If you set something in motion that saved scores of lives in just a few short years, would you be the recipient of international accolades, global recognition, and a plethora of awards and honors? There are only a handful of men who have changed the world like George Mitchell, the pioneer of hydraulic fracturing, a process that extracts shale gas from the ground. Not only did his ingenuity transform the U.S. energy sector and turn the nation into Saudi America, but his fracking process has also ensured people are not dying at the hands of that odious brute Old Man Winter – or perhaps the dog days of summer.
According to a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), authors examined how home heating prices impacted mortality rates in the U.S. The study noted that higher heating prices typically boost exposure to the cold because households are reducing their heating consumption to prevent exorbitant energy bills.
Between 2005 and 2010, the cost of natural gas relative to electricity tumbled 42%. The researchers deduced that these lower costs led to a 1.6% drop in the winter mortality rate for households using natural gas for heating. Overall, more than half the country utilizes this energy source, so the slide in prices cut the American winter mortality rate by 0.9%, or 0.4% annually.
This means 11,000 deaths were prevented per year. Ultimately, the conclusion is that lower heating prices generally decrease winter mortality.
With record-setting heat during the summer, many households are turning on the air conditioner. The paper did not examine lower cooling costs decreasing summer mortality rates. But logic would dictate that this would be the same result.
State of Natural Gas
Last year, natural gas consumption surged 10% to 82.1 billion cubic feet per day, a record high. The demand, from utilities to manufacturers to exporters, is only ballooning. The sector is having a difficult time keeping up with the demand, leading to heightened drilling efforts – at home and abroad.
Since 2006, output has soared nearly 60%, contributing to a 70% slide in prices. Natural gas provided only a fifth of the country’s electricity needs in 2007, but that figure has doubled in 2019. Nearly a decade ago, the cost per million British thermal units (btu) was more than $10, but, at the time of this writing, it is $2.68.
The natural gas market hasn’t even peaked yet. Last year, more than 36 gigawatts of new capacity came online, marking the biggest increase in a decade. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) anticipates additional capacity levels this year.
Consumers can expect lower prices in the coming years, too. Many countries are getting in on this energy supply, attempting to take away market share from the U.S. Saudi Arabia confirmed that it plans to invest $10 billion in the natural gas market, while China is expanding its capabilities over the next five years. It is evident that the Canadian energy industry is in a crisis, but it still has the volumes to be a world leader. Until then, the U.S. will still be the top exporting dog on the planet.
Environmentalists are demanding governments to phase out nuclear and coal, but the free market is already killing these energy sources because of how popular natural gas has become. Plus, it emits fewer greenhouse gas emissions than Texas Tea, hence why the U.S. is leading the world in falling CO2 levels. Why aren’t the hippies rejoicing?
Posthumous Nobel Prize
Of course, this study will not make headlines on the Counterfeit News Network, and it will certainly not grace the front page of The New York Times or cover of National Geographic. Al Gore will not tweet out this information, and the data will be buried in all the scientific journals. Why? For the simple fact that it does not fit the leftist narrative that fracking is killing lives, which is a myth that has been debunked ever since the 2010 anti-fracking documentary, Gasland, was nominated for an Academy Award.
Mark Perry, the eminent economist from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), has a different idea. He recently suggested that if Mitchell were alive today, he would be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. It makes sense, especially considering that the latest winners haven’t done much for humanity – former Vice President Al Gore and former President Barack Obama, anyone?
Perhaps the Nobel committee can make an exception in this case and hand out a Nobel Prize posthumously. Indeed, it is unlikely to happen because it primarily awards left-leaning, politically correct figures who hate capitalism with this honor. So, instead, let’s hijack days reserved for environmental events, such as Earth Hour or Earth Day, and celebrate the Father of Fracking for the abundance of cheap energy we get to enjoy.
The Economist wrote in 2013 that “few businesspeople have done as much to change the world as George Mitchell.” Let’s revere him as the folk hero he is.