Talking points for today’s most vital issues

In this issue:

  • Talking points for today’s most vital issues
  • Seeking energy stories about individuals
  • Should we rely only on fossil fuels?
  • Best of Power Hour: Pierre Desrochers on Capitalism and Our Environment

Talking points for today’s most vital issues

As I’ve been traveling around and talking to different people, one of the most common requests I hear is for effective talking points to counter all of the distortions we hear in the news. 

I’ve decided to make that a focus for this newsletter in the year ahead.

So I’d like to hear from you: what issues or questions would you most like talking points for? It could be general questions (e.g., about climate or wind and solar), or it could be more specific issues like how to respond to particular news stories. 

Send in your requests and I’ll start sharing my answers in future editions of the newsletter.

Seeking energy stories about individuals

Last week I wrote asking you to share stories about how good energy policy helps people’s lives and bad energy policy hurts people’s lives. Thanks to all of you who sent one in. I’ll get back to the winners of an I Love Fossil Fuels Shirt later this week.

This week I’d like to ask for a slightly different kind of story.

I’m interesting in energy-related stories about individuals.

All too often we hear data about broad populations, but it’s hard to connect to unless we know stories about specific individuals.

So, I would love for you to share an energy-related story about individuals—including you. The story can be something you’ve read, something you’ve lived, or something you’ve seen.

Some sample topics:

  • How a bad energy policy destroyed the livelihood of a productive individual and their family.
  • How an individual is affected by high heating and electricity costs.
  • How an individual in the underdeveloped world is empowered by low-cost, reliable, clean heating and cooking.
  • How an individual (maybe an individual child) is harmed by a lawless green energy project.
  • How an individual is affected by a blackout.
  • How an individual benefits from having electricity for the first time.
  • How hard an individual works to produce low-cost energy in a safe and responsible way.

The more of these stories I can collect and share, the more powerfully we can make the case for energy abundance and energy freedom.

Once again I’ll be giving 10 I Love Fossil Fuels t-shirts for the 10 best stories.

Should we rely only on fossil fuels?

During a recent speech to members of the fossil fuel industry I was asked, “​Are you suggesting we should not continue working on alternative sources of energy like solar and wind and rely solely on fossil fuels?” Here’s a (lightly edited) transcript of my answer:

No, not all. I believe in low cost, reliable energy. So I want people to look into and pursue as many different forms of that as possible. 

But it’s important that it needs to be both low cost and reliable, because if it’s not low cost then most people can’t afford it and if it’s not reliable then you can’t use it when you need it and our whole modern way of life goes out the window. 

The thing is it’s hard to produce low cost, reliable energy because energy is a process. It’s not like nature gives us the sun and we can just plug into the sun directly. There’s a process for plugging into the sun. 

Since the sun is an intermittent source of energy, one process would be using a lot of storage, as with batteries, which takes a lot of fossil fuels to build and is still way too expensive for anyone to afford. 

Another process for harnessing intermittent sources of energy is to have 100% backup, and that’s almost always powered by fossil fuels or nuclear power. 

So these are very dependent forms of energy. I’m not against using them if and when you can make them low cost and reliable, or for certain specialized needs like heating a pool. But if energy is not low cost and reliable, our whole way of life doesn’t work.

Best of Power Hour: Pierre Desrochers on Capitalism and Our Environment

On this week’s Power Hour “best of” episode, I talk to Pierre Desrochers of the University of Toronto about the real, positive relationship between capitalism and our environment.

Dr. Desrochers is a human encyclopedia on all things industrial progress, and this interview is jam-packed with insights and stories, including:

  • How capitalists and entrepreneurs pioneered recycling–“making wealth out of waste”–centuries ago.
  • When it makes sense to recycle and when it doesn’t.
  • His book The Locavore’s Dilemma–In Praise of the 10,000 mile Diet, and why local agriculture is often vastly inferior to global, industrial agriculture.
  • What “green” Vermont was like before industrial capitalism made it bloom.
  • How air and water quality have improved dramatically over the centuries.