Reactions to my debate with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

In this issue:

  • Reactions to my debate with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
  • Power Hour: Fact-checking Epstein vs. RFK, Jr.
  • New Article: “Energy Means Food and Time”
  • The Human Flourishing Project: The wisdom of Flow (part 3)

Reactions to my debate with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.


Thank you to everyone who congratulated me on my debate with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (If you missed it, you can watch the whole thing here.) Some of you might be wondering how non-supporters reacted to the debate. 

Here is one indication. The debate was covered by The Daily Camera and CPR News. Here’s how the CPR News article starts:

If you think you’ve heard every argument about climate change, you weren’t at a debate at CU Boulder on Monday. 

It pitted Alex Epstein, a leading conservative voice on climate change and the author of The Moral Case For Fossil Fuels, against Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmentalist likely best known as a leader in the anti-vaccine movement.

The question before them: “Should the world radically restrict fossil fuels to prevent climate change?” 

Epstein’s answers revealed how some on the right have shifted tactics on climate change. Rather than focusing on science, he emphasized all the good fossil fuels have done for humanity — and what society may have to give up to move to alternatives. 

The article goes on to share this great anecdote:

Cory Katuna, a 28-year-old CU alumna who attended the event, was glad she got the chance to hear out Epstein. While she said she didn’t agree with all of his points, he did manage to break her out of what she called a “liberal bubble.”

“I do hear a lot of the same stuff from the left and I’m starting to get skeptical,” she said. 

In Epstein, she saw someone who hadn’t bought into the dogma and offered an optimistic picture of humanity. It reminded her of Ben Shapiro or Jordan Peterson, two right-wing intellectuals she follows online. 

At the very least, she said she’d make a point to check out Epstein’s podcast.

That’s exactly the reaction I’m hoping for when I debate thought leaders like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. or Bill McKibben: not to fully convince anyone (especially not my opponents) but to reach a new audience and show them that there’s a more clarifying way to think about our energy choices. 

Power Hour: Fact-checking Epstein vs. RFK, Jr.

On this week’s Power Hour, Don, Steffen, and I break down my debate with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and address some of Kennedy’s distorted claims that I didn’t have time to cover.

Topics include:

  • The myth that Kennedy supports a free market in energy
  • Why “levelized cost of energy” calculations don’t prove that wind and solar are affordable
  • The truth about climate-related deaths and climate-related damages

New article: “Energy Means Food and Time”

National Review just published a new article I wrote on the value of energy. Here’s a selection:

Fossil fuels are the food of food. 

In providing the fuel that makes modern, industrialized, globalized, fertilized agriculture possible, the oil-and-gas industry has sustained and improved billions of lives. Surely this must rank as one of the great achievements of our time. When we consider the problems that the industry creates, we should take into account that it fed and feeds the world. And how often does the industry get credit for it? Bono and other celebrity activists get more credit for caring than the oil and energy industries get for doing.

Not to give the industry its due credit is a dangerous injustice. When activists clamor to “keep fossil fuels in the ground,” they do not know, or perhaps don’t care, that if their advice were heeded, people would starve.

Without the broader energy industry, the world could not support a population of 7 billion—or 3.6 billion, or perhaps not even 1 billion. To starve our machines of energy would be to starve ourselves.

You can read the entire article here.

The Human Flourishing Project: The wisdom of Flow (part 3)

On the latest episode of The Human Flourishing Project I discuss how I have been applying the concepts of Flow to architect my own “flow zones” for different productive activities.