Irrational Fossil Fuel Hatred

by Brian McGraw on May 23, 2011

in Blog, Features

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Energy blogger Robert Rapier has an excellent post about the naive hatred shown towards the fossil fuel industry by what he calls Democrats. I’m not completely convinced that its a position held by all of those on the left (rather than environmentalists, a subset of the left) but the knee-jerk anti energy sentiments tend to aggregate more on that side of the isle. Read the whole thing, especially his thoughts on clueless celebrity activism. He quotes an environmentalist who struggled to come to this realization:

There was virtually nothing in my office—my body included—that wasn’t there because of fossil fuels… I had understood this intellectually before—that the energy landscape encompasses not just our endless acres of oil fields, coal mines, gas stations, and highways…. What I hadn’t fully managed to grasp was the intimate and invisible omnipresence of fossil fuels in my own life…. I also realized that this thing I thought was a four-letter word (oil) was actually the source of many creature comforts I use and love—and many survival tools I need. It seemed almost miraculous. Never had I so fully grasped the immense versatility of fossil fuels on a personal level and their greater relevance in the economy at large.

Comfort, check. Survival, check. And this is a common phenomena by many who engage in similar types of activism against fossil fuels. The individuals who have worked to make our lives, while often getting rich in the process, are reviled by a good portion of the population. A prime example is the newest assault on the Koch brothers by Henry Waxman (D-Calif.):

Waxman, the energy panel’s top Democrat, on Friday urged committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to press Koch – a refiner helmed by billionaire brothers active in conservative politics – about whether it’s invested in oil sands projects that would benefit from TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

The GOP aide attacked Waxman’s Friday letter to Upton, calling it a “transparently political stunt that has absolutely nothing to do with the real issues at stake – lowering gas prices, jobs, and energy security.”

Industries that stand to benefit from economic activity tend to lobby for it. A Koch representative has stated that they aren’t involved with the project, but even if they are, who cares? It will make another good zinger on, but other than that I fail to see its relevance. Or consider the millions of words written about the “dirty polluters” across the internet. Fossil fuels aren’t perfect, but they actually work, and life on planet earth without them would be much more miserable.

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