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tv   Debate on Climate Change  CSPAN  August 26, 2022 6:01am-7:04am EDT

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we want we have this 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
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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
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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 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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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?
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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
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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.
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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 and wind which are
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subsidized mandated and lied about but they are 3% of the world's energy that are totally dependent on the reliable sources of energy mostly fossil fuels and we have this claim that we can rapidly ban the world's leading and desperately needed source of energy to you know, and replace them with solar went. so this is this is why i call it mass murder this would literally end billions of lives prematurely so the details of what co2 does or doesn't do are trivial anything within the realm of possibility is masterful and nothing compared to the benefits. we will lose if we follow a professor destler's policy. okay. i'm going to ask you each of you if we accept the assumptions about the impact of human on climate change. how much can the us and you're and you're mitigated when china soon to be the world's largest economy and india, which is soon to be the world's. most populous male already be the world's most populous produce so much of the world's carbon emissions, and i have a follow-up question of that, but let me throw that one out there for each of you starting with
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them with you andrew. oh, okay. yeah, so obviously it's a global problem. i mean the us can't solve the problem by ourselves, but you know, that's that's a political issue which i really probably you know, i'm not someone who is an expert on on international negotiations and you know the point is we can do this physically. you know, we just need to convince the country as well now, i will say that most of the other countries of the world with a few exceptions maybe australia in the us are kind of convinced are already convinced. they're really looking for us leadership on this problem. i mean the us has enormous. leadership capabilities if we kind of lead the way other countries will follow i mean other countries recognize these problems. it's amazing. how china and india have no idea what they're interests are because they're using vastly more fossil fuels, you know, china has 200 plus cold plants new cold plants in the pipeline. so as i said before, fossil fuels are by far the most
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cost-effective energy going forward. that's why people are using so many of them now and why they're planning to use so many of them in the future if you care about emissions again, the only demonstrable way to deal with this is not agreements that we've seen that fail a lot in terms of co2 emissions. it's coming up with lower cost sources of low carbon and no carbon energy and the insistence on solar and wind is contrary to that because it reinforces the criminalization of nuclear. it creates great unfairness that favors these up and down unreliables in favor of you know over nuclear, which is why nuclear plants are being shut down. so we need to recognize that nuclear has amazing potential prioritized decriminalizing it liberate natural gas. this is going to be good for the world in terms of energy and it's gonna lower emissions long term. there is no climate catastrophe. so this is the win-win policy you empower the world and you lower a missions over time in a totally humane way, but as long as we're on this solar and wind dogma, which which i think is just this prim religious idea that we want our energy from the
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sun in the wind as long as we're doing this we're going to end billions of lives prematurely and if we just focus on doing it in america, we're going to become even worse than germany is with russia right now. europe has been the leader on this issue and look at them. now. let's delve even further into the morality of it. is going green a luxury of post-industrial economy such as ours or that's what i'm told our economy is. and is it an unrealistic burden to heap on economies that are still developing? let me ask you first felix. yeah, so i mean green philosophically is the idea of minimizing or eliminating human impact on nature. and as i said before, i think this is based on primitive religion or primitive philosophy, which is the idea that our impact on the world is somehow immoral and also somehow inevitably self-destructive it sort of like you violate the commandment and it's wrong but you're also going to go to hell and the modern global warming narrative is like a modern hell narrative. there's no plausibility like three more degrees fahrenheit and 80 years.
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there's no plausibility that's going to end the world but people have this religious view that like, we're really going to hell so this is a primitive view and yeah it it's not of you that's held by anybody who actually lives in nature. so if you live in nature you understand you have to master nature only when you've been so elevated by other people's mastery that you take for granted the world you live in and you think of that as natural do you support and adopt these green policies? and unfortunately what we do is we have a totally non-green society, but then we impose these anti-human green policies. on the rest of the world in the name of so-called sustainable development telling them not to build coal plants not to build gas and then to somehow use solar and wind and you know, maybe use it to power a flashlight or charge a cell phone instead of having a real economy. so this modern green movement, i think is fundamentally a moral and in practice is harming. the poorest people in the world. is there an implicit elitism andrew in going green in the green movement and i realize that's a broad brush, but you know, i think that the people that work on this i'm kind of
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amazed about this discussion because the people that work on this and actually do the peer reviewed research have identified the cheapest energy is wind and solar i mean mr. epstein is literally making stuff up when he says it's more expensive show me a study show me a study that shows that i mean with these debates is we can't really check each other on the fly, but show me study and i will read it and then we can argue about an email or something, but the point is it is not a lead. it's because it is the cheapest energy if they if people cannot if people in in africa or less develop places afford renewable energy. they cannot afford fossil fuels especially when you add in all of the costs you have to spend to master the climate mastery of the climate. it's emphasizes mastery. the climate is incredibly expensive building seawalls is expensive building flood control infrastructure is expensive it is going to impoverish us. all right? i don't think it's going to end human society, but it's certainly possible and i might say plausible again. i said this initially that we're
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going to be spending all of our time the people alive in to 100. i don't plan to be but other people in this room might be we're gonna be spending all of their money. just trying to stay alive and master the climate it it is not cheap. look at the sea walls. look at all of the kind of investments people have to make can i respond to this one? because it keeps coming up and i felt like i dealt with it, but apparently i haven't so what we actually see like i'm very big on you make predictions about the future acknowledging the present and we have this experience. we've been increasing the amount of co2 in the atmosphere for 170 years. we've had two degrees of warming right two degrees fahrenheit of warming we're talking about three more and what we've seen is mastery. it hasn't been a cost. it's drastically reduced the rate of climate related disaster debt. so mastery is something we do anyway to deal with the dangers of nature and if you look at the kinds of changes that we're talking about they're extremely slow and they are involved in a civilization that's always rebuilding itself anyway, so these are very slow masterful changes keeping billions of
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people in poverty is not a slow masterful change and i keep pointing out every real world example around the world where you try to use unreliable solar and wind is increasing the cost. and as i said these different studies by a select group of what i would regarded charlatans who are mostly not economist, they're mostly environmentalists who decided to make up economic scenarios. they deny the present and most real energy economists know, at fossil fuels are crucial for the future including the economist in china and india who are actually making real decisions. so there's just massive energy denial to justify this inhuman policy and again if it's so great find a place and make it work because in practice it's just killing people and making people insecure like europe right now. this is incredibly live. let me going up when they add renewables that is wrong in the data. i can't i mean the problem with these debates is we can't i can't go to the eia website and show he's wrong, but i'll do it after this is really great. i do like conflict. i just wish somebody could get a still of me doing this, you know, like and maybe ducky.
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let me do a time check here, okay. let me look for it. let me do it. thanks, jennifer. let me do a time check with you jennifer. we want to reserve a minute or so for each of our speakers to sum up. what they've come here to say and what they have to say in the debate at the same time a tremendous amount of questions that show how learned you all are have come in. we've only scratched the surface of them. i would like to get a few more if there's time for that if there's not 15 minutes, right? well, i and i'm not sure how you wanted to do that you will you're saying. 12 minutes so if that sounds good, let's go with some of more of these some of them overlap and that's why i'm trying to call and pick and choose some of them also have been addressed in various ways, but let's get back to some of the a number of them touch on the costs of renewable. so just the real world costs of them and and a number of these were even pointedly addressed to andrew. so let's and by the way, you are very referred to as desler and dressler just for the record you are destler right de ssl here.
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yes. and and a number of fall into that rubric. let's use this one here. you said that your electric car costs you $10 to fill up and will continue to do so for the future because renewables are the cheapest form of energy. why do you think california and europe have such high electricity prices when they have built the most amount of renewable energy infrastructure. yeah. it's a good question. so so i think you have to look at the time of when people build out their infrastructure. so if you looked at the lazard plot showed, it showed that 10 years ago solar was the most expensive power and today solar is the least expensive power and so germany built a lot of power when it was expensive. and so, you know that's going to drive up the cost. we should thank germany because there that they're spending a lot of money on it helped drive the price down. so now it's the cheapest powers you can see that's what texas energy producers are doing. they're building solar 100
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gigawatts. so learn the next few years. so, you know, it's cheap. i mean, i know people don't like to hear that. okay, i get i was on a pod get very popular podcast recently and you can't imagine how many people you know, email me about that, but we're going through an energy revolution you all have to know that you can't have a reason debate about that if you don't know the revolution we're going under we're through right now. alex i'm going to try to say something non-repetitive what i've said before the okay, so this again, it's all the same management. so it's true that i mentioned solar and wind are not replacements for fossil fuels their cost adding supplements because they again they depend on a 100% or near 100% 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 forget. there's one other point that i wanted to make. what was the last point i made i guess i'll try to remember it,
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but you wanted to ask about the university of chicago epic study now, does that mentioned already? i i'm no neither of us has mentioned that okay, but you're familiar with it and and one of our an audience member asks or points out a study that shows that renewables are more expensive is the 2019 university of chicago epic study. are you familiar with this study? this was directed to professor deathler, but if both of you are familiar, we'll start with not i'm not familiar with that study. so yes, i am familiar with that study. i think these studies tends to be way too conservative. so we have to keep looking at things. so one thing is the ability to like solarwind because they're unreliable like replacing the first 10% is cheaper than replacing the second 10% replacing the third 10% so what you're doing is you have to add more and more of this unreliable infrastructure to get a larger and larger percentage, but you need the whole unreliable infrastructure as well. so if you look at a place like texas, they've already spent about seven seventy billion dollars according i think to robert bryce, you know to get to
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21% solar and wind so to get to andrew destler's 75% number, you know, you're you're three and a half times that you have to spend all of this new money on infrastructure and what a really important point is this drives up cost. and so what happens is you defund reliable power plants. you defund resiliency professor dessert keeps talking about. oh the free market is doing this again. it's subsidies mandates preference. it's the texas grid pay is the same for reliable electricity as reliable electricity. not one person in this room including professor destler would pay the same amount for a reliable employee and an unreliable employee. so this is just a total corruption, and we're not even talking about the 80% of energy that is not electricity, and we're not talking about the billions of people who lack it. so the idea that solar and wind can can justify rapidly banning fossil fuels with no cost is just a murderous farce. it does texas the states the nation's second most populous state. have a renewable energy standard
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mandate like colorado's which is i understand and i mean as a longtime colorado and i think it's pretty aggressive, but does it have one and is that part of what's driving some of this? no. no, so the way the texas grid works the way the ercott grid, it's not all of texas is that it's a free. it's a free market energy system. and mr. epstein is right that they they have an auction every day where energy producers come in and say this is how much i'm gonna this is how much i will charge you for energy and they fit in urcott says, okay. we need 60 gigawatts and they figure okay, we're gonna take the cheapest 60 gigawatts of power and wind and solar because they're marginal cost of power is zero. they have an advantage and i i absolutely 100% agree the texas market and be because of that the incentive for energy producers is to continue building wind and solar essentially forever because that's the cheapest energy source, and i understand there's a disagreement here all say is you guys may not believe me now that you will believe me in a few years a few years ago.
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i remember that guy's name, but it was destler dressler, but he was right you will you will understand. i am right in a few years if not sooner so so in texas people are building wind and solar because that's the cheapest energy and you're gonna end up with you're gonna keep adding wind and solar and that will eventually create an unstable grid as i talked about beginning you need to have firm dispatchable power on your grid and there's zero incentive for you to build nuclear in texas or to build, you know other other types of firm power and that's a problem with the market. it's not a problem with the energy and that's a big difference we have, you know, when and solar are not the problem here. the problem is the market you need to redesign the market to give some advantage to spatul power because you have to have that on the grid. how do you do that? but you just need some market you just say for firm dispatchable power will give you extra. i mean, i know i'm not a but i mean who's the weed? oh, it's it's the it's ercott. it's the is the texas legislature so it does require more regulation of the market?
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oh, yeah, absolutely. absolutely crazy government needs to come in and solve that problem. yeah, it requires rules. but again, so the way to think of it is the proper policy is a form if the government has monopolizing something. that's what i call a long-term system cost analysis. so you look at the electricity needs and then you look at what mixture of things will meet that in the long term being most effective at the lowest price and when you do that you tend to favor base load things like nuclear if it was decriminalized coal to some extent natural gas. i remember the point that i missed before and it's important. so the main distortion involved in andrew's claims of solar wind is he's not looking at the full cost. so that's the main thing but it's important that even with the raw material things like solar panels and wind turbines. those do not go down indefinitely because they are real physical materials what we're seeing now is a lot of those materials are going up and in particular chinese solar panels are dominant because they involve chinese coal china does not using solar panels to make solar panels. they're using coal to make solar panels. why is that of solar panels are so so they're using coal and that's an advantage they have
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over us and the other thing is they're using low environmental standards. and the other thing is they're using slave labor. so you're like, oh great. somebody wanted me to say that i guess it's like saying, oh my god, like the south's cotton is so cheap. it's like yeah, but they're using slaves. that's kind of relevant to the situation. well china's using slaves to make solar panels that's relevant as well. so this is not the it's a human. it's a humanitarian evil, but it's one of us this one of the smaller distortions professor destler is either engaged in or repeating without knowledge, but it is an important one, but overall this picture of energy is just a crazy distortion and alex what you said right now addresses at least one of the questions that's coming from our audience. i always like to give the audience questions credit for their for their both their knowledge and they're sort of their insights. this one was directed to you and said, can you explain the mining manufacturing environmental impacts of wind and solar compared to a drilling rig in texas? it's sort of a variation on the theme but what about that whether you want look at that a drilling really in texas or what
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about what would alex just brought up now is you know, yeah, they're making these nifty solar panels cheap, but they're doing it with coal. it's at some point in the production chain is setting aside questions of ethics and morality everything. i mean, is there a sort of a cart before the horse? yeah, okay, so i have a couple responses to that first off. so i was in china probably five years ago in inner mongolia and you drive down the road and there'd be a coal-fired power plant under construction and then a few kilometers away. you could actually see wind turbines up and you know, as i said, i'm not an expert on the chinese grid, but my take on that is that they recognize they need both firm dispatchable and renewable energy that they understand that everybody understands that and just for those of us late people here when you say firm dispatchable use this term before you're talking about power you turn on and off right? no, it could be nuclear. it could be geothermal. it's power. you can turn you can always yeah, it could be hydrogen. it could be hydro hydroelectric. there are lots of firm dispatchable tech could be long term storage batteries.
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so there's lots of things and they understand that so yes, they are building fossil fuels because they need to stabilize the grid and they understand you need to have some fossil. you need to have some firm dispatchable power and i wish they were building nuclear last they're not doing that now as far as the other part of your question, which which i can't remember what it was what was other part of a question. well, it was just all it was all wrapped one. it was just supply chain issues. certainly. there are supply chain issues the irony i guess and well and also is that is that look at what does that do to to climate action if in fact you are using traditional fossil fuels to create. oh, yeah. look, i don't see a problem with that. look if right now use fossil fuels a great solar panels once a solar panels are available. you can shut off the fossil fuels. i mean, that's how you that's how you make advances use a power. you have to get to the power system you want. let me ask each of you now to do a summation just about a minute and let's just keep the order that we started with. so andrew you go first and alex you go second. and again, he was gonna go first
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on the conclusion on but i'm not really care. i can do it. your memory is better than mine. that is yes. that's exactly right. would you like to do that out? i'm gonna go first. okay, sure, so i kind of want to just reiterate what i said if the key methodology here is you need to look at the full context. so you need to look precisely at the harms of co2 the benefits of co2 the factor of climate mastery the fact of fossil feels benefits if you actually look at the reality today, you actually recognize how the world works. the situation is fossil fuels have unique massive and near-term irreplaceable benefits both for billions of people who have energy and for the billions more who need it the claims that they're not necessary are based on wild distortions including by the way the idea that solar and winder insecure even though the whole supply chain is controlled by china. i forgot to mention that distortion, so i think i pointed out about 10 specific distortions that professor destler has engaged in don't mean to attack him personally, but the whole net zero movement is based on distortions about denying fossil fuels benefits and denying climate mastery and
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when you actually look objectively at the full context, it is obvious that the world needs vastly more energy most of that needs to come from fossil fuels for the next several decades and net zero eliminating fossil fuels rapidly is a death sentence for billions of people and should be morally condemned as like just an evil idea based on falsehoods. and so that's what i've tried to explain today. thank you alexander. yeah, so as i said beginning, i'll say again. we need power. no one doubts that the question is. what's the power source? that's the best power source for us to use a lot of people have done analyzes that have shown that we can significantly eliminate our fossil fuel use. i don't think there's any analysis that alice can point to that says that he says a lot of things which i think are simply not correct a lot of facts that are just wrong and you know, i'm happy to engage with anybody in the audience if you email me and be happy to look into these things, but i mean all of the evidence of all of the people who are experts in this suggest we can do this when in solar are the cheapest energy of the
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future. all right, look at what people are installing now the idea that adding it increases the cost of energy is not correct. to the grid, you know, it's just this is a problem solving climate change is a huge risk. fossil fuels poise in the atmosphere. we haven't talked to anything about that that's millions of deaths and there's a security issue. i mean right now look at ukraine look at the price of gas at the pump. these are things that don't exist in a world with renewable energies. those are significant disadvantages. thank you andrew. thank you both. let me let me just point out that 56 people sent us questions. and obviously as i said, we were only able to scratch the service it goes to show how engaged you all were with this debate and how engaging in debate like this is thanks to both of them for in the spirit of steamboat institute coming together civilly. civilly and and and engaging like this for all of our benefit people of starkly different views, and i'm actually very impressed by this just not even
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by this the debate so much is by the fact that that this forum is here to provide just such an exchange for all of our enlightened and food for thought. so let's applied both of them for courage to get on a debate stage and there are many people who refuse to do it. so kudos to professor destler
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