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Should the world stop using fossil fuels—oil, coal, and natural gas? Or should we embrace them as an essential part of modern life? Alex Epstein explores these questions.
The world needs more fossil fuels—more oil, coal, and natural gas. Not less.
Does that sound crazy?
It’s actually not—not if you employ one common-sense principle.
It’s the same principle you use when you decide whether to take a prescription drug.
Carefully weigh the benefits and the negative side effects.
If the benefits of using fossil fuels outweigh the negative side effects, then we should keep using fossil fuels. If the negative side effects outweigh the benefits, then we should stop using fossil fuels as soon as possible.
Which is it?
It turns out that the benefits of fossil fuels far outweigh the negative side effects.
The reason that most so-called experts, including many climate scientists, are against fossil fuels is that they violate this principle. They ignore the benefits of fossil fuels while overstating their negative side effects.
To know the truth about the benefits and side effects of fossil fuels, you need to understand eight essential facts.
Fact One: Cost-effective energy is essential to human flourishing.
This is almost never discussed, but no one can dispute it.
Low-cost, reliable, versatile energy makes modern life possible. There’s a simple reason for this. Energy powers the machines that allow us to be productive and prosperous—from the combine harvesters that allow one farm worker to do the work of 1,000 to the incubators that save the lives of millions of premature babies. Everything depends on energy.
Thanks to the unprecedented availability of cost-effective energy—overwhelmingly fossil fuel energy—the world has never been a better place for human life. Life expectancy has risen sharply. And extreme poverty (those that earn less than $2 per day) has plummeted from 42% in 1980 to less than 10% today.
Fact Two: Billions of people are suffering and dying for lack of energy.
Most of us take cost-effective energy for granted. But much of the world doesn’t have that luxury.
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