The climate is changing, as many have pointed out. The argument that human usage of fossil fuels is to blame for climate change is politically appealing. Despite the fact that this theory of human causation has been refuted numerous times, the political class has found it too helpful to dismiss.
The notion was used to support a variety of Executive Orders, including the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline and drilling bans. The ramifications have been devastating, and they have only recently begun to manifest.
Aside from forcing gasoline prices to more than double since Trump took office, many other businesses and costs have been impacted. Due to rising transportation costs, the prices of industrial supplies and consumer items have risen. Furthermore, food security is under jeopardy, not just this year, but for years to come.
Aside from direct fuel costs, modern agriculture needs fertilizers, insecticides, and other chemical items, the majority of which require fossil fuel to manufacture. Food output will be drastically reduced if such agrichemicals are not used. The United States is projected to transition from a net food exporter to a country that struggles to meet its own needs.
The administration transformed the United States from an energy producer to a consumer, putting us reliant on foreign oil. Aside from oil, the focus on “renewables” like solar and wind creates a new reliance on the materials used to manufacture solar panels and wind turbines.
These technologies are not only unstable, but they also produce energy in a form that is difficult to store, and they are far more expensive than our current fossil fuel plants when mining,
refining, land use, production, maintenance, and disposal expenses are factored in. The materials utilized seldom, if ever, recycle and frequently result in harmful waste.
Other than these factors, the rest of the world is unlikely to cooperate. For the foreseeable future, virtually every country south of the Tropic of Cancer will continue to consume fossil fuels.
Someone in Africa, India, or South America who can barely afford a $200 second hand gas car is unlikely to rush out and buy a $60,000 Tesla, regardless of what some ‘Marie Antoinette’ wannabe in our government bleats.
They also won’t be able to transport a five-gallon can of electrons like gasoline. Trucks, tractors, planes, trains, power plants, and all the other fossil fuel consumers can be ignored.
Worse people forget that fuels are not the only-or even the most common-use of petrochemicals.
Consider fertilizer, which is made from natural gas hydrogen (the molecule CH4). Natural gas contributes to around 75% to 90% of fertilizer manufacturing costs. Russia and Belarus are big producers, and their exports have been hampered by the threat of sanctions. However, Europe’s surging natural-gas prices have forced fertilizer firms like Norway’s Yara and Hungary’s Nitrogenmuvek to reduce production. When Russia delayed natural-gas deliveries last October, some businesses shut down.
As a result, fertilizer prices reached new highs last month. Many farmers are reducing the amount of land they cultivate. Some farmers said they want to use less fertilizer, which may result in lower crop yields. Others are substituting soybeans for corn and wheat, which require less fertilizer.
The fertilizer shortage could hardly have happened at a more inconvenient time. Grain shipments from Russia and Ukraine, which account for a quarter of worldwide wheat exports, are being disrupted by the conflict. Wheat prices touched a new high last month. While cereal and spaghetti may cost more in the United States, Africans may face serious food shortages.
Food makers, on the other hand, note that the cost of plastics for containers and packaging is increasing. Plastic is created from oil and natural gas, both of which are in low supply around the world.
Natural-gas liquids are hydrocarbons that are utilized as feedstock in petrochemical facilities. Ethane (C2H6) is extracted from natural gas and transformed into ethylene, which is then converted into polyethylene through a series of chemical processes. Polyethylene is used in shopping bags, water bottles, catheters, and even bulletproof vests.
Shale drilling in the United States resulted in a flood of natural-gas liquids, including ethane. As a result, the price of plastic feedstock dropped dramatically, and petrochemical investment soared. Ethane costs are now around half of what they were in 2011, yet demand has surged in the last year. The American Chemistry Council projected in 2018 that since 2010, 333 chemical-industry projects worth more than $200 billion have been disclosed.
With so much gas from shale resources, the United States surpassed Norway as the world’s biggest ethane exporter in 2015. Ethane exports have climbed from zero in 2013 to 508,000 barrels per day, making it a major feedstock for petrochemical factories in Canada, China, Europe, and India.
Some low-cost plastic products imported from China are created from ethane fracking in the United States, which is a little-known fact. The petroleum-based hydrocarbon naphtha is also used as a feedstock in overseas petrochemical plants. Russia is a major exporter of naphtha, although fracking has increased the global competitiveness of low-cost American ethane.
Polypropylene is another major byproduct of natural-gas production and oil refining. It’s likely that you’re wearing something made of polypropylene. It can be found in iPhone cases, workout wear, and feminine hygiene items. Exxon Mobil used its petrochemical supply chain to speed up polypropylene manufacturing for face masks early in the pandemic.
Appliances, medical sutures, food containers, furniture, and plastic drinking straws are all made of polypropylene. Single-use plastic straws have been outlawed in progressive cities such as Seattle and San Francisco. Despite this, they required face masks produced from the same raw material. Surgical masks have become one of the most common types of litter in California, particularly in areas near schools. For a further giggle, California Health laws require the paper straws that are used in restaurants to be wrapped in-wait for it-plastic sleeves.
I have two thoughts for people who still believe humans are to blame for climate change. To begin with, the present warming trend began approximately 1650, at the end of the Little Ice Age, and has continued at the same pace ever since.
Coal was the first fossil fuel to be widely used, and it wasn’t until 1850 that it was used in large quantities. Temperatures have been slowly rising for 200 years before people began using fossil fuels — prior to that, wood was the primary source of energy.
Second, CO2 has been depicted as a blanket hovering high over the Earth’s surface, keeping us warm. In truth, most CO2 is found inside the first few thousand feet of the surface, where it functions more like a reflecting blanket than an extension of the surface.