25 holiday Power Facts about energy and climate

By Alex Epstein

If this year's holiday discussions veer toward energy and climate issues, I've got you covered. Here are 25 facts that will make any honest person think twice about today's anti-fossil-fuel narrative.

Originally published on December 24, 2023

As you sit down at the dinner table this holiday season, I expect many of you will find yourselves in conversations about energy and climate with friends and family who may have come to inaccurate conclusions, in part because they are missing a lot of the relevant facts.

So, I’ve compiled 25 true, succinct, powerful facts about energy and and climate. Each “Power Fact” has significant implications and should make any honest person think twice about the anti-fossil-fuel narrative.

Together these facts show that the world needs more, not less, fossil fuels for as many people as possible to be productive, prosperous, and safe from climate—a job that cannot be done by unreliable solar and wind.

The 25 Power Facts are organized into 4 categories:

  • Fossil fuels make us far safer from climate. (4 facts)
  • Global fossil fuel use is increasing, and the energy-poor world needs even more to power life-saving machines. (5 facts)
  • The “green” movement catastrophizes the future climate side-effects of fossil fuels, which are completely masterable. (8 facts)
  • Unreliable solar and wind are not anywhere near able to replace fossil fuels. (8 facts)

Fossil fuels make us far safer from climate.

  1. Annual deaths from climate-related causes (extreme temperature, drought, flood, storms, wildfires) have declined 98% over the last 100 years, even as CO2 levels have risen.1 Plummeting climate disaster deaths
  2. Even though Earth has gotten 1°C warmer in the last century, deaths from cold outnumber deaths from heat by 5-15x. Cold is more dangerous than heat on every continent. Even in especially hot countries such as India, cold-related deaths significantly exceed heat-related deaths.2 Lancet: More Cold Death Than Heat Death Everywhere
  3. Near-term global warming is expected to decrease temperature-related mortality, avoiding more cold-related deaths than it will cause heat-related deaths—as it has over the past two decades.3 IMAGE 2 - Lancet: Each year warming saves 166,000 lives
  4. Despite many incentives for global climate-related damages to go up—preferences for riskier areas, government bailouts—GDP-adjusted climate-related damages are flat.4 IMAGE 3 - Global Insured Catastrophe Losses as Percent of Global GDP: 1990-2022

Global fossil fuel use is increasing, and the energy-poor world needs even more to power life-saving machines.

  1. Fossil fuel use is 80% of the world's energy and still growing despite 100+ years of aggressive competition and 20+ years of political hostility and massive solar and wind favoritism.5 IMAGE 4 - Primary Energy Consumption by Fuel
  2. There is a desperate need for far more of the global-scale cost-effective energy that only fossil fuels can provide near-term: ⅓ of the world uses wood and animal dung for heating and cooking, and 3 billion use less electricity than a typical American refrigerator.6 IMAGE 5 - Useage of traditional biomass
  3. Since 1980, India's fossil fuel use has increased by >700% and China's by >600%. In the same time frame, India's life expectancy increased by 17 years and China's by 14.7 IMAGE 6 - Energy use & Life expectancy at birth
  4. China, which uses mostly coal to produce “green” tech, has over 300 planned new coal plants designed to last over 40 years.8 IMAGE 7 - Coal Power Capacity in the US and China
  5. Even nations with little or no fossil fuel resources have used fossil fuels to develop and prosper. E.g., South Korea (83% fossil fuels), Japan (85% fossil fuels), Singapore (99% fossil fuels).9 IMAGE 8 - Energy Consumption in South Korea, Japan and Singapore

The “green” movement catastrophizes the future climate side-effects of fossil fuels, which are completely masterable.

  1. Climate warming is concentrated in colder areas of the world (such as the Arctic), during colder times of day, and during colder seasons. (This means that future warming will occur more in cold situations where it saves lives than in hot situations where it causes problems.)10 IMAGE 9 - Global temperature anomalies, 2000-2009
  2. The most extreme UN sea level rise projections are just 3 feet in 100 years. (This is a completely masterable level.) There are already 100 million people on Earth living below high-tide sea level.11 IMAGE 10 - Global mean sea level change relative to 1900
  3. Mainstream estimates say hurricanes will be less frequent and between 1-10% more intense at 2° C warming. (This is not at all catastrophic if we continue our fossil-fueled climate mastery.)12 IMAGE 11 - Likelihood Statements
  4. The latest data on global hurricane frequency and intensity (Klotzbach et al 2022) shows no significant alarming upward trend.13 IMAGE 12a - Global Hurricanes IMAGE 12b - Global major hurricanes IMAGE 12c - Global Cat 4-5 Hurricanes
  5. It is common for leading media outlets to deliberately misrepresent the flat long-term hurricane trend. E.g., the New York Times cherry-picked a starting point—the low point of 1980—to make a flat trend seem upward.14 IMAGE 13 - Category 4 and 5 Atlantic hurricanes since 1980
  6. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have made the point that any increases in hurricane frequency in records are likely due to increasing reporting, not actual frequency.15 IMAGE 14 - Notes
  7. The US Annual Heat Wave Index from the EPA has said, “Longer-term records show that heat waves in the 1930s remain the most severe in recorded U.S. history.” (Today's “reporting” would give you no indication that this is the case.)16 IMAGE 15 - US Annual Heat Wave Index, 1985-2021
  8. Mainstream science is unanimous that the warming impact of CO2 diminishes (“logarithmically”) as it increases in concentration. Every new molecule of CO2 we add to the atmosphere has less of a warming effect than the previous one.17 IMAGE 16 - Degrees Celsius warming

Unreliable solar and wind are not anywhere near able to replace fossil fuels.

  1. Battery backup for solar and wind is so expensive that just 3 days of global backup using Elon Musk’s Megapacks would cost $570 trillion, about 6X global GDP.18 IMAGE 17 - 1 day of world energy
  2. Solar and wind never provide the exact amount of electricity that is needed. Electricity requires exactly matching supply and demand, and solar and wind on their own exactly match supply with demand 0% of the time.19 IMAGE 18 - Solar and wind in Germany during week 17, 2020
  3. Even mild increases in demand for critical minerals involving solar and wind have led to scaling issues and cost increases. (What will the unprecedented demand increases of “net zero” plans lead to?)20 IMAGE 19 - The prices of critical minerals.....
  4. “Net zero” plans to scale solar and wind involve more than doubling the supply of half a dozen major mined materials per decade—even though they can’t point to any examples of any major mined mineral doubling that fast, even with pro-development governments.21 IMAGE 20 - The relative demand growth....
  5. 6 days after pledging to go all-EVs, California Governor Gavin Newsom told residents there wasn't enough power to charge their EVs.22 IMAGE 21 - Flex Alert Conservation Actions
  6. 80% of the world’s energy is not electricity. For non-electricity energy, solar and wind either can’t do what fossil fuel can—e.g., airplanes or cargo ships—or are far more expensive.23
  7. Our dependence on China for key components of solar, wind, and batteries is far greater than our dependence on Russia for fossil fuels.24 IMAGE 22 - EV battery supply chain, 2022
  8. Far from out-competing fossil fuels, solar and wind are growing fast only when given massive government preferences—mandates, subsidies, and no penalty for unreliability—along with crippling government punishments of fossil fuels.25 IMAGE 23 - Ingredients to solar and wind "success"


  1. UC San Diego - The Keeling Curve

    For every million people on earth, annual deaths from climate-related causes (extreme temperature, drought, flood, storms, wildfires) declined 98%--from an average of 247 per year during the 1920s to 2.5 per year during the 2010s.

    Data on disaster deaths come from EM-DAT, CRED / UCLouvain, Brussels, Belgium – www.emdat.be (D. Guha-Sapir).

    Population estimates for the 1920s from the Maddison Database 2010, the Groningen Growth and Development Centre, Faculty of Economics and Business at University of Groningen. For years not shown, population is assumed to have grown at a steady rate.

    Population estimates for the 2010s come from World Bank Data.

  2. Zhao et al. (2021)

    Bjorn Lomborg: Climate change and deaths from extreme heat and cold

    Bjorn Lomborg on Twitter

  3. Zhao et al. (2021)

    Bjorn Lomborg - Climate Change Saves More Lives Than You’d Think

  4. Roger Pielke, Jr. - Don't Believe the Hype

  5. Energy Institute - Statistical Review of World Energy

  6. IEA - Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

    Robert Bryce - A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations

  7. World Bank Data

    Energy Institute - Statistical Review of World Energy

  8. As of July 2023, China has over 300 new coal-fired power stations in various planning and construction phases.
    Global Energy Monitor - Coal Plant Tracker, Coal Plants by Country

  9. Energy Institute - Statistical Review of World Energy

  10. NOAA - Climate change rule of thumb: cold "things" warming faster than warm things

  11. IPCC AR6, WG1

  12. NOAA - Global Warming and Hurricanes

  13. Klotzbach et al. (2022) - Trends in Global Tropical Cyclone Activity: 1990–2021

  14. New York Time - Ian Moves North

    Vecchi et al. (2021) - Changes in Atlantic major hurricane frequency since the late-19th century

  15. NOAA - Global Warming and Hurricanes

  16. U.S. EPA - Climate Change Indicators: Heat Waves

  17. Equilibrium climate sensitivity defined as a warming in °C per doubling of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The IPCC estimates it to be between 2.5°C and 4°C. Other analysis suggests it to be below 2°C.
    Climate etc. - Important new paper challenges IPCC’s claims about climate sensitivity

    Alex Epstein - Fossil Future: Why Global Human Flourishing Requires More Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas–Not Less

  18. Global primary energy consumption in 2022 was 604.04 EJ or about 460 TWh (= 460,000,000 MWh) per day. According to Tesla Megapacks cost about $413,000 per MWh. Tesla - Order Megapack

    Energy Institute - Statistical Review of World Energy

  19. Plot data from Bundesnetzagentur - SMARD

    Public generation of electricity was over 488 terawatt-hours in Germany for 2020, solar and wind combined generated over 37%. In 2002 they generated just over 3%. [Fraunhofer ISE energy-charts.de]

    German household electricity prices have more than doubled to over 0.3€ per kWh ($0.35 per kWh depending on currency exchange rate) since 2000 when the modern renewable energy law started to massively incentivize solar and wind capacity on the German grid.
    BDEW Strompreisanalyse Jul 2021 p. 7

    The average US household price in 2020 was $0.1315 per kWh.
    U.S. Energy Information Administration Electric Power Annual table 5a

    Increasingly, Germany depends on interconnections with neighboring countries. In 2020 the country experienced a sharp increase in electricity imports, while still massively exporting solar and wind overproduction.
    Reuters - German power export surplus shrank 46.2% in 2020

  20. Global Energy Monitor - Data shows how the cost of energy transition minerals has soared since 2020

  21. Global primary energy consumption in 2022 was 604.04 EJ or about 460 TWh (= 460,000,000 MWh) per day. According to Tesla Megapacks cost about $413,000 per MWh.
    Tesla - Order Megapack

    Energy Institute - Statistical Review of World Energy

  22. The Babylon Bee - State With No Electricity Orders Everyone To Drive Cars That Run On Electricity

    CAISO - California ISO issues Flex Alert for today, Aug. 31

    FoxWeather.com - California asks residents to avoid charging electric cars amid intense heat wave

  23. Alex Epstein - The ultimate debunking of “solar and wind are cheaper than fossil fuels.”

  24. Financial Times - How China is winning the race for Africa’s lithium

  25. Alex Epstein - The Myth of Fossil Fuel Subsidies