Climate activist Greta Thunberg tweeted five years ago that catastrophic climate change will wipe out humanity unless the world forgoes fossil fuel usage and ceases consumption. 

But to Thunberg’s dismay, her prediction didn’t exactly pan out. On the contrary, realizing this, she quietly deleted her tweet in March in anticipation of Wednesday’s anniversary. While gone, it forever lives in our hearts as a reminder not to fret over reactionary, alarmist predictions.

In fact, humanity has sustained itself today due to continued fossil fuel usage, not in spite of it.

Let’s begin with oil, which is often blamed for our societal woes. Despite being assigned a dirty image by preservationist environmentalists, it’s the lifeblood of civilization and an essential resource here in America. Could you imagine our first-world society without oil? Life would be miserable, uncomfortable, and harder. Petroleum and its byproducts are ubiquitous in our daily lives. We fuel our cars, boats, and homes with it. Our clothes are derived from it, as are our cellphones and computers. It’s inescapable. Why get rid of it? 

Even President Joe Biden himself, a big decarbonization and net-zero proponent, conceded in his State of the Union address this year that the United States will continue reliance on oil and gas for at least 10 more years. 

Another unappreciated energy source is natural gas. It’s arguably a clean-burning fuel that produces lower emissions. During the Trump administration, the U.S. became a net exporter of liquefied natural gas ( dubbed “molecules of freedom”), propelling our nation into energy independence while continuing to lead the world in overall emissions reductions. 

Natural gas stoves, for example, are found in over 40 million homes and are preferred by 90% of chefs . Why? They boast faster conduction rates, make meals tastier, and are more economical to use compared to electric stoves. But these benefits, sadly, haven’t stopped many elected Democrats — along with the Department of Energy and the Consumer Product Safety Commission — from trying to phase them out through unrealistic “electrification” efforts. 

Last but not least is coal, a common scapegoat of environmentalists despite it being an abundant domestic energy source. 

Coal is undoubtedly reliable for heating and powering homes. Globally, it remains the top source of electricity generation and will remain one for years to come despite nations, including ours, closing down plants and curbing its mining. Additionally, there are myriad nonenergy uses, such as cement production, medicines, and carbon fibers. Metallurgic coal also happens to be a key component to steel, a popular building material. 

The inconvenient truth is that coal is and will be essential for alternative power sources to flourish. Like oil and gas, it supplements clean energy sources when they fail to work as promised. And electric vehicles are primarily charged using coal-powered energy.  

While many preservationists such as Thunberg lament the existence of fossil fuels, their presence is positive. Despite climate doomcasting, it is, in fact, a great time to be alive thanks to modern life enabled by them. 

Coal, oil, and natural gas cumulatively supply nearly 80% of American energy. This industry also supports nearly 13 million jobs and pumps billions into the economy. Additionally, continued use of these resources will help families save an average of $2,500 a year in energy expenses. And paradoxically, fossil fuels make intermittent clean energy sources such as solar and wind possible. 

Humanity will endure and survive by relying on what works: cheap, safe fossil fuels.