Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Hydrocarbon Fuels? We don’t need no Stinking Hydrocarbon Fuels!

Hydrocarbon Fuels? We don’t need no Stinking Hydrocarbon Fuels!

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Words have meaning. Ideas have consequences. Bad ideas can have spectacularly bad consequences. 

The best of the Left’s latest bad ideas is to ban gas stoves. It was supposedly coughed up by Richard Trumka, the Biden Commissioner of Product Safety. The rather questionable rationale advanced was that gas stoves can contribute to asthma and other health problems. Within hours his suggestion was being repeated by leading liberals like so many mockingbirds on a telephone line.

In delicious irony (and a fast look-back at social media) it was quickly discovered that many of those same parroters, like Kamala, Dr. Jill, Native-American Senator Warren and even the righteous AOC herself had been shamelessly photographed smiling next to their gas stoves. Who knew? Mr. Trumka quickly and quietly withdrew the proposal…for now. 

Anyone with an IQ in triple digits could see that this was but the latest attack on the well known fossil fuel, natural gas. Since the Left has successfully demonized the term and fossils may have had nothing to do with its formation, may we please start calling it hydrocarbon fuel? It is more accurate. 

By the way, hydrogen and carbon are among the most common elements in the universe and they are constantly being combined or broken apart. Levels of carbon in Earth’s atmosphere have varied widely over the eons, predating even the assent of gas stoves. Remember also that carbon is constantly being absorbed by plant life. In fact it is essential.  Our Sun is primarily a giant ball of hydrogen. The radiation from its nuclear fusion makes life on our blue marble possible. 

Hydrogen and carbon are not bad elements. 

It cannot be said enough that a major reason we enjoy the standard of living we do is because we have mastered the efficient use of a hydrocarbon fuels. Our economy runs on affordable, abundant energy. Western civilization has been migrating from dirtier to cleaner burning fuels for centuries. We’ve moved from dung to wood to coal to natural gas without the heavy hand of government. One great thing about a free market is that it rewards efficiency. Ironically, we might actually be moving toward cleaner energy solutions faster if the government would simply get out of the way and stop trying to pick winners. 

Natural gas is an abundant, clean and affordable source of energy, especially here in North America. Sadly the gas industry has done a miserable job of telling their story. As many other industries have learned (to their peril) if you’re not doing a good job of telling your story, the Left will tell it for you. You won’t like their version. They are not slavishly bound by the facts and are deadly serious concerning their war on hydrocarbon fuels. Witness the first salvo fired at defenseless gas stoves. 

The primary ingredient in natural gas is methane. The chemical makeup of methane is four atoms of hydrogen held together with one of carbon (CH4).

So when we burn natural gas we are burning about 80% hydrogen. Any first semester chemistry student should know that when we burn hydrogen the principal byproduct is water vapor. 

Yes, burning methane also produces some CO2. But any farmer knows that good crops need water and CO2. Crops absorb and sequester lots of carbon. In a lengthy study done at South Dakota State, crops were found to remove tons of carbon."The carbon stored in South Dakota's 12 million acres of cropped land over this 25 year study period is equal to the carbon emitted from 17.8 billion gallons of gasoline," according to professor of plant science at SDSU, Gregg Carlson.

If the warmists are correct and water vapor and CO2 levels will increase as global temperatures rise by one degree over the next century, won’t that also lead to greater crop production worldwide? And doesn’t that mean a more abundant and affordable food supply to feed a hungry humanity? And won’t greater crop production also mean even greater carbon sequestration? Finally, wouldn’t it be great if the the hydrocarbon energy industry with their enormous advertising budgets would begin sharing these facts and questions with consumers? 

Apparently their overpaid execs are far too woke for that to happen. 

These bad ideas like the war on natural gas are having dire consequences. The anti-hydrocarbon policies are needlessly driving prices higher. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a staggering 22% of American households were unable to pay a heating bill last year. Millions more scrimp and cut elsewhere to keep the family from freezing. We can expect those numbers to grow significantly this year as the latest  EIA projection estimates that natural gas prices will rise 28% over last year. Precisely what the Green New Dealers want. 

Yes, bad ideas have can have very negative consequences. Outlawing natural gas stoves is but the tip of a very cold iceberg. The warming warriors will be back.

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