Google Employees Hear Moral Case for Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuel fan Alex Epstein recently gave a presentation as part of the Talks at Google series—a kind of in-house TED event for the company’s famously erudite staff—and no doubt set some heads spinning with his passionate defense of oil and gas as 21st Century energy sources.

Alex, the president of the Center for Industrial Progress, came to the attention of many people in the world of energy and environment policy with the publication of his 2014 book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels. In it he documents the breathtaking advantages and welfare advances that affordable fossil energy has brought to the world and what’s at stake in the global effort to address climate change by limiting access to it.  As he puts it:

Fossil fuels are easy to misunderstand and demonize, but they are absolutely good to use. And they absolutely need to be championed. . . . Mankind’s use of fossil fuels is supremely virtuous—because human life is the standard of value and because using fossil fuels transforms our environment to make it wonderful for human life.

In a world where even oil companies now specialize in apologizing for the existence of fossil fuels, Alex’s straightforward defense of the modern hydrocarbon economy is refreshing and badly needed.

CEI’s energy experts have been happy to reference and promote Alex’s work in recent years, and The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels is listed as a resource, along with material from climate experts like Craig Idso, Pat Michaels, and Indur Goklany, in the Energy and Environment chapter of our December 2016 publication Free to Prosper: A Pro-Growth Agenda for the 115th Congress:

The social benefits of carbon energy are substantial. For example, as climate economist Indur Goklany explains, capabilities supported by carbon energy—including mechanized agriculture, fertilizers, refrigeration, plastic packaging, and motorized transport of food from farms to population centers and from surplus to deficit regions—are among the chief reasons that deaths and death rates from drought have declined by 99.8 percent and 99.9 percent, respectively, since the 1920s. A meal that sustains a human life has a social value far exceeding the market price of the food.

You can browse Alex’s columns for Forbes, including “First the Government Went after ExxonMobil — Now They’re Going after Me,” here.