Fossil Fuels for Decades and Beyond
By Frank Clemente, RealClear Energy
The easy thinking flies smoothly off the keyboard: “Fossil Fuels are Done;” “End of the Oil Era;” “The Inevitable Death of Natural Gas;” “The Demise of King Coal;” On and on, a parade of abstractions unconnected to the empirical world but sounding good, nevertheless. Preying on everyone’s wish for a clean, healthy environment, special interest groups push their rhetoric far beyond the reality of what is happening in energy and what will continue to happen in coming decades. Far from being dead, dying, or moribund, fossil fuels are steadily expanding their contribution and keeping billions of people alive all over the world. More people, living longer, living better through fossil fuels.
The hard data tell the tale, and these data are readily available in the latest World Energy Outlook (WEO) by the International Energy Agency (IEA). And by “hard data,” I mean absolute numbers, not the growth percentages frequently used to exaggerate the relevance of non-fossil sources like wind and solar. Here is the reality: