Thursday, February 4, 2016

#1587: Alex Epstein

With credentials like being the founder and President of the Center for Industrial Progress, a California for profit think tank, and former fellow of the Ayn Rand Institute, you may sort of suspect what’s coming. Alex Espstein is an “energy theorist” and “industrial policy expert” (no, he’s got no credentials to support either), as well as the author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, which champions the use of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. That case is made easier by his climate change denialism, the case for which is primarily made on the grounds that it fits his political agenda more effortlessly than the truth. The book was heartily praised by the Heartland Institute (e.g. Jay Lehr) and has won him a place among the most prominent global warming denialists at present, and it is, once again, telling that he has no relevant expertise in any field related to climate science.

Epstein has argued that it is silly to ask if humans are behind climate change, because that assumes that “if man did change climate, it would be a bad thing.” As many climage change deniers, Epstein “concedes” that greenhouse gases might warm the planet “a little bit,” but tries to remind us that increased heat is “generally nice;” the “most important effect of fossil fuels” is to ensure that people like him can move to “the best climate we can” – in his case Southern California.

People who are concerned about climate change, on the other hand, are against development and ignore the benefits of industrial advances (yes, that staggering strawman again); indeed, if you are worried about man-made climate change, you are – according to Epstein – displaying “a prejudice against the man-made” or, as he likes to put it, “human racism.”

Diagnosis: Stock pseudoscientist. And like religious fanatics, the only evidence Epstein will ever consider is that which he can shoehorn into service for his ideology. He is pretty influential, however.

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