In the Environmentalist Left’s rush to condemn the use fossil fuels and bring us all to a renewable, sustainable Paradise, they forget the good that fossil fuels have done in making possible a modern world that is far cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous than ever before. For Praeger University, Alex Epstein of the Center for Industrial Progress is here with a reminder:
Of course, many of us remember terrible smog problems in major cities, such as my own Los Angeles as recently as the late 80s. Heck, here’s what it looked like in the 1950s:
So, yeah, fossil fuels used with poor technology were a problem. But the tech has gotten better and the air (and water and land) has cleaned up, thanks in part to reasonable regulation.
But Green and other environmental radicals (and the companies that benefit from government-subsidized “Green” tech sales) aren’t satisfied with “reasonable.” They want to eliminate fossil fuels for a number of reasons: economic self-interest, political ideology, and even a near-religious utopianism.
What they fail to see (or see but won’t admit) is that their “solutions” are uneconomical (wind and solar just can’t make it in the market place without government’s thumb on the scale, for example), corrupt (remember Solyndra?), or keep people in less developed countries from achieving a better life for themselves in the form that they want. (Insufferably paternalistic, when you think about it.)
Sure, eventually we’ll want to transition away from fossil fuels, but that will happen only when genuinely economically sustainable (remember that word?) alternatives come along that provide us with the same benefits at at least the same cost.
Until then, we need fossil fuels. So let’s keep some perspective.