Who is the Denier and in Denial?

A recent letter in the Huffington Post—12-03-12  Chevron and Me– by the founder of Fenton Communications, a PR  firm for the far left ideology, accused the CEO of Chevron of being a denier on climate change because he answered a question by stating that the world had no choice but to burn fossil energy since the alternative would take us back to the stone age.  In reading this letter, it is Mr. Fenton who is in denial, denial about energy, economic, and technology realities.

The premise that human use of fossil energy is the primary cause of climate change has been pushed for 20 years but climate science has yet to confirm it.  Confirmation for advocates comes from models that poorly represent how the climate system actually works.  Indeed, it has been reported that the next report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which will be published next year, will admit more uncertainty, not less, about the level of our understanding of the climate system.  In part, this is due to advocates finally admitting the importance of clouds and limited understanding of cloud formation and natural variability.  It is a documented fact that climate models have always over predicted warming and cannot explain the lack of warming over the past 16 years.

None the less, Mr. Fenton predicts a return to the stone age if we don’t abandon fossil energy.  He claims that the transition to renewables is very close at hand and points to Germany as the model for the world to follow.  What he doesn’t acknowledge is that Germany’s increased use of wind and solar has come at a very high cost, a cost that is getting too much to bear because it has driven electric power costs through the roof and harmed industry.

One assessment concluded that the “German solar industry has turned into a 100 billion euro money pit” and that doesn’t include the subsidies for wind.  The European Institute for Climate and Energy has warned of “impending doom for the German economy caused by the lemming like charge to the Green mirage of affordable renewable energy.”

The report went on to conclude : The problem is that these energy sources are weather-dependent and thus their sporadic supply is starting to wreak havoc on Germany’s power grid and is even now threatening to destabilize power grids all across Europe. The other problem: the power grid needed to distribute the decentrally produced green power is simply not there yet. They forgot to build it! So far, after tens of billions of euros spent on renewable energy systems and higher prices for consumers, not a single coal or gas-fired power plant has been taken offline. To the contrary, old inefficient German plants have been brought back into service in an effort to stabilize the grid.

So much for renewables saving the planet!  The high priests of the climate orthodoxy can make all of the claims that they want about renewables, the problems of fossil energy, a climate apocalypse, and salvation by just letting them run the world but they cannot long suppress facts and reality.  But, at some point rhetoric does confront facts.

The facts are these. Solar and wind are intermittent and unsuited for baseload power.  The world will not soon turn from fossil energy because it is abundant and affordable. “Renewables are neither abundant, affordable, nor commercially viable without large subsidies. 1.6 billion people live in abject poverty and have the right to a better standard of living, which means increased fossil energy use. Economic growth is closely linked with energy use and human beings around the world seek a higher standard of living, which inevitably means more energy use.  Fossil energy is the dominant energy source today and will remain the dominant source for decades to come.

Mr. Fenton’s knowledge of energy and economic realities is about as advanced as that of people who lived during the stone age.