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Thread: Fossil Future - Alex Epstein Book

  1. #1

    Fossil Future - Alex Epstein Book

    Just finished reading Alex's new book and I highly recommend it. (his previous work, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, is also a good read, but this one is more clear.)

    https://www.amazon.com/Fossil-Future-Flourishing-Requires-Gas-Not

    My review:

    The central premise of this book is that our "knowledge system" surrounding fossil fuels and its environmental impacts suffers from an "anti-impact" framework instead of a "human flourishing" framework. In general, what he's getting at is that most environmentalists and the general zeitgeist of our time are not really opposed to fossil fuels as much as they are opposed to anything that may impact the environment - positively or negatively. Which means they are really opposed to human development. Because human development necessarily involves making our environment a better place to live. Because of this, he refers to this framework as "anti-human", which I think is a proper way to frame the discussion.

    As a contrast, he lays out a "human flourishing" framework to view the same science based on not only negative side effects of energy sources, but the immense positive benefits of these sources. Low cost energy in the "empowered world" has led to a 98% reduction in climate-related deaths over the last 100 years. Besides that, the time we have saved from fossil-fueled machine power has benefited us in a myriad of scientific advancements that would have otherwise been impossible. Air is cleaner, water is cleaner, less of our time is used in finding food, and our standard of living is higher than kings just a few hundred years ago. Meanwhile, those in the "unempowered world" are still suffering from a lack of low-cost energy. He acknowledges the side-effects of burning fossil fuels and using nuclear energy, but demonstrates that even in those cases, these energy sources provide a great deal of "climate mastery" that allows us to overcome those side-effects for the benefit of human flourishing.

    The book can be a little repetitive (he's an Ayn Rand devotee and it shows in his writing style) but the message of the book is completely compelling. I have used this "reframing" in discussions and have seen the lightbulb go off. People are literally like, "yeah, right? Why do we only focus on the side-effects??". I highly recommend all RPF readers to pick this one up! It will help you in your discussions!

    Forbes review: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tilakdoshi/2022/03/31/human-flourishing-or-living-naturally-alex-epsteins-case-for-using-more-oil-coal-and-natural-gas/

    Short interview:
    "And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works." - Bastiat

    "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." - Voltaire



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  3. #2
    Its next on my list. After I finish Unsettled by Steven Koonin.

  4. #3
    Mike Rowe Interview:

    "And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works." - Bastiat

    "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." - Voltaire

  5. #4
    Deeper dive:

    "And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works." - Bastiat

    "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." - Voltaire



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