On Feb. 23, Alex Epstein shared his motivation behind his work in the oil and gas industry with Texas Tech University students and faculty members of the Rawls College of Business and the School of Law.
Epstein, an author and humanist, spoke as part of the Energy Law Lecture Series at the School of Law. An evening lecture featured Epstein as the guest speaker for the Jerome Schuetzeberg Distinguished Lectureship Series sponsored by the Area of Energy, Economics and Law.
Jessica Greene, a senior energy commerce major, said she enjoyed hearing Epstein speak because he provided a different point of view on the use of fossil fuels versus green energy.
"I thought it was really well-informed and followed his book," Greene said. "I enjoyed hearing him speak about nuclear energy and its impact on the world."
Many of the lectures focused on the use of fossil fuels as opposed to green energy and how Epstein came to his conclusion that using fossil fuels is the most logical decision for everyone. Nine years of researching energy showed him it was also the most moral decision for current and future generations.
"As soon as I started learning about how important energy was, I started examining it from the perspective of, 'How good is our thinking about energy,'" Epstein said. "Are we thinking about this in a way that's going to lead to good results or are we thinking about it in a way that's going to lead to bad results?"
He quickly came to a decision.
"We're thinking about it in a way that's going to lead to horrifically bad results," Epstein said. "The way we think about energy is completely illogical."
He said most people fall under two views when it comes to fossil fuel usage. The first group views fossil fuels as unnecessary and quickly replaceable with an alternative. The second views fossil fuels as a necessary evil that can't be eliminated with quickly for fear of the economic impact.
Epstein disagrees with both points.
"I don't think fossil fuels are an unnecessary evil; yet I don't think they are a necessary evil," Epstein said. "I think they are a superior good. I think we use fossil fuels because overall, they are the best tool for the job."
In fact, Epstein said fossil fuels should be used even more. Making this decision is a moral decision, he said, and one that takes into account all the positives, negatives and alternatives of each option, something that is often missing when debating fossil fuels versus green energy.
"Ultimately, it's about human beings," Epstein said. "It's about human welfare and that's both in the present and the future."