Much of the developed world wouldn’t be able to enjoy the quality of life it currently enjoys without the benefits of fossil fuels. For example, crops that are harvested using gasoline-powered equipment feed millions of people, while petrochemicals are used to manufacture materials for life-saving medical equipment and supplies. However, the oil and gas industry hasn’t been very successful in communicating these benefits of fossil fuels to the general public. In a keynote speech at the 2017 SPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference, Alex Epstein, author of “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” asserted that the industry shouldn’t approach the public debate about fossil fuels from a fact-based view. It should look at it in terms of competing moral frameworks, he said.
In DC’s video from the conference on 24 January, Mr Epstein explains how the industry’s opponents have adopted an anti-impact moral framework, which argues that the end goal should be to minimize human impact on the planet. In response, the industry should reframe the conversation around a pro-human moral framework, in which fossil fuels are used to help humanity flourish.