Every week on Power Hour energy philosopher Alex Epstein breaks down today's top energy, environmental, and climate issues.
Bjorn Lomborg on the bad climate thinking of COP 26
As COP 26 wrapped up, Bjorn Lomborg joined Alex Epstein to discuss the many examples of bad thinking that have shaped the conference, including:
- The false portrayal of today’s world as bad and getting worse.
- The failure to consider the costs of reducing CO2 emissions.
- The failure to discuss the benefits human beings get from fossil fuels.
- The failure to consider any positive of CO2 emissions.
- The failure to appreciate the power of adapting to climate changes.
Additionally, Bjorn shares his thoughts on how to win more people over to thinking rationally about energy and climate.
Link to Bjorn's 2020 article: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040162520304157
Link to Bjorn's book, False Alarm, where you can download the first 25 pages for free: https://www.basicbooks.com/titles/bjorn-lomborg/false-alarm/9781541647473/
The rise of Michael Shellenberger and the energy humanist movement
On this week's Power Hour, Alex Epstein is joined by Michael Shellenberger, author of the bestselling Apocalypse Never and San Fransicko, to discuss Shellenberger's rising influence and, more broadly, the growing influence of "energy humanists."
Some of the topics covered in this free-flowing discussion are:
- What caused Shellenberger to be more open in challenging climate catastrophism?
- The strong pushback Shellenberger got from donors for challenging the liberal orthodoxy around renewables and climate catastrophe.
- How to use Twitter effectively.
- How to avoid Twitter addiction.
- The commonalities among the "woke" movement and the modern environmental movement.
- The ESG movement's "success" in driving up oil and gasoline prices.
- The importance of having a positive, alternative vision and policy when defending against attacks on civilization.
- The role of government in a pro-nuclear movement.
A wide-ranging discussion with leading climate economist Richard Tol
When leading climate economist Richard Tol publicly criticized a Twitter thread of Alex Epstein’s blaming anti-fossil fuel policies for the current energy crisis, Epstein invited Tal on Power Hour to discuss the issue as well as Tol’s work in climate economics.
The result is an illuminating and wide-ranging discussion of many topics, including:
- What climate economics is
- Criticisms of climate economics by Noah Smith and others for not portraying man-made climate change as sufficiently catastrophic
- The philosophical assumptions underlying climate catastrophism
- How both Tol’s and Epstein’s work is based on a pro-human standard of evaluation
- Why Richard Tol withdrew from a major role in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
- How politics shapes every facet of the IPCC
- The role of government restrictions on fossil fuel production and transportation in the energy crisis
- The role of standard boom/bust cycles in the energy crisis
- The role of unexpected demand in the energy crisis
Best-of Power Hour: The Future of Oil With Michael Lynch
From Alex Epstein, host of Power Hour:
This week's Power Hour is a best-of episode, featuring a now prophetic interview with energy economist Michael Lynch.
In February of this year, there were many prominent claims that post-pandemic demand for oil would quickly decline and fade.
I thought these claims were based on farcical reasoning, and to counter them I invited one of my favorite energy economists, Michael Lynch, to challenge the idea of "peak oil demand."
Early in the podcast he said:
"In the past couple of years, people have started talking about peak oil demand. And the pandemic has increased the idea that it’s imminent or even passed. You’ve had a few companies like BP and Shell that have scenarios that show a near-term peak in oil demand. And it’s kind of the flavor of the day.
“And the problem is, most of the talk is very superficial."
I think you'll find it valuable to hear Lynch's and my arguments against popular predictions about energy, as we have since been vindicated.
Toby Rice, the CEO of America's largest natural gas producer, on America's strangled natural gas potential
On this week's Power Hour Alex Epstein interviews Toby Rice, the CEO of EQT, America's largest natural gas producer, about the causes of and solutions to the world's natural gas crisis.
The takeaway: The US could alleviate most of this crisis--if not for anti-gas-infrastructure policies.
"We really want to be a solution here," says Rice. "Unfortunately, we're just out of infrastructure. And so we have the biggest gas resource in the world here in Appalachia, and EQT could do so much more, but without the infrastructure, there's not much we can do..."
Rice says what is needed to unleash natural gas's potential is liberating infrastructure development: "we're not asking for the checkbook to help us become more successful." "All we're saying that we need to unleash US shale is pipeline infrastructure and LNG facilities."
The Pseudoscientific Smearing of Steve Koonin
On April 27th, physicist Steve Koonin, who worked in the Obama Administration’s Department of Energy, published a challenge to climate catastrophism called “Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, what It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters.”
While the climate catastrophe movement usually ignores criticisms, Koonin’s scientific standing, plus the fact that the book became a major bestseller, made this harder to do. Unfortunately, climate catastrophists have still tried their best to ignore Koonin’s arguments, and when they have engaged him it is through scientific smearing—such as an attack in Scientific American that consisted largely of ad hominems and attacking summaries of his book by a Washington Post columnist.
On this week’s episode of Power Hour, Steve Koonin joins Alex Epstein to discuss not only the smears but much of what has been happening in the climate conversation over the last 5 months, including:
- The recent IPCC report—including the curious absence of key graphs, the use of "attribution studies," and the methodology used to make climate models "hotter" even though they have typically over predicted warming in the past.
- The media’s exaggerated portrayal of the recent IPCC report.
- The positive reaction to Koonin’s book.
- What scientists have told Koonin behind the scenes.
- Koonin’s upcoming debates.
This podcast is wonderful because it’s always open to discussion based in tangible data, and that’s what science is supposed to be and do; unfortunately we live in a society that is getting manipulated by few powerful political forces that are shifting humanity back into the dark ages. Thank you Alex for your incredible work.
He chooses fantastic guests who have an enormous amount of knowledge in their field of study. While PH focuses on energy, you get a lot of great discussion on topics that are energy adjacent providing an even deeper understanding of the Economics and politics of the energy and anti-energy industries. This is one of the few podcasts I don’t miss.
Very informative and inspiring.
His strong philosophical background combined with his knowledge of energy systems gives him great confidence to take on debates and other intellectual challenges.