tv Debate on Climate Change CSPAN June 2, 2022 6:20am-7:24am EDT
compelling debate on should america rapidly eliminate fossil fuel use to prevent climate catastrophe and we want to give them the full hour we did this debate at the university of miami in florida and at cu boulder last week and that in that case those two debates. it was alex epstein debating general wesley clarke and you can find both of those debates on steamboat institutes youtube channel today. we have alex epson, but we have a different debate opponent and let me briefly introduce. i will read their bios, and then i believe they are going to come up to the stage after i introduce them. we're very pleased to have with us this morning professor andrew desler.
he's a professor of atmospheric science at texas a&m university. professor destler is a climate scientist who studies both the science and politics of climate change. he is the rita a heinz chair in geosciences at texas a&m in 2022. he was named director of texas a&m's, texas center for climate studies. professor destler also served in the clinton administration during the the last year he served as a senior policy analyst in the white house office of science and technology policy his latest book introduction to modern climate change won the 2014 american meteorological societies louis j. batten authors award. we are also pleased to have alex epstein he is the president and founder of the center for industrial progress author of the moral case for fossil fuels. alex is a philosopher who argues that human flourishing should be the guiding principle of industrial and environmental
progress. he is the author of the new york times bestseller the moral case for fossil fuels and alex is known for his willingness to debate anyone anytime. is publicly debated leading environmentalist organizations such as greenpeace the sierra club and 350.org over the morality of fossil fuel use and finally our moderator for this morning's debate is dan nigamir. he's the editorial page editor of the denver gazette. dan is a longtime journalist and more than 25-year veteran of the colorado political scene. he has been an award-winning newspaper reporter and editorial page editor a senior legislative staffer at the state capitol and a political consultant. let's welcome professor destler and alex epstein and danier. you just make me baby here just
because it sounds good. can everyone hear me? well? yes, good. let's get right down to business so that you've had the introductions from jennifer. oh. not everyone can see me, but you can hear my voice. we're going to ask each of these gentlemen to offer us an opening statement on his view of the proposition, which you've heard stated for you and let me just repeat it just for the record that is should america rapidly eliminate fossil fuel use to prevent climate catastrophe. what we're going to do is we're going to have andrew go first.
and he's going in an open. we're going to let each one do an opening statement kind of stating where they're at. give them about seven and a half minutes each. and as i said andrew will go first and then he'll be followed by alex and then afterward we'll give andrew a chance to rebut anything. he feels really needs to be addressed. that any point that alex rays so andrew. so slides thanks. so let me begin by saying energy is the most important thing in the world if you have energy you can do anything else you want. so the real question is what's the best way to generate energy now, we generate most of our energy from fossil fuels right now, but let me talk about some of the disadvantages of fossil fuels so let's talk about number one climate change. let me explain why i personally am extremely concerned about climate change. let's go back to the last ice age. this is basically what north america looked like it was covered with thousands of feet of ice or about half covered
there were different ecosystems. sea level is 300 feet lower. it was a different planet if you walked outside you would not recognize your planet. now it was about 10 degrees fahrenheit colder at that time. so think about that 10 degrees fahrenheit and the global average you cool the plant you get an ice age. we're gonna call that an ice age unit 10 degrees. so let's think about the future we are on track for five degrees of warming. that's half of an unit that has the possibility of completely remaking the surface of the earth. now we can try to adapt to this. but it is possible or even plausible that if we do that in 2100, our descendants are going to be spending all of their money building seawalls and energy and water infrastructure things like that. they will be significantly impoverished by this. moving on fossil fuels poison the air they kill millions of people every year around the world due to air pollution.
in addition, there's obviously the national security risk. so these are some headlines are actually not that far out of date, but i feel like they're out of date texas gas prices could reach $4 per gallon as energy sector response to us russia tensions. now, let me give you a headline that will never be written. texas win price of skyrocket has energy sector responds to us russia tensions. saudi arabia rejects biden's plan to increase sunlight as midterms wound doesn't headlines will not occur. we will never invade kuwait. in order to rescue wind and sun. and the fossil fuels are commodity. so the prices vary and these price variations, which we're experiencing right now gas is five dollars a gallon. this is causing incredible pain, so i have an electric car. i fill up my tank for my tank for 10 dollars and it's 10 dollars last month. it'll be $10 next month. it's always the same and so this variability is extremely economically damaging when if you're a small business owner how what's the price of gas
going to be in a year? nobody knows how do you make plans when you can't predict the price of energy? okay, so now let's be clear that we need energy in a fossil fuels are the only way to go. i would be the first person in line saying let's burn just burn stuff. we dig out of the ground, but we have an alternative. the alternative is wind and solar and those actually are the cheapest power sources now now when i show people this and i point this out people are often stunned. in fact, they'll get angry at me because they don't realize we're in the midst of an energy revolution right now. most people have don't keep track of this their knowledge of energy prices are a few years old, but the people in texas who build energy they know this and so if you go to the ercott website or cot runs the grid in texas and they publish statistics on what people are connecting to the grid. it is 90% solar wind and batteries 10% gas because they
realize that the cheapest energy is wind and solar. sorry about that. because my phone beeping i will turn that off now the cheapest energy is wind and solar they know this now i put a question mark there because people will often say well what about subsidies and i don't want to get into that. i'm happy to argue with that and the q&a if people want to talk about that, but let me talk about something. that's not arguable. let's look at the trend. so this plot shows. unfortunately people on that side of the room will have to look all the way over this shows the price of energy in 2009 and 2019. this is solar going down from there there and that's wind going down from there to there. this is the trend and this trend is not going to stop this trend is key is gonna continue to go and what that means is that we can argue about what's cheapest now, but women solar are the cheapest energy of the future there can be no debate about that. okay now people will tell you yeah, but, you know women and solar are intermittent and that of course is true. and so then the question becomes can you build a grid that uses
that uses intermittent renewable energy, that's still reliable and cheap now, i'm not gonna give you my opinion. i'm not gonna give you a hunch. i'm not just gonna claim. i know the answer there is an enormous amount of peer reviewed research has gone on this over the last decade so we know the answer. all right, we know the answer unless you can say where these people went wrong. you know, you're the what your feelings don't matter this is this is a math and physics and engineering problem. people have solved this. so i'm going to talk a little bit about how you build a grid that runs mainly on intermittent energy. that's still reliable. so the first thing you have to do is you have to realize are really two classes of energy. there's what you what you might call the fuel savers that's wind and solar that's intermittent power and then there's the firm dispatchable power you can turn on and off anytime you want. so for example, the fuel savers are women solar batteries. they don't burn any fuel the firm dispatchable power could be
nuclear hydro geothermal gas with carbon capture long-term storage and what you want to do for the cheapest grid is use as much renewables as you can and anytime the renewables don't give enough power you turn on the firm dispatchable power that gives you the cheapest great now you might reasonably ask, why do this why not just have a grid that's 100% firm dispatchable power 100% nuclear and the answer is it's gonna be a lot more expensive if you want to pay the least amount of money. this is the grid you want to look at and on average the grids can be about 75% renewable and the numbers very different groups have different numbers, but it's sort of around that order magnitude and about 25% firm dispatchable power. so, let me just wrap up. so, you know we need power, but we can we can get power from wind and solar it is the cheapest energy source of the future. we can build based on a decade of peer-reviewed research. we can build a grid that does reliably provide energy at low cost and i'm happy to talk more
about that and that grid will avoid the social costs of climate change the fact that fossil fuels poison the air the economic cost of price fluctuations the fact that fossil fuels don't pull us into wars. so i'll wrap up there. thank you. that thank you andrew you came in basically with 45 seconds to spare. i'm sure you i can't believe i didn't use those 45 seconds. alex all yours all right. so when you have a debate like this particularly involving a respected climate scientist, which professor destler is, i think the usual assumption is that there's going to be a big differences over climate science. and for the most part, i think that's not true. i think the key difference here between not just me and professor destler, but between me and the whole net zero movement is methodology. my background is philosophy. i think a lot about methodology and i have a very particular methodology for thinking about this issue. i don't know where to point
this. and what's interesting about this methodology is nobody has ever disagreed with this methodology and yet i've never met one opponent of fossil fuels who even remotely follows it. so let me just explain it. there are four key factors. we have to consider when thinking about fossil fuels and climate we need to think about the harms of rising co2. we need to think about the benefits of rising co2. we need to think about what i call climate mastery our ability to master or adapt to any kind of climate danger and then the benefits of fossil fuels and so my analysis is that usually what happens with the net zero movement is they do talk a lot about rising co2 harms. they tend to overstate them. i think professor destler. does that less than others although even already he's done a little bit of distortion and that realm rising co2 benefits tend to be trivialized or or denied climate mastery denial tends to not be discussed at all, and then fossil feel benefit denial is rampant, and i'll show that that professor destler is doing this despite
seeming not to so through each of these factors explain my view and explain where professor destler and then the the net zero of you just go very wrong. so i'm going to start off with the harm. so i generally find professor destler reasonable. i think he's one of the more honest commentators what he and the ipcc say is nothing resembling what we hear in the media for example with sea level rises. you're talking like three feet by the year 2100 and extreme scenarios. not like 12 not like 20 feet in several decades like al gore talks about and on joe rogan. he said explicitly we have no idea in terms of what three degrees c will do and i cannot, you know cannot tell you what's going to be bad, but i think it could be bad. so i think that's a kind of measured thing when we talk about degrees fahrenheit though. it's important to recognize. we're already up two degrees fahrenheit. so when you talk about five degrees or 10 degrees, like that's i don't like that. i think we need to be more honest about that. so you're talking about five degrees, you know, it really means three degrees from now and today is the most amazing world that has ever existed and so that brings us to rising co2
benefits, which even if you think the harms are big the benefits are demonstrably huge particularly fewer cold related deaths far more people die of cold than heat in the world. we have bjorn lombard here and i'm using his chart which has been vetted many times and attacked unfairly many times. there's also global greening in terms of you know, crops benefiting a lot and this is very significant often measured in the trillions of dollars. so the fact that this is not mentioned or acknowledged as significant by the netzero movement shows a kind of bias that we're going to see much more apparently with climate mastery and here's where we really get into problems with that view. it is a fact that climate related disaster deaths so from extreme temperatures storms floods wildfires and drought are down 98% over the last century and it is also demonstrable that fossil fuels which provide 80% of the low cost reliable energy. we use to master climate that they are a key cause for example using fossil fuels to power irrigation and transport to make us safer from drought our
master. so great that a hundred million people in the world live below high tide sea level or they live. yeah, so i mean in terms of like the sea level for 100 million people, they're below it and they're totally fine. so here's what i find totally objectionable. this is never mentioned. the ipcc does not mention. it's got thousands of pages. it does not mention it professor destler. i've never seen him mention it. he doesn't mention it here. this is like discussing polio and the effects of polio without discussing the fact that we have a polio vaccine. we are masters of climate to not discuss. this is climate mastery denial pure and simple and nothing. i want to really emphasize this nothing a climate mastery denier projects about future harms of co2 can be trusted because they deny our climate mastery abilities applies to the ipcc reports certainly applies to professor destler. and so the final factor, which is he even more egregious denial if that is possible is denying
the benefits of fossil fuels. so fossil fuels are uniquely scalable and versatile source of energy scalable means provide energy for billions of people and thousands of places versatile means all types of machines. you might have noticed professor destler only talked about electricity. what electricity is only 20% of global energy use fossil fuels are growing particularly in china and other parts of the world that want the lowest cost most reliable energy. it's curious why china is not going all in on solar given that it's so allegedly cheap and if we look at solarwind if we look at the actual performance around the world, it's very very clear. they're only used in places that have large subsidies and mandates and they add costs so when you see more solar and wind the electricity prices go up now, why is this? it's very simple you look at this graph of germany, and you see that sometimes solar wind can go to zero. what does that mean? that means you have you need a hundred percent backup so you have to pay for the cost of the 100% reliable grid and all the
unreliable infrastructure including transmission lines, but most importantly the reliable power plants when you try to cut costs unreliable power plants or resiliency measures, which is what happened in texas or where i live in california, then you have disasters on top of this billions more people need low cost reliable energy like the one third of the world using wood and animals, so, appeals are uniquely cost-effective and yet professor destler says it's low cost to rapidly eliminate them. how can he claim this? well, he's using two denial tactics that either he's unaware of or he's being very manipulative and these are called partial cost accounting and then relying on near-term impossibilities. so partial cost accounting he used this levelized cost of energy slash electricity anyone who uses this is either ignorant or defrauding you and i mean this very literally if you look at the actual number, it says explicitly does not take into account reliability related consideration. so it only looks at basically the cost of the solar panels but not the transmission lines and not the backup. that's like saying i've got a
really cheap employee. he's only 18 dollars an hour instead of $20 an hour. but yeah, you have to pay to to bust them in to work and that's expensive and you have to pay for a hundred percent reliable staff but 18 dollars an hour. it's so cheap right? you need to look at the full cost. this is partial cost accounting. and then in terms of near-term and possibilities professor destler often talks about nuclear hydro and geothermal in terms of supporting this magical grid so nuclear doesn't work with intermittent solar and wind nuclear is the red one on the bottom. it works very steadily. it doesn't work with intermittency gas. the tan one is the one that goes up and down hydro is location limited professor destler also recently said i agree that hydro is not something to expand and then geothermal is highly location limited. it's you know fraction of a percent it's not practical. so either we're dealing with a tremendous amount of ignorance about energy. he has some fantastic argument that i never heard of or he's engaging and deliberate deception and if somebody is distorting the present they cannot be trusted to predict the future.
so i look forward to engaging these issues, but dr. destler has a lot to answer for if you could wrap it up. thank you perfect time. thank you both. as agreed what we're going to do is ski of andrew a chance to briefly refute some of the salient points. he thinks need addressing and if you could take maybe an a minute and a sure sure, so. yeah, so i'm not sure where to begin. keep up my slides back up, but i'm gonna flip through some slides and to show one slide. i'm not going to bore you guys as i do too much, but all this kind of again first of all a lot of the advantages that mr. epstein talked about when he talked about the advantage of fossil fuels are not the advantages of fossil fuels they're actually the advantages of power. it doesn't really matter where you get the power if you get the power forum if you get the power from renewables or you get the power for fossil fuels are still going to be important power sources that are going to solve the problems and reduce the
deaths. i'm almost there. almost right. so this is a plot. i showed he showed a plot that had germany and california on it. i mean, come on. this is a plot of all the states the x-axis is the price and the y-axis is how much renewable energy they have there's no correlation here. it is not more expensive to add renewable energy. okay, that's false as far as nuclear being impossible. say i have to say i did talk about adaptation the thing that he's not talking about. so he says we have climate mastery. he said i didn't talk about it. i didn't mention it and what he doesn't talk about is the cost of climate mastery. so if you want to build a seawall that's tens of billions of dollars for houston. who's gonna pay for that? well, we are that's gonna make us poor climate mastery makes us poor if you go to california you go to the almond producers. they are not historic trucking in water. they're not heroically building
a pipeline to bring water and they're just ripping their trees out of the ground co2 fertilization. is it helping them? the mastery of the climate isn't helping those too expensive to do it. it's too expensive to master the climate when you have cheap renewable energy available now, certainly there are casa associated with building transmission those exist with all systems, and if you look at the studies that have been done like the berkeley 2035 study or the net zero american study, they include the cost of transmission lines in that i mean again, you have to look at the peer review literature on this you can build a reliable grid now he is right that we all need to electrify things. so that's another part of the problem things need to be electrified. we use a lot of fossil fuels but we can electrify many of them probably 95% of our last 5% is hard and you get to get to the last five percent of electrifying like international flights that can be difficult andrew. thank you a don't like the guy sure. i hate to cut you off yet. i gotta and i could go on.
well you both have written plenty on it and extremely knowledgeable about it, and i might add that our audience. has includes many energy experts or that's the late term or lay person like me would use and i can see that from the questions that are coming in and what i'm going to try and do is balance some of that with maybe some some of the more technical questions that a lot of which assume things that are over my head, but i know not over yours or yours, i'm gonna try and balance that maybe with some values priorities policy type questions. let me start off with one of those that i kind of thought to myself and i noticed that alex has written on these energy talking points website that's stopping fossil fuels would make make the earth unlivable for billions. andrew wrote this month in rolling stone the amount of warming the world is on track to experiences enormous and will transform our planet in unimaginable ways. well, somebody like me who's not an energy expert. looked at both of those and
thought you know, what if they're both, right? in which case instead of sparing no expense in attempt in an attempt to curb climate change. should we try to adapt? and can we and let me go ahead and ask andrew first? well, certainly we have to adapt any climate change. we don't have we don't we don't avoid but people people have to realize adaptation is not magic. okay, people say we will use fossil fuels to master the client, but that is extremely expensive. i'll give you one example the ike -- in houston. so houston almost got wiped out by hurricane ike in the late 2000s. so we've been they've been proposing to build a -- to basically safe. you said she's looking at wiped out without this and at some point this century 30 billion dollars, so cheap compared to the price of houston, but they just can't get the money and so so it is extremely it's expensive to adapt. so certainly we have to adapt to
what we can't avoid, but we can avoid at low cost a lot of the warming and if you can avoid it for more cheaply than you have to adapt you should do that ellis. do you have an observation on that? yeah, so i've seen disappointed by andrew's response to my opening because i mean it's putting myself in his position if somebody had pointed out that i am using fraudulent statistics in terms of levelized cost of energy and also that i'm just using imaginary scenarios that totally defy the physical realities in terms of this like hydro and nuclear and geothermal and solar wind like that would really give me pause instead of just like referring like oh there's some academic studies in the future. so i mean, i just want to reiterate that the conclusion that the earth will become has become more livable with fossil fuels and is fossil fuels are necessary to make it we're livable is based on looking at the full context which professor destler continues not to do. so again if you look at the benefits of fossil fuels, what
do they provide low cost reliable energy to power machines for billions of people to be productive and prosperous including unnaturally safe from climate. we are 50 times safer from climate than we were a hundred years ago. that is amazing and needs to be stressed if you look at climate damages again, this is what the two degrees fahrenheit of warming. they are flat in some cases. they are declining there is no climate crisis at all. and so and there is actually a climate renaissance right now. so the idea that three degrees more fahrenheit is going to be this disaster. this is just cherry picking. this is anecdotes. it's not looking at the big picture. the big picture is clear that net zero is mass impoverishment and mass premature death, but alex just to follow up on them to be a little more precious if if indeed let's say there is an increase of an average global temperatures of i'm seeing from one to five degrees by the end of this century. it doesn't make more sense. nonetheless. i think is the question to adapt
and to spend what we have to to do so much rather than necessarily trying to go to net zero on carbon emissions. oh, yeah. well, i mean so net zero regardless as mass murder and should not even be on the table if you actually look at the full context. yeah. so what policy should you have given that energy is so important the key thing is to engage in any liberation that is nest that is possible of low carbon alternatives and we are very fortunate that we have an unbelievable low carbon alternative that was actually cheaper for electricity than fossil fuels in the 70s, which is nuclear, which was unfortunately virtually criminalized by the green movement to the point that nuclear prices are almost 10 times more today adjusted for inflation than they were in the 70s, and i think everyone should be in favor of decriminalizing nuclear as well as liberating natural gas these ways they actually work to reduce co2 emissions, which is not my highest priority. but you can't have it as a priority, but they also make
energy more available to more people. but again, it's the green movement if you look at professor destler's track record. i've looked through every statement. he's made about nuclear on twitter until this year. he's very hostile to nuclear and then he calls it expensive but that is another distortion. it's only expensive because of the green movement that he is a major part of and supporter of so liberate nuclear liberate natural gas liberate all alternatives, but let eight billion people have energy and do not hold them back by this total denial and distortion about solar and wind. thank you alex and i'm instead you're going to ask you a different question rather than to follow up on nuclear and that's environmental and this is one from our audience and it says environmental justice seems to require making life for the poor and middle class more expensive. is the only solution to reducing fossil fuel use making american families by a tesla? so let me before i hate to do this to you. i just have to respond to alex saying i'm being dishonest in france. they run nuclear power
dispatchably. in fact, most of their electricities nuclear says demand goes up and down they have to spin up and down nuclear plants. so the reason we don't do it in the us is regulatory. so that's so his statement that we can't do. it is absolutely wrong. all right getting back to your your statement about doing i mean, we do need to switch if we want to get to a world that doesn't have air pollution deaths which again mr. epstein has not mentioned the millions of people are killed by fossil fuel poisoning the air if we want to get get away from that which i think we should then yeah people need to switch to electric. i don't think everyone needs to buy a tesla one thing you see happening is, you know, 10 years ago people have laughed at you if you had told them the penetration and electric cars that have today. i think what's gonna happen in the future is that there's this innovation cycle that's driving down renewable energy price driving down all all of these other prices and again remember work again to just to hammer on this point that mr. epstein is really telling you something that's wrong, you know the
lazard numbers you can complain about them. but look at what the, texas. producers are doing they're building wind and solar they're not hippies. they don't they don't care what lizard says they're doing a calculation. they've made the calculation that wind and solar are cheap energy sources now, so certainly this this revolutionary energy that we are now experiencing. this is going to drive innovation. i think everyone will be driving an electric car in you know, 10 or 20 years. it's their electric cars are better than internal combusters saying it's it's like the flat screen tv as we call it 99 versus now, it's ibm selectrics, you know in 1988 you telling me is everyone got to buy a computer. or i said i'm using my ibm selector, right? it's you mentioned the last study and here's another reference to it by another one of our audience members does the lazard 2019 study include the full cost of power including the backup required for intermittent wind and solar generation? yeah. oh, that's a great question. and that's a fundamental mistake that people think about when
they say renewable energy needs back up. so as i talked about it if you wanted to design a grid you don't think it's a mistake to think about this as an energy versus energy source, you want to think about it from a grid standpoint and what you want to do on the grid is you want to generate as much power from fuel savers as you can from wind and solar if you can't get enough power then you turn on your dispatchable power, so it's not that it's it's including the cost of that. i mean that's part of the grid. it's it's just that's completely the wrong way to think about it and i but just specifically i think that the lizard study is just the amount of energy, but again, you're thinking about it wrong if that's the way you think about it. can i respond to that? yes, yes. so i think this is a great difference between us because i think presidential is just completely wrong about this. i just want to re-explain it since i thought i explained it clearly earlier. but so you have to look at the full cost of things. so if you take something like we want all of this solar and wind you can think of that like an unreliable worker who's willing to work cheaply so they say,
okay. i'll work for $18 an hour instead of $20 an hour. but again, there are costs associated. i mentioned transmission costs, but the most important things are backup costs now, i think maybe professor destler's being too literal, but what that really means is the system cost the system costs necessary to take an intermittent unreliable input like solar and wind and turn it into a controllable reliable output and you absolutely have to look at the full cost and he mentioned about there's no correlation. the real thing to look at is what happens to the numbers when you add solar and wind and there's a very strong correlation of the prices going up some of the places he's showing are places that had super cheap electricity already. so there's a lot more distortions here. i just want to point out. this is a huge distortion to act like chart putting the same price on something that is unreliable and something that is reliable as one executive put it i like this analogy. it's like saying, you know putting the same price on a car that works a third of the time and a card that works all the time. they're totally different and the reason that solar and wind are having increased penetration is because we have an unfair
grid that pays the same for reliable and unreliable and then subsidizes unreliable on top of that. this is not some amazing market revolution. this is an economic perversion based on this worship of sun and wind instead of decriminalizing nuclear in the long term and actually getting something done. can i play respond to that? oh, yes. so people have done that study. he says you need to look at the full cost. that's what the studies the the net zero america stay. that's what the berkeley 2035 study. that's what they've done that they have done that. this is not something that we're ignoring and i mean, i mean have you look at me what yes, yes studies. so first of all any any projection, i have a rule that any projection about the future that does not acknowledge. the present is invalid. so all of these studies every single one that i've looked at they're in total deny. they say that solar and wind have made things cheaper already. so that shows you the skill of their accounting something that we know is already made things more expensive. they're denying that so it involves all sorts of denial about the future and then all sorts of making up of
hypothetical things based on faulty assumptions that i go by is what is actually happening europe 10 years ago was saying all the same things you are all the same things they were and they are in a total predicament where they're dependent on russia because they believe these fantasies instead of looking at reality if these ideas are so great implement. one place around the world can be successful. do not force us to ban fossil fuels which is what your advocating in the name of economic. just total fallacies and fantasies. that's shift gears. just a little come on. all right, go ahead. this is true. that's that's i mean there's denial going on, but it's not a great aisle from the energy groups just so they don't shoot the piano player. can any good come of higher average global temperatures down the road if they were to come to pass and you know. i think both of you say that is likely that there's good of
higher global temperatures. no that there will be higher global temperatures. and is there yeah. oh, yeah, definitely. there will be well, let me ask you first alex and then i'll ask you andrew. is there any good that could come up. yeah, so i indicated this but so there's the greening which is huge and it is important with warming. so a fact about warming that i know professor destler knows but it's not publicized i think because it's it sort of incriminating to the warmest dangerous thing is that warming tends to take place in colder places during colder seasons and at colder time, so it's more the world becoming less cold and cold places in times than more warm, you know on the equator and the warmest places and again, even if you think they're significant negatives forming, they're a huge positives people like warmth warmth is crucial to life. he related deaths again are far fewer than cold related deaths today. and so i want to point out a point of philosophy. i think the reason why people don't care about this is they have a philosophy i call. perfect planet premise, which is that the planet we inherited was
perfect and any impact we have is somehow immoral and inevitably self-destructive. this is a primitive religious dogma and i unfortunately, i think most people accepted and certainly most climate scientists accepted and that's why they are so concerned with all these negatives and they don't seem to appreciate how amazingly safe we've made the earth if you look at the world from a pro human perspective again, we're in a climate renaissance not a climate crisis andrew. yeah, so we are the temperature we have now is the best temperature because we are adapted to it. so if you look around the world we have built our entire world around this temperature. so people in siberia build houses on permafrost because they assume the perfect frost is never going to melt and when it melts the houses split, you know in people build cities right on the sea because they assume well, that's where the sea level is going to be in the sea level rises and we have trillions. i won't show you have some slides, but i won't make you sifting me flipping through them we make trillions. tiny adaptations.
so for example bridges when you build a bridge you assume a temperature range because the bridge expands and contracts if the temperature gets outside of that temperature range, you have to repair the bridge and so there are trillions of these it is going to be extremely expensive for us to to adapt now. will there be some positives? i have no doubt. there are some people somewhere that are going to be positive, but let's point out about the thing about, you know, we're warming the nor that we're warming the high latitudes more than we're warming the equator. we're warming the low latitudes a lot. you know, i live in texas. i really don't care what happens in canada. i care what happens in san antonio and austin and in houston and there's gonna be a lot of warming not just in winter, but also in the summer and it's going to be expensive you have to run our air conditioners more we're gonna have i mean, it's going to be very expensive for us to adapt another one from the audience and and i'm gonna skip to the very end. end. it's an interesting question. challenges again conventional thinking can we talk about the co2 parts per million and how the introduction of fossil fuels
saved the planet plants were about to die. so with increased co2, we have green the earth. let me ask you for a standard. yeah is that faulty reasoning is what? i don't think that the planet was about to die at 280 parts per million, which is pre-industrial but the part of our our generating more co2, are we? oh, yeah, we're definitely we're definitely we've increased carbon dioxide about 40% and are we helping plant life and so there yes, so absolutely if that was the only thing that was happening. you certainly would be helping plants. so if you have a greenhouse, you can inject carb dioxide in and people people do that. but of course, that's not what's happening. that's not where that's not the only thing that's happening is i mentioned before in california you have these farmers are ripping up their almond trees because they can't get water. so as the climate warm co2 is going up. okay, that's great for that plant. but again other things are happening and i would also point out that you know actually point
out. i'll sit in there. okay. can i respond? yes, so i mean a big it's definitely true that co2 has benefits the historical perspective is interesting. there are definitely harms of warming as well. but i want to just factor in the two biggest variables which are the enormous benefits of fossil fuels and climate mastery that they make possible. i just want to reiterate so to also feels provide 80% of the world's energy and growing especially in the parts of the world that care most about low cost reliable energy like china the world is drastically short of energy. this is important. context so it's 80% of energy. it's uniquely cost effective in a world that desperately needs more energy and energy is crucial to be to people being able to use machines to make themselves productive and prosperous here. we have solar here we have solar and wind which are subsidized, mandated and lied about, 3% of the world's energy, totally dependent on reliable sources of energy like fossil fuels and
the claim that we can rapidly ban the world's leading a distantly needed source of energy and replace them with solar and wind. this is why i call it mass murder, this would literally end billions of lives prematurely. the details of what co2 does or doesn't do are trivial. anything in the realm of possibilities matterable if we follow andrew dressler's -- >> we accept the assumption of the impact of human activity on check climate change. how much can the us and europe mitigate it when china is the world's largest and india which is soon to be the world's most populist produce so much of the world's carbon emissions? i was there for each of you. >> obviously it is a global problem. the us can't solve the problem by ourselves but that is a
political issue which i probably -- i am not an expert on international negotiations. the point is we can do this physically. we just need to convince -- most of the other countries of the world with a few exceptions, australia and ubs, looking for us leadership on this problem. the us has enormous leadership capabilities if we lead the way other countries will follow. other countries recognize this problem. >> amazing how china and india have no idea what their interests are, they use vastly more fossil fuels in the plant line, fossil fuels are the most cost-effective energy going, that's why people are using so many now and so many in the future. if you care about emission the only demonstrable way to deal
with it is not agreement, we've seen that fail a lot, it is coming up with lower-cost services and no carbon energy, contrary to that it reinforces the criminalization of nuclear, creates grid unfairness that favor the unreliable over nuclear, which is why nuclear plants are being shut down, we need to recognize nuclear has amazing potential, liberate natural gas, this is going to be good in terms of energy and will lower emissions long-term. there is no climate catastrophe, this is a win-win policy, you empower the world and lower emissions over time in a humane way but as long as we are on this solar and wind dogma which is a primitive religious idea that we want our energy through the sun and the wind, we will end of billions of lies prematurely and if we just focus on doing in america we will become worse than germany as with russia right now.
europe has been a leader on this issue and look at them now. >> is going green and luxury postindustrial economy such as ours, or is it unrealistic burden to keep on economies that are still developing. >> green philosophical is the idea of minimizing or laminating human impact on nuclear, dishes based on primitive provisional primitive philosophy which is the idea our impact on the world is somehow immoral and self-destructive like you violate the commandment and it is wrong and you will go to hell and the global warming narrative is like a modern hell narrative, 3 more degrees fahrenheit and 80 years, no convoluted's middle the world. this is a primitive view. it is not a view held by
anybody who lived in nature. the world you live in and you think of that is natural, do you support and adopt these green policies and what we do is we have a non-green society but impose anti-human green policies on the rest of the world in the name of sustainable develop and telling them not to build coal plants or gas and somehow use solar and wind to power flashlights or charge a cell phone instead of having a real economy so this modern green movement is fundamentally immoral and in practice arming the poorest people in the world. >> is there implicit -- it is a broad brush -- >> the people that work on this, i'm amazed by this discussion. the people that work on this and do the peer reviewed research identified the cheapest energy as wind and solar. alex epstein is making stuff up
when he says it is more extensive, show me a study that shows. the problem with his debate is we can't really check each other on the fly but if you show me a study i will read it and we can argue about it but the point is it is not elitist, it is the cheapest energy. of people in africa or less-developed places cannot afford renewable energy they cannot afford fossil fuels especially when you add in to master the climate. mastery of the climate, mastery of the climate is incredibly expensive, building seawalls is expensive, building flood control infrastructure is expensive. it is going to impoverish us. i don't think it is going to end human society but it is certainly possible and i said this initially, we are going to be spending all of our time, we are going to be spending all their money just trying to stay alive and master of the climate.
it is not cheap. look at the seawalls, look at all the kind of investments people have to make. >>, respond to this because it keeps coming up. i felt i dealt with it. when we actually see -- i'm very big on you make predictions about the future acknowledging the present which we haven't experienced, increasing the co2 and's for for 170 years, had two degrees fahrenheit of warming, we are talking 3 more and what we have seen is mastery hasn't been a cost, it is drastically reduced the rate of climate-related disasters, mastery of something we do anyway to deal with the dangers of nature and if you look at the kind of change we are talking about they are extremely slow and involved in a civilization that is always rebuilding itself anyway. these are slow master of all changes, keeping billions of people in poverty is not a slow masterful change. i keep pointing out every real-world example around the world where you try to use unreliable solar and wind is increasing the cost. a study by a select --
charlatans, mostly not economist or environmentalists who decided to make up economic senator hughes, most know that fossil fuels are crucial to the future including economists in china and india are making real decisions this massive energy denial to justify this inhuman policy. if it is so great find a place and make it work, it is killing people and making people insecure. >> that is wrong and the data. the problem with these debates, i can't go to the website but i will do it after this. >> i like conflict and wish somebody could get a feel of me doing this. let me do a time check here. let me do a time check with you. we want to reserve a minute or
so with each of our speakers to sum up what they've come here to say and what they have to say. at the same time determine the amount of questions to show how learned you are, we've only scratched the surface. i would like to get to more if there's time. i'm not sure how you want to do that. let's go with some more of these, some of them overlap and that is why am trying to call on -- some have been addressed in various ways but let's get back, a number of them touch on the cost of renewables, the real world cost and the number of these pointedly addressed to andrew, you are variously -- and you are andrew dressler, a number of things in that regard. you say your electric car cost you $10 to fill up and will
continue to do so because renewables are the cheapest form of energy. what you think california and europe have such high lectures to be prices when they've built the most amount of renewable energy infrastructure? >> good question. you have to look at the time of when people build out there infrastructure. if you look at the share, 10 years ago solar was the most expensive power and today solar is the least expensive power so germany built a lot of power when it was expensive. that will drive up the cost. we should thank germany because they are spending a lot of money to drive the price down and now it is the cheapest -- they are building solar, 100 gw of solar in the next few years. people don't like to hear that. you can't imagine how many people email me about that.
we can't have a reasoned debate about that if you don't know the revolution we are going through right now. >> i will try to say something noncompetitive. it is true as i mentioned, solar and wind are not replacements for fossil fuels, they are cost adding supplements because they depend on near one hundred% reliable infrastructure so it is true that as some of the prices go down they will add less cost but they still do add cost everywhere they are used. there was one other point i wanted to make, what was the last point i made, i will try to remember it. >> he wanted to ask about the university of chicago epic study. is that mentioned already? >> neither of us mentioned that. >> you are familiar with it.
and audience points a study that shows renewables are more expensive is the 2019 university of chicago epic study. are you familiar with this study, this was directed to andrew dressler. >> i'm not familiar with the study. >> i'm familiar with that study. these studies tend to be too conservative. we have to keep looking. one thing is the ability, solar and wind because they are unreliable, replacing the first 10% is cheaper than replacing the second 10%, we have more unreliable infrastructure to get a larger percentage but you need the full unreliable infrastructure as well. someplace like texas spends $70 billion according to robert bryce to get to 21% solar and wind so to get to andrew dressler's 75% number, 3. 5% times that come you have to spend the sun infrastructure and really important point this
drives up costs so what happens is you defund reliable power plants, you defund resiliency. andrew dressler talks about the free market is doing, it is subsidy mandate, the texas grid pays the same for unreliable electricity, less reliable electricity. not one person in this room including andrew dressler would pay the same amount per reliable employee and unreliable employee. this is a corruption. we are not talking about the 80% of energy that is not electricity or billions of people, the idea that solar and wind can justify rapidly banning fossil fuels with no cost is a murderous farce. >> texas, the second most populous state has a renewable energy standard mandate like colorado which is i understand is pretty aggressive but doesn't have one at is that part of what is driving some of this? >> the way the texas grid
works, not all of texas, it is a free market energy system and alex epstein is right that they have an auction every day were energy producers come in and say this is how much i will charge for energy and they say 60 gw and figure to take the cheapest 60 gw of power and wind and solar because the cost is 0 they have an advantage and i 100% agree the texas market because of that the incentive for energy producers is to continue building wind and solar forever because that's the cheapest energy source. there is a disagreement here, you may not believe me now but you will believe me in a few years. i remember that guy saying you will understand i'm writing a few years if not sooner so in texas people are building wind
and solar because that's the cheapest energy and you will end up, keep adding wind and solar. will eventually create an unstable grid. you need to have further power on the grid, there 0 incentive to build nuclear in texas or to build other types of power and that's a problem with the market, not a problem with the energy, that's a big difference we have. wind and solar are not a problem, the problem is the market, we need to redesign the market to give some advantage to the power, you have to have that on the grid? >> how do you do that? >> it is a market. we will give you extra -- i'm not a -- >> it is the puc, the texas legislature. >> it does require more regulation. >> absolutely. the government needs to come in and solve that problem. >> the way to think of it is the proper policy, the
government is monopolizing something, long-term system cost analysis, look at the electricity needs and what mixture of things will read that in the long term, most effective at the lowest price and when you do that you baseload things like nuclear, decriminalize call, to some extent natural gas. remember the point i made before, the main distortion involved in andrew's plan for solar and wind is he's not looking at the full cost but it is important even with the raw material things like solar panels and wind turbines those do not go down indefinitely because they are real physical materials, we are seeing a lot of those materials going up and in particular chinese solar panels are dominant because they involve chinese, china is not using solar panels to make solar panels, they are using call to make solar panels, wise that of solar panels are so cheap, they are using:that's an advantage they have over us and the other thing is they are using low environmental standards and slave labor so -- somebody wanted me to say that i guess.
the south's cotner so cheap but they are using slaves, that's relevant to the situation, china is using slaves to make solar panels, that's relevant as well. it is a humanitarian evil but it is one of smaller distortions, it is important but the overall picture of energy is a crazy distortion. >> what you said right now address is one of the questions coming from the audience, i like to give the audience questions, credit for their knowledge and insights, this one was directed to you, can you ask plane mining is manufacturing environmental impact compared to texas, variation on him but what about that, whether you want to look at that or what alex just brought up the they are making these solar panels cheap but they are doing it with call. some point in the production
chain. setting aside questions of ethics and morality, is there a cart before the horse -- >> a couple responses, china 5 years ago in inner mongolia, you drive down the road and there will be a coal-fired power plant under construction at a few kilometers away you can see wind turbines and as i said i'm not an expert on the chinese grid. my take on that is they recognize they need firm, dispatch blend renewable energy, they understand that. >> us laypeople, when you say firm dispatch up your talking -- >> power you can turn on and off. it could be nuclear, geothermal. it could be hydrogen, hydroelectric, long-term storage, batteries so they are building fossil fuels but need to stabilize the grid, you need to have some power. i wish they were building
nuclear but they are not doing that. as far as the other part of your question. >> it was -- >> the supply chain issues. there are supply chain issues. >> what does that due to climate action if you are using fossil fuels to create -- >> i don't see a problem with that. once the solar panels are available you shut off the fossil fuels. that is how you make advances, use the power you have to get the power system you want. >> just about a minute, let's keep the order we started with. you go first, alex second. >> i don't really care -- >> your memory is better than mine. >> i will go first. >> i want to reiterate what i
said. the key methodology here, look at the full context, precisely at the harms of co2 and the benefits of co2, the fact of climate mastery and fossil fuels, look at the reality today and recognize how the world works, the situation is fossil fuels have unique, massive, irreplaceable benefits, billions of people who have energy and people who needed, this is based on while distortions including the idea that solar and wind are insecure even though the supply chain is controlled by china. ten specific distortions andrew dressler engaged in. the net 0 movement is based on distortions about denying fossil fuel benefits and denying climate mastery and when you look objectively at the full context it is obvious the world needs vastly more energy, most needs to come from fossil fuels in the next several decades tension that 0,
a limited and fossil fuels rapidly is a death sentence for billions of people and should be morally condemned as an evil idea based on falsehoods and that is what i tried to explain. >> as i sit at the beginning i will say again, we need power, no one doubts that. the question is what is the power source, that is the best powers was forced to use? a lot of people have done analyses and shown that we can significantly eliminate our fossil fuel use which i don't think there's any analysis alex can point to that says that. he said a lot of things that are simply not correct. a lot of facts that are just wrong. i'm happy to engage with anybody all the evidence hall the people who are experts in this suggest we can do this, wind and solar are the cheapest energy of the future. look what people are installing now. the idea of decreasing the cost of energy is not correct to the grid. this is a problem of solving
climate change, fossil fuels poison the atmosphere. we haven't talked anything about that, with millions of does and it is a security issue, look at ukraine, the price of gas at the pump, these are things that don't exist in the world of renewable energy, those are significant disadvantages. >> let me just point out 56 people had questions, it goes to show how engaged you wall or with this debate and how engaging a debate like this is, thanks to both of them in the spirit of steamboat institute coming together civilly and engaging like this for all of our benefit. i'm very impressed by this, the fact that this forum is here to provide such an exchange.
let's applaud both of them. [applause] >> thank you, gentlemen. it takes a lot of courage to get on the debate stage. many people refuse to do. [applause] >> c-span brings you an unfiltered view of government. our newsletter word for word recaps the day for you from the halls of congress to daily press briefings to remarks from the president. scan the qr code to sign up for this email and stay up-to-date on everything happening in washington each day. subscribe today using the qr code or visit c-span.org/connect. c-span now is a free mobile apps featuring your unfiltered view of what is happening live
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