Center for Industrial Progress

Center for Industrial Progress (CIP)

 Background

The Central for Industrial Progress is a “for profit” think tank founded by Alex Epstein, also a blogger at Master Resource the “Free Market Energy Blog,” and a past fellow of the Ayn Rand Institute. Epstein is the author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, a book that suggests the overall impact of using fossil fuels is to make the world a far better place. [7]

The CIP's mission is to “inspire Americans to embrace industrial progress as a cultural ideal.” CIP summarizes their philosophy on their website: [1]

“At the Center for Industrial Progress (CIP), we celebrate man’s impact on nature, just as our ancestors celebrated Americans' ability to 'tame a continent.' We celebrate the never-ending project of the industrial revolution: to harness more and more energy to feed machines that do more and more work to make our lives better and better.”

“… As for pollution, so long as we embrace policies that protect property rights, including air and water rights, we protect industrial development and protect individuals from pollution. By contrast, 'green' policies do not improve the human environment, but sacrifice it to the non-human–just ask anyone trying to build an industrial project today.”

The CIP regularly publishes articles “debunking” environmentalism, and promoting the oil and coal industries, as well as some of their common talking points. For example, Alex Epstein has said that “we should think of coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear, as clean energy.” [2]

Stance on Climate Change

“The movement to convince the public of catastrophic global warming is fundamentally unscientific. Its leaders do not, as true scientists would, objectively study and relay the full evidence about what drives the climate, they fixate obsessively on CO2. They do not share how poorly understood climate drivers are; they act as if they can predict the climate with certainty. Through manipulation of government agencies, a credulous media, and many of their cloistered colleagues in academia, they have managed to take over much of the field of climatology and the vast majority of its public relations.” [3]

 Funding

According to an archived version of their website, the CIP is not a 501c-3 organization, because “with 501c-3 status comes an enormous amount of government invasiveness, including limitations on involvement in policy debates we want to participate in.” (emphasis added). They no longer share this information on their donations page.

CIP contends that “we and our supporters are best-served by a model in which we maintain the flexibility, agility, and lack of red tape to make maximum use of donors' gifts.” [4]

Key People

Note: As of July, 2015, only two individuals are listed on the Center for Industrial Progress website: [6]

  • Alex Epstein  — President and Founder
  • Eric Dennis —  PhD, Senior Fellow

As of August 2012:

  • Alex Epstein — President and Founder.
  • Eric Dennis — Senior Fellow.
  • Derick Bellamy — Contributing Editor.
  • David Biederman — Researcher.
  • Amy Chou — Lead Designer.
  • Thomas Eiden — Researcher.
  • Steffen Henne — Researcher.
  • Alexander Hrin — Researcher.
  • Daniel Rathbone — Software Developer.
  • Michele Reilly — Development Specialist.
  • Brittney Rivera — Speaking Coordinator.
  • Deborah Sloan — Researcher.
  • Mary Anne Weninger — Executive Assistant.

As of May 2012: 

  • Alex Epstein — Founder and Director.
  • Eric Dennis — Senior Fellow.
  • Daniel Rathbone — Software Developer.

 Actions

Ongoing

The Center for Industrial Progress offers “Speaking” services for corporate events and “Consulting” services for the energy industry. Their consulting ervices describe as being “unmatched in its ability to successfully out-message 'environmentalists' and turn their supporters into your supporters.”

Epstein's speaking services include keynotes on topics like “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” “Energy Heroes,” and “How to Take the Moral High Ground.” He also provides workshops for “custom guidance making the moral case for fossil fuels to neutralize attackers, to turn non-supporters into supporters, and to turn supporters into champions”.

November 13, 2014

Alex Epstein released The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, published by Penguin Random House. Epstein asks if everything we know about fossil fuels could be wrong, and suggests readers should “look at the big picture of fossil fuels.”
“Compared with the alternatives, the overall impact of using fossil fuels is to make the world a far better place. We are morally obligated to use more fossil fuels for the sake of our economy and our environment.” [9]
As of July, 2015, the Centre for Industrial Progress is promoting the book on the main page of their website. Epstein has also promoted the book on his facebook page, titled “I Love Fossil Fuels.”

June 5, 2013

Alex Epstein wrote a letter published on the Center for Industrial Progress' website titled, “Don’t Divest, Educate—An Open Letter to American Universities.”

In the letter, Epstein and several other notable climate change deniers, including Peter FerraraJ. Scott ArmstrongSteve GorehamS. Fred SingerDavid SchnareRichard Lindzen, and Matt Ridley, proclaim that they are “proud to stand in favor of fossil fuels.” [8]

The “undersigned scientists, philosophers, energy experts, and economists” of the letter ask for a “more rigorous education on energy and environmental issues,” and “are willing to debate anytime, anywhere to defend what [they] believe is right.” [8] 

May 21 - 23, 2012

CIP is listed as a co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute's Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7). [5]

November 5, 2012

Alex Epstein debated leading environmentalist Bill McKibben on the issue of global warming. Epstein argues that “fossil fuels improve the planet” while McKibben presents the majority scientific view that the continued burning of fossil fuels will have a strongly negative impact on the environment. [10]

The debate was urged on by MasterResource's Robert Bradley who showed Epstein an article published by McKibben titled “Global Warming's Terrifying New Math” which Epstein now claims received “not nearly enough criticism.”

Epstein has launched a website, fossilfueldebate.com where he presents his case on the issue — that “McKibben is dead wrong about fossil fuels and our environment.” Epstein purports to take an “objective, scientific look” at why he believes fossil fuels have given us “the greatest environment in human history.” [11]

Related Organizations

 Resources

  1. Our Philosphy,” Center for Industrial Progress. Archived July 10, 2015.

  2. Alex Epstein. “Coal is Clean,” Center for Industrial Progress, March 12, 2012. Archived July 10, 2015.

  3. Eric Dennis. “The Global Warming Campaign Takes a Blow,” Center for Industrial Progress, April 27, 2012. Archived July 10, 2015.

  4. Donate” Center for Industrial Progress. Archived January 6, 2013.

  5. Cosponsors,” 7th International Conference on Climate Change. Archived June 23, 2012.

  6.  About Us,” Center for Industrial Progress. Archived July 10, 2015.

  7. Kate Joshi. “The rise of climate inactivism,” The Monthly, June 19, 2015. Archived July 11, 2015.

  8. Alex Epstein. “Don’t Divest, Educate—An Open Letter to American Universities,” Center for Industrial Progress, June 5, 2013. Archived January 15, 2015.

  9. Alex Epstein; Energy Philosopher, Speaker, Debater,” Center for Industrial Progress. Archived with Website, November 3, 2014.

  10. Alex Epstein. “Challenging Bill McKibben and the Green Establishment: The Environmental Case for Fossil Fuels,” MasterResource, September 28, 2012.

  11. McKibben vs Epstein: the ultimate environmental debate,” indiegogo (fundraising campaign). Accessed September 30, 2012.