Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
SPOTLIGHT: Reliable, affordable energy makes everything else possible.
BIG PICTURE: In The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, Alex Epstein documents the “incredibly strong correlation between fossil fuel use and life expectancy.” Over the past few decades, life spans in China, India, and elsewhere have surged while infant mortality has fallen.
Billions of people have “have gotten their first lightbulb, their first refrigerator, their first decent-paying job” and “their first year with clean drinking water.” All of this was made possible by fossil fuels.
As developing countries gain access to coal-fired electricity, they’re able to power hospitals, refrigerate food and medicine, install sanitation services, and build factories that supply jobs. They’re able to study after nightfall, and live in communities made safer by outdoor lighting.
Dependable access to gasoline enables the deployment of large machinery required to build and maintain reliable transportation systems. Those systems, in turn, enable more people to take advantage of newly-equipped hospitals, schools, and increased job opportunities.
Environmentalists worry that vulnerable individuals in poor countries will be harmed by climate change decades in the future. But fossil fuels are helping these countries to build more durable and resilient communities now.
When you exchange mud huts and tin shacks for dwellings made of concrete and steel, you’re more likely to survive whatever Nature throws at you. As Epstein points out, the number of people who perish due to climate-related events is now “fifty times lower than it was eighty years ago.”
TOP TAKEAWAY: Fossil fuels save – and extend – human lives. It is immoral to deny this energy to the developing world because experts with dubious track records predict that bad things will happen in the future.
|The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels
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