3 Reasons To Be Thankful For Fossil Fuels This Holiday Season

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
Font Size:

Fossil fuels have taken a beating in the media in recent years over concerns carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal, oil and gas for electricity are driving global warming.

Environmentalists and politicians want you to believe CO2 from fossil fuels is the greatest evil of our time, but they ignore the enormous benefits combusting coal, oil or gas brings to society.

The Daily Caller News Foundation presents some of the many reasons to be thankful for fossil fuels this Thanksgiving.

1. Coal Kept The Lights On

We hear a lot about how solar and wind energy are the future, but we never hear how these unreliable power sources require fossil fuels to provide back-up power to keep the lights on.

Despite billions of federal tax dollars for green energy use, coal and natural gas produce the lion’s share of electricity in America — not to mention heating people’s homes during frigid winters. Even when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing (they often peak at different times of the day), fossil fuels still keep a steady supply of electricity and heat flowing to homes.

In fact, coal power saved millions of Americans from losing electricity during the “polar vortex” of 2014. As polar winds brought freezing weather into the U.S. northeast, natural gas power plants lacked the supplies and infrastructure to keep the lights on and green energy was unable to generate power in fierce weather.

Luckily, coal-fired power plants were there to keep people from freezing to death. Power companies turned on 89 percent of the coal-fired power capacity slated to be shut down by federal regulations to keep heat and power on for millions of people.

“If our reliability had failed during the polar vortex… there’s no question people would have died,” West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said of the near-disaster.

2. Fossil Fuels Are ‘Greening’ The World

Environmentalists like to argue fossil fuels are making people dumber, but they never talk about how CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion are “greening” the Earth by boosting plant growth.

Higher CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere mean more food for plant life, allowing them to grow. CO2 also acts as a substitute for water, so even some of the most arid regions of the world are “greening,” in part, due to carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion.

“Carbon dioxide fertilizes plants, and emissions from fossil fuels have already had a hugely beneficial effect on crops, increasing yields by at least 10-15%,” according to a report by the U.K.-based Global Warming Policy Foundation.

3. Fossil Fuels Eradicate Poverty

Would you believe coal power has lifted billions of people out of poverty since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution?

Well, it’s true. In fact, coal, oil and natural gas provided countries with cheap sources of energy for well over a century. Yes, increased fossil fuel use has caused CO2 emissions to skyrocket, but rising CO2 is highly correlated with poverty eradication.

Before coal, most people relied on wind, solar and animal power to keep the engine of society running. Wind and solar are the energy sources of the 13th Century, as some economists have noted — remember, Don Quixote wasn’t fighting coal plants.

Coal, oil and natural gas provide economies with cheap, reliable energy. It’s only with cheap energy that economies can grow. President Barack Obama and other countries are trying to break that model by refusing to finance overseas coal projects, and instead funnel more money to green energy.

But Obama’s refusal to fund coal projects ignores a fact of history: coal has been essential in poverty reduction in developing countries.

“If coal-fueled China were taken out of the equation, the number of the world’s poor has actually risen since the 1980s,” said Milton Catelin, chief executive of the World Coal Association

“Virtually all of the world’s poverty reduction between 1981 and 2008 took place in China,” Catelin said. “No other poverty alleviation strategy in modern history has been more effective than the one implemented by China and driven by an economy fueled at over 70 percent by coal.”

Follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact