The End of Petroleum Products Would Be The End of Society As We Know It

by | Jun 9, 2020 |

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Before you cast your vote for any Democrat for President or even one for the House or the Senate, be aware that, if they control these high offices, many of them will do their utmost to shut off all avenues for the production of petroleum products. They hope to replace gasoline-fueled vehicles with electric cars getting their energy from wind turbines and solar collectors. As we have discussed in previous articles, this is hopelessly impractical due to the high cost and poor reliability of wind and solar power.

Not only that, but believe it or not, as Michael Moore demonstrated in his new film, Planet of the Humans, wind and solar are among the most environmentally destructive power sources on the planet, producing vast amounts of toxic waste, and causing the deaths of millions of wildlife.

Speaking at the 13th International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC13) held in Washington, D.C. on July 25, 2019, Dr. Ben Zycher, Resident Scholar of the American Enterprise Institute, emphasized that, “’ Clean’ Power Is Not Clean.” It requires huge land use and creates “heavy-metal pollution, noise, flicker effects, solar panel waste, wildlife destruction,” among other negative impacts. 

So, rather than taking their cues from sound science, engineering and economics, it appears that the Dems are basing policy on a rather warped interpretation of Peter Pan’s Neverland where “All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.”

And it is not just gasoline that we would miss if anti-fossil fuel crusaders and the politicians who succumb to them, have their way. Crude oil is used to make kerosene, which powered the Falcon 9 rocket that boosted SpaceX’s manned Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station on May 30. And, of course there is jet fuel, home heating oil, diesel fuel, lubricating oils, and naphtha, a flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixture employed to dilute heavy oil to assist in moving it through pipelines and also to make high-octane gas, lighter fluid, and to clean metal.

Besides crippling our transportation system and bankrupting many companies and individuals with huge and unnecessary costs, eliminating petroleum products would have a devastating impact on our society in other ways as well. The last year the Energy Information Agency had a complete handle on the uses of US crude oil was 2016 when they calculated that 6,000 different products were produced with crude oil as an integral part of their make-up. We will not completely bore you with that list so how about our listing just 144 of them. Too many, okay, contact us for that list, but here are just 49 of them.

    1. Floor wax
    2. football cleats
    3. football and motorcycle helmets
    4. artificial turf
    5. bicycle tires
    6. insecticides
    7. nail polish
    8. shoe polish
    9. antiseptics
    10. soap
    11. deodorant
    12. refrigerant
    13. life jackets
    14. electrical tape
    15. epoxy
    16. paint
    17. paint brushes
    18. roofing
    19. lipstick
    20. synthetic rubber
    21. electric blankets
    22. nylon rope
    23. tennis racquets
    24. shower curtains
    25. trash bags
    26. water pipes
    27. hand lotion
    28. guitar strings, critically important to get through the COVID-19 shutdown!
    29. luggage
    30. safety glass
    31. toothbrushes
    32. tents
    33. parachutes
    34. telephones
    35. cameras
    36. hair curlers
    37. movie film
    38. golf balls 
    39. asphalt that creates our roadways
    40. fertilizers 
    41. detergents, 
    42. furniture
    43. ball point pens, 
    44. skis
    45. fishing rods
    46. soft contact lenses
    47. fan belts
    48. artificial limbs
    49. hearing aids.

These products and literally thousands more require petroleum-based products. A more complete list of some of the thousands of petroleum-based products may be seen hereThis video puts the situation into a proper perspective.

Prominent conservative essayist Burt Prelutsky gave an excellent list of things that fossil fuels create outside of automobiles’ gasoline tanks. In addition to the 19.4 gallons of gasoline distilled from each 42-gallon barrel of oil are 22.6 gallons of liquid from which we produce all the plastic that goes into our cars, computers, and toys and till recently plastic straws now outlawed in California. About 7 billion kilograms per year of phenol is produced from petroleum-derived feedstocks. It, and its chemical derivatives, are essential for the production of many important substances including numerous pharmaceutical drugs and, primarily, to synthesize plastics and related materials.

Plastics are so vitally important to our way of life today that it is worth quoting from Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels, produced by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change:

“… fossil fuels-enabled technology has contributed to human health … by allowing the use of plastic products instead of metal, glass, or wooden products (Avery, 2000; North and Halden, 2013). Natural gas is the primary feedstock of plastic products made in the United States while oil is used by most European and Asian producers. …

“While it is fashionable to minimize the benefits plastics bring to society, they are undeniably immense. Andrady and Neal (2009) write, “Plastics deliver unparalleled design versatility over a wide range of operating temperatures. They have a high strength-to-weight ratio, stiffness and toughness, ductility, corrosion resistance, bio-inertness, high thermal/electrical insulation, non-toxicity, and outstanding durability at a relatively low lifetime cost compared with competing materials; hence plastics are very resource-efficient.”

And what would our medical system look like without plastics derived from hydrocarbons? INSANITY is what!

While we might still be able to walk or bicycle to get to whatever hospitals still exist in an impoverished fossil-fuel-free world, the clinic we might succeed in finding would have no syringes, no tubes, and no bags for plasma.

So, unless you want climate change extremists eliminating so many important products from your life, speak out when activists promote ridiculous and dangerous ‘decarbonization’ schemes. It makes no more sense than calls to shutdown police departments in response to the demands of violent and irrational mobs.


Dr. Jay Lehr is a Senior Policy Analyst with the International Climate Science Coalition and former Science Director of The Heartland Institute. He is an internationally renowned scientist, author, and speaker who has testified before Congress on dozens of occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the national government and many foreign countries. After graduating from Princeton University at the age of 20 with a degree in Geological Engineering, he received the nation’s first Ph.D. in Groundwater Hydrology from the University of Arizona. He later became executive director of the National Association of Groundwater Scientists and Engineers.

Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition, and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute. He has 40 years experience as a mechanical engineer/project manager, science and technology communications professional, technical trainer, and S&T advisor to a former Opposition Senior Environment Critic in Canada’s Parliament.

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Dave James
Dave James
1 year ago

Dr. Lehr and Mr. Harris claim they are non-partisan and interested in science (Source the ICSC Mission Statement mission statement, ICSC website) but their opinion pieces shows they are political partisans who care very little about science.
They demand people vote against any “Democrat for President, or even one for the House or the Senate” based on their false argument. Mr. Harris and Dr. Lehr argue Democrats “…will do their utmost to shut off all avenues for the production of petroleum products” but no Democratic candidate for president, house or senate has ever advocated banning production of petroleum products. Dr. Lehr and Mr. Harris create a straw-man argument because they cannot dispute the actual arguments or science regarding carbon emissions.
Mr. Harris’ and Dr. Lehr’s opinion pieces reject the scientific evidence of human-caused climate change and promote weird and paranoid political conspiracy theories. They recently compared the “America’s Democrat Party and both the Liberal and conservative parties of Canada” to plantation owners in the “Old South.” They claim with no evidence that “…the people who own the plantation are people like billionaires George Soros, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg, who promote globalism in general and the U.N. and the WHO, in particular. These men are apparently the puppet masters who pull the strings and make the members of Congress, the Deep State, the media and academia, dance.” (Source “Today’s COVID Dictators Dishonor Heroes of Past Generations” By Dr. Jay Lehr & Tom Harris, May 12, 2020, America Out Loud)
An opinion piece based on a straw-man argument is not valid.

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