“A High-Test Success”: Media Coverage of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels

Alex Epstein’s The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels is already impacting the energy debate, and the media coverage it’s earned points to this. In December we gave you an archive of Alex’s writing around the time of the book release. Now here’s an overview of some of the many articles published that point to his work as influence.

Spreading The Moral Case

References were already popping up the week of release, when an article about the fight for Utah’s coal industry cited Alex’s role as keynote speaker at an event in October, and a few days later The Cato Institute listed the book on its “You Ought To Have a Look” page to say they “can’t say enough good things” about it. But most of the November coverage was in the form of reviews, or interviews of Alex himself (which we’ll document soon). It was over the following two months that the wider influence became really apparent.

Outlets small and large started publishing editorials citing the book. Early in December, John Stossel wrote on foxnews.com that “fossil fuels have made our lives better”, and referred to Moral Case’s documentation of “the rapidly shrinking number of human beings killed by storms, floods and other climate events thanks largely to ever-growing industry, fueled mainly by oil, natural gas and coal.” Michigan’s The Morning Sun published a column titled “The Moral Triumph of Fossil Fuels”, which quotes the book repeatedly to argue how fossil fuels “amplify our ability to make the world a better place for human beings”. And The Barnett Shale Energy Education Council promoted the book as means to defend the industry, citing its case that “fossil fuels have made the world a better and safer place.”

Later in the month, Investor’s Business Daily wrote “The Truth About Carbon Dioxide”, citing how Alex pointed out that “as CO2 emissions have most rapidly escalated, the annual rate of climate-related deaths worldwide fell by an incredible 98%.” And last week, The Heartland Institute cited The Moral Case in arguing that Pope Francis is mistaken to make “fighting global warming” a cause of his, explaining that “rather than taking a safe climate and making it dangerous through the use of fossil fuels, we have been transforming a dangerous climate into a safer, more manageable one.”  National Post, one of Canada’s two most widely-circulated national papers, found the arguments made in Alex’s book so convincing they decided it would be most effective to just directly print three excerpts. These appeared in the days before Christmas and quote Chapter One, Chapter Four (on “climate change”), and Chapter Eight (on “sustainability”).

Still Spreading The Moral Case

climateSigns of influence only continued to build up in January, when Breitbart referenced Alex’s arguments in an article on climate, as did the Heartland Institute in its article “The Carbon Diet Fallacy” and the National Post in a column titled “Don’t trust the global warming doomsters and their moral outrage”. CEI and Fox News energy writer Marlo Lewis also cited the book in compiling his list of arguments for Keystone XL.

As impressive as the prominence of the book’s influence is the depth and variety. It shows up everywhere from national media outlets to industry communications to bloggers to educators to vocal citizens. Colorado resident Bradley Beck appeared at a public meeting for input on local energy policy, and had a guest column on his experience published, in which he mentioned that “many of the fallacies” he heard from other citizens “were similar to those explained by Alex Epstein in his new book.” Others have had letters to the editor published, like New Englander Tom Rolfes, who recommended Alex’s book in a letter about the positive impact fossil fuels have had on climate. University of Calgary’s Dr. Jaana Woiceshyn wrote on her blog profitableandmoral.com about the importance of the book and the fact it makes its case morally.

Even More Praise

epstein-rallyWe told you about the reviews for The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein, and then updated you on them again, and now even more have appeared. University of Toronto professor and Power Hour guest Pierre Desrochers reviewed the book in December, and said that it “debunks most of the nonsense that has now become the common wisdom” on energy issues. Last week, Barron’s reviewed it, calling the book’s case for “plentiful, reliable, affordable energy” one that’s “well-researched, well-argued, and highly readable”.

In January, Jay Lehr of the Heartland Institute said the book “makes one of the most compelling arguments for the moral value of fossil fuels and the need to increase their use that we have ever read” and reason.com called it an “intriguing book” that “strongly makes the case” for energy abundance. Andrew Evans of the Washington Free Beacon has since written that it “makes a compelling case for the good that fossil fuels have brought to our world” that “deserves a wide hearing.”

Equally important to the praise for the book itself is that for the impact it’s having. The Objective Standard documented this in a December article titled “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels: A High-Test Success”, calling the book “extraordinarily successful” and explaining that is has “not only changed the debate on fossil fuels” but also “set a high bar for intellectual activism and provided a great example for intellectuals who want to promote policies consonant with reason and human life.” That’s why it made Wall Street Journal’s business bestsellers list, and has since made The New York Times list of best selling science books. It also got Alex Epstein’s named “most original thinker of the year” by the public affairs talk show The McLaughlin Group. And this is all not to mention Alex’s own appearances and interviews, which we’ll document for you soon.

It’s exciting that The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels is having such an impact on the energy debate, because the arguments are ones that the energy debate badly needs to be impacted by.

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