If we define morality to mean any activity that is fundamentally beneficial to human life, then the fossil fuel industry is resoundingly moral, because it produces the most abundant, affordable, reliable energy in the world.
The fossil fuel industry thus makes every other industry more productive and, in turn, makes every individual more productive and thus more prosperous. Because of fossil fuels, human beings enjoy a level of opportunity to pursue happiness that previous generations couldn’t even dream of.
But, I hear the Lefties squawking, fossil fuels are bad for the environment, which makes them immoral by your own definition! Really? Let’s talk about that. In order to assess the fossil fuel industry’s impact on our environment, we need to answer two questions:
- What is its impact on threats to the environment?
- What is its impact on environmental resources?
1. What is its impact on threats to the environment?
The “fossil fuels are immoral” case says they damage our environment, making it less habitable for humans. But this is based on a false assumption that the raw environment is hospitable to humans. It isn’t.
The natural environment is loaded with things that cause high infant mortality, premature aging, injury, disease and death. It is only thanks to the cheap, plentiful, reliable energy provided by fossil fuels that we are able to modify and control our environment so that it is safer and more hospitable for human life.
We enjoy sturdy, climate-controlled shelter and clothing, purified water and plentiful fresh food only because of fossil fuels. We live longer, healthier lives because of labor saving machinery and high tech medical care. None of this is possible without cheap, plentiful, reliable energy.
2. What is its impact on environmental resources?
The “fossil fuels are immoral” case says fossil fuel resources are scarce, so we shouldn’t use them. That’s just dumb. If I’ve got food in the cupboard and I’m hungry, I need to eat so I can keep up my strength to work toward obtaining more food.
Besides coal, oil, and natural gas aren’t natural resources until we do something to make them useful. If we just leave them in the ground, they don’t do anyone any good at all.
Some call those developing shale and oil sands energy sources “exploiters.” Gimme a break. They’re turning stone and sludge into life-giving energy. What good is that stuff doing anyone sitting in the ground? Sheesh.
Besides, every material is finite including the materials necessary to making solar panels and windmills. And don’t get me started on what the absurd corn ethanol industry has done to food prices. “You can always grow more corn” isn’t a valid argument, because you need land to grow corn and land is a finite resource.
And so what if fossil fuels will eventually be depleted? They’re there now. We’re here now. The only MORAL choice is to use them to keep human society strong while we work on developing non-fossil fuel energy technologies that work as well or better than fossil fuels … which the ones we have now do not.
The above is based on The Moral Case for the Fossil Fueld Industry