“For many decades the human species has been at war with the planet,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres declared at the start of the Madrid climate conference last week. “And the planet is fighting back.”
Alex Epstein, the youthful pro-fossil-fuel campaigner and author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, disagrees. What Guterres sees as humanity’s war on nature, Epstein regards as our successful effort to protect ourselves from raw, brutal nature—from famine, disease, natural disasters, and shortened lifespans, an effort that has, in the modern age, provided human beings with a hitherto undreamt-of quality of life. And it is energy—overwhelmingly from coal, oil, and natural gas, powering our machines and technologies—that has given rise to this unprecedented human flourishing…
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