Why energy matters

What, exactly, is “energy”—and why does it matter?

Few questions are as overlooked—or as important. Energy is the thread that binds together all of modern life. Affordable, reliable, and abundant energy is directly responsible for the quality of life that Americans enjoy today. From modern agriculture to medical technology to the Internet, all of it is made possible by access to energy.

{mosads}Energy also determines what kind of future we will have—the more affordable, reliable, and abundant energy is, the more opportunities we as a society will have. Seen through this lens, energy literally powers the progress that leads to better lives for all.

It is crucial that we begin to recognize these facts. Energy is so central to our daily lives that we often take it for granted, or we allow attacks against our most abundant energy sources to go unchallenged. This is particularly true when it comes to the fossil fuels that have powered America’s rise—and are just as important for continued advances in quality of life and individual well-being.

This is why I am excited to announce a new initiative—Fueling U.S. Forward—aimed at bringing a fresh perspective to the national dialogue around energy.

While there are plenty of folks out there talking about energy, too often it boils down to cold statistics about barrels, kilowatts, and BTUs.

What we will bring to light through Fueling U.S. Forward is that energy isn’t about numbers on a spreadsheet—it’s about people and how energy is the cornerstone to enriching their lives.

We’re going to talk to those who have the most at stake but whose voices are often ignored—industry employees, small business owners, and vulnerable communities—and share their stories. By doing so, we hope to give a voice to those who are often underrepresented in the energy dialogue.

Today, fossil fuels are often spoken about in derogatory terms. But the truth is often the opposite of what you hear.

American oil and natural gas are the most abundant and reliable energy sources the world has ever known. Our ability to harness the natural fuels of soil and rock and convert those raw materials into usable energy is one of the greatest achievements in mankind’s history.

Energy has catalyzed numerous advances in transportation, agriculture, and medicine, to name a few, which has raised living standards for millions of people in our country and around the world.

To take one example: a few decades ago, many experts thought millions of people would starve because we wouldn’t be able to grow enough food to feed a growing population. But scientists like Dr. Norman Borlaug figured out how to use genetic engineering and synthetic fertilizers from natural gas to grow more food on less land and feed more people. For that, he earned a Nobel Peace Prize as “the man who saved a billion lives.”

Energy made his work possible. Fossil fuels, combined with human ingenuity, saved a billion lives. And that’s only one example of many.

As we look to the future, the central question should be whether we will continue achieving advances in everyone’s quality of life, especially the least fortunate. The answer to this question depends on whether we recognize the central role of fossil fuels to human progress.

At the end of the day, we hope to spark a new conversation around energy—how it shapes and betters our lives, unlocks human potential, and moves us forward. We hope you’ll join us.

Thanks to energy, America has achieved great things—and we’re only getting started.

Charles Drevna is President & CEO of Fueling U.S. Forward.

The views expressed by authors are their own and not the views of The Hill.


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