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Commentary: Snappy Answers to Energy Questions – Alex Epstein


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These translations are done via Google Translate

This election season candidates are getting lots of energy-related questions. Here are pro-freedom, pro-human answers to some of the most popular ones.

By Alex Epstein

  • What’s your policy on energy, environment, and climate?I believe in energy freedom: the freedom to use all forms of energy, with laws against emissions and practices that are significantly harmful and reasonably preventable.
  • 5 key energy freedom policies are:
    1. Liberate responsible development 2. End preferences for unreliable electricity 3. Reform air and water emissions standards to incorporate cost-benefit analysis 4. Reduce long-term CO2 emissions via liberating innovation 5. Decriminalize nuclear¹
  • Do you believe in climate change?I believe in climate change, not climate catastrophe.The world has warmed ~1° C in the last 170 years. Humans have some influence. But because we are so good at mastering climate, climate disaster deaths fell 98% over the last century.²
  • Are you a “climate denier”?I’m a climate thinker.I recognize that climate is ever-changing, that humans have some influence, and that humans with plentiful energy can master virtually any climate. That’s why, as CO2 levels have gone up, climate disaster deaths have plummeted.
  • What’s your plan to deal with CO2 emissions?My plan is:1. Recognize that CO2 emissions reduction can only be achieved humanely and practically a) long-term and b) through developing globally cost-competitive alternatives.2. Liberate nuclear and other promising alternatives.
  • Why did gasoline prices get so high this year?While multiple factors, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, played a role, the fundamental cause is US and international anti-oil policies that prevent supply from rapidly increasing to meet demand.³
  • Why don’t oil and gas companies drill more despite record profits?Oil and gas would like to profit much more from currently high prices but it is difficult to increase drilling short-term under the present regulatory regime and investors are scared about more government punishment.⁴
  • Why is Europe in a far worse energy crisis than we are?Europe has taken anti-fossil-fuel policies further. For example, while we have allowed fracking to produce abundant energy Europe has largely banned it.With the “Inflation Reduction Act” we are getting closer to Europe.⁵
  • Do you believe in “all of the above?”No, I believe in “always the best.”We should always use the best form of energy for the job. E.g., we don’t use animal dung for energy in the US, even though it’s “one of the above.”
  • The best source of energy in any situation is what business and consumers choose as best on a free market with reasonable anti-pollution laws.If something can’t compete on these terms then we shouldn’t use it—whether it’s animal dung, solar, or wind.
  • What’s your position on solar and wind?Solar and wind should be required to compete on a real market. In the context of electricity that means generators using solar and wind should be held to the same reliability standards as everyone else. Currently they’re not—which is disastrous.⁶

snappy answers to energy questions alex eptein

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References

2 For every million people on earth, annual deaths from climate-related causes (extreme temperature, drought, flood, storms, wildfires) declined 98%–from an average of 247 per year during the 1920s to 2.5 in per year during the 2010s.

Data on disaster deaths come from EM-DAT, CRED / UCLouvain, Brussels, Belgium – www.emdat.be (D. Guha-Sapir). Population estimates for the 1920s from the Maddison Database 2010 come from the Groningen Growth and Development Centre, Faculty of Economics and Business at University of Groningen. For years not shown, the population is assumed to have grown at a steady rate.

Population estimates for the 2010s come from World Bank Data.



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