World Petroleum Congress exudes common sense

In late October, the United Nations held its 26th annual Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), in Glasgow, Scotland.  During the two-week carbon dioxide–emitting extravaganza, world leaders arrived via private jets to discuss ad nauseam the "existential threat" of climate change as well as the immediate need to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.

According to those at COP26, reliable and affordable fossil fuels are the problem.  Their "solution" to this "problem" is "clean energy" in the form of solar panels and wind turbines, which are unreliable and unaffordable and present all sorts of environmental hazards.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the World Petroleum Congress (WPC) kicked off its 23rd annual meeting on December 6 in Houston, Texas, wherein leaders of the oil and gas industry discussed and debated commonsense solutions to the burgeoning global energy crisis.

However, unlike their counterparts at COP26, those in attendance at the WPC understand that fossil fuels are not the source of the energy problem; they are the solution.  Moreover, the experts at the WPC realize that the real energy threat is the cockamamie idea that we should shun fossil fuel production in place of not-yet-ready-for-prime-time renewable energy.

In other words, those at the WPC want to make fossil fuels cleaner, more prevalent, and less expensive.  On the other hand, those at COP26 want to make fossil fuels disappear by making production more expensive and less prevalent.

As Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser put it, "the world is facing an even more chaotic energy transition.  They assume that the right transition strategy is in place.  It's not.  Energy security, economic development and affordability are clearly not receiving enough attention.  Until they are, and we clear the gaps in the transition strategy, the chaos will only intensify."

Although I don't always see eye to eye with Nasser, I must say he hit the nail on the head when it comes to shining a bright light on the canard that renewable energy is the solution to a problem that doesn't even exist in the first place.

Moreover, as Nasser described, the downside to the relentless calls for a renewable revolution are far more dangerous than those at COP26 would have you believe.

According to Nasser, "I understand that publicly admitting that oil and gas will play an essential and significant role during the transition and beyond will be hard for some, but admitting this reality will be far easier than dealing with energy insecurity, rampant inflation and social unrest as the prices become intolerably high, and seeing net-zero commitments by countries start to unravel."

Nasser added that calls for a transition to renewable energy "overnight" are "deeply flawed."

Nasser was far from the only one spewing common sense at the WPC.

Anders Opedal, CEO of Norway's Equinor, bluntly stated, "We will need oil and gas for many years to come but with reduced emissions."

Exxon CEO Darren Woods seconded that idea, saying, "The fact remains, under most credible scenarios, including net zero pathways, oil and natural gas will continue to play a significant role in meeting society's need."

Even David Turk, deputy U.S. secretary of energy, admitted, "We need to make sure everyone has affordable, reliable and resilient energy."  Turk should relay that message to President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats, who are on the cusp of passing the Green New Deal framework under the $4-trillion Build Back Better Act.

In an ode to straightforwardness, Mike Wirth, CEO of Chevron, made a compelling case for fossil fuels when he said, "Oil and gas continue to play a central role in meeting the world's energy needs. ... Our products make the world run."

And there is the rub.  While the out-of-touch elites at COP26 lecture the hoi polloi about the menace of fossil fuels and the innate goodness of renewables, those who actually know a thing or two about fossil fuels presented a more forthright and commonsense analysis about the very industry they know like the back of their hand.

For the foreseeable future, we need fossil fuels if we are to live in a world in which we can heat our homes and fill our gas tanks without going broke.  Make no mistake: fossil fuels are God's gift to man, and we would be remiss if we forsook that gift.

Chris Talgo ( is senior editor at The Heartland Institute.

Image: World Petroleum Congress.

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