The CMU Land Energy Management (LEM) student club will be hosting speaker Alex Epstein at 6 p.m. Thursday at the University Center’s Meyer Ballroom. Epstein is the author of a New York Times and Wall Street Journal’s bestselling book, “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.” This event is made possible by a grant from the American Association of Professional Landmen (AAPL) to help further educate students, faculty, and the general public on the importance of providing affordable energy in today’s society. CMU’s Energy Management Program is one of 10 universities in the U.S. that is accredited by the AAPL and Epstein’s book is required reading in many of these programs.

Affordable fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil have brought more people out of poverty in the modern world than ever before. Nineteenth and 20th century fossil fuel innovations such as the internal combustion engine, clean coal technology, increased efficiencies in combined cycle natural gas power plants, natural gas heating, jet fuel for high speed transportation, and many other improvements in technology have vastly improved modern society.

People are living much longer today due to the many fossil fuel derivatives such as pharmaceuticals, machine-built structures to shelter us from Mother Nature, emergency transportation, and plastics used in the biomedical field.

Over 70% of the electricity generated in states like Colorado comes from fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. This has not only kept Colorado’s electricity rates affordable but has stimulated the economy by providing more disposable income for each Coloradan. Fossil fuels generate dispatchable reliable electricity that powers modern society.

Even alternative intermittent energy sources such as wind turbines and solar panels are fossil-fuel derivatives. These not only require machines to mine their raw materials, but also use a great deal of fossil-fuel energy for the processing/manufacturing of carbon steel, silicon, lightweight materials, magnets, plastics, concrete, and many other materials that make them up.

Today’s lithium ion batteries also require a great deal of fossil-fuel energy to mine, refine, and manufacture all of its components. This not only includes the mining of lithium but also of cobalt, nickel, and other materials. When charging a battery on the integrated power grid, it is being powered predominantly by reliable and affordable fossil fuels.

Fossil-fuel employees in the coal and oil/gas industry should feel proud of providing the majority of energy that has powered this nation in the past 120 years and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Recent innovations such as horizontal drilling and staged hydraulic fracturing have created an abundance of oil/natural gas supplies in the world today. The U.S. is now the leading producer of oil and natural gas in the world. This has not only kept a lid on energy prices and has greatly benefited consumers, but has also been a huge benefit to all businesses that rely on affordable energy.

Again, I encourage the public to attend Alex Epstein’s speech on Thursday at CMU’s Meyer Ballroom at 6 p.m. to hear “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.”

In Alex Epstein’s bio, it reads that he is a philosopher and energy expert who argues that “human flourishing” should be the guiding principle of industrial and environmental progress. Alex has made his moral case for fossil fuels at dozens of campuses, including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Colorado, and Duke (his alma mater).

In his speeches and consulting work he helps companies take his pro-human messaging and use it to neutralize attackers, turn non-supporters into supporters, and turn supporters into champions. One of his major goals is to teach millions of employees in the fossil fuel industry to understand the value of what they do and how to communicate it.


Steve Soychak, is program director for the Landman Energy Management Program at Colorado Mesa University.

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