(CNS News) – Best-selling author and energy expert Alex Epstein argued fossil fuels’ benefits so outweigh their drawbacks for the environment and everyday life that eliminating them would “disempower the world,” during a webinar hosted by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) on June 2.
Carbon dioxide “has a warming influence. It also has a greening influence,” Epstein told Richard Morrison, CEI senior fellow for the Center for Advancing Capitalism. “But it also comes with all this energy. Well, so far we’ve had the best world ever, including we’re safer from climate than ever.”
Epstein discussed his latest book, Fossil Future: Why Global Human Flourishing Requires More Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas, to outline why fossil fuels are reliable and, contrary to mainstream opinions, should not be replaced with solar and wind energy.
His 2014 book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, was a News York Times best seller.
“Everyone who’s claiming catastrophe [with fossil fuels does] not want to understand climate mastery, [which is] the ability to, in particular, neutralize climate dangers using technology, particularly fossil-fueled machines,” he said.
“Over the past 100 years, we have good data,” said Epstein. “We have got just an incredible decline in climate-related disaster deaths, 98%, in the last century. And it’s continued to decline over the past few decades.”
Epstein, who studied energy for three years prior to his first book, calls the net-zero emissions movement an “existential threat” that has “mainstreamed in corporate America, saying we should get off fossil fuels totally more or less in the next 27-and-a half years.”
From combine harvesters to incubators, he highlighted the need for fossil fuels to keep people alive in a modern industrial world.
“Our whole productive ability is dependent on machines, and machines depend on energy,” Epstein explained. “[If you understand this], then you say, ‘Wow, if you raise the price of [fossil fuels] it’s going to make everything more expensive, and if you lower it, it’s going to make everything less expensive, which really means human beings can basically have more time on Earth and more control over that time.”
Over 3 billion people in the world lack access to clean cooking fuels such as modern electricity, according to Our World in Data in 2016.
Epstein attributed the West’s livability to its fossil fuel use, claiming the world would “become more empowered” if more people relied on the same energy.
“The fact is the world is basically unlivable [naturally] by our standards, and still is for billions of people when you’re not using fossil fuels,” he said. “In terms of [a] life expectancy of 30…income of almost nothing, I don’t consider a livable world.”
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute reports that fossil fuels currently supply 80% of the world’s energy, while renewable energy sources such as solar and wind make up 20% of U.S. electricity generation.
While Epstein called the idea of replacing fossil fuel “ludicrous,” the Biden administration and climate change activists disagree.
The House Budget Committee’s Build Back Better Act sets the goal of “achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050” by issuing “incentive grants for carbon reduction projects” and charging “onshore and offshore oil and gas leaseholders.”
During a joint press conference in Tokyo on May 23, President Biden said, “When it comes to the [rise in] gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition that is taking place that, God willing, when it’s over, we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over.”
Epstein, on the other hand, credited the attempts to transition to “unreliable” renewable energy sources for the rise in energy prices.
“[Our politicians] have restricted development around the world,” Epstein said on the June 1 episode of the “Megyn Kelly Show” podcast. “A very simple truth is the cost of energy determines the cost of everything because energy is the industry that powers every other industry.”
He added, “When you make energy more expensive, you make everything more expensive, and that’s what we’re seeing most tragically right now with skyrocketing food prices around the world and threats of starvation.”
One-third of U.S. consumers earning $250,000 or more annually are living paycheck to paycheck, according to the Lending Club Corporation.
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