Out of fossil fuels now!

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For the last two hundred years fossil fuels have been the basis for industrialization and development of our modern civilization. Fossil energy has been absolutely necessary to get us where we are today.

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However, our civilization must grow up. We must leave the teenage stage, with wild parties and drugs and transform to a mature and responsible society. It is high time, hopefully in time. We must wean ourselves from our drugs: the fossil fuels. The fossil fuel society must come to an end within 10-15 years. During this period fossil fuels should be used for making the necessary changes. We should have started the transformation to a sustainable society decades ago. The longer we wait the more costly.

The use of fossil fuels is now so destructive on the environment, on our economies and our social fabrics that human civilization is in jeopardy.

There are four main problem categories:

  • Pollution
    Coal and oil contain chemicals and particles hazardous to health and environment, such as carbon particles, NOx, VOCs and sulfur. Burning coal kills. Oil spills may have serious long-term toxicological effects. Fossil fuels have many hidden costs, and new, marginal sources are not cost-effective without heavy subsidies.  If externalities were included, no oil nor coal company would be profitable.
  • Limited resources. Social vulnerability
    Fossil fuels are finite. The resources will run out. We use the cheap and easily available sources first. We get “hooked” and addicted. When the source peaks (about now), more expensive and less readily available sources will be exploited. The demand for subsidies is already staggering. New, unconventional fossil fuel sources cannot compete with renewables without subsidies. Even according to traditional monetarist philosophy it is insane to give massive amounts of taxpayers money to multibillionaires and our declared enemies to destroy ourselves. Were oil companies compelled to pay for their negative externalities (waste, pollution, damages), they would all go bankrupt.  Societies’ vulnerability and costs will increase exponentially without massive development of alternatives. It is politically irrresponsible and deeply unethical to not develop alternatives quickly.
  • Logistics and volatile prices, uneven geographical distribution
    The big reserves of cheap, conventional crude oil are concentrated in the Middle East, controlled by “Big oil” CEOs in association with fanatic, corrupt and despotic regimes or persons with agendas of their own. Fossil fuel societies are vulnerable to delivery failure, wild price fluctuations and Dutch disease. Fossil fuel societies depend on the good will of corpocratic groups like Big oil and petro-tyrants. Enormous capital accumulation with corrupt and undemocratic individuals and regimes creates violent conflicts and threatens all democratic governance. The profits for persons and regimes controlling old and cheap oil-wells are astronomical. Our economic systems are in crisis and democratic societies are severely threatened.
  • Emissions and climate change
    Climate scientists worldwide have documented the evidence of global warming in surface air, land and sea temperatures, the rise of sea levels, reductions in glacier ice and snow coverage, increase in ocean heat content and ocean acidification. Our climates are already changing, giving more “freaky” and unpredictable weather, weather extremes such as storms, droughts, more heavy snow in winter seasons, floods, forest fires, coral bleaching, and various difficulties in agriculture. The continued use of fossil fuels is deeply unethical, it endangers life on earth and is economically destructive.

The era of fossil fuels is coming to an end for environmental, political, societal, ethical and economic reasons. Get over it – and out of it.

Sources:

Pause in global warming?

Fossil fuels, Climate change and environmental impacts

Pollution from fossil fuels

Extreme weather

The Arctic and the Antarctic

Methane and climate change

Tipping points

Oceans and Acidification

Rising sea levels

Oil and economy

Peak oil 

Subsidies

Fracking and unconventional oil sources

Denial

Renewable energy

Geo-engineering

Climate change and conflicts

Climate change and development

The masters of deceit: the fossil fuel industry

USD XXX million petro dollars to denial and propaganda

The economic interests in keeping the fossil fuel society going for some more years are so high that the richest people in the world are willing to take unethical and extreme risks. They keep funding the biggest propaganda machinery ever seen

About svenaake

University Teacher.
This entry was posted in Denialism, Environment, Fossil fuels and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Out of fossil fuels now!

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  2. Pingback: Two or three degrees more – does it really matter? | Education for Sustainable Development

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