By Nick Deluliis
America’s natural gas revolution has upended energy markets, geopolitics and quality of life. Despite innovation and disruptive technology delivering this positive Black Swan, there is a war being waged against it. Ongoing efforts to tax carbon, stop new natural gas pipelines, mislead the public over regulations governing natural gas development, and ban new natural gas hook-ups in American cities all ignorantly suggest mankind is about to convert overnight to a carbon-free society.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. To the contrary, here are eight irrefutable energy truths:
1. The natural gas industry is the picture of epic success
At first blush this is counterintuitive. Mid-2020 brings low natural gas prices, oversupply, stressed balance sheets of producers, and looming consolidation. This is actually what success looks like. Disruptive technologies of horizontal drilling, automation and big data have increased natural gas productivity at prolific rates and reduced energy costs for families and businesses. The supply tsunami may have exceeded consumption in the short term, but demand for natural gas will grow tremendously in a free market. Prices will stabilize and everyone benefits. This is the same story of disruptive technology spanning computers to social media. It’s akin to Henry Ford’s disruption of the assembly line, which spawned over a hundred car manufacturers that consolidated down to a few.
2. You can’t be anti-carbon while also pro-human
Somehow, the elites (those that want to dictate how the middle-class lives) have twisted the storyline into carbon being the doom of humanity. As carbon use grows in a society, life expectancy increases, infant mortality plummet and individual rights (particularly of women) increase.
3. There is nothing renewable about wind and solar
Like all energy they are non-renewable, just more so when you factor the mining of the materials for the solar panels and turbine blades; the energy needed for their manufacturing, often in China, transportation; the intermittent, inefficient nature of solar and wind power; their massive surface disturbance and footprint; and, the backup generation, tax subsidies and protected markets they require. So-called renewables are losers on both a dollars per kilowatthour (kWh) and a carbon dioxide (CO2) per kWh basis. Natural gas-fired generation is superior on both metrics.
4. There is no such thing as a zero-carbon future
This is true for companies, a state and households. The zero-carbon myth defies science and the laws of thermodynamics. Engineers know energy cannot be created nor destroyed in the isolated system called planet Earth. That rule applies to all, including Joe Biden who wants to spend $2 trillion pursuing this zero-carbon fallacy. The next CEO that boasts how their company is going to be “carbon zero” by a certain year should be taken to task. How will that happen? Where is the math? If CEOs made undefendable and outlandish comments about revenues, cash flows, or net income, they would be sanctioned by the SEC and face charges. But the zero carbon bromides go unchallenged, and often lauded.
5. If there was ever a doubt how vital carbon is to society, 2020 was the year all doubts were erased
Carbon is essential in the manufacturing of surgical gloves, hand sanitizer, face masks, and ventilators. Carbon is powering our hospitals and transporting essential supplies all over the world. It is used to, fertilize, harvest, transport, and refrigerate our food from the field to the grocery store.
6. Carbon is the ultimate extension of geopolitical power
Abundant natural gas has helped secure allies Japan and India and protect them from Chinese aggression; secure Europe against Russia; break OPEC’s back and stop endless Mideast wars; and pull billions of the planet’s poor out of poverty and improve their quality of life. Those benefits are happening while American natural gas is creating and supporting millions of jobs, growing our tax base, improving our trade balance and delivering huge environmental gains.Domestic natural gas is as big of a geopolitical extension of U.S. power as our military.
7. Carbon sustains the middle class
If you care about the middle class, you support the carbon economy. The domestic carbon economy employs workers earning truly family-sustaining wages. Most positions do not require a college degree. There is not an industry that can match the pay levels, number of jobs, and years of opportunity that the carbon and natural gas economies represent.
8. Political inaction is a recipe for disaster
Energy and manufacturing are the ‘doers’ of the economy. Without them, society stops dead in its tracks. Yet adversaries have been fabricating mistruths, looking to procure the fruits of the ‘doers’ labor. It’s tempting to keep your head down, go to work, ignore the lies and keep toiling. But political inaction must end as the elites take more and more liberties with the truth, data, science and facts. Whether you work for a business that uses a lot of energy, heat your home with natural gas, or enjoy waking up to a fully charged cell phone, it’s time to speak up. Defend affordable, reliable and clean energy that will power our communities for decades to come.
Nick DeIuliis is president and Chief Executive Officer of CNX Resources Corporation.
This article appeared on the PennLive website at https://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2020/08/eight-irrefutable-energy-truths-opinion.html