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De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Fossil fuels still dominate security and defense needs

That’s why climate policies can seriously harm our defense, economic and security needs

Don Ritter

President Joe Biden says climate change is the greatest threat faced by our country, and the world. It’s a greater threat than nuclear war,  he insists.

Ironically, the proposed “solution” of eliminating essential fossil fuels to mitigate climate change actually increases greenhouse gas emissions and toxic air and water pollution – by requiring that we mine and process up to fourteen times more raw materials per megawatt for wind turbines and electric vehicle or backup batteries than would be required for natural gas-based electricity generation.

Worse, most of that mining, processing and manufacturing would be done overseas – almost all of it using fossil fuels – in countries that have few or no laws for pollution control, wildlife habitat and endangered species protection, land reclamation, child and slave labor, fair wages or other values we hold dear.

Eliminating fossil fuels also reduces our ability to protect our homeland, prevent nuclear war and project Peace Through Strength worldwide. Further, it profoundly weakens America, by creating an imminent crisis for our economy and our military, the two main pillars of a nation’s power.

Fossil fuels are the lifeblood of American military power and serve numerous purposes.

Every iota of military equipment needs fossil fuels to manufacture it, and to run it: from fossil fuel-derived petrochemicals to make thousands of plastic components for infinite uses; to mining and processing minerals into thousands of steel and aluminum alloys for trucks, tanks, guns, aircraft and artillery; to copper and non-ferrous metals for wiring and shell casings; to processing minerals and chemicals into gunpowder and other explosives –

to creating and powering the semiconductor chips for increasingly energy-hungry electronic equipment that is part and parcel of all modern weaponry; to producing and shipping food for members of our Armed Services all over the world; to manufacturing pharmaceuticals and medical equipment to save lives and bring wounded warriors back to health.

Fossil fuels are essential for just about everything the military needs, from nuclear weapons to toilet paper!

This war on fossil fuels is happening at the same time the Biden Administration and Democrat supporters in Congress are spending hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars on deficit-increasing, investment-directing, market-skewing solar, wind, battery-storage, biofuel and other Green Energy schemes.

Given the overwhelming dependence of our military on fossil fuels, this diversion of investments away from fossil fuels will wreak havoc on America’s readiness and defense industrial base.

Where does the lion’s share of raw materials for wind turbines, solar panels, batteries – and the high-tech equipment to produce these and military items – come from? China, and China-invested or China-run African, Asian and Latin American mines that are notorious for child labor, horrendous working conditions, and virtually no concern for the environment or human lives.

America has bounteous oil, gas and coal at home. It lacks the critical materials that go into wind turbines, solar panels, batteries and weapons only because we have made most American mineralized and mining areas off limits – and the administration has rejected almost every proposed mining project it’s seen.

While the push for renewables may be popular in politics, it is problematic in practice. Reliance on our adversaries is highly detrimental to our national security, economy and very existence.

America will be forced to import vital materials from insecure, adversarial nations, such as China, making us dangerously and unnecessarily dependent on foreign sources. China has the technologies (often stolen from the West) and the materials for dominating both “renewables” – solar, wind and battery industries – and defense needs. The harsh reality is that China is totally dominant in renewable energy industries right now. By “going green,” our dependence on China will only increase

Moreover, their electric grid is powered largely by fossil fuels, and thus is set up to back up wind and solar when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. Meanwhile, ours grid is becoming less reliable as we retire fossil fuel plants. Just think of the freezing of windmills in Texas in the dead of winter, and California’s ultra-green government asking EV owners not to charge their vehicles because doing so could cause widespread blackouts! 

Add Russia as China’s oil and gas station, plus raw materials supplier, and China makes a dramatic leap in both military and economic capabilities. Sino-Russian collaboration could well become the globally dominant force over a fossil fuel-disarming America and West.

Indeed, Russia acting alone is able to invade a large, sovereign European nation – even though Russia’s economy is smaller than Italy’s, a mere 3% of the USA plus Europe. How is that possible?

Because Russia has, produces, uses and sells oil, gas and coal, giving it energy dominance now and into the future. Russia’s war on Ukraine is being paid for by its fossil fuel revenues. And, while energy-weakened Europe reopens a headline-grabbing 27 mothballed coal plants to make up for the lost natural gas from Russia, it still bans fracking for oil and gas, and prays for warm winters.

In the meantime, China is building at least 27 new coal plants every year.

Common sense dictates that America reverse its climate-obsessed anti-fossil-fuel policies, and pursue a future that is “all-of-the-above” energy to ensure economic, technological and national security reality – where all-of-the-above means energy that doesn’t require massive federal and state government subsidies; energy that isn’t weather dependent; energy that is abundant, reliable and affordable every hour of every day, year after year.

Anything less betrays not only our men and women defenders in our Armed Forces, but all of us.

Don Ritter holds a Science Doctorate from MIT and served fourteen years on the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce and Science and Technology Committees. After leaving Congress he created and led the National Environmental Policy Institute.

He was a National Academy of Sciences Fellow in the USSR, speaks fluent Russian, and was Ranking Member on the Congressional Helsinki Commission and founding Co-Chair of the Baltic States-Ukraine Caucus. He is a Trustee of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and Museum, and Co-chairs its Capital Campaign.


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