Alex Epstein 5-Minute Videos Feb 27, 2023 – Prager U
My cmnt: Epstein gives really sound and reasonable and important reasons we need to keep using fossil fuels if we and the rest of the world are to survive and thrive. What he s/h added were the reasons that a slight warming of the earth along with an increase in atmospheric C02 are actually good for man, animals, plants and the earth. It is an even modest decrease in either temperature, C02 or both that would be cause for alarm. Either of these could spell mass starvation on a scale the world has seldom seen.
The world faces a serious crisis, one that will ruin whole economies and lead to needless suffering and death.
The crisis is related to climate change, but not in the way you’re probably thinking.
It’s the global energy crisis—a man-made crisis created by climate change policies.
These policies have led to a shortage of fossil fuels—oil, coal, and natural gas, the fuels that provide over 80% of the world’s energy.
A shortage of anything leads to higher prices. That’s just basic economics.
Fossil fuel shortages have led to higher energy prices. And because the energy industry powers every other industry, this has led to higher prices of almost everything, everywhere.
We are already seeing the consequences.
Inflation spares no one, but those who live paycheck-to-paycheck suffer the most. Every purchase becomes a major decision. Inflation in the US in 2022 was around eight percent, in the UK, ten percent, and in many developing countries, much higher. The leading driver of this inflation has been the cost of energy.
Contrary to popular belief, far more people die from cold than heat. Saving lives from the danger of cold requires low-cost, reliable energy. Without it, people on the margins can’t adequately heat their homes during the harsh winter months. Even in wealthy Europe, literally thousands will die for lack of energy.
Widespread job losses
When energy prices increase dramatically, industries scale back or shut down altogether.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, “Europe’s energy crisis has left few businesses untouched… Some industries, such as the energy-intensive metals sector, are shutting factories that analysts and executives say might never reopen, imperiling thousands of jobs.”
Modern agriculture depends on fossil fuels: natural gas is a prime component of fertilizer and farming equipment is largely powered by diesel fuel. When natural gas and oil prices go up, food becomes more expensive around the world.
According to the President of the World Farmers’ Organization: “Prices are…78 percent higher than… in 2021…In many regions [in the developing world] farmers simply can’t afford… fertilizers… or even if they could, the fertilizers are not available to them.”
Not enough fertilizer means not enough food.
While the whole world suffers from an energy crisis, the worst affected are poor nations that are getting outbid for scarce energy supplies. Bangladesh has recently experienced widespread power outages. They simply can’t get the energy they need. A desperate Europe is grabbing all it can, leaving this east Asian nation literally in the dark.
This will lead to…
We saw this in Sri Lanka in 2022. Violent riots wracked the country following massive crop failures. A leading reason for the crop failures: a lack of fertilizer due to anti-natural gas, anti-fertilizer policies.
The root cause of all these problems and the very real suffering that results is the same.
Not enough fossil fuel.
But there is no need for shortages of fossil fuel.
We have all the fossil fuels we need and then some. We are literally standing on it.
We just can’t get to it.
We can’t get to it because governments have decided we shouldn’t use fossil fuels.
They say we’re in a climate crisis.
But while climate change—humans impacting climate—is a real thing, “climate crisis” is not.
The world is slowly becoming warmer—at a cold point in geological history when many more people die of cold than of heat. This doesn’t at all justify rapidly restricting global fossil fuel use.
Fossil fuels actually make us far safer from the climate by providing low-cost energy for the amazing machines that protect us against storms, protect us against extreme temperatures, and alleviate drought. Climate disaster deaths have decreased 98% over the last century.
The only rational approach to reducing fossil fuels’ climate impacts is a long-term one based on developing truly competitive, reliable forms of energy—most promisingly, nuclear energy.
Unfortunately, instead of taking this rational approach, governments declared a “climate crisis” and started immediately restricting fossil fuels—with no viable replacement.
They pretended that solar and wind could somehow replace fossil fuels. But since these fuels are inherently unreliable—they can go to near-zero at any given time—there was never any reason to believe this.
Now we’re suffering the consequences of their folly.
Instead of rapidly expanding our fossil fuel production, we’re begging Saudi Arabia and Venezuela to expand theirs. Europe, which once enjoyed energy security, is now dependent on Russia for the natural gas it needs to heat its homes and power its industry.
And, outrageously, instead of apologizing for the disastrous anti-fossil-fuel policies that caused today’s energy crisis, our so-called experts are confidently doubling down, advocating for even more aggressive elimination of fossil fuel production.
Every nation will suffer from the global energy crisis, but those with the least will suffer the most.
Many will die, sacrificed on the altar of a climate crisis that doesn’t exist.
How long will we let this injustice continue?
I’m Alex Epstein, author of Fossil Future, for Prager University.