- Rick Bonetti
The Great Climate Denial Con
Updated: Jan 10
In his December 8, 2022 podcast, Jordan B. Peterson interviewed conservative philosopher Alex Epstein about "Green Dystopia - the undeniable need for fossil fuels, the toxic underlying nihilism of the climate concerned left; the need for balance between conservation and human progress, and the unexplored worth of wild potential."
Richard V. Reeves, a Brookings Institute scholar who wrote the 2022 book Of Boys And Men says that Jordan Peterson is a conservative, public intellectual who appeals largely to young men because he does not mock or patronize them. Reeves empathetically devotes a chapter each to what Progressives and Conservatives get right and wrong. I like that.
Alex Epstein is a "Koch-funded philosopher and writer" who argues that "human flourishing" should be the guiding principle of energy and environmental progress. He is the author of the 2022 book Fossil Future: Why Global Human Flourishing Requires More Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas—Not Less. He is also the creator of EnergyTalkingPoints.com offering conservative viewpoints on energy, environmental, and climate issues. In 2011 he founded Center for Industrial Progress (CIP), a "for-profit think-tank seeking to bring about a new industrial revolution."
Wikipedia sources Jason Wilson of The Guardian who says: "Epstein has a close association with conservative advocacy groups and receives funding from the Koch brothers and that "Epstein's work has been popular and influential on the right because it is a particularly fluent, elaborate form of climate denialism."
Slate writer Nitish Pahwa has reviewed Epstein's arguments in his Fossil Future book and acknowledged a few points of agreement, but enumerates "the myriad ways Epstein misrepresents history and science and activism."
"The new style of climate denial is here: It’s not that carbon emissions aren’t increasing, or aren’t warming the world, but look, you’re doing fine right now, right?
If we are to have intelligent conversations that overcome the con of climate change denial we must first understand the basis of their emotional appeal and learn not to deprecate them personally.