How Fossil Fuels Saved Humanity from Nature and Nature from Humanity

CATO recently published a study explaining why inexpensive hydrocarbon based energy is actually good for the environment:

Then mankind began to develop technologies to augment or displace living nature’s uncertain bounty. Gradually food supplies and nutrition improved and population, living standards, and human well-being advanced haltingly. The Industrial Revolution accelerated these trends. Mankind broke its Malthusian bonds. Growth became the norm. Population exploded, along with living standards and well-being.

Technologies dependent on cheap fossil fuels enabled these improving trends. Nothing can be made, transported, or used without energy, and fossil fuels provide 80 percent of mankind’s energy and 60 percent of its food and clothing. Thus, absent fossil fuels, global cropland would have to increase by 150 percent to meet current food demand, but conversion of habitat to cropland is already the greatest threat to biodiversity. By lowering humanity’s reliance on living nature, fossil fuels not only saved humanity from nature’s whims, but nature from humanity’s demands.

I’ve been saying this for a long time:

The truth is, if these guys truly cared about the environment, they would be working to protect our economy.  Because only wealthy nations can afford to care about the environment. Poor countries can’t.

Poor people and countries can’t afford to worry about the environment.

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