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The Intellectual Victor: Julian L. Simon Memorial Award Remarks

By Matt Ridley -- February 13, 2013

“Have you noticed something about fossil fuels–we are the only creatures that use them. What this means is that when you use oil, coal or gas, you are not competing with other species. When you use timber, or crops or tide, or hydro or even wind, you are [competing]. There is absolutely no doubt that the world’s policy of encouraging the use of bio-energy, whether in the form of timber or ethanol, is bad for wildlife – it competes with wildlife for land, or wood or food.”

“The eco-pessimist view ignores history, misunderstands finiteness, thinks statically, has a vested interest in doom, and is complacent about innovation.”

It is now 32 years, nearly a third of a century, since Julian Simon nailed his theses to the door of the eco-pessimist church by publishing his famous article in Science magazine: “Resources, population, environment: an oversupply of bad news”.