Nov 23, 2021
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In this episode of Opposing Views, I was joined by Alex Epstein and Dr. Andrew Dessler to discuss climate change.
Alex Epstein is a philosopher, author, and founder of the Center for Industrial Progress. His NYT bestseller The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels argued that human flourishing actually requires the use of fossil fuels.
Dr. Andrew Dessler is a professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M. He wrote The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change: A Guide to the Debate, explaining how science is (mis)used in politics.
Find more Alex Epstein on Twitter @AlexEpstein
Follow Dr. Andrew Dessler on Twitter @AndrewDessler
or find his book Introduction to Modern Climate Change at
[04:25] Intro to Alex Epstein
[05:50] Epstein's views on climate change and the impact of humans
[07:15] “The current benefits of burning fossil fuels outweigh the negative side effects" Alex Epstein
[09:30] Should we be transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy?
[11:20] “The modern anti-fossil fuel movement that says that rising CO2 levels are an existential threat, deliberately excludes nuclear and hydro. Why is that? It's my view that this is philosophical, [that some energies are seen as more natural,] and that's why they favor certain renewables and exclude others" Epstein
[12:00] “There's this idea that human impact is bad and we have to stop it, and that's a philosophical view. I think our goal should be to advance human flourishing" Epstein
[14:41] On the modern environmental movement, "it's all about the morality of eliminating human impact, and not at all about actually being concerned with reliable energy" - Epstein
[15:28] What caused the Texas 2021 power grid failure?
[17:31] “Wind dies down when it's cold most of the time and when it's really hot and that is part of why it's a very bad source of energy" - Epstein
[19:00] Is natural gas subsidised by the government?
[20:29] Climate-related disaster deaths are actually down 98% in the last hundred years. So we are actually safer from climate than ever" - Epstein
[22:40] What is the validity of the claim that rising CO2 levels are going to lead to more human deaths through natural disasters?
[23:02] “We should only trust predictions about the future from people that acknowledge the reality of the present" - Epstein
[26:10] Epstein's views on carbon taxes and who really is producing the most CO2
[28:14] Is Alex an industry plant advocate?
[29:06] What impact that humans have made is worse for us and the planet so far?
[32:51] ”Anybody that thinks nature is their friend hasn't seen horse flies in Canada. They shouldn’t exist—they’re huge and bite chunks out of you" Mikhaila Peterson
[34:37] Wrapping up with Alex Epstein
[41:32] Introducing the second guest - Dr. Andrew Dessler
[42:47] Is climate change real? What are the primary causes?
[43:03] “Climate change is definitely occurring, I think there's very little argument of that at this point" Dessler
[44:00] “Carbon dioxide since pre-industrial (or before 1750) when humans started burning fossil fuels, has gone up [by] 40%, and that’s entirely due to human activity" Dessler
[45:15] What’s the best way to stop or slow climate change?
[46:37] Are green energy sources more expensive for the consumer?
[48:45] “There is no reason to continue a fossil fuel economy except for the power that fossil fuel producers have in our political position" Dessler
[49:20] Is nuclear power viable?
[50:35] What caused the Texas 2021 power grid failures?
[53:15] What about claims that carbon taxes will mostly impact the middle and lower class in America, making them less financially stable?
[57:50] “There are some businesses where the very rich owners are not going to be able to recover from switching off of fossil fuels and those are the people who object" Dessler
[58:00] What % of bad CO2 emissions are coming from America? Are we the bad guys in terms of CO2 produced?
[01:00:15] Is renewable energy easy to store?
[01:05:00] Is climate change responsible for the natural disasters in recent years?
[01:10:06] What happens if we really put all our efforts behind switching to renewable energy now?
[01:11:30] Climate change is no laughing matter
[01:13:48] Which countries are doing the best to combat climate change? - https://skepticalscience.com/
[01:18:45] Using hydrogen fuel cells to store energy
[01:20:05] Most renewable energy source?
[01:21:50] Wrapping up with Dr. Dessler - https://skepticalscience.com/
[01:22:00] The question is not ‘were fossil fuels good’—of course they were. The question is what future do we want to live in?" Dessler
#CO2 #ClimateChange #FossilFuels