Contrary to rhetoric that we’ve “destroyed the planet,” the world has never been a better place for human beings to live. Life expectancy and income have been skyrocketing, with extreme poverty (<$2/day) plummeting from 42% in 1980 to <10% today.1
A root cause of today’s amazingly livable world is fossil fuel. Low-cost, reliable energy enables us to use machines to be productive and prosperous. And only fossil fuels (80% of energy) provide low-cost, reliable energy for all energy needs on a scale of billions of people.2
Fossil fuels have actually made us far safer from climate by providing low-cost energy for the amazing machines that protect us against storms, protect us against extreme temperatures, and alleviate drought. Climate disaster deaths have decreased *98%* over the last century.3
Fossil fuels’ CO2 emissions have contributed to the warming of the last 170 years, but that warming has been mild and manageable—1° C, mostly in the colder parts of the world. And life on Earth thrived (and was far greener) when CO2 levels were at least 5X higher than today’s.4
Solar and wind can’t come close to replacing fossil fuels. They only provide electricity (20% of energy use)—and they don’t even do that well. Because solar and wind are unreliable, they don’t replace reliable power plants—they add to the cost of reliable power plants.5
Billions of people desperately need low-cost, reliable energy, which for the foreseeable future largely needs to come from fossil fuels. 3 billion people use less electricity than a typical American refrigerator. 1/3 of the world uses wood and dung for heating and cooking.6
The world needs to continue and expand its massive use of fossil fuels, while ensuring we have the freedom necessary for truly cost-effective alternatives to emerge. E.g., we need to decriminalize reliable, non-carbon nuclear energy.
I prove this definitively in Fossil Future.
“Energy Talking Points by Alex Epstein” is my free Substack newsletter designed to give as many people as possible access to concise, powerful, well-referenced talking points on the latest energy, environmental, and climate issues from a pro-human, pro-energy perspective.