The Biden administration tells us that we are in the midst of a rapid transition from fossil fuels to wind and solar energy, and Pete Buttigieg says he can’t understand why so many Americans haven’t gotten on the bandwagon. This author reminds us of what the Biden administration seems to have forgotten, but many Americans understand:
[W]ithout fossil fuel, nothing separates us from the pre-modern era. For 99% of the world’s population, that era was not a pretty Jane Austen movie. Life was short, painful, diseased, filthy dirty, hungry, and either too hot or too cold. Most people didn’t live past 40 and half of children died before hitting 5. There were only four energy sources: Human labor, animal labor, and primitive wind and water energy. (Five sources, I guess if you consider the sun drying laundry on the line.)
I think we can add that, beginning in the 18th century, there was also steam power fueled by wood. Steam remains important, of course, but now we boil water using coal, natural gas, or a nuclear reaction, not wood.
Those energy limitations were why slavery lasted as long as it did (i.e., from time immemorial until a couple of centuries ago): The easiest labor was slave labor. Humans were easier to train and, if you didn’t mind simply working them to death, as happened in the sugar islands, they were relatively cheap.
And of course, fossil fuels underlie every single aspect of our lives. There is nothing you eat, use, look at, wear, live in, travel with, or anything else that isn’t completely dependent on fossil fuels. Remove those fossil fuels (without a nuclear substitute) and you are suddenly returned to life in a wood or dirt shelter, with only the most limited food and clothing, and really nothing else.
The fact is that no transition to wind and solar energy is taking place. Those remain trivial sources of energy, world-wide. If they worked, someone would adopt them, but no one does.
It seems that, despite pervasive “green” propaganda, most Americans understand this. Thus the findings of a recent Issues & Insights/TIPP Poll:
[W]e asked 1,643 adults across America to consider the following statement: “President Biden has said that record-high gasoline and electricity prices are necessary for meeting his goal of eliminating fossil fuels in the U.S. to fight climate change.”
Respondents were then asked to respond to a question with five choices: Would you say you:
1.) Agree with Biden’s climate change policy, even if it means higher energy prices.
2.) Disagree with Biden’s policy, and want more energy produced to decrease prices.
3.) Don’t think global climate change should be a U.S. policy priority.
4.) I don’t believe in climate change.
5.) Not sure.
The answer that came back loud and clear will not be comforting to either Biden or his Democratic Party advisers: Just 32% of those answering the poll, which has a margin of error of +/-2.5 percentage points, said they support Biden’s climate change policy even if it means higher energy prices.
But a far larger majority of 57% answered in the negative. They either said they disagreed with his policies and want more and cheaper energy (41%), or don’t think climate change should be a U.S. policy priority (10%), or don’t even believe that the climate is changing (6%).
The rubber will hit the road in November. We will see whether voters go along with the Biden administration–you peons will be impoverished, but it might slightly help the climate, if only the Chinese and Indians and Africans and Latin Americans would go along–or whether they vote against sky-high gasoline and electricity prices. I’m betting on the latter.