WATCH: Fossil Fuels: The Big Picture

By  PragerU

“The world needs more fossil fuels,” according to Alex Epstein, founder of the Center for Industrial Progress. Epstein argues that the benefits of energy sources such as oil, coal, and natural gas far outweigh the costs.

Pushing back against the claims that we must transition to renewables and away from fossil fuels, Epstein argued that for any course of action, we must consider whether the positive outcomes are more substantial than the corresponding negative outcomes.

“The reason that most so-called experts — including many climate scientists — are against fossil fuels is that they violate this principle.”

Epstein’s argument hinged on the following eight points:

  1. Cost-effective energy is essential to human flourishing.
  2. Billions of people are suffering and dying for lack of energy.
  3. Fossil fuels are uniquely cost-effective.
  4. Fossil fuel energy neutralizes climate danger.
  5. Global warming has been mild and manageable.
  6. Warmer temperatures will save lives.
  7. The greenhouse effect is a diminishing phenomenon.
  8. Projected climate impacts can be managed with fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels currently account for about 80% of global energy production — and energy is used in the production of almost every good and service on earth. The rise of cheap and available energy has fueled rapid economic growth and a marked decline in rates of extreme poverty around the world.

Despite that, there are still areas where people live on less than $2 a day and face the grim specters of famine and disease — which could be alleviated by better food production and medicine facilitated by electric power and the technology that uses it.

Epstein notes that fossil fuels are cheaper and more reliable than most extant alternatives. Solar and wind are limited by weather conditions and require extensive backup systems, usually powered by fossil fuels, and ultimately drive up costs.


Furthermore, Epstein notes that rather than causing a climate crisis, the use of fossil fuels has enabled better construction techniques and a more rapid emergency response, saving countless lives from natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

“Climate disaster deaths are down 98% over the last century,” Epstein says.

Fossil fuels also power complex irrigation systems that help farmers weather droughts, and a higher concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere promotes plant growth. Furthermore, cold conditions kill far more people than heat — central heating saves many lives, but rising global temperatures could save even more.

“Mainstream climate science says that warming will be concentrated in colder places — northern latitudes, at colder times — night, and at colder seasons,” Epstein noted, saying that these findings were good news because “fewer people will die from cold in the coldest places.”

Epstein also argued that climate data show that the greenhouse effect caused by CO2 has a diminishing margin of returns, and that existing technology such as air conditioning, dikes, and levees could protect vulnerable communities from the effects of climate change.

“As CO2 levels rise, warming slows down and levels off,” Epstein said. “This is mainstream climate science, but it’s rarely communicated to the general public because it contradicts the climate catastrophe narrative.”



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