Without Fossil Fuels Modern Civilisation is Impossible

80% of Energy Comes from Fossil Fuels

World Energy Consumption by Fuel, based on data of 2019 BP Statistical Review of World Energy

With over 80% of energy consumption coming from fossil fuels, pretty much everything we have in our economy today is available thanks to fossil fuels. We wouldn’t have today’s homes, schools or grocery stores without fossil fuels. Even solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, and modern hydroelectric dams would not be possible without fossil fuels. In fact, for the foreseeable future, we cannot make any of these devices with electricity alone.

Without adequate energy, an economy tends to collapse. Economists are generally not aware of this important point.

Agriculture is dependent upon fossil fuels, particularly oil. Petrochemicals are used directly to make herbicides, pesticides, medications for animals and nitrogen fertilizer. Huge quantities of energy are necessary to make metals of all kinds, such as the steel in agricultural equipment and in irrigation pumps. Refrigerated vehicles transport produce to market, using mostly oil-based fuel. __ https://ourfiniteworld.com/2019/10/02/understanding-why-the-green-new-deal-wont-really-work/

In fact, all of our critical infrastructures rely on abundant and affordable fossil fuels to keep us alive. Pretending that our society could safely transition to 100% renewable (wind and solar) energy in less than 100 to 150 years is a dangerous fantasy that puts everyone at risk.

With that stark reality in mind, in 2019 China has cut back deeply on its renewable energy spending and subsidies.

Countries are investing less because renewable projects are heavily dependent upon subsidies that are being cut as countries face rising electricity prices and large subsidy bills. Residential electricity prices are twice the U.S. price in Spain and three times the U.S. price in Denmark and Germany—countries that subsidized renewable investment early on. Their electric customers are suffering under heavy utility bills despite renewable energy supplying 30 to 60 percent of their electricity.

… In Japan, investment was down by 16 percent, in India by 20 percent, in Germany by 26 percent, and in the United Kingdom by 56 percent. __ https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/renewable/global-investment-renewable-energy-stalled-due-subsidy-cuts/

Renewable Mandates Generate Ruin

Utility scale wind and solar cannot survive on their own merits. Without expensive government subsidies, mandates, tax breaks, and other economically debilitating handouts to wealthy developers, wind farms and solar arrays become giant junkyards across the landscapes of the world.

The US public is being sold a “Green New Deal” (GND) that would cost many $trillions. But would the GND deliver the goods?

The reasons why the Green New Deal won’t really work are fairly subtle. A person really has to look into the details to see what goes wrong. __ https://ourfiniteworld.com/2019/10/02/understanding-why-the-green-new-deal-wont-really-work/

Yes, the devil is in the details — but like all shifty characters, the salesmen for the GND are very short on details, while they are full of all kinds of promises.

Modern Societies Cannot Survive on Intermittent Energy

With coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants, life-sustaining electric power can be routed onto the power grid in abundant quantity, high quality, affordable prices, and at the times when the power is needed by customers. This is not true for utility scale wind and solar — which put the existence of modern civilisation at risk by their undependable nature. Modern civilisation cannot live without its critical infrastructures. And critical infrastructures cannot survive without affordable, reliable, high quality electric power. And high quality, abundant, and affordable power cannot be provided (today and for the next 100+ years) without fossil fuels in large quantities.

In the future, advanced nuclear power may allow a transition to infrastructures based largely upon nuclear-powered electricity. Once reliable, non-intermittent alternatives to fossil fuels are scaled up sufficiently, an orderly transition from fossil fuels to advanced alternatives can begin. But that will take several decades for even the most advanced countries — and probably more than 150 years for most of the world.

Energy Poverty and Recession Accompany Poorly Planned Energy Transition in Deutschland

If societies try to transition to alternative forms of energy and power before they have ironed out the wrinkles, they are likely to make the critical mistakes made by Germany and to a lesser extent the UK.

The root of most of the stupid thinking underlying the precipitous flight from fossil fuels is clearly the cult-like Climate Apocalypse movement. But some of the retreat from rationality must be laid at the feet of the Peak Oil Armageddon mindset. As long as either delusion — or both — are held by powerful policymakers in any given society, that society will be held ransom to endless pseudoscientific rationalisations excusing ruinous economic and energy policies.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood © .

More: The video below illustrates the competence level of the popular front for the extinction of humans via the adoption of renewable energy (big wind and big solar) —

h/t Watts Up With That

Be assured that these echo choir singers put every bit of that competence into their analyses of global energy, ecology, and climate . . . and they work especially hard devising practical solutions to the world’s problems.

More on reality vs. fantasy on the electric power grid

Germany, once a power exporter, is now an importer and has resorted to expanding coal use in order to keep the lights on and minimize natural-gas imports. A new McKinsey study concludes that high prices are destined to go even higher in Germany, threatening industrial competitiveness and degrading reliability. Their conclusion: Germany must make a “fundamental turn in energy policy.”

And Texas, where the share of power generated from wind is the highest in the nation, at 16 percent, barely skirted several blackouts this past summer, for the same reasons. Wind lulls at times of high demand required emergency alerts for “voluntary” reduction of demand. If the available power had dropped by just 1.5 percent more, the system operator would have been forced to impose rolling blackouts. If one were betting, though: It will be California (again) that will lead the way to green-induced blackouts.

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2 Responses to Without Fossil Fuels Modern Civilisation is Impossible

  1. “Pretending that our society could safely transition to 100% renewable (wind and solar) energy in less than 100 to 150 years is a dangerous fantasy that puts everyone at risk.”

    That would explain why we are all driving horses … wait. The transition from 99% horses to 80% cars took only 13 years. It will not take a century, it will take a decade.

    • alfin2101 says:

      That is wishful thinking. People eagerly changed from horse-drawn transport to internal combustion using fossil fuels, because they could afford the empowerment fossil fuels provided. Renewables such as big wind and big solar are being shoved down the throats of utilities, industry, commerce, and private consumers — at the cost of rising consumer rates and reduced reliability of power grids.

      Work it out in detail, by the numbers. Learn something new. The only way your 10 year prediction comes true is if something horrific happens resulting in a large scale collapse with an unimaginable casualty count. If this is what you picture in your mind, it is better to spell it out for other readers.

      I recommend that readers follow the links for articles that explain the inherent limitations of big wind and big solar energy. It is not fashionable to be logically sceptical about the latest fads in mass thought, but in the long run it builds stronger minds.

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