Don Thurston Blog

A PLEA FOR CLARIFICATION…THE NEXT CHAPTER

Read part 1 of A Plea For Clarification here.

The conversation between Ms ENERGY CONSUMER and THE ENERGY INDUSTRY found its way into the social media world and went viral. The readers were in agreement….. the ENERGY INDUSTRY has contributed to a remarkable standard of living in many parts of the world. Collectively they voiced the view, however, that a more complete story needs to be told…that negative aspects are required and that history was not a precursor for the future. Posted comments originated from a variety of sources, some worthy and some well beyond the pale, never to be shared with any readers. Ms ENERGY CONSUMER has organized the posts by subject.

Almost forty percent expressed concern about the influence of products of combustion from fossil fuels migrating into the earth’s atmosphere. Taken together the comments indicate that one result….. warming is in excess of what is expected from secular long term fluctuations in temperatures.

The consequences are severe, at best resulting, in weather changes, ocean warming and universal flooding. Adding to the mix…. adaptation is no longer optional. For example tailoring to flood control is difficult, expensive and intrusive.

Disruptive disasters could cause civil unrest was offered by a small number, stemming from extreme hardships as existing living conditions deteriorated.

Coal received many comments. Without exception readers identified this fossil fuel as the largest contributor to contaminating the troposphere. The kilowatt hours generated from combusting coal to produce electricity eclipses all other energy sources. Primarily carbon, this material is readily available, easily accessed and inexpensive. Economies are hooked on the stuff and unable to harness other energy sources because of their limited financial resources.

Surprisingly to Ms ENERGY CONSUMER a substantial number of postings originated from the banking industry. A leading voice among the regulators warned of the risks climate change poses to the stability of the global financial system.

Investment bankers commented on the difficulty to raise capital because of the cautionary attitude of investors towards fossil fuels. Equity valuations are now consistent with a mature industry which are lower than one that is growing rapidly. Ever opportunists the bankers wrote about the investor’s predilection for opportunities in the energy space that is related to renewables.

Posts about renewables equaled those about environmental degradation. The virtues of solar, wind, fuel cells, and hydro were highlighted. A hydrogen based energy system received accolades. Many many new technology energy generating inventions an the research laboratories. One of interest is the International Thermo- Nuclear Experimental Reactor now under construction in France. This twenty five billion dollar project is a testimony to very long term commitment to renewable energy.

Mitigating strategies were noted. Carbon dioxide sequestering methods are now well past the pilot plant stage. Energy efficiencies are being universally applied.

From many offerings electric vehicles and related battery technology are hot buttons. Differences of opinion abound; what cannot be disputed…..auto companies around the world are investing untold amounts of capital on this transportation innovation.
Political observers were busy posting. Policies influencing greenhouse emissions are having their day. Entire countries are undergoing electrification; global agreements limiting discharges are under revision; local governments are arguing fruitlessly about jurisdictional control over climate policies

Much was made about conspiratorial initiatives directed at discouraging the use of fossil fuels by named and unidentified funders.
Social scientists had their say. A well-traveled road is when new technology over take the existing tried and true methods. The most often quoted story told captures innovations in the textile industry. Worker displacement was rampant…civil unrest was the consequence. In today’s energy transformation entrepreneurs, technologists, innovators and financers and individuals are cast as villains. They are being assailed for actions made without today’s understanding of unintended consequences. Playing with one’s ego and lively hood is dangerous territory. Resistance is ubiquitous and predictable

Business professors joined the fray. Several advanced the idea that the fossil industries flourished, in part, because of limited competition from other energy sources…. now the scepter of electricity is looming and gaining as a viable alternative.

On the same note, new applications for fossil fuels have received limited attention from industry participants. Innovations have arrived, not from within, but from unrelated inventors such as the external combustion engine via Henry Ford and electrical systems via Thomas Edison.
Where would any discussion be without the cautionary note about the ever present geopolitical threats? Essayists continue to encourage production increases of oil and gas in political stable areas with lower risks and high quality practices.

Ms ENERGY CONSUMER received an earful. She received a revised quote from her son in law….Don’t look back, we are not going that way.

Thanks for reading!

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