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Alex Epstein’s The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels

Today fossil fuels—the lifeblood of modern industrial civilization—are under constant attack by environmentalists, including certain journalists, pundits, politicians, and activists. To take the latest example, Barack Obama recently promised the Chinese that the United States would curb fossil fuel use, and the White House called for an 80 percent reduction in fossil-fuel carbon emissions within a few decades.

But, as Alex Epstein argues, the war on fossil fuels is impractical and immoral. He makes this case in his pathbreaking new book—available today—The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels. Following are just a few indications of the book’s contents:

  • “[M]ore energy means more ability to improve our lives; less energy means less ability—more helplessness, more suffering, and more death” (p. 39).
  • “[I]n providing the fuel that makes modern, industrialized, globalized, fertilized agriculture possible, the oil industry has sustained and improved billions and billions of lives. If we rate achievements by their contribution to human well-being, surely this must rank as one of the greatest achievements of our time” (p. 83).
  • “It is only thanks to cheap, plentiful, reliable energy that we live in an environment where the water we drink and the food we eat will not make us sick and where we can cope with the often hostile climate of Mother Nature” (p. 86).
  • “[W]e don’t take a safe climate and make it dangerous; we take a dangerous climate and make it safe. High-energy civilization, not climate, is the driver of climate livability. No matter what, climate will always be naturally hazardous—and the key question will always be whether we have the ability to handle it or, better yet, master it” (p. 126).
  • “For years, actually centuries, opponents of fossil fuels . . . have said that using [them] is unsustainable because we’ll run out of them. Instead, we keep running into them. The more we use, the more we create” (p. 178).
  • “We need to say that human life is our one and only standard of value. And we need to say that the transformation of our environment, the essence of our survival, is a supreme virtue” (p. 201).

Epstein touches on some of these ideas in his recent articles, “Apple Commits Energy Accounting Fraud” and “Jimmy Fallon Makes the World’s Best Argument Against Solar and Wind Energy.” (See Epstein’s Center for Industrial Progress for more details about his work.)

For Epstein’s comprehensive moral case for fossil fuels and, more broadly, for industrial civilization—including whatever new forms of energy industrialists develop in the future—read his book. The Moral Case offers detailed discussions on climate livability, the effects of carbon emissions, the nature of the environmentalist movement, the vital role that fossil fuels play in our lives, and more. And by all means share the book with your active-minded friends.

Your future prosperity—indeed your very life—depends on the freedom of industrialists to produce energy and to transform nature for human benefit.


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