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The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels

What if using fossil fuels is healthy and moral after all?

By Alex Epstein
  • Read in 9 minutes
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  • Contains 5 key ideas
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The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein
Synopsis

In The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, author Alex Epstein explores the benefits of fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil. The book outlines the dramatic and positive effects using such fuels has had on society and examines the many myths associated with fossil fuels. Importantly, using fossil fuels is a moral decision in that their benefits to humanity outweigh any of today’s environmental concerns.

Key idea 1 of 5

Fossil fuels have been crucial to human life, helping to curb hunger by advancing agriculture.

Everyday you hear that fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil are bad for the environment.

So how could you support the contrarian opinion, that fossil fuels are actually good?

As a society, we owe much credit for our current prosperity to fossil fuels, as the use of these fuels have brought tremendous benefits.

Fossil fuels have had a hand in combatting global malnutrition, for example, the use of which basically revolutionized modern agriculture.

Methane-based fertilizers and electric irrigation systems that run on coal have allowed farmers to grow much more food. Oil-powered mechanization has increased the amount of farmland that can be cultivated per worker, and oil-powered transportation systems have allowed us to deliver food to more people.

You also might not realize just how ubiquitous fossil fuels are. There are at least 50 things in the room you’re in that are made from oil. The insulation in your walls; the carpet under your feet; the computer screen you’re looking at; and even the chair you’re sitting on, were all made with oil.

Fossil fuels are also the only resource that gives us cheap, plentiful and reliable energy. For a product to be inexpensive for a customer, every part of its production process needs to be inexpensive, too.

While it is difficult to locate and extract fossil fuels, the total process – from finding a source to refining the raw product – is actually cheap compared to other “green” energy resources.

Energy from the sun or wind is limitless, but the process and materials required to utilize solar or wind power are not only complicated but also expensive. Such energy sources are also unreliable, as we can’t control when the skies will be clear or when the winds will blow.

All in all, fossil fuels are immensely beneficial to human life. They’re good for us and support our society, so the benefits we gain from them should outweigh any other concerns.

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