The case for fossil fuels

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926550_83409660We would like to give a shout-out to Bjorn Lomborg for his op-ed in the New York Times, in which he makes an excellent case for cheap fossil fuels for those living in impoverished countries. He makes his case with numbers: More than 1.2 billion people have no access to electricity, and about three billion continue to heat their homes using open fires and leaky stoves. He acknowledges that burning fossil fuels is contributing to global warming, but he stresses the point that fossil fuels are still vital, and will be for the next few decades, because they are the only means to lift people out of the smoke and darkness of energy poverty.

Currently, fossil fuels account for about 81 percent of the energy needs of our planet. However, the unfortunate fact is that many people feel uncomfortable facing up to the undeniable need for more cheap and reliable power in the developing world.

Lomborg proposes that the developed world should be leading this effort, and he points to hydraulic fracturing as a way to produce inexpensive natural gas in order to shift away from a reliance on energy produced using from coal. We need to export this technology and help other nations exploit it. At the same time, wealthy Western nations must step up investments into research and development in green energy technologies to ensure that cleaner energy eventually becomes so cheap that everyone wants it. But until then they should not stand in the way of poorer nations as they turn to coal and other fossil fuels.

Read the op-ed here!