Alex Epstein (American writer)

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Alex Epstein
Epstein in 2018
Epstein in 2018
Alma materDuke University (BA)
SubjectPhilosophy, ethics, energy, environment, industry, fossil fuels
Notable worksThe Moral Case for Fossil Fuels

Alexander Joseph Epstein (/ˈɛpstn/) is an American author, energy theorist, and industrial policy pundit.[1] He is the founder and president of the Center for Industrial Progress, a for-profit organization located in San Diego, California.[2][3] Epstein is also the New York Times best-selling author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels (2014), in which he advocates the use of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas.[4] Epstein is a former adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and a former fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute.[5][6] Epstein has cast doubt on the degree of scientific consensus for climate change and the degree of human impact on the phenomenon.[7][8]

Early life and education[edit]

The Objective Standard, an objectivist periodical, provides background on Epstein. It notes that Epstein grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland and attended Montgomery County Public Schools. In childhood his favorite subjects were mathematics and science, and in high school he became interested in politics and humanities. He cites Ayn Rand as his greatest influence, having been especially impressed by her novel Atlas Shrugged. Among his other favorite writers is Thomas Sowell.[9]

At Duke University, where for two years he was the editor and publisher of The Duke Review, Epstein in his own words "studied a combination of philosophy and computer science"[9] graduating with a BA.[10]


Ayn Rand Institute[edit]

Epstein was a writer and fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute, a non-profit organization in Irvine, California that promotes Ayn Rand's novels and her philosophy of Objectivism, between 2004 and 2011.[11] It was at the Ayn Rand Institute that Epstein was introduced to the Koch brothers, who fund the organisation.[12]

Center for Industrial Progress[edit]

Center for Industrial Progress
Center for Industrial Progress Color Logo.png
Center for Industrial Progress logo
FocusEnergy, industry, fossil fuels
HeadquartersSan Diego, California
Alex Epstein

In 2011 Epstein founded the Center for Industrial Progress (CIP), which he calls a "for-profit think tank".[13][14]

In 2012, Epstein debated American environmentalist Bill McKibben while representing CIP at an event held at Duke University.[15]

In 2013, Rolling Stone placed Epstein and the Center for Industrial Progress on their list of top Global Warming Deniers.[16] Epstein wrote a rebuttal to the piece in Forbes.[17] In his rebuttal, Epstein also criticizes the term global warming denier, which he claims is a smear tactic intended to liken critics of environmentalism to Holocaust deniers.[17]

In 2014, Epstein and CIP publicly supported the Keystone Pipeline.[18]

In 2015, The Guardian published an opinion piece by Jason Wilson critical of Epstein and CIP, stating, "Epstein's work has been popular and influential on the right because it is a particularly fluent, elaborate form of climate denialism. The CIP prides itself on being able to train corporate leaders to 'successfully outmessage "environmentalists"'."[19] He also criticizes Epstein for being an "ideologue" funded by petrochemical billionaires, the Koch brothers.[19]

In 2016, Epstein testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee at the invitation of the committee's chairman, James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who has called climate change a "hoax." Epstein suggested that rising carbon dioxide levels "benefit plants and Americans." When questioned by committee member Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) as to why Epstein, whose academic training is in philosophy, was even there, Epstein responded, "to teach you how to think clearly." Boxer replied "... you are a philosopher, not a scientist, and I don’t appreciate getting lectured by a philosopher about science."[20][21]

Epstein has contributed opinion pieces to several media outlets on climate and energy issues, including USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and Fox News.[22][23][24]



  1. ^ "Making the Case for the Benefits of Fossil Fuels". Bloomberg.
  2. ^ Richardson, Valerie. "Pro-fossil fuel advocate roughed up by climate change activists". Washington Times.
  3. ^ Armstrong, Arl Alex Epstein on the Moral Case for Fossil Fuels. "The Objective Standard". January 14, 2015
  4. ^ "Best Selling Science Books". The New York Times. December 15, 2014.
  5. ^ Retrieved April 24, 2020
  6. ^ Alex Epstein “The Ayn Rand Institute” January 13, 2015
  7. ^ "Texas officials circulated climate skeptic's talking points on power failures during storm". NBC News. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  8. ^ Brasch, Sam. "How Has The Right Shifted Tactics On Climate Change? A Debate In Boulder Had Some Answers". Colorado Public Radio. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  9. ^ a b Lipana, Joshua (November 17, 2011). "Interview with Alex Epstein, Founder of Center for Industrial Progress". The Objective Standard. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  10. ^ "Energy". Ayn Rand Institute (Press release). September 23, 2008. Archived from the original on January 9, 2015. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  11. ^ "Alex Epstein". Ayn Rand Institute. Archived from the original on January 9, 2015. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  12. ^
  13. ^ About Us “Center for Industrial Progress” January 1, 2015
  14. ^ "Texas officials circulated climate skeptic's talking points on power failures during storm". NBC News. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  15. ^ "DEBATE: McKibben vs. Epstein—Are Fossil Fuels a Risk to the Planet?". EcoWatch.
  16. ^ Rolling Stone. "Global Warming's Denier Elite". Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  17. ^ a b Epstein, Alex. "Rolling Stone Attacks Global Warming 'Deniers' As Anti-Science, Then Commits Big Scientific Blunder". Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  18. ^ Hassan, Sara House passes bill on Keystone XL pipeline “Al Jazeera America”. January 13, 2015
  19. ^ a b "There is no moral case for coal in Australia, just an imported PR line". Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  20. ^ "CLIMATE: 'Moral Case for Fossil Fuels' sparks angry Senate debate". Retrieved 2016-04-19.
  21. ^ "Examining the Role of Environmental Policies on Access to Energy and Economic Opportunity". U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Retrieved 2016-04-19.
  22. ^ Epstein, Alex. "Warming is mild and manageable: Opposing view". Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  23. ^ Epstein, Alex. "Obama Follows Nixon on Oil Spills". Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  24. ^ Epstein, Alex. "Fossil fuels: The moral choice". Retrieved July 8, 2017.

External links[edit]