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Why Everyone Loves Big Oil

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Ten years ago Al Gore took his global warming crusade to the movies with his documentary film An Inconvenient Truth, which Hollywood honored with an Oscar. The award was granted by the Academy of Motion Pictures, not by the Academy of Science. It would be difficult to justify a scientific award for a documentary film with outlandish predictions that never materialized, and which schools in Britain were only allowed to show if accompanied by “guidance” that contradicted many of the film’s unsubstantiated claims. Of course every award winning film needs a sequel, so this weekend Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power rolls into theaters. Like its predecessor, the film is another alarmist publicity tool aimed at vilifying fossil fuels and “Big Oil.” 

Criticizing fossil fuels may be appealing in a rhetorical context, but in a practical context everyone, including Al Gore, would be far more traumatized by the prospect of having to relinquish all benefits of fossil fuels, than the notion of a global warming Armageddon.

No innovation developed by mankind has had more positive impact on quality of life than the use of fossil fuels – particularly oil. The wheel made mobility easier, but oil revolutionized transportation. The modern world is now dependent on oil for almost every aspect of our lives. Oil products not only allow people to move from one place to another quickly and comfortably, but our entire economy also depends on the transportation of commodities, raw materials, and food.


Think for a moment about our national food supply. It’s almost entirely dependent on fossil fuels for production and transportation. Millions of people around the world might otherwise be starving if not for the ability to mass produce food and transport it thousands of miles. Some industries can adapt to fossil fuels, but farming is still very oil reliant. There is no such thing as an electric tractor to plant and harvest fields. Nor are there delivery trucks moving produce from field to grocery store that are powered by electric motors charged exclusively by renewable energy sources. Food production and delivery depend on fossil fuels. Simply put, we have food on our plates thanks to fossil fuels.


The average American drives 16 miles to work each way. Thanks to fossil fuels, that commute can be done in less than 20 minutes—the average time it would take a person to walk a single mile.

Before ships were powered by fossil fuels, a voyage across the Atlantic would take an average of seven weeks. Most travelers who made that voyage did it one way. Visiting family that lived far away was extremely difficult, expensive, and time consuming. Today, fossil fuels allow us to cross the Atlantic or circle the global in hours rather than weeks or months, and do so in a relatively inexpensive way.


Every inch of your home involved some form of fossil fuel use in the building process. Gas powered chainsaws cut down trees, which were transported to a mill, cut into usable building products, transported again to a store, and then moved to the building site. Concrete, paint, wiring, pipes, insulation, roofing—all required manufacturing processes and transportation that involved fossil fuels.


When seasonal warming does occur in the Northern Hemisphere, air conditioning is not only cool, it’s something most people take for granted, at least in hot southern states. Around 80% of American homes now have air conditioning, as do a majority of businesses. In fact, most theaters showing afternoon matinees of An Inconvenient Sequel will keep the audience comfortable by blowing cool air, rather than hot air, thanks of course to fossil fuels.


Over 90% of America’s adult population own a cell phone or smart phone. These contraptions did not just magically appear. Minerals were mined and transported using fossil fuels. Components were molded and manufactured using fossil fuels.

Trucks, ships and trains transported finished products to stores, where people drove cars to purchase them. Phones require electricity to function, most of which is supplied by fossil fuels. Less than 10% of the world’s energy comes from nuclear or renewable sources, 90% of electricity depends on fossil fuels.

There are countless other examples of how mankind’s quality of life has immeasurably improved due to fossil fuels. Until another efficient form of energy production comes along the world will remain dependent on fossil fuels as the primary source of energy, and all the amazing benefits that come with it.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power will not be providing audiences with the truth about power, rather it will be an attack on the primary source of power—fossil fuels. The reality is that the world depends on inexpensive and abundant energy. Fossil fuels may have harmful environmental effects in terms of smog and CO2 emissions, but while environmentalists like Al Gore may preach about ending fossil fuel use, they aren’t abandoning their own carbon lifestyles because they don’t want to give up the quality of life derived from fossil fuels and CO2 emissions. Technology has already dramatically reduced the negative impacts of fossil fuel use, and at some point in the distant future the world may not depend on it, but it does today, and will for the foreseeable future.

Gore’s Inconvenient film series is less about educating the public and more about pushing alarmist propaganda with a political agenda. It’s a convenient indoctrination tool for those interested in finding ways to create new regulations and taxes under the auspice of saving the planet. We can debate the science and solutions of global warming and CO2 emissions, but there is no debate that we all, including environmentalists, love the quality of life benefits gained from fossil fuels…and Big Oil.

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