Forum Posts

andrew craven
May 11, 2022
In General Content
https://alexepstein.substack.com/p/us-democrats-are-engaging-in-epic?r=65aek&s=w&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email
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andrew craven
Apr 22, 2022
In General Content
https://alexepstein.substack.com/p/earth-day-truth-fossil-fuels-make?r=ugdkd&s=r&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email
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andrew craven
Apr 15, 2022
In General Content
https://alexepstein.substack.com/p/us-democrats-are-engaging-in-epic?r=ugdkd&s=r&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email
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andrew craven
Apr 14, 2022
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andrew craven
Apr 11, 2022
In General Content
No energy is "sustainable" People often are concerned about the future of energy. They worry, "If we keep producing and consuming energy the way we are today, won't we run out?" The answer, if you take that literally, is absolutely. If you do anything the same way, over and over, you will eventually run out: if you look for the exact same solar panel materials at the exact same places, for example, you're going to run out of those. Or if you keep getting your steel from the exact same place, at some point it's going to run out. But we shouldn't think of human beings as repeaters. The fact that a behavior cannot be repeated forever doesn't mean that it's unsustainable in the sense that the behavior is short-range and irrational. The truly long-range behavior is to always do the best thing at any given time, and improve and adapt over time. Always use the best The long-range behavior in metal, for example, is to always look for and use the best form of metal. Maybe that will be steel for 500 years and then maybe something completely different. And maybe the iron ore and the carbon for that steel will come from one place for 20 years, and then a different place for the next 20 years—we don't know. As long as policy supports using the best metal at any given point in time, then human beings will keep discovering better ways to produce and use metal. If somebody says, "We shouldn't use metal at all because it’s not renewable," and instead mandates that we make our skyscrapers out of wood because that's renewable, you would probably think that doesn't make much sense. There’s no reason why we should commit to using some particular material indefinitely. The same is true for energy. We don’t need repeatable energy or sustainable energy. We want evolving energy. Human beings are not repetitive creatures. We are evolving creatures who continually improve the materials and processes we use to flourish. And the key to evolving energy is freedom from endangerment, freedom to develop, and freedom to compete. That will ensure that we have the best form of energy at any given time.
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andrew craven
Apr 04, 2022
In General Content
Free to compete, free to choose Because of threats to fossil fuel development and use, it's very important for us to understand the truth about their impact on human life. Ultimately, we’re trying to promote human flourishing, not fossil fuels per se. We’re championing fossil fuels when they're the best source of energy. And fossil fuels are at this point of history usually the best form of energy in any given situation. But they're not the best for every situation. For example, take somebody off the grid who’s willing to pay more for energy, and willing to use less energy. A solar installation with a lot of batteries could be a better solution because either they don’t have access to the grid or it would be inconvenient to use a diesel generator. The best form of energy is the cheap, plentiful, reliable, and safe source of energy that consumers freely choose, when they're given the choice among all alternatives that producers produce. This is why the freedom to compete is so important—the best form of energy can only be decided by the free choices of individuals. A proper energy policy, then—one that truly benefits human life—is one that allows freedom of competition. As with phones or computers, when every energy producer is free to compete, the best ideas win. No energy favoritism The good forms of energy don't need favoritism—special subsidies, protections, loans from the government. They need the freedom to compete and the freedom to improve—without interference, but also without special privileges. The freedom to compete means that no energy gets special privileges. Every form of energy is free to compete for consumers’ dollars, as long as it doesn't violate the rights of others—and as long as it doesn't fail the endangerment test. If we allow the freedom to compete then this will lead to the most energy for the most people.
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andrew craven
Mar 30, 2022
In General Content
https://alexepstein.substack.com/p/the-washington-posts-plan-to-cancel?r=ugdkd&s=r&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email
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andrew craven
Mar 28, 2022
In General Content
Freedom to develop In this email, we’re going to discuss the freedom to develop. What is the freedom to develop? To develop is to change our environment from one form into another form—in particular, a form that the developer regards as more conducive to human life. All energy production requires development, and a lot of it. Thus, for energy production to occur, we need to be free to develop; to be free to take our ideas—the best place for a power plant, which basin has the most potential for oil and gas, a new kind of refinery—and translate them into value. What does freedom to develop mean? It means that others cannot forcibly interfere: private individuals should not be able to sabotage development, as sometimes happens with pipelines, and governments shouldn’t be able to sabotage development, which is far more common. Pro-development vs. anti-impact If we want the best laws to promote human well-being through energy abundance, we need this freedom. However, there are a lot of people in the world, particularly in wealthy countries, who advocate the idea that development is bad. They sometimes call it "being green" or "minimizing impact." If you really take that idea seriously it means that we shouldn't do the things that we need to do to prosper, and that in fact we shouldn't have done most of what we've already done to make ourselves prosperous. If we're anti-development, if we want to minimize our impact, then we should have never turned the patch of dirt and trees in the northeast United States into New York City. If you look at the map of North Korea and South Korea, you’ll see that South Korea is lit up at night while North Korea is almost completely dark: if we really want to minimize impact, North Korea is doing a much, much better job. I think this anti-development idea is a dangerous idea. We don't want to be anti-development. We want to be anti-pollution, but pro-development. The vital importance of private property rights This doesn't mean that the government has to develop itself. It just means the government has to allow people to be free to develop. Historically, the United States has been the world's energy leader and the world's energy innovator because we have had the most freedom to develop of any place in the world—including a strong respect for private property rights, which are vital for enabling people to develop energy resources. But today, the right to private property and the right to develop are both under attack. Much damage has already done by anti-development activists preventing people from using their land as they choose, and instead saying that landowners are obligated to use their land only in the way the activists see fit. We might ask, "Does freedom to develop mean that anyone can develop anywhere?" There’s room for debate here, but in general, people who own private property can and should preserve the areas that they really want preserved and develop the areas they really want developed. It's a very dangerous idea that one person's property rights should be restricted because someone else wants that property to remain pure. If I buy several acres with some trees, and then I learn that underground there's an amazing amount of hydrocarbons, I should be free to extract that so I can get a royalty from it. Someone in Washington D.C. or Washington State shouldn't get to say, "I want your land" or to tell you how to use your land. The freedom to develop is crucial, so if we respect the freedom to develop while respecting the freedom from endangerment, we can make a lot of progress.
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andrew craven
Mar 21, 2022
In General Content
Health & safety standards The third aspect of establishing the right standards of health and safety is "economically desirable." What are the economic consequences? Part of looking at the full context involves asking whether a policy aimed at promoting human health and safety actually has negative economic consequences that do more harm than good to human health and safety. Imagine if somebody had said in the 1800s, for example, that people shouldn't be allowed to use coal to run their stoves to cook their food and heat their homes because it creates a lot of smoke, which has a negative health impact, and instead mandated cleaner coal technologies that simply weren’t affordable at that point in time. Such a mandate would effectively ban the use of coal altogether. While that would protect people from one threat to health, it would also eliminate the positive consequences to health that come from using coal—namely, keeping warm and having a steady supply of cooked food. And those positives were far, far more positive than the negatives were negative. Of course, we want to improve over time—and we do, using technology and using the right policy. For example, eventually we progressed to where we could economically gain the benefits that come from powering our homes with coal without the harms of filling our homes with coal smoke. But that has to happen gradually. At any given time, it is wrong to restrict energy or anything else that's fundamentally vital for human beings to a degree where it does economic damage. If everything has to be perfect in order to be used, then this will prevent people from improving their lives. Who decides? And who should decide what these standards are? In general, it makes sense for the people directly affected—who need energy, who need to protect themselves from endangerment—to have control over those standards, whether that be at the state level or the local level. It's very questionable to have all of these things decided on a national level when the people are affected by them locally in very different ways, for all sorts of economic and geographic reasons. For example, a certain amount of car emissions may cause smog in Los Angeles due to its unique topography whereas in another area that threat doesn’t exist at all. It doesn’t make sense for both of them to have the same emission levels. In general, decision-making should be local. But the key is no matter where those decisions are made, achieving freedom from endangerment requires that our decisions be reasonable and equitable, scientifically verifiable, and economically desirable.
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andrew craven
Mar 13, 2022
In General Content
Scientifically verifiable health & safety standards The second aspect of establishing the right standards of health and safety is ensuring that they are "scientifically verifiable." This means that if you're going to assert that something is dangerous, you have to be able to demonstrate a cause and effect connection between the activity or substance and a negative impact. You can't just assume that if there's some kind of emission, that it must be bad. In my experience, most claims cannot show cause and effect. All they show are correlations. For example, opponents of nuclear power might say, "In this region more people had cancer, and there was more nuclear power in this region." Then they'll say, "Therefore, the nuclear power caused the cancer." No, not so fast. There may be a lot of other regions where the opposite is true, or the nuclear power may have nothing to do with that particular rise. Most claims tend to assume that any amount of emission is dangerous, but they can't prove it. With any substance, there are levels at which it's dangerous and there are levels at which it's not dangerous. Dose matters, and sometimes the same thing can be both beneficial and dangerous depending on the quantity, such as sunlight. We cannot simply declare that some substance is dangerous—we need to establish a cause and effect connection that takes into account the specific dose.
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andrew craven
Mar 07, 2022
In General Content
It is vital for human well-being that individuals are protected from dangers to their air, water, sanitation, and safety. Energy production and use, including fossil fuel production and use, can endanger people in all kinds of ways if done badly—from bad burning processes, to waste that's handled improperly, to oil rigs going out of control, to gas lines exploding. It's really important that we have policies to protect us from such dangers. How to do this is not obvious, but the key is to always think about what’s best for human flourishing. Personally, I think there are three keys to a good policy that protects the freedom from endangerment. A good policy is one that establishes standards of health and safety that are reasonable and equitable scientifically verifiable economically desirable Reasonable What do I mean by reasonable? When talking about protecting health and safety from certain kinds of risks, we have to acknowledge that every human action and technology carries risks and dangers. Nature itself carries risks and dangers. We can't have a policy that demands actions and technologies be totally free of risks and dangers, because then we would not be able to do anything, or we would just keep doing the same old things, ignoring that they also have risks because we’re used to those risks. Instead, we need standards that protect us without overprotecting us to the point where they do harm. For example, think of the first people to use fire. They were exposing themselves and their family to a certain amount of smoke—much more than modern power plants do, for sure. Now, should they have not used fire because of the smoke? No. Fire was so vital to their lives that it would have been harmful to their health and safety not to have the fire. If there had been a policy banning the use of fire because of the smoke, that would have been an example of overprotecting themselves to the point of harm. By the same token, we can't have standards for energy risks or energy safety that would prevent people from using energy. That's what I mean by a policy having to be reasonable: protecting without overprotecting. Equitable This goes right along with equitable, or fair and impartial. We want to be equitable and we don't want to discriminate against some industries or some forms of energy, holding them to impossibly high risk and endangerment standards. Often, however, safety standards aren’t equitable because people tend to see new and unfamiliar things as riskier than old things. Take hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for example. This is a technology that has been around a long time, but the term fracking wasn’t introduced into common usage until around 2010. People think of it as very risky even though it's been done very safely for a long time. They worry about the risk of fracking but not about the risk of driving, which is an incomparably greater risk than fracking. Unfortunately, it is very common to treat unpopular industries such as the oil and gas industry this way. They get held to completely different standards than more popular industries. Take the issue of noise. What you'll find is that the amount of noise accepted from janitors, construction workers, and movie theaters is often far greater than that of a fracking job. But people complain that their rights are being violated by the noise from the fracking job and not by the noise from these other activities. That’s clearly non-equitable. It's important when we hear talk of risk and danger that we’re clear on whether there is actually an unreasonable amount of risk in a given area, or whether we’re holding some industry or activity to a higher standard than other comparable industries or activities.
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andrew craven
Feb 27, 2022
In General Content
Energy policy In the next few emails, we're going to be talking about energy policy. In previous emails, we concluded that fossil fuels are a moral form of energy that should be expanded, not restricted. But, there's one qualifier. We can say there are moral forms of energy, but it’s only moral to use them if they are being used the right way. Minimizing misuse Like any technology, fossil fuels can be misused. Part of ensuring the proper use of fossil fuels involves every company doing its best to be ethical and having a major emphasis on safety. By the same token, consumers of fossil fuels need to be responsible—for example, performing regular maintenance on their heating systems and vehicles. Everybody has a part in making sure that all forms of energy are used as safely as possible. But that’s not enough. Once we’ve concluded that fossil fuel energy is a fundamentally good technology when used in a beneficial way, we need to have the right kinds of laws in place to ensure that it is used in a beneficial way. This brings us to the issue of energy policy. We need policies that protect our right to use energy responsibly and that punish people when they deliberately fail to use energy responsibly and endanger our lives. The three energy freedoms One of the major things we need is proper policy to protect us from companies endangering neighbors, whether through explosions, spills, or dangerous emissions like smog. But we also need policy to protect companies, and more broadly to protect production, from people who want to stop it. Imagine you’re running a company that’s trying to drill for oil and somebody who doesn’t like oil tries to sabotage your rigs. That can cause you to lose millions and millions of dollars. The government needs to protect every producer from people who try to sabotage them—whether it’s direct sabotage or getting the government to sabotage projects they don’t like. Having policies that restrict our ability to develop is a major threat to progress. And less progress means less prosperity. Finally, we need policy to protect innovation. We want the energy market to evolve over time, but with the wrong policies it is very easy for special interests to stop innovation. One thing fundamental to innovation is competition. It’s important that we be free to choose the best kinds of energy—that we be free to choose fossil fuels when they're the best form, but also others when they're the best. Often, however, companies will want to suppress competition. But if we care about human flourishing, what we need are policies that protect everyone who’s not endangering others to compete. We can think of policy, then, in terms of three crucial freedoms: freedom from endangerment freedom to develop freedom to compete
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andrew craven
Feb 20, 2022
In General Content
Energy use information from an upcoming book that are argued effectively. Take a look and spread the word. https://alexepstein.substack.com/p/33-controversial-conclusions-from?r=ugdkd&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email
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andrew craven
Jan 26, 2022
In General Content
Hey Zoniverse, check out how stupid energy policy in Europe can influence geopolitics in favor of Russia right in the middle of winter! https://alexepstein.substack.com/p/europes-extreme-vulnerability-to?r=ugdkd&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email
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andrew craven
Jan 21, 2022
In General Content
https://alexepstein.substack.com/p/the-dangerous-executive-order-no?r=ugdkd&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email
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andrew craven
Jan 19, 2022
In General Content
https://alexepstein.substack.com/?utm_campaign=pub&utm_medium=web
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andrew craven
Jan 18, 2022
In General Content
https://alexepstein.substack.com/p/its-time-for-larry-fink-to-come-clean?r=ugdkd&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email
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andrew craven
Jan 06, 2022
In General Content
https://alexepstein.substack.com/p/the-esg-movement-is-anti-energy-anti?r=ugdkd&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email
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andrew craven
Jan 01, 2022
In General Content
Happy New Year! Let’s continue a joyful effort in 2022 to increase our fellowship in the Zoniverse! What a great place to meet new people.
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andrew craven
Dec 25, 2021
In General Content
Merry Christmas blessings to all of you!
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andrew craven
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