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  • Fossil Future

  • Why Global Human Flourishing Requires More Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas—Not Less
  • By: Alex Epstein
  • Narrated by: Alex Epstein
  • Length: 16 hrs and 15 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (68 ratings)

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Fossil Future

By: Alex Epstein
Narrated by: Alex Epstein
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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels draws on the latest data and new insights to challenge everything you thought you knew about the future of energy.

For over a decade, philosopher and energy expert Alex Epstein has predicted that any negative impacts of fossil fuel use on our climate will be outweighed by the unique benefits of fossil fuels to human flourishing—including their unrivaled ability to provide low-cost, reliable energy to billions of people around the world, especially the world’s poorest people.

And contrary to what we hear from media “experts” about today’s “renewable revolution” and “climate emergency”, reality has proven Epstein right:

  • Fact: Fossil fuels are still the dominant source of energy around the world, and growing fast—while much-hyped renewables are causing skyrocketing electricity prices and increased blackouts.
  • Fact: Fossil-fueled development has brought global poverty to an all-time low.
  • Fact: While fossil fuels have contributed to the one degree of warming in the last 170 years, climate-related deaths are at all-time lows, thanks to fossil-fueled development.

What does the future hold? In Fossil Future, Epstein, applying his distinctive “human flourishing framework” to the latest evidence, comes to the shocking conclusion that the benefits of fossil fuels will continue to far outweigh their side effects—including climate impacts—for generations to come. The path to global human flourishing, Epstein argues, is a combination of using more fossil fuels, getting better at “climate mastery”, and establishing “energy freedom” policies that allow nuclear and other truly promising alternatives to reach their full long-term potential.

Today’s pervasive claims of imminent climate catastrophe and imminent renewable energy dominance, Epstein shows, are based on what he calls the “anti-impact framework”—a set of faulty methods, false assumptions, and anti-human values that have caused the media’s designated experts to make wildly wrong predictions about fossil fuels, climate, and renewables for the last 50 years. Deeply researched and wide-ranging, this book will cause you to rethink everything you thought you knew about the future of our energy use, our environment, and our climate.

©2022 Alex Epstein (P)2022 Penguin Audio

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Finally, an action plan that makes sense!

A straightforward, evidence based book that considers all sides of the climate debate, while presenting solutions that simultaneously favour the planet and human flourishing. And for a pleasant change, it’s an uplifting and empowering read that offers us all great hope. If only this book was part of the school curriculum, we could start to turn this mess around.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

not enjoyable listen, but some valid points

This was a hard slog. It was repetitive and longer than required to convey the key points.

On the content itself, I have some reservations with respect to Esptein's biases and the degree to which he pushes his overall theme. That said, I think there are some very worthy points and themes here.

I think he is correct that the vilification of fossil fuels, in mainstream circles, is a consequence of a capturing of the debate by the green movement. Comparisons to the tobacco industry, for example, would not be considered rational by anyone taking an objective view of the benefits conferred by abundant & cheap energy. The notion that the comforts we enjoy and our associated high levels of economic development are somehow unrelated to our fossil fuel past (and present) is simply misguided. This is not an endorsement of Epstein's position that we will need more fossil fuels in the future. However, it follows logically that if our standard of living to this point has been highly dependent on fossil fuels (as it still is), that too rapid a transition away from fossil fuels arguably poses a very significant threat to our civilization.

Epstein is also correct in that much of the green movement (which has set the agenda to a large degree) has set preservation of "nature" ahead of human flourishing. In this sense it is not surprising that the green movement is clinging to the notion that climate change presents an imminent existential threat - it is after all their current great hope in their ultimate objective of "de-growth".

But it is only rational that negatives should be weighed against positives. As such, the negatives of climate change should be weighed against the benefits of abundant & cheap energy. I may not agree with Epstein on where we should draw that line, but I think he is correct that the line cannot be drawn by those that only want to look at one side of the coin (whether the green movement or vested interests of the fossil fuel industry).

I think Epstein is also correct that the notion that "nature" is an ideal state, with deity-like qualities, is a value based position, not one based in reason. We can observe the history of Europe, for instance, and see that economic development frequently meant man was in conflict with nature, but that man re-shaping his environment to make it more livable was not necessarily a negative. For instance, we often bask in the glory of picturesque farmlands and vineyards, but how often do we contemplate that these are landscapes that were formerly likely impenetrable forests? Or how often do we contemplate that eliminating malaria in Europe was to large degree a case of environmental engineering?

This is not to say that we should throw environmental caution to the wind. But Epstein is correct that the "delicate mother earth" notion is largely an ideological position.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I should have read this earlier

Every day I hadn't read this book was a day of lost logic and common sense. This is a great read that presents its case with humility. This should be a must-read in high school curriculums to provide a grounding for sensible conversations on climate issues.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Exceptional balanced coverage of the topic.

Great. Facts on negative and positive aspects of carbon dioxide. Interesting that we usually only hear the negatives which exaggerated to the extreme to support antihuman idiology

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Making sense in a nonsensical world

One of the hardest parts of having ideas, thoughts and beliefs that are at odds with the common narrative, is finding a way to express those ideas, thoughts and beliefs in a way that not only make sense to you, but to those who care to listen.
This book is a great work, that takes information that you probably already know, and points out problems that you can probably already see, and rounds then up onto a coherent narrative that helps you to better understand and therefore articulate a truly progressive and human flourishing perspective around the fossil fuel debate.

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  • Nga
  • 28-08-2022

Excellent book, essential reading.

If the current global energy crisis hasn't alerted you to the fact that solar and wind are incredibly poor substitutes for fossil fuel electricity then i don't know whether you can be helped, regardless, please do yourself a favour and read this book.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Fossil fuels have been great for humanity.

Excellent book. Epstein convincingly tackles the one-sided perspective that dominates the anti fossil fuel orthodoxy. He explains clearly how fossil fuel has been central to human flourishing and progress. These benefits need to be remembered when considering eliminating fossil fuels from use. Removing their use without a equivalent substitute will be harmful and is anti-human.
Open-minded people will enjoy this book.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Unbearably Dreadful Narrator

Sounds like the narrator is dying and I kept thinking if he was going to be able to finish the book.
I’m a fossil fuel endorser knowing the environmental impacts. And this book lost me when it said human activities impact is making everything better. Ignoring the mass extinction of insects due to man made chemicals etc.
The book is also very repetitive, it should really been a 4 hour book..
Some interesting points/proof presented about the current catastrophising culture which I recommend reading

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Outstanding

Loved it. Interesting and thorough. Should be required reading in schools for balance. Thanks, Alex!

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Excellent

Outstanding framework to argue to 100 and slay the anti human delicate nurture negatives catastrophising climate change cult hydra, highly recommend you make the time to listen to it in full then make your own mind up!

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