Why Global Human Flourishing Requires More Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas--Not Less
The New York Times bestselling author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels draws on the latest data and new insights to challenge everything you thought you knew about the future of energy
For over a decade, philosopher and energy expert Alex Epstein has predicted that any negative impacts of fossil fuel use on our climate will be outweighed by the unique benefits of fossil fuels to human flourishing--including their unrivaled ability to provide low-cost, reliable energy to billions of people around the world, especially the world’s poorest people.
And contrary to what we hear from media “experts” about today’s “renewable revolution” and “climate emergency,” reality has proven Epstein right:
Fact: Fossil fuels are still the dominant source of energy around the world, and growing fast—while much-hyped renewables are causing skyrocketing electricity prices and increased blackouts.Fact: Fossil-fueled development has brought global poverty to an all-time low.Fact: While fossil fuels have contributed to the 1 degree of warming in the last 170 years, climate-related deaths are at all-time lows thanks to fossil-fueled development.
What does the future hold? In Fossil Future, Epstein, applying his distinctive “human flourishing framework” to the latest evidence, comes to the shocking conclusion that the benefits of fossil fuels will continue to far outweigh their side effects—including climate impacts—for generations to come. The path to global human flourishing, Epstein argues, is a combination of using more fossil fuels, getting better at “climate mastery,” and establishing “energy freedom” policies that allow nuclear and other truly promising alternatives to reach their full long-term potential.
Today’s pervasive claims of imminent climate catastrophe and imminent renewable energy dominance, Epstein shows, are based on what he calls the “anti-impact framework”—a set of faulty methods, false assumptions, and anti-human values that have caused the media’s designated experts to make wildly wrong predictions about fossil fuels, climate, and renewables for the last fifty years. Deeply researched and wide-ranging, this book will cause you to rethink everything you thought you knew about the future of our energy use, our environment, and our climate.
Epstein (The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels), founder of the Center for Industrial Progress think-tank, shuttles between grandiosity and dubious claims in this bloated argument to increase the use of fossil fuels over alternative energy initiatives. Using a framework of prioritizing "human flourishing," Epstein argues that much of human progress can be attributed to the use of coal and oil, that the global poverty rate has gone down as a direct result of fossil fuel usage, and that "the negative climate impacts of fossil fuels will be far, far outweighed by the unique benefits." Many of his statements are hard to take seriously: a net-zero policy "would certainly be the most significant act of mass murder since the killings of one hundred million people by communist regimes," he suggests, and attempts to eliminate fossil fuel dependence will result in "a threat to the long-term existence of the United States." His points about how scientific assessments are not always accurately conveyed to the public in the media and that calamity sells over thoughtful assessment are solid, but his ensuing leap to reverse course and expand fossil fuel usage comes up rather short. What Epstein breathlessly characterizes as "spread the truth" lands as manic and petulant.