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Port: Blame skyrocketing energy prices on the environmental activists

Despite the impression you may get from the politicians and the pundits, we're not only still using oil, gas, and coal, we're using more of it than ever. The only thing that has changed, thanks to

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Oil production in western North Dakota
File Photo
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MINOT, N.D. — Even before Vladimir Putin decided to invade Ukraine, we had a problem.

The political campaign to eliminate fossil fuels (as opposed to funding research and development, like carbon capture technology, to make them better) has narrowed the foundation of our energy grid.

Both here in America, and in Europe, we've manipulated the energy markets toward supposedly "green" outcomes (more on that in a moment), and the result has hurt us.

That constriction of our energy supply lines was already driving prices higher, contributing to inflation and making our energy grids less reliable.

Now war, a tragic inevitability of the human experience, has disrupted supply lines further. We are, rightly, acting against Russia's oil and gas interests as a way to bolster Ukraine's resistance to Putin's aggression, but Russia is a major supplier of oil and gas, and the economic pain stemming from our actions is very real.

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Fuel prices are skyrocketing, and other consumer prices won't be far behind.

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Serious questions of policy in our society should be settled through the flawed, frustrating, and often extremely protracted process of democracy and not judicial fiat.

Putin is one thing, but at least some of this pain we've brought on ourselves through energy policy dictated by ideology and not reality.

Consider the ESG —"environmental, social, and governance" — movement which has infiltrated Wall Street and has effectively manipulated the marketplace against energy sources such as coal and oil.

The movement, which includes big banks and money managers and many corporate and political leaders, pressures companies to shut down coal and natural gas plants. They push to divest from oil development.

They push their political agenda in shareholder meetings and vote against directors and initiatives that don't align with that agenda.

The proponents of this movement argue that they're saving the world by ending the use of oil, gas, and goal, but as a practical matter, all they've done is create a vacuum in the world's energy markets which has been filled by Putin's regime, among others.

What are the activists even accomplishing?

Global coal consumption has gone up , not down, increasing from 94.9 exajoules in 1998 to 157.4 in 2020. Worldwide demand for oil was at 85.3 million barrels per day in 2006, and hit 96.5 million barrels per day in 2021 despite the turmoil in supply and demand created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Since 1990, global gas consumption has nearly doubled .

Despite the impression you may get from the politicians and the pundits, we're not only still using this stuff, we're using more of it than ever.

By inhibiting the production and use in places like North America and Europe, the activists have done the world's despots a real favor.

We've pushed the production and consumption of these energies to places like Russia and China, where political activism is a dangerous endeavor and the regulation of energy production is far less prudent than what we see in North America or Europe.

We've enriched those regimes at our own expense.

It's time to stop.

The world needs coal, oil, and gas, and as long as that remains true, we ought to be using our own.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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