We hear a lot about Climate Change in the media but based on public surveys most Americans could care less. This shouldn’t be surprising since whether we are dealing with tobacco, obesity, drug use and even retirement, things that are off in the future are low priority. We tend to worry more about what will happen today or tomorrow than what will happen 10 or 20 years in the future. The coal miner or gas industry employee that has been laid off is far more concerned about putting food on the table or making the house payment than the potential consequences of climate change that might happen 20 years in the future.
I was at a conference in Ohio a few months ago. I met a woman from eastern Ohio. We were talking about energy and she said, “Greg, I live in eastern Ohio where all of the drilling is. Four years ago all we heard from the “environmental” (anti) groups was all of the bad things that were going to happen.” She continued, “We haven’t seen any of the bad things they told us would happen. All we have seen are the jobs and economic benefits. We know now that the “environmentalists” and even the media lied to us. We will never believe them again.”
I must admit that I am skeptical about climate change. I have actually been exposed to data and information on both sides of the issue. I had to work at it because the internet is dominated by pro- climate change information. That actually makes me suspicious. There is more data and information out there than I have the time to read and digest. But what it comes down to for me is this; Who can we trust? When I look at the groups and leaders of the climate change movement I agree with the woman from eastern Ohio. I just can’t trust them. I have caught them telling lies and half-truths at public meetings and in the media. If they will lie about things like fracking and the oil and gas industry, what else would they lie about? Leadership starts with integrity.
What most people don’t know is that CO2 levels in the USA peaked in 2007 and are down 10% since then. This is due to increased use of natural gas. During that same period global CO2 levels are UP 15% this is even with our decrease. The problem is NOT the USA. Understandably China, India and other places want a better life for their people and are using more fossil fuels. Maybe the solution is to send more of our natural gas overseas to help clean up their air. The USA is the leading natural gas producer in the world. We have several hundred years of supply at today’s technology.
We hear a lot about wind and solar. These are good supplemental energy sources but are incapable of replacing fossil fuels. The wind doesn’t always blow and the sun shines at best in my area 25% of the time. These energy sources take large amounts of land area for a small amount of energy. The gas well on my street produces the same amount of energy as 900 acres of solar panels. It also will produce energy 24 hours a day 365 days a year whether the sun is shining or not. My dog plays in the grass at this well site with her dog friends. The deer eat the grass there. The well just sits there quietly. It doesn’t kill birds like windmills or eliminate wildlife habitat like solar panels. As an environmentalist I find it very difficult to embrace wind and solar over natural gas.
Energy means life.It means heat, light, food, shelter and transportation. It takes energy for water purification and sewage treatment. Energy drives our economy and provides jobs. Abundant energy means national security. It is time for common sense, sound engineering and science to prevail. I’m not ready to give up my cell phone and go back to the 1800s. Those that want to get rid of fossil fuels have no perception of the world they want us to live in. It won’t be a happy place. We are better than that. Thoughts to ponder.