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So You Think We’re Reducing Fossil Fuel? — Think Again


If you think we’ve been doing a reasonable job of curbing fossil fuel use, you are sadly mistaken. Global energy demand grew yet again in 2018, by 2.3%, its fastest pace in ten years. 70% of that was provided by fossil fuel, and only 30% by renewables and nuclear.

America is awash in new oil, recently setting a new record of 12 million barrels/day.


Until growth in renewables exceeds that of fossil fuels, and by a lot, we will make no headway against the environmental problems we need to solve in the next two decades.

Renewables and fully electric vehicles aside, all fossil fuels are increasing worldwide primarily because of economic growth in the developing world. Even coal is increasing worldwide, producing more power than hydro, nuclear and renewables combined.

While the developed world is switching from coal to natural gas, the developing world sees coal as their savior. This not because coal is cheapest – it’s not.

Of all energy sources, coal is merely the easiest to set up. Coal is the easiest to install in a poor or developing country that has little existing infrastructure. It is the easiest to transport – by ship, rail and truck. It is straightforward to build a coal-fired power plant. And to operate it.

China is taking advantage of this situation with their ‘One Belt, One Road’ project, a 21st century version of the Silk Road that plans to build over a trillion dollars of infrastructure in developing countries, making those countries major commercial partners with, and majorly dependent on, China.

While it is easiest to build a natural gas-fired power plant, it is not at all easy to support it. Natural gas requires more infrastructure than any other energy source – for transporting the gas in pipelines, liquefying facilities and special terminals; and for storing it, often deep underground in geologic formations.

In the developing world, large-scale renewables are not effective since there is no baseload to support them, no back-up sources to load-follow the intermittency, and no extensive high-voltage distribution system. Hydro is possible in the developing world, but is limited physiographically.

No, coal is the obvious energy source to bring a country’s starving people up into the modern world. After that, they may have the luxury to care about the planet. And that’s the seemingly insurmountable hurdle facing any plan to mitigate global warming.

Just ask China.

So don’t look for coal to decrease anytime soon on the global stage.

On the other hand, natural gas accounted for nearly half of the world’s growth in energy demand last year, increasing by almost 5%, with most of the higher consumption coming from China and the United States, says International Energy Agency.

Oil demand increased by almost 600 million barrels last year.

As a result of new fracking technologies that expanded dramatically in 2010, onshore tight oil development continues to be the main driver of total U.S. crude oil production, and should grow to almost 70% of domestic production by 2030. The now a net exporter of petroleum.


And the United States was right there to provide it (see figure). For the first time in history, the United States is producing over 12 million barrels of crude oil per day. Wells in Texas, offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, and in Oklahoma reached record production levels.

Although coal demand continues to drop in America, natural gas consumption rose to its highest level since record-keeping began in the 1970s.

Renewables have grown rapidly relative to themselves, but are still small with respect to fossil fuel growth. In fact, just the growth in fossil fuel last year exceeded the growth in renewables over the same time period. China emplaced over 6x the amount of renewable energy than the United States did, but that didn’t make a dent in their emissions since they emplaced a lot more coal and gas, and produced even more oil.

Nuclear and hydro are level worldwide, and are predicted to grow only moderately in the next few decades.

Your response to these numbers will depend on your view of the world. If you care about climate change, it should alarm you, especially since last month was the hottest June on record since we began to measure such things in the 1880s.

If you don’t care, you may be ecstatic at the sheer magnitude of energy humans are harnessing. And this energy is the cheapest it’s been in the history of Homo sapiens. With new drilling technologies that include walking drill rigs that pick themselves up and walk to the next site, it’s just become too easy to get fossil fuels out of the ground (see figure).

New technology has revolutionized drilling, like Patterson-UTI’s APEX WALKING® drill rig shown here in West Texas. This rig uses hydraulic feet to ‘walk’ from one drill site to another.


On the other hand, more energy means less poverty. In the developing world, there are still over a billion people that have no access to electricity, whatsoever. 2 billion people still burn wood and manure as their main source of energy. And 3 billion more people will be born in the next 30 years.

This is a lot of people that will require a lot of energy. Just to survive. To have a reasonable life, they will need at least 3,000 kWhs per person per year. Together with everyone else, that’s about 35 trillion kWhs per year, 40% more than all the electricity produced in the world today, and the minimum amount of energy needed to eradicate global poverty and its evil stepchildren, war and terrorism.

We can do this with or without fossil fuels. To do it with fossil fuels just means continuing on with business as usual. To do it without fossil fuels means some major changes, the minimum being:

– stop building any new fossil fuel plants as soon as possible

– 3,500,000 new MW of wind turbines (12 trillion kWhs/year)

– 1,400,000 MW new nuclear reactors, particularly SMRs that are especially ideal for load-following renewables  (11 trillion kWhs/year)

– 2,100,000 MW of new solar (7 trillion kWhs/year)

– 1,200,000 new MW of hydro w/80,000 MW existing (7 trillion kWhs/yr)

– secure sources of Li, Co, Fe and other metals needed to build these alternatives, especially to build the batteries for enough fully electric vehicles to replace oil.

– build a fleet of 3 billion fully electric vehicles by 2050, much fewer will not sufficiently drop our consumption of oil.

It turns out that the cost of this new low-carbon mix is about the same as business-as-usual, $65 trillion versus $63 trillion, over about 30 years. It’s just that more of the total cost is in up-front capital costs instead of fuel costs – $28 trillion versus $11 trillion. It will take over 12 billion tons of steel alone for that much renewables.

It might not be possible in our present global political climate to achieve a truly low-carbon energy world, but we really should try.


24 Comments on "So You Think We’re Reducing Fossil Fuel? — Think Again"

  1. Duncan Idaho on Sat, 20th Jul 2019 7:51 pm 

    It might not be possible in our present global political climate to achieve a truly low-carbon energy world, but we really should try.
    Or Die—

  2. Westexasfanclub on Sat, 20th Jul 2019 8:27 pm 

    “The now a net exporter of petroleum.” bla bla bla …

  3. Duncan Idaho on Sat, 20th Jul 2019 8:50 pm 

    Well, if you use 20 million barrels, and produce 10.5, how does one come out ahead?
    Inquiring minds want to know—-

  4. Sissyfuss on Sat, 20th Jul 2019 8:54 pm 

    Growth in human endeavors is both homicidal and suicidal but try telling that to a capitalist.

  5. FuckIceAgeDeniers on Sat, 20th Jul 2019 11:26 pm 

    There is no global worming anymore, you dumb ass fucking schizophrenics .

  6. FuckRoundEarthers on Sat, 20th Jul 2019 11:34 pm 

    And the Earth is flat.

    fucking dumbasses

  7. Shortend on Sun, 21st Jul 2019 1:01 am 

    Boy, is this going to bite us in the rear end…smart mother fckers we people are…
    The smartest yeast cells God ever created!

  8. Chrome Mags on Sun, 21st Jul 2019 3:05 am 

    If the overall effect is destructive regardless of some overriding intention, then we are out of control, period. It doesn’t matter what we think we could or should do, it only matters what actually happens.

  9. joe on Sun, 21st Jul 2019 9:15 am 

    We cannot control the entire world, nor should we try. Just like our wise founders, we should protect our markets and use our competitive advantage to trade with other countries.
    We should stop using the absolute advantage of wage dumping and currency manipulation to permit communism to overthrow liberty. Already the eurocommunists from Merkel to Blair and backed by Israel have demoralised the once strong and certain western world to bringing it to crisis and so they can offer the EUSSR as a solution and a bridge between east and west being a fake friend of both, communism seeks only power. Islam is being used as a useful tool (using it to accuse Labour of antisemitism)to break Corbyn’s genuine labour movement to allow so called Blairites or eurocommunists to return to power after they cynically backed the neocons (mostly former leninists) into a warcrime that killed a million Iraqis and continues to flood Europe with refugees to break what’s left of any hope of resistance to the problem-crisis-solution war leninist war being waged by EUSSR against the nations of Europe who’s thousands of years of culture has been deemed obsolete by those who have infiltrated every corner of society from the classroom to the lecture hall to the halls of power who are giddy at just how close they are to taking control are revealing themselves as double agents for the marxists dream of socialism to emerge and control every aspect of human life in service to the state, a state without any proletariat. That is in essence nothing but totalitarianism and it will result in paranoia as groups begin to break away they will do to them what they did to the Cathars, the Slavs and the Jews. Watch out Christian’s, watch out Muslims, watch out men. Socialist equality is coming to get you.

  10. Cloggie on Sun, 21st Jul 2019 10:03 am 

    Already the eurocommunists from Merkel to Blair and backed by Israel have demoralised the once strong and certain western world to bringing it to crisis

    Uh-hu. The usual joe-classic. The almighty Merkel and Blair alliance have corrupted the free western world and poor, weak USA had no choice but to follow.

    Joe really believes that.


    The real state of affairs, namely that Blair and Merkel were/are merely meek vassals of said “free West” (read, the US Deep State, that is US media, George Soros, Rothschild, ADL, FED, all these think tanks, unelected civil servants in the Pentagon and “State”), is against wishful thinking of our joe here, who is still in the mold of typical 1891-British empire thinking:

    “white men of Anglo-Saxon descent rightly sat at the top of a racial hierarchy, a hierarchy built on predominance in trade, industry and the exploitation of other races.”… The three staunch British imperialists who met that day, Cecil Rhodes, William Stead and Lord Esher, drew up a plan for the organisation of a secret society that would take over the control of foreign policy both in Britain and, later by extension, the United States of America: a secret society that aimed to renew the Anglo-Saxon bond between Great Britain and the United States

    In that kind thinking, Germany is seen as an obstacle and threat to “global Anglo-Saxon-supremacy” (ironically, Angelen and Saxons are two northern German tribes):

    Very good cartoon made by Punch: a malevolent looking John Bull is walking away with the French bitch, where the Jerry, who is not very charming, is left alone… so John Bull can destroy him, the only purpose of the 1904 “Entente Cordial”.

    But I have got bad news for you, joey boy.

    Today, it is the German heavyweight who is now together with the French Bitch and not John Bull and they have no less than 28-2-1 = 25 European children!

    And there is another lover, waiting around the corner, anxious to become a member of the European family:

    Or in the words of Michael Heseltine:

    “Michael Heseltine: Germany will ‘win the peace’ because of Brexit”

    Michael Heseltine, in my eyes, is the man with the greatest standing and intellect in Britain today, and he is certainly no Germany-lover. But he is absolutely speaking the truth!

    There goes “Anglo-Saxon supremacy”… into the gutter!

    Everything in this universe has a beginning and an end. The British and American empire (the latter intentionally build on the dead corps of the former) are no exception. Our poor little Englander joe, like every Brexiteer, is a thorough continental European hater, completely stuck in the past.

    The hilarious point is: joe (or his US-equivalent empire dave) no longer matter. The smarter Anglos, like Richard Spencer, or local luminaries like Theedrich, Antius and TheNationalist, have understood that the Anglo-model has run its course and has become a dead end and that the only way out to save your white ass is to embrace your pan-European identity.

    Joe doesn’t need to apply. He is the sort of guy completely unable to change course. He is the sort of guy, who, with the back against the virtual Hadrian Wall in Northern England, while fencing off advancing Muslims, will shout out: “but we won WW1 and WW2!”

    Good night, joe.

  11. Cloggie on Sun, 21st Jul 2019 10:26 am 

    Chinese dystopian future:

    The Chinese government can identify you after two passes of walking.

  12. Dredd on Sun, 21st Jul 2019 2:37 pm 

    So You Think We’re Reducing Fossil Fuel Caused Problems? – Think Again”

    Ice Sheet Melt According To Tide Gauge Stations

  13. I AM THE MOB on Sun, 21st Jul 2019 2:50 pm 

    Nazis examine books confiscated from the Institute for Sexual Research before sending them off to be burned. Berlin, 1933

    And listen to CLogg still wanting to burn books today..History always repeats..

  14. Antius on Sun, 21st Jul 2019 2:57 pm 

    Interesting article from Kris DeDeckers website on a farm using solar power through a low-voltage DC network.

    The use of direct current allows loads to be directly coupled to solar panels, in many cases without intermediate battery storage. The authors call this ‘daylight power’. The most interesting thing about DC networks is the way that they allow loads to float. For example, when solar power levels are low, DC motors run more slowly, but continue to work. During periods of high sunlight, several loads can run simultaneously. At low light levels, only a single load can run at reduced speed.

    By matching load to supply; the farm can run on direct DC power without storage. A much cheaper option than trying to store hundreds of kilowatt hours of energy for a rainy day. Just work more slowly when power levels are low. A small number of nickel iron batteries store energy for lighting, which is a relatively small load.

    With a little more tech, we could improve such a system by adding a wind turbine with a dynamo in parallel with the pv panels and including a dump load, like a water heater within a storage tank, that can be switched off when voltage levels drop too far. A system like this could provide almost continuous power without need for storage.

    Well worth a read if you are interested in off grid systems.

  15. Cloggie on Sun, 21st Jul 2019 2:59 pm 

    “Nazis examine books confiscated from the Institute for Sexual Research before sending them off to be burned. Berlin, 1933”

    “Sexual Research” my foot.

    Porn is not “books”.

    The US is the porn capital of the world and jews play an important role in the production of this corrupting poison.

    No wonder the grapes are sour for floppy, whose main ambition in life is to corrupt the “Goyim”:

  16. I AM THE MOB on Sun, 21st Jul 2019 3:05 pm 

    Tommy Robinson has been decked in jail by a 70 year old man


  17. I AM THE MOB on Sun, 21st Jul 2019 3:07 pm 

    Spoken like a true incel clogg…


  18. I AM THE MOB on Sun, 21st Jul 2019 3:16 pm 


    That wasn’t porn they were just want to make up outlandish excuses to try to paint the Nazi’s as some good people..Because they are the only group that will accept a total loser in life like you..


  19. joe on Sun, 21st Jul 2019 3:16 pm 

    Reply to :Cloggie on Sun, 21st Jul 2019 10:03 am.
    Ooh such a long reply full of non facts. I must have hit a nerve. Eurocommies dont like being called what they are, it’s like saying ‘Jehova’. Trotskys dead Cloggie, he might be ur messiah but he’s dead, not coming back and the EUSSR will die soon as well

  20. Cloggie on Sun, 21st Jul 2019 3:33 pm 

    “Trotskys dead Cloggie, he might be ur messiah but he’s dead, not coming back and the EUSSR will die soon as well”

    I’m a neo-Gaullist, racialist, alt-right pan-European reactionary.

    Hence not a marxist, nor a hyper-nationalist natzi. And obviously neither an Anglo-Zionist globalist.

    It is ridulous to equate the EU with your WW2 ally the USSR. I have a lot of right-wing criticism for the EU, Charles de Gaulle would turn in his grave if he saw what US influence has done to his European project. But I am confident that the current right-wing, populist trend in both Europe and America will eventually turn things for the better. And create Fortress Europe, basically de facto already a reality, thanks to Salvini, a right-winger your globalist UK can only dream about.

    Britain btw has the least white nationalist potential of all white regions. If white Britain will be saved, it will be because of outside influence.

  21. Cloggie on Sun, 21st Jul 2019 3:39 pm 

    “That wasn’t porn they were burning”

    You need new glasses.

  22. I AM THE MOB on Sun, 21st Jul 2019 3:43 pm 


    You are not any of those things..You are a human..You love to live your label..And notice all the groups you listed are the easiest to join? All you have to do is accept their delusional worldview..

    You are a total loser..Who has no life and has to join up with the scum of society..Sad and cringe…

  23. I AM THE MOB on Sun, 21st Jul 2019 5:05 pm 

    This is the future i want to see!

  24. Anonymouse on Sun, 21st Jul 2019 6:15 pm 

    I’m a neo-judeite, chosen one, alt-reality spammeister.

    Hence, a fooking kike troll.

    There, fixed it for you kosherboy. You’re welcome. Sometimes your hebrew-english software doesn’t translate your bullshit quite the way you intended.

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