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

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

The Daily Caller News Foundation presents some of the manyreasons 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 fossilfuels 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 thelion’s share of electricity in America— not to mention heating people’s homesduring frigid winters. Even when the sun isn’tshining and the wind isn’t blowing (they oftenpeak at different times of the day), fossil fuels still keep asteady supply of electricity and heat flowing to homes.

In fact, coal power saved millions of Americans from losingelectricity during the “polarvortex†of 2014. As polar winds brought freezingweather into the U.S. northeast, natural gas power plants lacked the supplies and infrastructure to keep the lights onand green energy was unable to generate power in fierceweather.

Luckily, coal-fired power plants were there to keep people fromfreezing to death. Power companies turned on 89 percent of thecoal-fired power capacity slated to be shut down by federalregulations to keep heat and power on for millions of people.

“If our reliability had failed during thepolar vortex… there’s noquestion people would have died,†West VirginiaDemocratic Sen. Joe Manchin said of the near-disaster.

2. Fossil Fuels Are‘Greening’ TheWorld

Environmentalists like to argue fossil fuels are making people dumber, but they never talk about how CO2emissions from fossil fuel combustion are“greening†the Earth by boostingplant growth.

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

“Carbon dioxide fertilizes plants, andemissions from fossil fuels have already had a hugely beneficialeffect on crops, increasing yields by at least 10-15%,â€according to a report by the U.K.-based Global Warming PolicyFoundation.

3. Fossil Fuels Eradicate Poverty

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

Well, it’s true. In fact, coal, oil andnatural gas provided countries with cheap sources of energy forwell over a century. Yes, increased fossil fuel use has caused CO2emissions to skyrocket, but rising CO2 is highly correlated withpoverty eradication.

Before coal, most people relied on wind, solar and animal powerto keep the engine of society running. Wind and solar are theenergy sources of the 13th Century, as some economists havenoted — remember, Don Quixotewasn’t fighting coal plants.

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

But Obama’s refusal to fund coal projectsignores a fact of history: coal has been essential in poverty reduction in developingcountries.

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

“Virtually all of theworld’s poverty reduction between 1981 and 2008took place in China,†Catelin said.“No other poverty alleviation strategy in modernhistory has been more effective than the one implemented by Chinaand driven by an economy fueled at over 70 percent bycoal.â€

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