am

Frank you are one of the best on this site…kudos.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Derg
May 31, 2022 8:48 pm

It’s a great site with many fine people, including you.

Barnes Moore
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
May 29, 2022 5:28 am

It’s not just getting squishy on gun control, but squishy in general. Part of draining the swamp is to get rid of the McConnell’s and McCarthy’s and replace them with people more like Rand Paul and Jim Jordan. The deranged left needs to be buried but “leaders” like McConnell and McCarthy won’t get it done.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Andy May
May 28, 2022 6:35 pm

I continue to be amazed that the left (including Biden and swamp) will not change direction even though it is obvious they are wrong and have to.”

One can’t say that Biden and swamp are “wrong” without knowing what their objective is. At the very top, the objective is the destruction of industrial civilization, and the death of most of the human beings now living. Everyone else in the hierarchy is simply in it for the short term monetary gain, believing (with short-term justification) that they will be riding high as everyone else perishes.

I’d say that the only obvious thing is that they are right with respect to pushing policies to achieve what they want. It’s what they want that is inhumanly sick.

[BTW, I don’t think “Biden” wants anything but his ice cream, and to watch reruns of Hazel. He’s being run by someone enjoying a third term as POTUS, without ever having to get his hands dirty.]

guidoLaMoto
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
May 28, 2022 11:00 pm

There is method to their madness. Their approach to the major problems of energy, economy, immigration, crime etc is obviously to incite chaos as they follow Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals in oder to consolidte power….They are doing it all on purpose.

Willem post
Reply to  Andy May
May 28, 2022 6:45 pm

Crazy people do not ever think themselves as wrong.

RickWill
Reply to  Ron Long
May 28, 2022 6:37 pm

It is wonderful for Australia while they continue to pay for coal, gas and iron ore. I will be infuriated when they decide to come and take it if I am still shuffling around.

Willem post
Reply to  Ron Long
May 28, 2022 6:43 pm

China and India are doing what is best for their people, using as much low-cost oil, gas and coal as possible from sources, such as domestic, Russia and Others, because they believe human caused global warming is just a minor bane, compared to the major boon of fossil fuels, plus, they believe wind and solar should be used at the margins to gaslight the EU, which is mindlessly in love with wind, solar, batteries, and tree burning.

Ken
Reply to  Willem post
May 29, 2022 9:02 am

When it comes defense, Curious what the green people will power our military vehicles, tanks, airforce, naval vessels with…oh how about missiles & fire power…all dependent on carbon fuels to propel…Also, aren’t the mfg of these items built with petroleum by products? But then, maybe we can get Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, and China to do our fighting…

Willem post
Reply to  Ken
May 29, 2022 11:08 am

The key word is PROXY

Dennis
Reply to  Ron Long
May 28, 2022 11:41 pm

I suspect that the United Nations officials rely on the short memories of most people, including the UN Lima Protocol many or most developed nations signed in 1975 agreeing to the gradual transfer of manufacturing industry to developing nations, like China and India.

It was agreed to remove import tariff barriers against imported goods and therefore remove the anti-dumping provisions and penalties against imported goods and much more.

UN Agenda 21 – Sustainability signed around 1990 added to the economic vandalism.

And of course climate change and warning hoax politics, I think emissions reduction agreement commenced at the UN IPCC Kyoto Japan Conference in the 1990s.

Various UN related people have admitted that climate change is really about destroying the capitalist system (free market economics) as the world knows it and has prospered from it, in October 2015 just before the UN IPCC Paris Conference UN Official Christiana Figureres explained this fact to a meeting.

The said to be architect of using natural climate change for that political agenda, Maurice Strong, now deceased, a Canadian billionaire who was in his earlier years a UN Official, escaped from Canada when the EPA were after him for illegally pumping water from an aquifer under a property he owned in Canada and he was granted asylum in Communist China. A cousin of his had been a girlfriend to Chairman Mao Zedong. Strong apparently wanted to replace the capitalist system with a controlled and better managed version similar to what the Chinese Communist Party imposes on comrades who are permitted to participate in wealth creation activities.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dennis
Reply to  Ron Long
May 29, 2022 1:54 am

Russian has been proven to be funding anti-fossil fuel green groups.
China is a known funder of woke Universities.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out why.

Plebney
Reply to  Ron Long
May 29, 2022 10:09 am

The whole point of the operation is to reduce richer nations to the same level of poverty as the third world. Sure, the populace is talked into mass psychosis but the people behind this push are not stupid. They have planned to bring down western countries.

May 28, 2022 2:29 pm

This ignores the enormous economic gains if fossil fuels are replaced with fusion energy, which potentially is ten times cheaper. The trllions now spent on fossil fuels can instead be spent on world urbanization, environmental restoration, inrovements in health care and other things which will create hundreds of millions more jobs than the fossil industry will lose.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Eric Lerner
May 28, 2022 3:06 pm

EL, fusion—are you serious?
4th Gen fission I am in favor of. There are several potential real engineering candidates to prove out. But any form of fusion generation is just hopium.

A French Physics Nobel prize winner said it best about fusion generation:
”Fusion. Put the Sun in a box. Pretty idea, but we don’t know how to make the box.”

All the above is detailed with footnotes in essay ‘Going Nuclear’ in the future energy section of my ebook Blowing Smoke. Available cheap at iBooks or Kindle.

Willem post
Reply to  Andy May
May 28, 2022 6:53 pm

About 8000 products embody chemicals made from fossil fuels, such as tires, eyeglasses, phones, speakers, computers, cars, fertilizers, etc.

None of these could be made with wind and solar, which merely are energy sources. Without raw materials, and fossil fuels, wind and solar could not even exist

Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 28, 2022 4:09 pm

Enormous progress has been made in research by private firms, not the giant tokamaks. Our research has moved forward with only $9 million in crowdfunded investment. visit lppfusion.com and learn new things.

MarkW
Reply to  Eric Lerner
May 28, 2022 4:21 pm

Another poster trolling for ignorant investors.

RickWill
Reply to  Eric Lerner
May 28, 2022 6:55 pm

Eric,
Has there been any milestones achieved in the last 12 months?

meab
Reply to  Eric Lerner
May 29, 2022 8:03 am

Eric,

If you’re a fusion researcher, you know that fusion hasn’t yet achieved scientific breakeven where the device produces as much fusion energy as was put into the plasma (not counting the fact that heat is worth far less than electricity). I believe that will eventually happen.

When it does, it’s a factor of 10 away from achieving engineering breakeven where the device produces only as much energy as it consumes counting the inefficiencies in converting heat to electricity and converting electricity to particle energy.

If it EVER does that, then it’s another factor of at least 10 from achieving commercial breakeven, where it produces as much value as it takes to make the machine.

You’ve got OVER a factor of 100 to go.

You might be able to BS investors, who will never get their money back, but don’t try to BS me. I’ve got a PhD in Nuclear Engineering (fusion emphasis) and worked on a failed fusion machine before I got my degree and moved on to something more productive.

Reply to  Andy May
May 31, 2022 5:14 am

Just like the hydrogen economy… It’s just over the horizon, always has been, probably always will be.

RicDre
Reply to  Eric Lerner
May 28, 2022 3:35 pm

This ignores the enormous economic gains if fossil fuels are replaced with fusion energy…

And fusion energy is only ten years away (and always will be).

Nicholas Harding
Reply to  RicDre
May 28, 2022 4:02 pm

Why all the fuss about fossil fuels? Since fusion is only 10 years away, we can phase out fossil fuels as fusion comes (say oer the next 25 years starting 10 years out) online to replace it and we can do that without disrupting life…sort of the way gas and oil replaced coal in the home heating sector.

RickWill
Reply to  Nicholas Harding
May 28, 2022 6:59 pm

Four years ago, I started burning wood for home heating. I no longer have household energy bills – just a small income from excess solar electricity sent to the grid; the wonder of government mandated subsidies at work.

Simonsays
Reply to  Eric Lerner
May 28, 2022 6:57 pm

You do know the Jeston is a cartoon.

J.R.
Reply to  Eric Lerner
May 29, 2022 12:11 am

How is fusion going to power cars, airplanes, trains, ships, and rockets?

Reply to  J.R.
May 31, 2022 5:16 am

Haven’t you ever heard of “Mr. Fusion”?

comment image

😉

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  Eric Lerner
May 29, 2022 10:23 am

And don’t forget time travel, transporter beams, telepathy, warp drives, antigravity and so many other time saving conveniences just around the corner.

Rud Istvan
May 28, 2022 2:33 pm

Interesting exercise calculating financial suicide. Details don’t matter too much in the bigger picture:

  1. For many applications (mining, ag, forestry, aviation, much military, coking coal or direct nat gas sponge iron reduction for primary steel making) there are literally no substitutes available. So there won’t any fossil fuel phaseout at all, fast or slow.
  2. For other applications (EV’s) there aren’t enough mineable minerals for full substitution of gas and diesel ICE even IF large scale recycling becomes feasible. Cobalt and lithium are but two limiting examples.
  3. For other applications (grid electricity generation transitions to nuclear), it isn’t possible to have a FAST transition. Too many nucs would have to be built, and they take too long to build. At most, this might be a future slow transition.

So the notion of a fast transition financially ruinously stranding fossil fuel assets is an interesting but not very realistic exercise. It does however show how unaware of reality proponents of a fast transition out of fossil fuels are. But then, nobody ever claimed AOC was or is aware of any part of actual climate and energy reality.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 28, 2022 4:13 pm

I started making a list of small things that are produced from fossil oil that we would miss terribly. Keyboard keys, ball point pen cartridges, nylon bearings in any number of industrial machines. inexpensive automobile seats/interiors, high power speakers, television cases, parachute cord, bungee cords, printer cartridges, vinyl siding/gutters.

Need I go on? When I begin listing these out, people wonder why they have never been told about what they would be giving up. They immediately think of autos and electricity but never think of everyday items that will be gone.

It almost makes you cry that people in a technological world are not taught about the most simple things that didn’t exist even a little over a century ago.

Ask the most vociferous what their toilet seat is made of. Watch the look of wonder on their face!

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Andy May
May 28, 2022 6:27 pm

Even worse when a split pinches you!

Willem post
Reply to  Andy May
May 28, 2022 6:55 pm

The US natives just squatted; no luxury of outhouses!

Robert Cherba
Reply to  Jim Gorman
May 28, 2022 6:44 pm

Imagine life without fossil fuels. Try the stone age. Chinese were smelting metals with coal about 3,000 years ago, and I’m certain they were doing some heating and cooking with it long before that. Coal, natural gas and oil are absolutely required for modern life. Of course, most of us will starve without fossil fuels, so maybe going back to the stone age won’t be so bad. AOC and her ilk are not only grossly ignorant, but they have to be more than a little mentally unbalanced.

The pinnacle of ignorance may be New York state’s goal to eliminate all “combustion energy.” Picture that.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Jim Gorman
May 29, 2022 12:13 am

My challenge, as yet unanswered, is name one thing in your life that didn’t involve fossil energy either directly or indirectly in it’s production or getting to you.
I did have someone claim they grew organic food from their own seeds. But I disqualified that as they used metal implements and not ox Scapula spades, deer antler picks or flint knives.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 28, 2022 7:45 pm

AOC holds an economics degree and thinks there is no consequences to simply printing the money to do whatever she thinks is “necessary” to “save us” from the nonexistent “crisis.”

Which illustrates her ignorance in her field of study. You don’t really expect her to know a damn thing about “reality,” do you? She is a poster child for how worthless an “education” in American ‘universities’ is really becoming.

Barnes Moore
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 29, 2022 5:37 am

All those looking for a fast transition from fossil fuels can apply to be a participant on the show “Naked & Afraid”. It may be a good reality check. As Rud implies, one basic problem with unreliables is that they can’t produce the energy required to power the machinery needed to reproduce themselves – so, if we eliminate fossil fuels, we can’t build wind turbines or solar panels. Except that China has no intention of eliminating fossil fuels, they just intend to eliminate us.

meab
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 29, 2022 8:18 am

Rud,

Regarding your first point, it’s entirely possible to synthesize fuel using nuclear energy as the primary source. That will happen in the distant future to power aviation etc. after oil runs out. The technology already exists today, albeit at a cost penalty that the market would not bear. The transition to nuclear will be slow, as you said, but fortunately we have a few centuries to do it.

Solar and wind, not so much. You can’t run a chemical plant on intermittent electricity.

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 29, 2022 10:31 am

The real shame of this is that the decisions to destroy the energy and material underpinnings of society are being made by wealthy westerners who can tolerate a fare bit of loss before it becomes existential. On the other hand, the most immediate dire consequences will be felt by starving poor folk in developing nations who will remain shackled to a life limited by their own physical capacity for work which in turn will be reduced and their lives shortened by the collapse of industrial food production and rising prices. The victims have no hand in the decisions but will see their children and grandchildren waste away because of our stupidity and lack of compassion for others.

Last edited 1 month ago by Andy Pattullo
markl
May 28, 2022 2:50 pm

It’s part of the “plan” to cripple Capitalism and has nothing to do with temperature. Just like the ESG movement it’s Marxist propaganda intended to dupe the people into economic suicide because they know Socialism on its’ own can’t win the people’s confidence. The question is, if they do succeed what will pay for Socialism?

Bruce Ploetz
Reply to  markl
May 28, 2022 3:13 pm

Human blood sweat tears and life will pay for Socialism. Just as it did in Ukraine under Stalin. Eventually the sheep look up, but only after much is lost.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  markl
May 28, 2022 3:16 pm

I made a comment on the previous ESG thread. ESG cannot ‘win’, ever, for a couple of reasons:

  1. In the US, a fiduciary’s sole duty is to maximize financial returns for it’s beneficiaries. ESG provably does not do that—see point 2.
  2. The E and S parts are arbitrary and nothing to do with the sole fiduciary max return duty. The G part has some validity as there are provably badly governed enterprises. The LBO and Private Equity funds make their money by cleaning up G stuff. NOT E and S stuff.
markl
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 28, 2022 4:22 pm

I hope you’re right and would like to think so but there’s an awful lot of large corporations signing up for ESG (or so it seems). I think it will fail because it’s just another attempt at putting lipstick on the Socialism pig and people in successful Western Capitalistic countries aren’t buying it.

Streetcred
Reply to  markl
May 28, 2022 5:13 pm

Being heavily pushed by ‘consultants’ making a quick buck out reports, training and systems implementation. Charlatans.

Derg
Reply to  markl
May 29, 2022 4:03 am

My stupid insurance corporation hired a climate czar…an effn climate czar. A 6+ income job for what 🙁

Graham
Reply to  markl
May 28, 2022 10:46 pm

You are right Mark and Jim Gorman .
As I have stated many times if these people pushing climate change were really interested in saving the world from “runaway global warming ” they would be pushing for the speeding up of construction of many more nuclear power plants all around the world .
They do not ,so this is proof that there is far bigger agenda than trying to reduce fossil fuels than a warmer world .
We have enough proof from those pushing this scam in the UN who have come out and stated that socialism of the world through restricting fossil fuels is their goal.
Most of these people supporting the restriction of fossil fuels on this site think that if the world reduces fossil fuel that every thing will carry on as before .
It will not unless another reliable economic power source is made available .
Our modern world cannot survive if energy is restricted simply because so many of the worlds population live in cities and food has to be imported from around the world .
Energy poverty will kill millions with heat stress and freezing .
All buildings ,highways, railways ,shipping and port infrastructure has to be upgraded or replaced over time . Air craft and airports need constant upgrading and replacement .
All this takes millions of tonnes of concrete ,steel and aluminum.
Then we have ammonia produced from natural gas which is then manufactured into urea .
Urea and other nitrogenous fertilizers have fed billions around the world since the 60’s and a shortage of urea would create severe food shortages around the world .

Mike Smith
May 28, 2022 3:05 pm

The homes survived the home value crisis quite well. They lost value but continued to provide comfortable shelter for the millions and millions of residents.

The value of the fossil fuel assets and even the related jobs is not the primary issue here. The issue will be all of the investment and expense needed to provide replacement sources of energy. Hopefully, I don’t need to point just how essential that energy is.

Many of us already know that those costs will be astronomic as will the environmental costs if we continue with plans as advocated by greens and governments around the world (mining raw materials, disposing of spent batteries, solar panels, wind turbines etc).

Personally, I think there will be heavy social costs too since the burden will fall predominately on the poor and underprivileged.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Mike Smith
May 28, 2022 3:19 pm

Agree, but would sharpen your point. In some applications there is NO cost to replacement because no alternative exists at any price.

Mike Smith
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 28, 2022 5:21 pm

The inability to provide a replacement will typically confer a cost too.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 29, 2022 6:14 am

True but the cost of the ATTEMPTS to “replace” are astronomical – just ask Germans who have had their electric rates skyrocket while their grid has gone from bullet-proof to teetering on the edge of massive blackouts.

Streetcred
Reply to  Mike Smith
May 28, 2022 5:15 pm

The ‘lost’ value in homes is merely a transfer of potential to new owners. In real estate, time is your friend. A bit like energy 😉

Old Cocky
May 28, 2022 3:17 pm

Silly me. Once upon a time, economic cost was the system-wide impact of a change.

Now it’s just the NPV of profits foregone by the company, or in this case, the sector.
That makes so much more sense.

It’s nice to know that the next pandemic will have a negative economic cost* because the health sector will have more work to do.

[*] Well, it’s obvious, really. Pandemics affect health, so the economic cost must be determined by the change in profitability of the health sector.

Streetcred
Reply to  Old Cocky
May 28, 2022 5:17 pm

The ‘health’ sector actually had less work to do due to the prioritisation of resources for COVID away from surgery, etc., was a real problem for medical practitioners.

Old Cocky
Reply to  Streetcred
May 28, 2022 11:06 pm

Was that the case world-wide, or a localised phenomenon?

I think it may have been the case temporarily here in Australia because a lot of elective procedures were postponed, but I’m unsure of other countries.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Old Cocky
May 29, 2022 7:26 am

In the UK over 12 million elective surgeries were postponed because of Covid and the National Audit Office thinks that backlog may double by 2025.

BobM
May 28, 2022 3:26 pm

We need to start asking at every opportunity, “where is the demonstration project, and when will it begin?”

The irrationality of these things is completely misunderstood by the vast majority of the population because they assume the “renewables” and “sustainability” baloney will actually work, and is already being done somewhere by someone…

We need to burst that balloon for the unaware.

marlene
May 28, 2022 3:33 pm

“…oil, gas & coal underpin all of modern life. This is why our Earth sustains us – it comes with all the energy we need to survive as a species – oil, natural gas, coal. It’s NOT sustainable to replace them. 

Michael ElliottMichael Elliott
Reply to  marlene
May 28, 2022 3:54 pm

Evan if we replace fossel fuel electric generation with Nuclear, we will still need to use fossel fuel as feed stock to make all of the things that we need.

A far better comparison re. effects on the economy would be the 1928 financial crash.

This was really a freeze on the move.ent of money.

Those with it in effect went into their Castles & raised the drawbridge.

That was enough to so damage the World’s economy that it took the shock of a World War to fix it.

Michael VK5ELL

Chris Nisbet
May 28, 2022 3:41 pm

“As nearly everyone knows by now, there is no observational evidence that humans have a significant impact on climate”
Somebody forgot to let NZ pokiticians/MSM know.
I get the impression that TVNZ would like us to think that any/all ‘extreme’ weather events are due to human CO2 ‘pollution’.
Jacinda has just entered into some climate agreement with California. I suppose that means she wants NZ to follow California’s lead – shudder.

Graham
Reply to  Chris Nisbet
May 28, 2022 11:01 pm

Hi Chris ‘
I shudder every time I hear some politician or broadcaster blame every thing on climate change.
Jacinda had a nuclear moment and stopped all oil and gas exploration off our coasts .
We could have another urea plant in Taranaki and export the surplus to help feed the world .Instead we import over a million tonnes of coal for our Huntly power station to run intermittaly to back up low rain fall that drives our hydro stations .
This is idiot ideology.

Loydo
May 28, 2022 3:49 pm

In an honest account you’d look objectively at both sides of the ledger. What about the cost of not eliminating fossil fuels?

MarkW
Reply to  Loydo
May 28, 2022 4:26 pm

There are none.
CO2 is on net very beneficial to the planet and to humans.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Loydo
May 28, 2022 4:41 pm

Since the economic and societal benefits of fossil fuels includes the vast increase in human health and welfare over the past 100+ years, I think the burden of proof that they should be eliminated is on you. Come back when you have it, otherwise, go away.

Last edited 1 month ago by Frank from NoVA
H B
Reply to  Loydo
May 28, 2022 4:56 pm

So list them and provide evidence

b.nice
Reply to  Loydo
May 28, 2022 5:08 pm

“In an honest account you’d look objectively at both sides of the ledger.”

So you admit you are totally dishonest, having never looked at the reality side of the ledger.

Ok !

This article looks at the “reality” side of the ledger, something you and your fellow anti-CO2 shills have never done.

There is absolutely no “plus” side to getting rid of fossil fuels until something can replace them. Wind and solar need not apply !

b.nice
Reply to  Loydo
May 28, 2022 5:09 pm

“What about the cost of not eliminating fossil fuels?”

ZERO !

Last edited 1 month ago by b.nice
AGW is Not Science
Reply to  b.nice
May 29, 2022 6:22 am

Actually, LESS THAN zero. The real “social cost of carbon” is a large number – with a “minus” sign in front of it.

Everything we have the privilege of taking for granted in modern civilization is thanks to the use of fossil fuels and the related “emissions,” and said “emissions,” as a bonus, are plant food and contribute substantially to the increasing amount of food production.

Bryan A
Reply to  Loydo
May 28, 2022 6:34 pm

In honest science you’d also look and speak objectively about “Both Sides of the Ledger” as well so what about the social benefits of CO2 …

Global Greening
Oasification
Atmospheric fertilization

Just to name a few

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Loydo
May 28, 2022 6:35 pm

Unless you’re worried about a couple of degrees there are no costs until the supply can no longer meet demand.

Heck, the next glaciation may be postponed a couple of hundred years. I’m sure both mine and your descendents would agree that is a good thing.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Jim Gorman
May 28, 2022 7:36 pm

And that ‘couple of degrees’ is very likely an overstatement based on the most extensive paleo studies.

LdB
Reply to  Loydo
May 28, 2022 10:18 pm

You are probably going to have to lay that one out … like most I can’t see it. Lets also put the thorn in all greentards side … how do you propose to make countries stop using it because they certainly aren’t going to do it voluntarily.

Last edited 1 month ago by LdB
Graham
Reply to  Loydo
May 28, 2022 10:51 pm

Lloydo ,Read my post above .
I said some who post on this site think every thing will be alright and we will carry on as usual .
You fit the bill.

Doonman
Reply to  Loydo
May 29, 2022 12:22 am

Remember, People who want to lower your standard of living are not your friends.

michel
Reply to  Loydo
May 29, 2022 12:25 am

There are real costs to some uses of fossil fuels, but when you look at them closely you see that changing over to electricity is not going to diminish them much if at all.

For instance, cars. At the moment large areas of cities are polluted by exhausts, noise and inability to move around at a human pace. If you want examples, look in London at the North Circular Road or the A12 as it enters the city. Or look at the legendarily polluted Oxford St, with barriers all along the sidewalk to keep people off the roadway.

So you might think, fine, lets green it all. We just make those vehicles EVs and everything will be fine. No it won’t be. Residential and shopping areas will still be wrecked by the same numbers of people endlessly driving through them on the way to someplace else. Children will still not be playing outside in those streets, it will be just as difficult to cross Oxford St as it was.

There are similarly costs of coal and gas fired power generation – much more of coal than other conventional sources. Coal is a very dirty fuel, both in its extraction and use, even given modern treatments of it. But since at the moment these cannot be replaced by wind and solar because of the intermittency problem, its sort of academic. Its fairly easy to replace coal with gas, the UK has mostly done that. But replacing gas? Both for power generation and home heating? Its simply not going to happen.

Any serious attempt will have two effects. One is large numbers of households will spend huge amounts of money attempting to retrofit their homes with enough insulation and new radiators to make a heat pump practical. Then they will buy the heat pumps. They will be out tens of thousands.

Then it will turn out the grid, now powered by wind and solar, will not support the demand, so the heat pumps will be turned off when you need them.

The disadvantages of gas are tiny, compared to the real alternative, sitting in an unheated house because your supplier has turned off your power, wearing several layers of fleece leggings and tops and a woolly hat, and hoping the power will come back on soon so you can boil a kettle for a hot water bottle.

It reminds me of the UK Liberal lunatic minister, Ed Davey, who remarked that the spend on energy was going to fall as a result of his green measures. This was because the price would be so high that people would buy far, far less of it, and the result would be net lower spend.

Except on woolly jumpers, where the spending would skyrocket!

Andy Pattullo
Reply to  Loydo
May 29, 2022 11:56 am

I think you mean benefits.

Chuck_M
May 28, 2022 4:45 pm

USA power consumption is around 10.8 TWH per day. Assuming battery backup could be provided for at $0.30 per WH, that’s $3.24 trillion per day. $97.2 trillion per month. No way to pay for that.

Simonsays
May 28, 2022 5:02 pm

“oil, gas, and coal underpin all of modern life”

Only if it’s
1. abundant,
2.reliable and
3. cheap.

If you country is reliant on imports, then it only takes a change in the any one of the three to derail your economy.

Simonsays
Reply to  Andy May
May 29, 2022 1:13 am

Being abundant is no use to the masses if it is not reliable (supply) and cheap. Coal will probably not be an issue for the foreseeable future. Oil and gas not so sure. Demand for oil far outstrips the replacement discoveries, world supply is concentrated in too few suppliers, that will mean we will have to learn with a higher relative cost in the future.

MarkW
Reply to  Simonsays
May 29, 2022 7:47 am

With record high proven reserves, only an idiot would spend a lot of money looking for more oil.
Basic fact of economic life. Once you figure it out you will give up on your panic mongering.

Graham
Reply to  Simonsays
May 29, 2022 1:02 pm

I can remember reading a news paper column written by Gwynne Dyer in the 1970s that the world was at peak oil and about to run out of many other minerals.
Absolute bunkum but he rehashes the story every decade and news papers print it.
As I wrote earlier on this blog if the world is facing a energy crisis why don’t our leaders embrace nuclear as there is ample uranium for hundreds of years of power production.
When governments put every hurdle in the way of oil and gas extraction or ban the construction of pipelines , drilling and exploration the result has to be more expensive fuel .
Do governments do this on purpose ?

mikee
Reply to  Graham
May 30, 2022 1:33 am

Yes, Western governments have all drunk the AGW Gaia kool aid and are working on an economic “reset” – namely the overthrow of capitalism with socialism (communism).

Derg
Reply to  Simonsays
May 29, 2022 4:09 am

Before Hong Kong was turned over to the China it was an economic miracle. It flourished despite almost no natural resources. Me thinks limited smart government with freedom drives prosperity.

Last edited 1 month ago by Derg
AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Simonsays
May 29, 2022 6:29 am

Your third item should read “affordable,” it doesn’t have to be “cheap.”

And since fossil fuels are abundant, reliable, and affordable (probably even “cheap” for many) absent policy stupidities, what’s your point?

Current “shortages” are politically driven. Push the climate deluded out of power, and the current mess is self-correcting.

Peta of Newark
May 28, 2022 8:35 pm

General point about this story – that lawyers might tell their clients:
Don’t exaggerate – you lose your credibility

Or as Shakespeare wrote,
Methinks the lady doth protest her innocence a little too strongly”

Lets do this….
Nobody needs Fossil Fuel to make cement – all you need is A Heat Source to cook limestone.

What’s the fixation on Ammonia. Presumably to make fertiliser?
Points arising:
Plants and bacteria do not need Ammonia to make them grow faster, all they need is water-soluble Nitrogen
Nitrate or Nitrite will work equally well and all you need for that is an energy source to ‘oxidise air’
OK, an intense ‘thing’ such as lightning, but we can do that.

Or bacteria can make nitrate, lots of bacteria already do.
We even have a mouthful of bacteria making nitrate – it moderates blood pressure.
(Don’t use Antibacterial oral healthcare products – Sodium Bicarb and Tea Tree Oil are more effective at cleaning teeth, cheaper and better for you, your heart muscle especially)

‘Fossil Fuels’ are used to make Glyphosate – it switches off children. Literally, via Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
There actually is a coherent link between childhood vaccines and Autism.
Especially the MMR vaccine.
It is chock full of Glyphosate and by the time it is injected rather than eaten, breathed in or via skin absorption, very tiny amounts have very big effects. ##

Glyphosate goes into the growing of corn, which goes into ‘syrup’ and it switches everybody off, physically as well as mentally.
Let’s feed it to newborns why not.

The pair of them (Ammonia and Roundup) also ‘switch off‘ Farmland Soil – so it blows away in the wind and washes away in the water.

What’s this all about – did re-radiated in all directions energy do that?
Skeptics say nay while still believing in same.

Not the over use of ploughs, tillage and ammonia as in the 1930’s dust bowl?
In another version of that story, the event did not count as A Derecho because it was only 299 miles wide – Derechos need to be 300+ miles.
Cute huh, move the goalposts why doncha?

Between them, Glyphosate, Ammonia and Corn are going to be the end of us.

I saw a little video recently, (from Wunderground) all of 60 seconds long.
It informed that the San Joaquim Valley has sunk 28 feet since the year 1910.
Roads bridges and water-infrastructure were all falling over.
Did ‘climate’ do that? If so, how?
Did the weather change during that time? No heatwaves, droughts, floods or dust-storms?

The over-pumping and disappearance of all the underground water that sank the valley wouldn’t have affected Sea Level by any chance?
Nah thought not, the Sunspots did that.

And the squirrels, isn’t that a fact NASA?
Aha, The Sputnik said so. I see now.
OK maybe, but how did The Sputnik know? Are Sputniks more clever than people?

Yes right you need coke to make steel = used as a chemical reagent – not especially as ‘fuel’
You could heat your Blast Furnace electrically if you wanted, rather than burning coal inside it – thus needing vastly less ‘fuel’
(Doesn’t it seem crazy to be pumping air/Oxygen into a process where you are actually trying to remove Oxygen from something. Clever people will know the reason)

Likewise Plastics – oil & coal are not ‘fuels’ in the production of same

Its just as well there’s an infinite supply of fossil fuels under the ground.
And that the people who are so clever that they cannot make babies are simultaneously clever enough to find the fossils.

So why do these people feed what babies they do make on Corn Syrup?
Mmmmm, maybe a Sputnik can tell us, they know everything else.

(don’t eat sugar. ok. just don’t)

## If you ‘attack’ autism early enough = before age mid-twenties it is reversible.It can be cured but, before it gets embedded too deeply.
Strangely enough, doing so involves a strictly ‘organic’ diet = food grown without use of Ammonia on ground where Roundup hasn’t been used for at least 5 years, ideally more than 10.

Where are our doctors on this, do any of them even know. Do they even want to know or are they already sooooo clever they don’t need to know.
Or too busy applying sticky plasters to sugar-induced damages at a cost of $6 Trillion per year?
Nice work if you can get it. And afford it.

PS Sputniks don’t eat sugar (do they?) – maybe they are really clever.
They eat plenty fossils tho, so maybe not so bright.

Bryan A
Reply to  Peta of Newark
May 28, 2022 10:00 pm

ROTF LMAO
Best Snarkgasm I’ve had in quite a while

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan A
Simonsays
Reply to  Peta of Newark
May 29, 2022 3:53 am

Besides all the other rubbish, this is just BS,

“There actually is a coherent link between childhood vaccines and Autism.
Especially the MMR vaccine.”

So a vaccine (MMR) that has only been distributed to kids for about 12 months you can prove a link to autism. Go away.

Graham
Reply to  Andy May
May 29, 2022 1:08 pm

Well said Andy May .
Put Peta in her place .

edge
May 28, 2022 9:28 pm

Alternative headline: “Oil and Gas Companies make very small profits relative to the value they provide.”

michel
May 29, 2022 12:30 am

Of course the great fallacy of the idea is that there is no way these assets are going to be stranded, and there is no way that oil and gas companies are going to stop selling.

The only question is whether they will be allowed to continue to sell to the US, UK and Australia. The rest of the world will buy all they can produce.

Or do you think that UK and US governments are really going to try to close down BP, Shell, Exxon etc? And close them down in terms which mean they do not sell their assets to some companies not based in the UK or US?

Because the first result of a total ban in the US and UK will not be that those fields stop producing. It will be that the companies liquidate and pass those assets to companies which are outside.

To make it stick, you’d have to first seize the companies and then just fire all the staff and close down the fields, and have the assets held by the state and not used. Good luck with that, in a democracy!

IanE
Reply to  michel
May 29, 2022 11:03 am

True – but could you indicate where I might find a democracy!?

May 29, 2022 1:50 am

They always ignore the cost feedbacks. These cost feedbacks increase the more expensive energy becomes, until there is a point where the costs rise infinitely fast. Basically the economy collapses … that is a very real possible cost. Yet still this insane ideas of “1 or 2 percent” continues.

H.R.
May 29, 2022 6:42 am

I’ve been collecting tools from the early 19th Century to the early 20th Century and using them. I’ve been trying to master using them just in case the GEBs and their lackeys succeed in eliminating fossil fuel use.

We won’t go back to the Stone Age, but we will wind up using about mid-1800s technology.

The problem is not enough people are well-versed in using those technologies. Our elite overlord wannabees will be so surprised when they find that people are too busy working very hard for themselves just trying to survive to cater to the whims of people worth $billions… on paper.

That’s what the cost of eliminating fossil fuels will be.

Looks like the Amish and Mennonites are well positioned to rule the World, but they aren’t particularly interested in that job.

May 29, 2022 7:02 am

Losses to fossil fuel producers and investors are the least of it. How about losses to the *users*…direct and indirect…of these fuels? Households, businesses, hospitals, municipalities.

What happens to an steel producer when electricity for its electric arc furnaces goes down? What happens to city people who are dependent on electric mass transit? What happens to people who like to *eat*, occasionally, when fertilizer becomes scarce?

See my post Of Energy and Slavery:

https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/42837.html

Mike Edwards
May 29, 2022 1:00 pm

I don’t think that this analysis gets anywhere close to the true economic impact of eliminating fossil fuels.

The simple truth is that the alternative energy sources are now, and are going to be in the future, more expensive than fossil fuels have been. The true economic impact will result from this “simple” increase in the cost of energy to all consumers.

We are experiencing some of this economic impact already, with the cost of energy increasing dramatically over the past 18 months or so. This has been brought about by lack of investment in fossil fuel sources leading to shortages and so to high prices.

This has ironically led to a massive increase in the value of existing established fossil fuel resources, quite the opposite of the analysis in the paper.

Whether “renewable” sources of energy can ever be reliable enough to replace fossil fuels remains to be seen, despite the predictable howling calling for yet more renewables to be added to our energy sources. Adding in the costs of technologies like battery storage or “green” hydrogen is likely to make our current energy prices look relatively cheap.

DrEd
May 29, 2022 6:37 pm

Please remember that they want to eliminate fossil fuels because of CO2. That premise is nonsense. There is absolutely NO reason to eliminate CO2. These idiots PRESUME agreement on the “need” to eliminate human generated CO2. We should always reject that premise while we point out the insanity of the green “solutions”/

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