Could everything we know about fossil fuels be wrong? For decades, environmentalists have told us that using fossil fuels is a self-destructive addiction that will destroy our planet. Yet at the same time, by every measure of human well-being, from life expectancy to clean water to climate safety, life has been getting better and better. How can this be? The explanation, energy expert Alex Epstein argues in The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, is that we usually hear only one side of the story. We’re taught to think only of the negatives of fossil fuels, their risks and side effects, but not their positives—their unique ability to provide cheap, reliable energy for a world of seven billion people. And the moral significance of cheap, reliable energy, Epstein argues, is woefully underrated. Energy is our ability to improve every single aspect of life, whether economic or environmental. If we look at the big picture of fossil fuels compared with the alternatives, the overall impact of using fossil fuels is to make the world a far better place. We are morally obligated to use more fossil fuels for the sake of our economy and our environment. Drawing on original insights and cutting-edge research, Epstein argues that most of what we hear about fossil fuels is a myth. For instance . . . Myth: Fossil fuels are dirty. Truth: The environmental benefits of using fossil fuels far outweigh the risks. Fossil fuels don’t take a naturally clean environment and make it dirty; they take a naturally dirty environment and make it clean. They don’t take a naturally safe climate and make it dangerous; they take a naturally dangerous climate and make it ever safer. Myth: Fossil fuels are unsustainable, so we should strive to use “renewable” solar and wind. Truth: The sun and wind are intermittent, unreliable fuels that always need backup from a reliable source of energy—usually fossil fuels. There are huge amounts of fossil fuels left, and we have plenty of time to find something cheaper. Myth: Fossil fuels are hurting the developing world. Truth: Fossil fuels are the key to improving the quality of life for billions of people in the developing world. If we withhold them, access to clean water plummets, critical medical machines like incubators become impossible to operate, and life expectancy drops significantly. Calls to “get off fossil fuels” are calls to degrade the lives of innocent people who merely want the same opportunities we enjoy in the West. Taking everything into account, including the facts about climate change, Epstein argues that “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.”
A defense of the fossil-fuel industry argues that it can help the planet through developments that promote safety and quality while adapting energy sources that are affordable, plentiful, and reliable on a global scale.
Author: Stephen Moore, Kathleen Hartnett White
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Fossil fuel energy is the lifeblood of the modern world. Before the Industrial Revolution, humanity depended on burning wood and candle wax. But with the ability to harness the energy in oil and other fossil fuels, quality of life and capacity for progress increased exponentially. Thanks to incredible innovations in the energy industry, fossil fuels are as promising, safe, and clean an energy resource as has ever existed in history. Yet, highly politicized climate policies are pushing a grand-scale shift to unreliable, impractical, incredibly expensive, and far less efficient energy sources. Today, "fossil fuel" has become such a dirty word that even fossil fuel companies feel compelled to apologize for their products. In Fueling Freedom, energy experts Stephen Moore and Kathleen Hartnett White make an unapologetic case for fossil fuels, turning around progressives' protestations to prove that if fossil fuel energy is supplanted by "green" alternatives for political reasons, humanity will take a giant step backwards and the planet will be less safe, less clean, and less free.
The basic question underlying our energy policy debates is this: Should we be free to generate more and more energy using fossil fuels? Or should we restrict and progressively outlaw fossil fuels as "dirty energy"? I believe that if we look at the big picture, the facts are clear. If we want a healthy, livable environment, then we must be free to use fossil fuels. Why? Because for the foreseeable future, fossil fuels provide the key to a great environment: abundant, affordable, reliable energy.
Author: Robert Bryce
The promise of "green jobs" and a "clean energy future" has roused the masses. But as Robert Bryce makes clear in this provocative book, that vision needs a major re-vision. We cannot--and will not--quit using carbon-based fuels at any time in the near future for a simple reason: they provide the horsepower that we crave. The hard reality is that oil, coal, and natural gas are here to stay. Fueling our society requires that we make good decisions and smart investments based on facts. In Power Hungry, Bryce crushes a phalanx of energy myths, showing why renewables are not green, carbon capture and sequestration won't work, and even--surprise!--that the U.S. is leading the world in energy efficiency. Power Hungry delivers a clear-eyed view of what's needed to transform the gargantuan global energy sector.
In the face of today's environmental and economic challenges, doomsayers preach that the only way to stave off disaster is for humans to reverse course: to de-industrialize, re-localize, ban the use of modern energy sources, and forswear prosperity. But in this provocative and optimistic rebuke to the catastrophists, Robert Bryce shows how innovation and the inexorable human desire to make things Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper is providing consumers with Cheaper and more abundant energy, Faster computing, Lighter vehicles, and myriad other goods. That same desire is fostering unprecedented prosperity, greater liberty, and yes, better environmental protection. Utilizing on-the-ground reporting from Ottawa to Panama City and Pittsburgh to Bakersfield, Bryce shows how we have, for centuries, been pushing for Smaller Faster solutions to our problems. From the vacuum tube, mass-produced fertilizer, and the printing press to mobile phones, nanotech, and advanced drill rigs, Bryce demonstrates how cutting-edge companies and breakthrough technologies have created a world in which people are living longer, freer, healthier, lives than at any time in human history. The push toward Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper is happening across multiple sectors. Bryce profiles innovative individuals and companies, from long-established ones like Ford and Intel to upstarts like Aquion Energy and Khan Academy. And he zeroes in on the energy industry, proving that the future belongs to the high power density sources that can provide the enormous quantities of energy the world demands. The tools we need to save the planet aren't to be found in the technologies or lifestyles of the past. Nor must we sacrifice prosperity and human progress to ensure our survival. The catastrophists have been wrong since the days of Thomas Malthus. This is the time to embrace the innovators and businesses all over the world who are making things Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper.
Most people in the world today think democracy and gender equality are good, and that violence and wealth inequality are bad. But most people who lived during the 10,000 years before the nineteenth century thought just the opposite. Drawing on archaeology, anthropology, biology, and history, Ian Morris explains why. Fundamental long-term changes in values, Morris argues, are driven by the most basic force of all: energy. Humans have found three main ways to get the energy they need—from foraging, farming, and fossil fuels. Each energy source sets strict limits on what kinds of societies can succeed, and each kind of society rewards specific values. But if our fossil-fuel world favors democratic, open societies, the ongoing revolution in energy capture means that our most cherished values are very likely to turn out not to be useful any more. Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels offers a compelling new argument about the evolution of human values, one that has far-reaching implications for how we understand the past—and for what might happen next. Originating as the Tanner Lectures delivered at Princeton University, the book includes challenging responses by classicist Richard Seaford, historian of China Jonathan Spence, philosopher Christine Korsgaard, and novelist Margaret Atwood.
The future is not what it used to be because we can no longer rely on the comforting assumption that it will resemble the past. Past abundance of fuel, for example, does not imply unending abundance. Infinite growth on a finite planet is not possible. In this book, Jörg Friedrichs argues that industrial society itself is transitory, and he examines the prospects for our civilization's coming to terms with its two most imminent choke points: climate change and energy scarcity. He offers a thorough and accessible account of these two challenges as well as the linkages between them.Friedrichs contends that industrial civilization cannot outlast our ability to burn fossil fuels and that the demise of industrial society would entail cataclysmic change, including population decreases. To understand the social and political implications, he examines historical cases of climate stress and energy scarcity: devastating droughts in the ancient Near East; the Little Ice Age in the medieval Far North; the Japanese struggle to prevent "fuel starvation" from 1918 to 1945; the "totalitarian retrenchment" of the North Korean governing class after the end of Soviet oil deliveries; and Cuba's socioeconomic adaptation to fuel scarcity in the 1990s. He draws important lessons about the likely effects of climate and energy disruptions on different kinds of societies.The warnings of climate scientists are met by denial and inaction, while energy experts offer little guidance on the effects of future scarcity. Friedrichs suggests that to confront our predicament we must affirm our core values and take action to transform our way of life. Whether we are private citizens or public officials, complacency is not an option: climate change and energy scarcity are emerging facts of life.
Ending the Fossil Fuel Era
Author: Thomas Princen, Jack P. Manno, Pamela L. Martin
Publisher: MIT Press
A provocative call for delegitimizing fossil fuels rather than accommodating them, accompanied by case studies from Ecuador to Appalachia and from Germany to Norway.
Author: Steve Almond
Publisher: Melville House Pub
Argues that not only is American football hazardous to players' health, and especially to their brains, but also that American support of the sport encourages violence, prejudices, and other ethically troubling behavior.
Author: Walter E. Block, Peter L. Nelson
Publisher: Lexington Books
Water covers some 75% of the earth’s surface, while land covers 25%, approximately. Yet the former accounts for less than 1% of world GDP, the latter 99% plus. Part of the reason for this imbalance is that there are more people located on land than water. But a more important explanation is that while land is privately owned, water is unowned (with the exception of a few small lakes and ponds), or governmentally owned (rivers, large lakes). This gives rise to the tragedy of the commons: when something is unowned, people have less of an incentive to care for it, preserve it, and protect it, than when they own it. As a result we have oil spills, depletion of fish stocks, threatened extinction of some species (e.g. whales), shark attacks, polluted and dried-up rivers, misallocated water, unsafe boating, piracy, and other indices of economic disarray which, if they had occurred on the land, would have been more easily identified as the result of the tragedy of the commons and/or government ownership and mismanagement. The purpose of this book is to make the case for privatization of all bodies of water, without exception. In the tragic example of the Soviet Union, the 97% of the land owned by the state accounted for 75% of the crops. On the 3% of the land privately owned, 25% of the crops were grown. The obvious mandate requires that we privatize the land, and prosper. The present volume applies this lesson, in detail, to bodies of water.
In Pursuit of Wealth
Author: Yaron Brook, Don Watkins
In this new book, In Pursuit of Wealth: The Moral Case for Finance, Yaron Brook and Don Watkins dispel the prevailing negative myths about finance and clearly lay out the industry's virtues within a moral framework. This ambitious book shows readers how we can reframe societal mores and end the vilification of financiers.
Lunar Savings Time
Author: Alex Epstein
Publisher: Interlink Books
?The stories in Lunar Savings Time slip through time and between dreams and waking, between native tongue and elusive translation, long-dead writers and just-opened books. Alex Epstein has created a masterwork in the finest strokesstories in which humor, stubborn memory, and strange beauty meet and part ways in less than a page. Through these pages journey a woman who travels back in time to visit a psychoanalyst; Kafka, had he lived and emigrated to Israel after the Holocaust; the wandering Cain; Zen masters, beggars, writers, ghosts. In Epsteins lyrical philosophy, every imaginative proposition must answer to the burden of history. He can be placed next to Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Kafka, Borges, Haaretz has said of Epstein; Lunar Savings Time is his most radical collection yet, a wondrous achievement.
Author: Dieter Helm
Publisher: Yale University Press
Introduction -- The end of the commodity super-cycle -- Binding carbon constraints -- An electric future -- The US: the lucky country -- The Middle East: more trouble to come -- Russia: blighted by the resource curse -- China: the end of the transition -- Europe: not as bad as it seems -- The gradual end of big oil -- Energy utilities: a broken model -- The new energy markets and the economics of the Internet -- Conclusion
Equal Is Unfair
Author: Don Watkins, Yaron Brook
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
We’ve all heard that the American Dream is vanishing, and that the cause is rising income inequality. The rich are getting richer by rigging the system in their favor, leaving the rest of us to struggle just to keep our heads above water. To save the American Dream, we’re told that we need to fight inequality through tax hikes, wealth redistribution schemes, and a far higher minimum wage. But what if that narrative is wrong? What if the real threat to the American Dream isn’t rising income inequality—but an all-out war on success? In Equal is Unfair, a timely and thought-provoking work, Don Watkins and Yaron Brook reveal that almost everything we’ve been taught about inequality is wrong. You’ll discover: • why successful CEOs make so much money—and deserve to • how the minimum wage hurts the very people it claims to help • why middle-class stagnation is a myth • how the little-known history of Sweden reveals the dangers of forced equality • the disturbing philosophy behind Obama’s economic agenda. The critics of inequality are right about one thing: the American Dream is under attack. But instead of fighting to make America a place where anyone can achieve success, they are fighting to tear down those who already have. The real key to making America a freer, fairer, more prosperous nation is to protect and celebrate the pursuit of success—not pull down the high fliers in the name of equality.