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OPINION: Vermont is Learning the Hard Way That Renewables Don’t Replicate O&G


These translations are done via Google Translate

vermont is learning the hard way that renewables don't replicate o g 1200x810

A new presentation from the Legislative Finance Committee reported a revenue of $15.2 billion from the extractive industry to New Mexico in fiscal year 2023. Land income generated $8.6 billion, while taxes generated $6.6 billion.

By George Sharpe

Vermont just passed a law intended to “fine” oil and gas companies for the damages caused by climate change. Vermont is joining over two dozen cities and states which are suing Exxon and others, claiming the oil and gas companies knew that climate change was occurring back in the 1970s and did nothing about it.

There are several reasons why Vermont’s law and these lawsuits have no basis and should be immediately thrown out.

First, how, exactly, do you determine how much those cities and states are being damaged? Because of the media’s hyperfocus on sensationalizing the topic, now every storm, flood, fire, or drought are blamed on climate change?

Obviously, that is false, as such events have been occurring since the beginning of time.

Further, none of the plaintiffs acknowledge the benefits of fossil fuels — the underappreciated workhorse that brought us out of the dark ages. Carbon energy, which underpins our entire life as we know it, hasn’t ruined the environment but has helped preserve it.

The nastiest living conditions with the lowest life expectancy on the planet are where people have little, if any, access to energy.

Second, since Vermont and most of the other plaintiffs produce no oil or gas, exactly which companies are to blame for their emissions?

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Vermont’s emissions did not occur because Exxon produces oil and gas in Texas or elsewhere, those emissions came because their citizens continue to consume the fuels that are crucial to running their lives.

Finally and most importantly, had Exxon actually acknowledged in the 1970s that CO2 emissions were an issue, what exactly was Exxon and the rest of the world supposed to do about it?

Al Gore raised the alarm in 1993, and starting shortly thereafter, the world has been in a hysterical panic to “transition” away from fossil fuels. Over the last 30 years, the U.S. has spent billions and the world has spent trillions on the energy transition, yet in 2023, 82.5% of U.S. energy and 84% of the world’s energy still came from fossil fuels.

Vermont is a perfect example. Because 1 in 6 homes are heated with wood — polluting, inefficient, but renewable, so it gets the “green” light — and because Vermont used to use a lot of nuclear, only 62.3% of Vermont’s energy in 1993 came from oil and natural gas.

Ironically, they have since eliminated all of their zero-carbon nuclear energy, so in 2021, over 68% of their energy came from hydrocarbons. And somehow the oil and gas industry is to blame for their emissions?

It is clear that had the supposed “energy transition” started in the 1970s versus the 1990s, it would have made absolutely no difference. No matter how much money you pour into them, wind, solar, and batteries just do not replicate the convenient, abundant, affordable, and always reliable energy from oil and natural gas.

In closing, Vermont’s law and these lawsuits are disingenuous efforts to place blame on energy producers versus energy consumers for the impacts of fossil fuels. Ironically, none of those cities or states are clamoring for more nuclear energy, which is the only real answer to a carbon-free future.

If Vermont truly believes they are being irreparably damaged by fossil fuels, they are welcome to quit using them whenever they wish.

George Sharpe is an energy educator and investment manager for Merrion Oil & Gas, based in Farmington.

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