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Alex Epstein Argues Fossil Fuels Will Power Our Future

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Jim Mone

The Left’s animus towards energy independence and corresponding human flourishing must be challenged.

This week at Davos, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry, claimed, “There isn't any country on the planet that isn't feeling and living the impacts of the climate crisis.”  


While in Japan, President Joe Biden appeared to relish in high gas prices back home, remarking, “[When] it comes to the 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.”

A new book from philosopher Alex Epstein, however, argues continued use of fossil fuels and its byproducts will positively impact our future.

Epstein’s new book, Fossil Future: Why Global Human Flourishing Requires More Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas--Not Less, masterfully makes the case for continued usage of coal, oil, and natural gas against so-called “renewables.” 

The author articulates to readers the importance of refuting hostile viewpoints concerning fossil fuels. 

First, he explains the “knowledge system” — defined as people or institutions engaged in highly specialized research on fossil fuels — and how the work of researchers in energy and environment is distorted by a select few “designated experts.” So-called experts like Al Gore and Paul Ehrlich, usually self-appointed spokespeople, cherry pick controversial new conclusions of a select few researchers and claim there’s unanimous scientific consensus concluding fossil fuels only harm the planet. 

As the Biden administration pushes net-zero policies, readily available U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data refutes their policy aims.


The harsh reality for radical preservationists is this: Eliminating traditional energy sources makes us poorer and reduces our standard of living. As of September 2020, EIA states “...80% of domestic energy production was from fossil fuels, and 80% of domestic energy consumption originated from fossil fuels.” 

The New York Times bestseller author suggests increased usage will result in society experiencing higher environmental quality and less danger from the climate. 

“Instead of acknowledging the unique cost-effectiveness of fossil fuels today, most designated experts, like the rest of the mainstream knowledge system, deny the reality of alternatives today, claiming that fossil fuels are already being rapidly replaced…,” writes Epstein. “Based on this total misrepresentation of reality, our designated experts glibly assert that fossil fuels can soon be replaced exclusively by “green” or “renewable” energy sources—mostly the intermittent solar and wind that provide only 3 percent of the world’s energy and near 0 percent of certain crucial categories of energy (such as heavy-duty transportation.)”

Epstein notes fossil fuel benefits far outweigh the negative side-effects attributed to them. Oft-dismissed benefits, he writes, include “affordable food, clothing, shelter, and medical care.”

Fossil Fuel Alternatives Boast Severe Limitations

The Fossil Future author further expounds on solar and wind shortcomings— which solely account for three percent of the world’s energy. Why? Fossil fuels, or “naturally concentrated stores of energy,” are more prevalent compared to the former— intermittent sources that are “naturally dilute flows of energy.” Solar and wind, he adds, also drive “large land and material costs” and require costly “long-distance transmission lines.”


When assessing viable oil and gas alternatives, the prolific lecturer points to hydroelectric power and nuclear energy as practical options—the latter of which “designated experts” especially denounce as dangerous.

Nuclear energy, in Alex’s view, especially raw materials for it, are “far more abundant in nature than even fossil fuels” because it has massive scalability potential. And it boasts a reliable base load and isn’t intermittent like solar or wind. 

Talk about an inconvenient truth.

Fossil Fuels Needed for Continued Human Flourishing 

In his book, Epstein challenges readers to advance the “human flourishing framework” and associate it—not the “anti-impact framework” espoused by “designated experts”— with cleaner environmental standards and overall climate safety. 

An unimpacted environment, he says, leads to more disasters —like high-intensity fires raging across the American West. And vice versa.

This framework parallels the debate surrounding conservation stewardship versus preservationist environmentalism. Preservationists intentionally conflate preservation (no use of natural resources) with conservation (wise use of natural resources).The former admonishes human input and calls for nature to take its course compared to the latter, which welcomes positive human impact (including multiple-use management of public lands) on the landscape.

On this token, environmental policies shouldn’t prefer nature over people but safeguard the interests of both. After all, this is the essence of America’s true conservationist ethos.



Alex Epstein’s latest work is thoroughly-researched, heavy on information, and undoubtedly thought-provoking.

Admonishing fossil fuels politically and culturally has resulted in higher fuel costs, energy dependence, and hatred for the comforts afforded to us in the first-world.

Fossil Future is an essential read that can be utilized to effectively counter top-down, unsustainable environmental policies and thinking dominating Washington, D.C., and beyond. 

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