Covid rates are abating just in time for surging gas prices to eclipse the pandemic as our crisis du jour, and people from both sides of the political aisle are crying out in unison: something must be done!
The current energy crisis debate consists of a few camps: one group professes that they can’t abide fossil fuels being used at all, while another can’t imagine living without them. The third group makes up the middle of the Venn diagram, and though a paradoxical state of mind, it contains the most members.
Choosing a winner from among the prevailing arguments is no simple task. Increasing domestic fuel production seems at first like a no-brainer, but it turns out foregoing thousands of homegrown jobs and energy independence in favor of mussing up a rival nation’s backyard is some sort of foreign policy power move.
Then there is the group of green energy advocates who have buried their heads in the ground, and not to look for oil. These types seem not to realize that the clean electricity they so esteem comes from “dirty” sources: natural gas, coal and nuclear-powered plants. They are also evidently unaware that harvesting the rare earth elements required for electric motors, wind turbines and the like is “an energy-intensive and heavily polluting process.” Not to mention the environmental nightmare involved in trying to dispose of old batteries, solar panels and humongous windmills teeming with hazardous materials and nasty toxins.
There’s also the fact that the sun and wind kinda suck at producing energy: in addition to the massive amounts of space (forests, fields, etc.) these eyesores destroy, renewable energy sources are unreliable — it’s only sunny or windy part of the time — inefficient and expensive (the industry is massively subsidized). But never mind all that. “We don’t need to worry about the energy crisis now, because by 2030 we’ll all be driving Teslas,” quixotic ecowarriors say. Such a stance makes about as much sense as a man in the midst of a massive heart attack gesturing with a cigarette in one hand and a martini in the other and declaring, “I don’t need to go to the doctor, because eight years from now, I’ll be eating right and exercising.”
It does occur to me, however, that we may actually all be carbon-neutral by 2030 if we aren’t allowed to extract anything from the earth now. Secret members of the Amish mafia, intent on carrying out justice for Mother Earth and determined once and for all to deprive everyone of electricity, “green” or otherwise, are having a moment. In England, for instance, would-be renewable energy producers are complaining that the permitting process takes too long. Turns out red tape does not discriminate between green energy and traditional fuels. I must admit the rabid environmentalists do have a point: abandoning energy use altogether would, indeed, end our energy crisis.
Meanwhile, in the United States, President Biden is “demanding” that gas prices fall, and lawmakers want oil companies to pay consumers back for the profits they’re making. Though surely a noble notion, let me save our elected do-gooders some trouble: I’ve been there, done that, at my local Sheetz gas station. It never works.
The Atlantic, for its part, has noted how devastating a nuclear skirmish would be…for the environment. So let us consider: is saving the earth worth it? Let’s face it: living without electricity and all its modern conveniences would be the pits. The left would have us believe we can’t continue living the way we are without destroying the earth, and if they subscribe to the same attitude as the Atlantic, caring more about the earth than about the people living on it, I can’t help but wonder what or whom we are saving the earth for? With religion on the decline and carbon neutrality decades away, it appears we’ll stop caring about one another completely long before we can preserve the earth for future humans.
In which case, best to quit while life is still fun. As a nation of hedonists, we should go out with neon sign’s a’ blazin’ — on a fossil fuel bender, if you will. After all, Mother Nature spent millions of years working hard to create those nonrenewable resources, and much like a bottle of 30-year-old single malt Macallan, not enjoying it is not an option.