Superheroes & Fossil Fuels

Who would win a fight between Thor and Superman? Could Wonder Woman defeat Spider-Man? Does it even matter? Of course not! We just know we love watching superhero movies. But there would be no superhero flicks without oil, natural gas, and coal. You wouldn’t know it to listen to the news media, activists, and many politicians, but these essential energy resources are the REAL LIFE superheroes of our daily lives. Without fossil fuels we would all be living in an unending horror show with no popcorn, no drink, no comfortable seat, no air conditioning, and… not much else for that matter.

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Who doesn’t love a good superhero movie? People all across the world flock to the theaters to watch characters with superhuman powers flash across the screen, rescuing humanity from imminent doom. We’re all suckers for Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America.

But what about the real-life superheroes that run the world every day? The ones that keep the lights on, help us get to school and work, and ironically even make it possible for us to enjoy the newest action flick with our friends and family. I’m talking about fossil fuels.

Without oil, natural gas, and coal we would not be able to sit back and enjoy watching The Avengers save the universe. It takes an enormous amount of energy to make big Hollywood films and then the audience sits in a temperature-controlled theater, eating warm popcorn and sipping cold drinks brought to them by the unsung heroes of getting things done.

Then we get into our cars… mostly made by petroleum products and we use gasoline to comfortably take us home, while riding on petroleum-based tires on petroleum-based roads.

In the developed world, we don’t think about what life would be like without fast, inexpensive transportation, electricity on demand, technological wonders, advanced healthcare and the list goes on and on. All of these things are here because of oil, natural gas and coal. Before we began using fossil fuels to do most of our hard work, life was labor-intensive in a way that would be impossible for most of us to imagine. It was also dirty, painful, violent and short.

This is a reality that is ignored by people who say fossil fuels are going to destroy us all because of their belief in catastrophic man-caused climate change. The same folks parroting the doom and gloom are also some of the most vocal supporters of wind and solar, which the entire world has heavily subsidized over the past decade, yet still supplies less than 2 percent of global energy demand. Of course, they say nasty things about fossil fuels while enjoying all of the technology and labor-saving comforts and conveniences that oil, natural gas and coal provide.

It would be nice if the haters actually acknowledged that their favored energy technologies – wind turbines and solar panels – would not exist without fossil fuels. Or that wind and solar don’t actually create electricity most of the time, so natural gas has to be there to make sure the movie doesn’t stop playing.

Energy is a complicated thing. Yes, there are downsides to using fossil fuels, but the alternative would be the kind of horror movie nobody would want to be in. While oil, natural gas and coal aren’t the perfect superheroes we wish them to be, they are definitely good guys doing essential work for all of us little people. Casting them as villains is ridiculous.

There is one thing I am certain of when it comes to this superhero/villain thing. If the Avengers were real, they wouldn’t be talking smack about fossil fuels. They’d be opposing those who do.

For the Clear Energy Alliance, I’m Mark Mathis. Power On.

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