Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Alex Epstein

Could everything we know about fossil fuels be wrong? For decades, environmentalists have told us that using fossil fuels is a self-destructive addiction that will destroy our planet. Yet at the same time, by every measure of human well-being, from life expectancy to clean water to climate safety, life has been getting better and better. How can this be? In The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, Alex Epstein argues that it’s because we usually hear only one side of the story. We’re taught to think only of the negatives of fossil fuels, their risks and side effects, but not their positives—their unique ability to provide cheap, reliable energy for a world of seven billion people. Energy is our ability to improve every single aspect of life, whether economic or environmental. Today, we use almost twice as many fossil fuels as we did forty years ago, and both prosperity and environmental quality have skyrocketed. If we look at the big picture of fossil fuels compared with the alternatives, the overall impact of using fossil fuels is to make the world a far better place. Join Alex Epstein on Friday, November 21st as he dispels some of the myths surrounding fossil fuels, including: •Fossil fuels are dirty. In fact, the environmental benefits of using fossil fuels far outweigh the risks. Fossil fuels don’t take a naturally clean environment and make it dirty; they take a naturally dirty environment and make it clean. They don’t take a naturally safe climate and make it dangerous; they take a naturally dangerous climate and make it ever safer. •Fossil fuels are unsustainable, so we should strive to use “renewable” solar and wind. Actually, sun and wind are intermittent, unreliable fuels that always need backup from a reliable source of energy—usually fossil fuels. There are huge amounts of fossil fuels left, and we have plenty of time to find something cheaper. •Fossil fuels are hurting the developing world. Fossil fuels are actually the key to improving the quality of life for billions of people in the developing world. If we withhold them, access to clean water plummets, critical medical machines like incubators become impossible to operate, and life expectancy drops significantly. Calls to “get off fossil fuels” are calls to degrade the lives of innocent people who merely want the same opportunities we enjoy in the West. And he reveals incredible, eye-opening facts such as: •The earth contains many times more oil than we have used in the entire history of civilization. •In the last eighty years, as CO2 emissions have rapidly escalated, the rate of climate-related deaths worldwide fell by an incredible rate of 98%; the climate is always dangerous, but high-energy civilization makes it far safer. •Despite the evidence that fossil fuels’ benefits far outweigh their risks, world leaders are proposing 50-95% bans on the use of fossil fuels over the next several decades—a guaranteed early death sentence for billions. Despite what the doomsayers have told us, Epstein makes the controversial case that fossil fuels are the only way to provide cheap, reliable energy for a world of seven billion people, and that it’s simply immoral to deny the developing world all the benefits the rest of us enjoy.

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