Thank you, COVID-19 filters, intellectual persuasion, and a new Robert Bryce interview

In this issue:

  • Thank you
  • Six filters to apply to COVID-19 claims
  • The BP commitment to go carbon neutral by 2020
  • An interview with Robert Bryce on the future of electricity
  • Winning energy legal cases with intellectual persuasion
  • The Human Flourishing Project: Flourishing during a massive disruption
  • Reprise: 4 projects for 2020

Thank you

Last week I shared with you that “In this crucial election your for energy, with the industry under siege, my small teams and I have big plans to change the debate. . . . Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis has put these plans in jeopardy.”

I asked you to consider becoming 2020 “Accelerators” of our work. You can learn more about the Accelerator program, including the rewards involved, at https://industrialprogress.com/accelerate.

The initial response was both generous and moving for me. On the final segment of Power Hour this week I shared some of my favorites. Here are two of them.

“You are very good speaker. I have long felt it unfortunate that you have not been able to reach a larger audience. I think that you could be very effective at persuading open-minded people to change their opinions about ‘climate change’ and ultimately bring rational thinking to the political debate.”

This resonated with me because I feel especially right now that it’s important for me to speak up as publicly as I can about the need for fossil fuels and freedom. Support from our Accelerators will enable me to do more.

“I want to support you because the work you’re doing and have been doing, you and your staff are brilliant, incredibly valuable, give a voice to the importance of fossil fuels. I was laid off a month ago or I would have given more.”

This note made me very emotional because someone has lost their job at one of the toughest economic times in decades and still values our work enough to support it.

The final note is from someone I met a decade ago when he was a student.

“I worked for [a pipeline] for 2.5 years, and it was the job I feel the most proud about in my career. I couldn’t imagine a more important type of work, literally and figuratively powering people’s lives. And yet, despite the tremendous good it provided…we were reviled and hated by everyone. Really bummed me out.

“Anyway, not only am I passionate about the work you guys are doing it, I think Alex you have a remarkable ability to persuade, communicate effectively, and create change. So thanks for all the awesome work you and your team engage in.

“I’d be interested in a recurring $100 monthly subscription too, it would be convenient to have something auto set up. No worries if you can’t set that up, I can try to remember to do so each month on my own.”

We got several notes asking about monthly contributions. You can now make them at https://industrialprogress.com/accelerate.

6 filters to apply to COVID-19 claims

In the last week I’ve continued to do public appearances about my views on the COVID-19 path forward: “don’t stop living, live smarter.”

Yesterday I had a valuable and somewhat contentious exchange on “National Report.” On Monday I made an appearance on “The Situation Room.”

In the first segment of this week’s Power Hour I discussed six filters that I use to screen out most commentary and claims about COVID-19 and find the best expert analyses.

The six filters are:

  1. Do they assume freedom of action means recklessness?
  2. Do they assume lockdown means optimal virus prevention?
  3. Do they advocate universal measures for the highly vulnerable and low-vulnerability alike?
  4. Do they equate diagnosed infections with actual infections? (This is a tactic used to hyper-inflate death rates.)
  5. Do they devalue freedom and quality of life?
  6. Do they treat the goal as eradication instead of management?

Unfortunately, I believe that the policies and studies being used by governments at all levels are committing most of the above mistakes.

One of the most promising experts I’ve found on this issue is Dr. David Katz of Yale. While he and I diverge on broad political philosophy I’ve found him to be very precise in his analysis of the real risks of COVID-19 to different demographics—and very wise in his advocacy of selective universal isolation practices and policies vs. the universal isolation practices and policies advocated by political leaders of both parties.

Here is Dr. Katz’s page on COVID-19 and here is one of my favorite articles by him.

The BP commitment to go carbon neutral by 2050

On the second segment of Power Hour I briefly discussed BP’s (vague) announcement that it will be carbon neutral by 2050.

I made two high-level points:

  • As citizens we absolutely do not want hydrocarbon (fossil fuel) companies attempting to go carbon neutral; we need their unique ability to produce low-cost, reliable energy in all its needed forms for billions of people in thousands of places.
  • If you are in a leadership position at a hydrocarbon company, DO NOT follow BP’s lead. Whatever temporary status benefits they are getting commits them to long-term value destruction.

As a reminder, I have created several resources on how hydrocarbon companies should approach “sustainability” or “ESG” issues. Here’s a transcript of and audio for “The ESG Chess Game.” Also, if you’re at a company facing ESG challenges and haven’t yet read our “The ESG Dilemma” mini-white-paper, reply to this email with “whitepaper” and I’ll send it to you.

Listen to the full segment on BP here.

An interview with Robert Bryce on the future of electricity

On the third segment of Power Hour this week I interviewed a long-time favorite energy thinker of mine, Robert Bryce, who was actually the first ever guest on Power Hour back in 2011.

Robert has a new book, A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations, which is full of fascinating facts and insights about how to bring the wonders of electricity to more people.

Some of the topics we covered:

  • 3 billion people around the world use less electricity than the average American refrigerator
  • Why “integrity, capital, and fuel” are crucial to developing and sustaining modern electricity systems
  • How electricity liberates women
  • Why coal will continue to be a leading source of electricity around the world
  • Unacknowledged problems with wind energy—this included a particularly interesting set of points by Robert on the health hazards of wind noise
  • What we can do to promote the expansion of electricity around the world

Listen to the full interview here.

Winning energy legal cases with intellectual persuasion

On the fourth segment of Power Hour I had a discussion with Michael Mazzone, a leading Houston energy lawyer at Haynes and Boone, LLP.

Over the last year and a half Michael has been applying the principles of “intellectual persuasion” I’ve been teaching in workshops and on The Human Flourishing Project podcast.

In the discussion he credits these principles—including “framing,” “Arguing to 100,” “context-bridging,” and “opinion stories”—with helping him win several big cases.

“After the trial the judge called me up and said to me, ‘That was the finest closing argument I’ve ever heard in any case.’ . . . I attribute much of that to these ideas.”   

Listen to to the full discussion here.

The Human Flourishing Project: Flourishing during a massive disruption

On the most recent episode of The Human Flourishing Project, I shared some tips on how to handle a time of mass disruption.

  • Recognize this disruption is a bad thing—but you can use it to spark new growth.
  • The biggest ‘advantage’ of disruption is information about opportunities for growth.
  • Another “advantage” of disruption is that it necessitates creativity.
  • A universal challenge all of us have is to reengineer our routines, adding in as many positive processes as possible and removing preexisting or new negative processes.

I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from listeners who say it’s helped them and I hope readers of this newsletter benefit, as well.

You can listen to the episode here.

Reprise: 4 projects for 2020

In this crucial election year for energy, with the industry under siege, my small team and I have big plans to change the debate by:

  • Providing revolutionary energy and environmental messaging for pro-freedom candidates.
  • Creating a national media presence for the moral case for fossil fuels
  • Speaking and debating at leading universities.
  • Completing The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels 2.0 and releasing a custom essay for the election, “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels in 2020.”

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis has put these plans in jeopardy.

Historically at the Center for Industrial Progress we have funded our championing of energy freedom largely through high-level speaking engagements.

The COVID-19 crisis has indefinitely destroyed the conventional speaking business.

But, as anti-fossil fuel forces seize on COVID-19 to push for Green New Deal and other anti-energy policies, our election plans are more crucial than ever.

If you believe that our work is crucial and you have the means to support it, I’m asking you to support our work in a new way by becoming an Accelerator of the Center for Industrial Progress.

We call our contributors Accelerators because every dollar they give goes to projects that accelerate our progress; they don’t go to me personally or to overhead.

In the past, Accelerators have funded my debates, thousands of free copies of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels for students, and marketing support that helped The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels become a bestseller.

This year, Accelerators can help us change the 2020 energy debate.

Because I believe in maximizing value, for the next two weeks I’m offering rewards for Accelerator contributions that often have a far higher dollar value than the contribution itself. For example, by making an Accelerator contribution in the next two weeks you can get:

  • A virtual speech for 50% off
  • An in-person speech anytime in the next two years for 60 percent off
  • A one hour consulting or coaching call for 66% off
  • A question answered on Power Hour or The Human Flourishing Project.

You can become a 2020 Accelerator here

And whether you can afford to or not right now, know that all of us at CIP are grateful for the overwhelming moral support offered by readers of this newsletter.

Alex