The Real “Existential Threat” To People and Planet

It is government policies that promote green energy and suppress fossil fuels

Don Ritter

It’s ironic. The very Biden Administration and European Government policies that are supposed to address the asserted “existential threat” of climate change are themselves the true existential threat to modern civilization.

As someone trained in science and engineering, a lifelong hiker, gardener and lover of nature in the extreme, I want a healthy, sustainable planet as much as anyone promoting the climate change agenda.  It’s not that “green” energy is bad. It’s that the rate of “going green,” and the enormous investments required, are wildly disproportionate to society’s energy needs, now and for the foreseeable future.

Elon Musk gets it, but most government leadership do not – or choose to remain silent. “Realistically, civilization will crumble if we don’t continue to use oil and gas in the short run,” Musk has said.

Civilization crumbling is clearly an “existential threat.” And this guy sells electric cars! He also recommended “continued drilling and exploration for oil and gas,” because he understands that producing and fueling electric vehicles will require substantial fossil fuel electricity generation, for years to come.

“Existential” issues like war, peace, economic vitality, jobs and living standards all have the same critical driving force: energy – all forms of energy. Energy to transport people and goods, to run farms and provide food, to heat and cool homes, to power manufacturing, and to fuel ships, planes and vehicles for our military. Natural gas is essential for fertilizers to feed a hungry world. Oil and natural gas are the building blocks for plastics, pharmaceuticals, synthetic fibers, paint and thousands of other products.

Today, these vital, almost-taken-for-granted benefits come almost entirely from oil, gas and coal. Those who have it will be powerful; those who don’t will not. China and Russia know this well.

Europe made a deal with the devil by handing its energy supply to Vladimir Putin and energy-rich Russia – while crippling its own energy future with anti-fossil-fuel climate change policies. Europe closed its coal, gas and nuclear power plants, while building expensive, unreliable, weather-dependent solar and wind facilities. Putin’s war on Ukraine couldn’t have happened without his dominance over gas, oil and coal supplies to Europe.

And where is the United States government on energy reality? It’s copying Europe, with vast green energy subsidies and an unrelenting “whole of government” regulatory war on fossil fuels.

America should be telling an energy-insecure world, “We will do everything in our power to increase the supply of energy,” in an-all-of-the-above approach: not only fossil fuels and renewables, but nuclear, and hydroelectric power when feasible. Instead, we beg hostile dictatorships – that pay no attention to human rights or ecological values – to increase their production, because we refuse to increase ours.

Isn’t that just a little embarrassing? We could be the “gas station for democracy” for the Free World. But our government’s climate change policies stand in the way.

Simple arithmetic tells the story. Fossil fuels still provide some 80% of the world’s and America’s energy consumption. The rest comes from hydro, nuclear, solar, wind and biomass. In the USA, solar and wind provide less than 5% of our total energy consumption – and less than 2% for transportation, to fuel 290 million cars, trucks and buses. For airplanes, the percentage is zero.

Coal constitutes some 33% of total energy consumption in the U.S. and 37% worldwide. Yet it is being prematurely withdrawn from global energy supplies by climate change policies. This is devastating, especially for poor countries.

Developing nations need expanded coal mining to produce electricity, to create jobs and lift billions out of abject poverty. But they are denied access to capital by the climate-obsessed bureaucracies in international financial institutions and government aid agencies like the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and USAID. This is this hypocritical, especially because the West industrialized predominantly with coal.

Climate campaigners at all levels of government and in the revenue-driven private sector have created a new energy economy based on vast subsidies for solar and wind, to replace coal, oil and gas. It portends disaster, for Europe and America, because they are doing it prematurely – before the replacements are anywhere near ready for prime time.  

The Biden Administration “Inflation Reduction Act” contains some $370 billion in new green energy subsidies, purposely skewing massive private investment into solar and wind, and away from fossil fuels that are still essential – practically, economically and geopolitically.

Before governments provide such enormous subsidies, they need to analyze all the environmental impacts of producing and installing massive wind turbine, solar panel and backup battery facilities. On U.S. and global scales, those technologies would require metals and materials mining and processing – almost all with fossil fuels – on scales unprecedented in human history; indeed, at levels impossible to reach for decades to come.

Wind, solar and battery facilities also impact and destroy vast amounts of land: wildlife habitats, croplands and scenic areas. They kill birds, bats and other wildlife. Without expensive, fire-prone battery backup, they require inefficient hydrocarbon “peaker” facilities going on and off repeatedly, whenever the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.

Demonizing energy sources brings risks of blackouts, factory shutdowns, and freezing people in the dark during long winters. Supposedly “clean, green, renewable” energy is simply not yet able to meet America’s and the world’s growing electricity needs.

Substituting natural gas for coal in electricity generation is the reason America has been leading the Free World in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Natural gas should be seen not as a pariah, but as the “bridge fuel” to any fossil-fuel-free future.

The Biden Administration is putting long-range, uncertain, potentially faulty, probably exaggerated predictions about climate over the lives and independence of Ukraine, the security of our European allies – and even America’s own security and well-being. India, Brazil, Indonesia and many others in the “Global South” need oil, gas and coal to exist and modernize. But the Biden Administration will not assure them that America will work to fill the gap if they try to wean themselves off Russian fossil fuels. Is it any wonder they have stayed neutral on Putin’s brutal invasion?

Sadly, the debate over expanding American energy to substitute for Russia’s – and ensure our own energy security – is virtually non-existent within the Administration, many think tanks and the media. In fact, they all cooperate to censor and silence debate.

This is not only strange, because the soaring cost of energy is the primary factor driving inflation and threatening recession, not just in America but worldwide. In fact, it is worse than strange.

Government suppression of fossil fuel production is threatening the national security and economies of countless nations. Demands that we precipitously “go green” represent the greatest “existential threat” of all – to the survival of modern industrialized nations, to developing nations, and to the survival of our planet as we know it.

Don Ritter received his Doctorate in Metals and Materials from MIT. He served 14 years on the House Energy and Commerce and Science and Technology Committees; was Ranking Member on the Congressional Helsinki Commission, and was founding Co-Chair of the Baltic States-Ukraine Caucus. Ritter led the National Environmental Policy Institute after leaving Congress. He is a Trustee of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, and Trustee and President & CEO Emeritus of the Afghan American Chamber of Commerce.

4.9 37 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dennis G. Sandberg
October 16, 2022 11:01 pm

Meanwhile, a few days back, at Biden headquarters, a letter arrives from the oil industry, “We urge the Biden administration to speak clearly and with one voice to disavow a refined product export ban or export restrictions, which would only further raise global and U.S. prices….”

Bryan A
Reply to  Dennis G. Sandberg
October 16, 2022 11:35 pm

It’s Biden…he long ago lost his ability to speak clearly and in coherent sentences. He’s also fairly far left…definitely far left of moderate. It’s a proven fact that, the farther left your ideals lay the more likely you are to be of at least 2 mindsets (personal and hive). Multiple mindsets are incapable of speaking “with one voice”.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Bryan A
October 17, 2022 10:12 am

There has been much said by Democrats about Trump being a threat to “democracy.” Yet, we have a senile president, being manipulated by his handlers, and often having to issue ‘corrections’ to what Biden ‘actually’ meant when he spoke off script. That is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they created the presidency for our constitutional republic. The United States is already well on the way to ceasing to function as intended, and it is largely because the Fourth Estate is not doing its job of objective journalism. We no longer have a functioning office of the president; rather, a marionette figurehead whose strings are pulled by the cabal behind the scenes.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
October 17, 2022 3:23 pm

Democrats have a long, long history of declaring that it is only democracy, when they win.

Stephen Wilde
October 16, 2022 11:40 pm

It is solely a western disease. The developing world doesn’t accept it except as a means of holding back the West.
The problem goes so deep that it was a major part of the reaction against the proposed dash for growth and revival of energy production by Prime Minister Truss.
All the financial institutions are now dependent on the diversion of taxpayer revenue to green policies. There is no easy way out.

Coach Springer
Reply to  Stephen Wilde
October 17, 2022 6:54 am

Except for Truss and her office?

Andy Espersen
Reply to  Stephen Wilde
October 17, 2022 7:30 am

The major “financial institutions” are the banks – and they are not “depending on the diversion of taxpayer revenue”. And they have just reacted to Truss/Kwarteng’s demand for credit to finance their extravagant policies by curtly telling them that they can’t have it!!

Mum says no – you can’t have it. We can’t afford it.

Coeur de Lion
October 17, 2022 12:19 am

And carbon dioxide is not a problem

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
October 17, 2022 7:12 am

That’s the heart of the matter.

Reply to  Coeur de Lion
October 17, 2022 8:57 am

The Climate-and-Green-Energy scam was a blatant fraud from the start ~50 years ago, promoted by “scoundrels and imbeciles”. The scoundrels knew they were lying; the imbeciles believed them. We told you so 20 years ago.

Reply to  Coeur de Lion
October 17, 2022 6:34 pm

But governments have always been the problem

October 17, 2022 12:27 am

The REAL Real “Existential Threat” To People and Planet is the climate and the virus lie and the REAL measures against these FICTIONS.

Matt Kiro
Reply to  Corona Hotspott
October 17, 2022 5:47 am

Governmental Tyranny is the appropriate term I believe

Reply to  Corona Hotspott
October 17, 2022 5:55 am

Where individuals and their “rights” become subservient to the collective, the value of the individual is diminished. Then, atrocities are not only allowed, but are used to control both individuals and the collective.

Rod Evans
October 17, 2022 1:08 am

Until the sane voices of reality are able to communicate freely with the world, without being blocked or ‘cancelled’ by the woke driven media, the direction of energy destruction will not change.
The current Green fixation with Wind and Solar plus bio in the form of forest destroying woodchip burning power stations, will ensure society as we understand it, will stop functioning sooner than even the Green zealots think possible.
Winter is a time of test for society. We do not have long to wait to see the dire situation we have before us. The masses affected by this Green energy lunacy will not be forgiving of those they see as the prime drivers of the crisis ahead of us.

Reply to  Rod Evans
October 17, 2022 1:10 am

All green organisations are against woodchip burners like Drax, UK.

Only small scale wood burners from waste wood are sustainable

Reply to  griff
October 17, 2022 4:30 am

Except that burning wood emits more CO2 that burning coal.

In short, you admit that rising atmospheric CO2 isn’t a problem.

Bryan A
Reply to  HotScot
October 17, 2022 6:00 am

And burning wood requires emitting CO2 for 100 years before the first years release is ready to harvest again. 36525 days worth of burning wood and all the CO2 released before the first years output is recycled

Reply to  griff
October 17, 2022 5:13 am

Hotscot is correct … wood is less efficient at the point of combustion and emits more CO2 per kilowatt hour than burning coal.

This is the problem with greentards your doctrine is all over the shop

Mark BLR
Reply to  griff
October 17, 2022 5:20 am

All green organisations are against woodchip burners like Drax, UK.

In 2022 it “is” the case that most environmental groups “are” now opposed to Drax’s woodcutting (on the east coast of the USA) and maritime transport (by diesel-engined ships) of pellets.

Three and a half years ago “Earthworm Foundation, an international non-profit organisation (formerly known as ‘The Forest Trust’)”, to provide just one example, was welcoming the Drax company with open arms.

Link to press release.

O tempora, o mores ! (Oh Times, oh Daily Mirror ! … or something like that …).

Reply to  griff
October 17, 2022 5:49 am

Waste wood is better used to make particle board, invented to make use of these leftovers. Can’t make particle board out of coal.

Reply to  griff
October 17, 2022 9:59 am

A year ago all the green organizations were for woodchip burners, and so was griff.

October 17, 2022 1:09 am

The picture heading this report is uncredited – may I ask where it comes from? I’ve noticed a number of these landscapes heading articles recently and would like to track down the originals…

Rod Evans
Reply to  griff
October 17, 2022 1:23 am

Griff, if CG images are your concern, I suggest you are not yet awake enough to smell the coffee….

Reply to  Rod Evans
October 17, 2022 5:06 am

Coffee?? Ambergrisly reckons the distraught doomsters won’t even be able to get their medication due to global concentration and the supply chain-
Floods, bushfires and broken supply chains: how the climate crisis will fuel Australia’s medicine shortage (
Naturally windmills solar panels and lithium batteries from China will be unaffected.

Bryan A
Reply to  observa
October 17, 2022 6:03 am

The only thing fueling Australia’s medicine shortage (like potentially America’s impending shortage) is likely found in that China is the likely source of their manufacture.

Reply to  Rod Evans
October 17, 2022 6:43 am

I like to mix a little art appreciation in with the tireless quest to achieve world communism…

so, any idea who created the artwork?

CD in Wisconsin
Reply to  griff
October 18, 2022 8:01 am

If you are into art work Griffy-poo, allow me to suggest Edward Munch’s “The Scream” to you. Munch’s work has been used in the post heading here at WUWT numerous times, and for good reason.

His work reflects the emotional state that the world is likely to ultimately find itself in if we keep going far enough down the green energy road that is being thrust upon us. Economic decline and fall is never fun.

comment image

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  griff
October 17, 2022 2:04 am

It uses artificial intelligence.
To understand it, you would first have to learn ordinary intelligence. Geoff S

Stephen Watkins
Reply to  griff
October 17, 2022 2:26 am

I agree with griff on this. They are great looking images.

Reply to  griff
October 17, 2022 5:15 am

Again, why mark down Griff for asking questions

I prefer Griff’s questions to his unsupported “facts”

Reply to  griff
October 17, 2022 5:35 am

They are AI generated lots of sites

An example

Type in
Futuristic city ravaged by climate change

you get something like
Futuristic city ravaged by climate change
you can then refine and evolve it

Reply to  LdB
October 17, 2022 6:45 am


amazing… didn’t know AI could do that.

If I’d had to guess I’d have said one of the German Expressionist painters like Max Ernst.

I’ll give it a go: many thanks…

Matt Kiro
Reply to  griff
October 17, 2022 5:50 am

I don’t think you have the skills to track down the originals, even if you’re intentions were mere curiousity

October 17, 2022 1:11 am

The Real “Existential Threat” To People and Planet … is government policies that promote green energy and suppress fossil fuels.

Governments will have to deal with the problem of oil scarcity. The last peak in oil production was in 2018, four years ago. OPEC has been using its spare capacity to increase production, and since it is getting low they were forced to cut production at a time the world’s demand is increasing. People are just ignoring this elephant in the room.

‘The world should be worried’: Saudi Aramco — the world’s largest oil producer — just issued a dire warning over ‘extremely low’ capacity.

Reply to  Javier
October 17, 2022 6:28 am

“We will be out of oil by the year 2000.”

Reply to  Dennis Topscewskk
October 17, 2022 7:06 am

No, but conventional oil peaked in 2005. It was at a plateau until 2018 with all the increase from unconventional oil. And since 2018 all crude + condensate oil has been in decline, before the pandemic, and before the war.

comment image

comment image

Obviously, these are not welcome developments because of the dire implications. I am not predicting Peak Oil. I am saying it is in the rearview mirror. Time should confirm what I see, the same it has been confirming the change in the summer Arctic sea-ice trend I saw in 2015.

October 17, 2022 1:27 am

Labour vows to treble solar power… – the Grauniad

On farmland

Food will have to be imported. That’s one way to frig people over

Reply to  Strativarius
October 17, 2022 5:49 am

Stupidity runs deep in politics.

Peta of Newark
October 17, 2022 1:30 am

Yes, Absolutely. Modern Western Governments are now Too Big

I’ve taken to thinking about it as how The Victorians realised something, nigh on 150 years ago with their ‘Charitable Good Works

Simply, they realised that once you start handing out free money (basically what charity is), you create an insatiable demand for Ever More Free Money.

In a nutshell, that is Government and Tax.
Tax is money that folks ‘give’ to Government – for next to nothing palpable in return.
As far as Government goes, tax revenue is Free Money.
And they help themselves to slices off of it because, being = Government Workers, they are really important people – they keep telling themselves and everybody else.
But then, they come to spend what’s left and whoever is on the receiving end e.g. Windmill owners but otherwise known as Cronies.
And Cronies self-organise to milk as much out of Governements as they can, because everybody knows that Governments always have infinite amounts of money.
And in any case, it was originally their money so why not?

Thus, the thing spirals completely out of control – precisely what’s happening in the UK right now.
Made ever worse in that folks involved in Government are so ‘used to’ the system, the only solution they can ever see to any problem is to simply Throw Money At It.
And then, raise taxes some more to fund it.
or borrow from pension funds and ‘carefully manage’ inflation to devalue the loan
Or steal it from the children via money-printing and student loans

You want a fantastic example:
My little autistic friend (her 10th b’day tomorrow)
Her mother has been informed that she is a ‘bad mother’ by Big Government.
Seemingly one way to alleviate this ‘badness’ (can you even believe that any mother would be bad in the first place) is for Sarah to have a ‘Safe Space Bed‘ to sleep in
See attached screenshot

Amazing innit.
Now, make a guess at what that grotesque, cheap and nasty plastic confection is priced at. (UK taxpayer pays of course, not the parents, thank fug. But they do anyway. Although in fact, because its a all printed or borrowed money, little Sarah is paying for it herself

Now compare, what did you guess
Twelve Thousand Four Hundred and Ninety Nine Pounds. £12,499.00

edit to PS
There is seemingly a five month waiting list for those things

Safe space bed Autism.PNG
Bryan A
Reply to  Peta of Newark
October 17, 2022 6:10 am

Make it to fold down and trundle along and I know a sect of society without personal living spaces that could utilize them.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Bryan A
October 17, 2022 10:25 am

Put a blue tarp over them and they provide shelter against inclement weather as well.

Steve G
October 17, 2022 2:09 am

And where is the United States Australian Labor government on energy reality? It’s copying Europe, with vast green energy subsidies and an unrelenting “whole of government” regulatory war on fossil fuels.

October 17, 2022 2:19 am

Chinese smart meters could be a threat to power supplies in Britain if used as ‘a Trojan horse that could pull down the whole of the grid’, experts warnA quarter of a million smart meters made by a firm linked to the Chinese government have been installed in UK homes, sparking fears Beijing could ‘destroy’ the national grid….But experts predict there could be more than three million by the end of the rollout.If the switches were used to turn off a significant proportion of meters in tandem, the national grid would be generating far more energy than was being used. This would trigger a surge and damage substations, leaving entire cities without power.

October 17, 2022 3:32 am

“Instead, we beg hostile dictatorships – that pay no attention to human rights or ecological values – to increase their production, because we refuse to increase ours.”

I suppose it might be a cunning plan: talk someone into letting you eat their lunch so you can save your own to eat tomorrow. It might even turn out that way eventually, but only by accident.There is no cunning.

October 17, 2022 4:05 am

“And this guy sells electric cars!”

There’s nothing wrong with separating mugs from their money if they yearn to give it to you.

October 17, 2022 4:26 am

Sub headline from the main page:

Supposedly “clean, green, renewable” energy is simply not yet able to meet America’s and the world’s growing electricity needs.

Boy is that sentence ever ambiguous. ie. It’s grammatically correct but it’s easy to misread. It seems to imply:

Supposedly “clean, green, renewable” energy is simply not yet able to meet America’s and the world’s growing electricity needs, but actually it is.

I would reword it:

So-called “clean, green, renewable” energy is simply not yet able to meet America’s and the world’s growing electricity needs.

Reply to  commieBob
October 17, 2022 5:14 am

Or put it more simply: renewables are unreliable and will never meet 100% of the world’s electricity needs.

Reply to  bil
October 17, 2022 8:20 am

100% is setting the bar too high. Also, we have to define “needs”.

Modern civilization “needs” 24/7 reliable electricity. Anything significantly less than that will result in a slow inexorable slide back to the stone age, accompanied by untold human misery and environmental damage. It is not a question of standard-of-living, it’s a question of just living at all.

So, I would rephrase your comment:

Or put it more simply: renewables are unreliable and will never meet even 50% of the world’s electricity needs.

Reply to  commieBob
October 17, 2022 5:47 am

Leave out the “yet” and you have a real proposal. “clean, green, renewable”  energy simply is not up to effective world wide energy now or ever! The vast waste to produce it simply would wipe out any positive effects it might have.

John Garrett
October 17, 2022 4:29 am

Dr. Ritter’s summary is succinct, informed and well written.

Bruce Cobb
October 17, 2022 4:43 am

It’s not that “green” energy is bad. It’s that the rate of “going green,” and the enormous investments required, are wildly disproportionate to society’s energy needs, now and for the foreseeable future.

Wrong. So-called “green” energy is bad. It is harmful to the grid, raises electric rates, and harms the economy. Even more disturbing is that it is being foisted on us via lies and propaganda. The only reason we even have it is because of the anti-carbon cabal, and Big-government, anti-democratic policies.

October 17, 2022 4:52 am

One does not need to be a conspiracy theorist to wonder just where all the political and institutional money comes from that funds the anti-fossil fuel movement. We know that Putin funded much of the anti-fracking activism in the US years ago, and for obvious reason – American and European fracking was a clear threat to Russia’s position as one of the world’s principal gas stations.

Putin and his fellow Russian kleptocrats have become masters of hiding money, laundering money, and directing it for their own purposes.

Where is the investigative reporting, the digging in to famously “follow the money” behind the Democrat Party political campaigns and big institutions that fund the war on fossil energy.

“Divide and conquer” is one of the oldest warfighting tricks in the book of conquerors.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Duane
October 17, 2022 11:41 am

We need lots of investigations in the near future. And it’s looking like we may get some.

Reply to  Duane
October 17, 2022 7:29 pm

‘politicians don’t impact energy prices … it’s the market’

I don’t agree with the above, I just remembering reading it somewhere … I don’t remember where.

(does anyone have a link, or a better memory than me?)

October 17, 2022 5:43 am

Good grief! A politician (actually an ex-politician) who speaks intelligently about energy. What is this world coming to! Unless more start doing this, the world will be coming to an untimely end.

The Dark Lord
October 17, 2022 6:58 am

“not yet” ??? you misspelled “never”

October 17, 2022 7:30 am

Solve the climate crisis by eliminating the kick back to politicians. And see how quickly good weather is acceptable. The author is correct, the threat to civilization is liberalism not the climate.

October 17, 2022 9:27 am

The Real Existential Threat are the world’s governments.

October 17, 2022 9:54 am

Saving the environment was never the goal of the environmental movement, destroying the economies of the capitalist countries so they could be replaced by socialism/communism was.

October 17, 2022 11:32 am

To use a cold warrish phrase, Biden is a puppet, and the people pulling his strings are dangerous leftists / socialists who don’t want to admit that their policies and ideology have never worked. It’s hard to deal with true believers.

October 17, 2022 3:54 pm

Very nice, clear and simple language. This needs wide distribution.

October 18, 2022 9:34 am

Off subject…I have tried to share 3 – including this article – WUWT articles this morning and all were denied to be posted to Facebook. Anybody having this problem?

Rich Lentz
October 18, 2022 5:10 pm

Math is not that hard to do to calculate the amount of fossil fuel used for the energy needs of the world, and then to determine how much solar and wind energy is needed to replace 100% of the fossil energy consumed. One will quickly see it is an impossible task. Also need to determine where all the “Plastics” are going to come from for the world uses and how much they will cost when they are no longer a byproduct and/or waste material of our fossil fuel needs.

October 18, 2022 11:34 pm

Considering that CO2 is non-toxic and essential for all life and that no one has ever shown or even explained how it could be physically possible for atmospheric CO2 to measurably influence temperatures near Earth’s surface, why should anyone be trying to limit their CO2 contributions?

%d bloggers like this:
Verified by MonsterInsights