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A Moral Defense of Fossil Fuels

By Ilya Batikov

In the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, author Alex Epstein makes a compelling argument for fossil fuels. Epstein argues that fossil fuels were "used to create the technological and economic advances that took us from no indoor plumbing to landing on the moon in less than 200 years":

The trend is striking: Increased fossil fuel use correlates with every positive metric of human well-being — from life expectancy to income to nourishment to clean water access to safety.

The last few decades demonstrate this trend most clearly. Fossil fuel usage has been steadily growing across the world. Developing countries like China and India have driven that growth. They lifted billions of people out of poverty — an unprecedented feat in human history.

Fossil fuels also have helped improve access to clean water. According to World Bank data, access to clean water increased from 76 percent of world population in 1990 to 89 percent in 2012. Technological advances in pollution reduction were actually enabled by cheap, fossil fuel-generated energy.

Put another way, fossil fuels powered the innovation that ultimately limits their own environmental drawbacks.

We're also safer than at any point in history. Climate-related deaths are down 98 percent over the last 80 years. Thank sturdy homes, heating, air-conditioning, mass irrigation, drought-relief convoys and advance warning systems — all made possible by fossil fuel-generated energy.

All human progress depends on innovation, which depends on energy. Affordable and abundant energy is thus the cornerstone of human progress. And fossil fuels are the most affordable and abundant — alternative energy sources are either too expensive, too difficult to access or simply inefficient.

Read the full post here.

Tags: and, Oil, Gas, Oil and Gas, Energy

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