Fossil Fuels Make Us Safer From The Climate

Another one from Alex Epstein in Forbes:

I explicitly acknowledged the phenomenon of global warming. And if you read the work of the rest of the “deniers,” you’ll find that most if not all of them do, too.

The real point of contention is not whether there is some global warming and whether human beings have some climate impact, but a) whether warming is a problem and b) whether fossil fuel energy should be restricted. My answers are a) “No” and b) “No!” As I explained in the column Rolling Stone cited (but may not have read):

Our cultural discussion on “climate change” fixates on whether or not fossil fuels impact the climate. Of course they do—everything does—but the question that matters is whether it is becoming safer or more dangerous. Here, the data is unambiguous—in the last 80 years, as fossil fuels have increased the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere from .03% to all of .04%, we have become 50 times less likely to die because of climate-related causes. Give thanks to the proliferation of climate-protection technology (climate control, sturdy homes, weather satellites, drought-relief convoys, modern agriculture), which are made possible by fossil fuels.

And, as I also explained in the column, Rolling Stone cited, not only do fossil fuels make us safer from the climate, they dramatically improve human life across the board.

The average life expectancy of a human being without electricity–and there are 1.4 billion in this category–is 48 years old. In the last 30 years, thanks to a tripling or more of electricity production in countries throughout the developing world, mostly using coal, over 2.5 billion people have added 6 years to their life expectancy. Think about someone you love that you lost early, and think about what 6 more years would mean. Now multiply that by 2.5 billion people.

Around the world, hundreds of millions of individuals have gotten their first light-bulb, their first refrigerator, their first year with clean drinking water or a full stomach, their first decent-paying job thanks to coal-based electricity. Without coal, none of that would have been possible. In the US, 30 years ago the average household had 3 electronic devices—today it has 25, overwhelmingly thanks to fossil fuels.

If Rolling Stone has a counter-argument to the economic and environmental case for fossil fuels, let it make it. But to pretend that case doesn’t exist, to pretend that its advocates deny basic scientific facts, is dishonest.

Read the rest of Rolling Stone Attacks Global Warming ‘Deniers’ As Anti-Science, Then Commits Big Scientific Blunder.