Center for Industrial Progress

Center for Industrial Progress (CIP)

Background

The Center for Industrial Progress is a “for profit” think tank founded by Alex Epstein, a philospher with no science background who is 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.1Kate Joshi. “The rise of climate inactivism,” The Monthly, June 19, 2015. Archived July 11, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/GZtEj

The CIP’s mission is to “inspire Americans to embrace industrial progress as a cultural ideal.” CIP summarizes their philosophy on their website:2Our Philosphy,” Center for Industrial Progress. Archived June 14, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/g5bDH

“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.”3Alex Epstein. “Coal is Clean,” Center for Industrial Progress, March 12, 2012. Archived July 10, 2015. Archive URL:

Industry Consulting Service

The Center for Industrial Progress offers “Speaking” services for corporate events4Speaking,” Centre for Industrial Progress. Archived May 8, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/gmFCB and “Consulting” services for the energy industry. They describe their consulting service as being “unmatched in its ability to successfully out-message ‘environmentalists’ and turn their supporters into your supporters.”5Consulting,” Centre for Industrial Progress. Archived May 8, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/VcIkn

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.”

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.”6Eric Dennis. “The Global Warming Campaign Takes a Blow,” Center for Industrial Progress, April 27, 2012. Archived July 10, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/EsWKW

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 also contendes 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.”*7DonateCenter for Industrial Progress. Archived January 6, 2013. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/JGfOp

*The Center for Industrial Progress has since removed their website from the Internet Archive.

Kentucky Coal Association & ‘The Coal Truth’

In a September 11, 2018 piece at the CIP website, Epstein disclosed “proudly” that one of his industry clients was Tyler White, president of the Kentucky Coal Association.8Courageous coal leader calls out tech giants for their ‘100% renewable’ lies,” Center for Industrial Progress, September 11, 2018, Archived September 14, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/wTSjI

“In praising this piece I must disclose, proudly, that the author is one of my clients. As is the allied website, ‘The Coal Truth,’ that has a more in-depth expose of “100% renewable,” Epstein wrote.9Courageous coal leader calls out tech giants for their ‘100% renewable’ lies,” Center for Industrial Progress, September 11, 2018, Archived September 14, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/wTSjI

According to WHOIS records, thecoaltruth.com was registered by Aaron Bond who appears to work for Alliance Coal,10Aaron Bond,” LinkedIn. Accessed September 14, 2018. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. and the administrator is listed as Health Lovell.11WHOIS lookup via CentralOPS.net. Performed September 14, 2018. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.  Lovell is Vice President for Public Affairs at Alliance Coal, and also spoke at the Heartland Institute‘s America First Energy Conference in 2017. Lovell has praised the pro-coal stance of the Trump Administration.12HEATH LOVELL,” America First Energy Conference. Archived September 14, 2018. Archive URL: https://archive.fo/iuhlY 13Heath Lovell, AFEC (Panel 4A: The Future of Coal),” YouTube video uploaded by user “The Heartland Institute,” December 2, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

Location

As of 2018, CIP listed the following mailing address:14Contact,Center for Industrial Progress. Archived June 15, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/DWZGG

Mailing Address for CIP and/or Alex Epstein

Center for Industrial Progress
302 Washington St.
#150-9385
San Diego, CA 92103

(Note: This address is for paper mail only – no packages.)

Accoding to Google, the above address is listed for The UPS Store at this location.

UPS STore

Former Address

According to the CIP website, as of 2015, their mailing address was as follows:15Accelerate CIP,” Centre for Industrial Progress. Archived February 15, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/fE3mn

Center for Industrial Progress

25592 La Mirada St
Laguna Hills, CA 92653

Key People

Note: As of July, 2015, only two individuals are listed on the Center for Industrial Progress website:16 ”About Us,” Center for Industrial Progress. Archived July 10, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/OAPNw

  • 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

June 2016

Alex Epstein’s Center for Industrial Progress was listed among organizations named in a Massachusetts subpoena looking for communications between ExxonMobil and organizations denying climate change, reports The Washington Times.17Valerie Richardson. “Exxon fights Mass. AG’s ‘political’ probe into climate change dissent,” The Washington Times, June 15, 2016. Archived June 24, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/GepbJ

Epstein’s response, writes The Washington Times, was “Buzz off, fascist. […] Only he didn’t say ‘buzz.’” Organizations named in the Massachusetts subpoena included the following:18Valerie Richardson. “Exxon fights Mass. AG’s ‘political’ probe into climate change dissent,” The Washington Times, June 15, 2016. Archived June 24, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/GepbJ

This latest inquiry by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is one in a series of investigations into what ExxonMobil knew about climate change and when, started by a coalition of attorneys general in the US.19Ben Jervey. “State Investigations Into What Exxon Knew Double, and Exxon Gets Defensive,” DeSmog, April 1, 2016.

October 5, 2015

Alexander Epstein planned to release his “Energy Liberation Plan” for consideration by 2016 political candidates. According to an article by Epstein in Forbes, the Energy Liberation Plan seeks to combat “backwards energy and environmental policies that are anti-development, not anti-pollution.” He contends that we are “squandering the opportunity of a generation, through blind opposition to our three most potent sources of power: hydrocarbon energy (coal, oil, and gas), nuclear energy, and hydroelectric energy.”20Alex Epstein. “The Energy Liberation Plan,” Forbes, August 19, 2015. Archived June 15, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ACrHL

Epstein concludes that “The Energy Liberation Plan is based on the timeless wisdom of our Founding Fathers, who believed that everyone has the right to produce and consume as they judge best so long as they do not violate the rights of others” (emphasis added). 

Originally slated for release on October 5, 2015, the date was postponed and it is unclear when it will actually be released.

September 17, 2015

The Center for Industrial Progress’s Alex Epstein wrote an article in Forbes titled “Jerry Brownout,” where he criticizes California governor Jerry Brown for his opposition of fossil fuel use. According to Epstein, “it’s crucial to understand just how destructive his anti-oil agenda is.”

“Energy abundance is essential to climate livability—since the natural climate is inherently variable, volatile, and vicious. And oil and other fossil fuels do infinitely more to make it safer than make it more dangerous. This has been proven and documented—there has been a 98% decline in the rate of climate-related deaths since significant global CO2 emissions began. For 40 years doomsayers have hidden our ever-safer climate by conflating mild, manageable global warming, which is real, with catastrophic global warming, which is not,” Epstein writes.21Alex Epstein. “Jerry Burnout,” Forbes, September 17, 2015. Archived Dec 6, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/2B3JL

September 1, 2015

Alex Epstein hosted Steve Milloy, publisher of Junkscience.com, on the Center for Industrial Progress’s podcast titled “Power Hour” in an episode titled “Steve Milloy on the Science and Policy of Emissions.”22Power Hour: Steve Milloy on the Science and Policy of Emissions,” Center for Industrial Progress, September 1, 2015. Audio via internet archive. Archived .mp3 on file at DeSmog.

Milloy says that “Virtually every environmental policy I’ve seen since the early 1990s has been basically politics and not science,” and discusses his believe that the EPA’s attempts to clean the air are unnecessary, especially with regards to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) produced largely by automobiles and coal-fired power plants.

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.” The CIP released the following promotional film, made by Simplifilm, as a book trailer:23The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein Official Book Trailer by Simplifilm,” YouTube video uploaded by user Simplifilm, November 12, 2014. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

According to the book’s description:

“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.”24The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” The Ayn Rand Institute eStore. Archived June 14, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/eUzc1

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.”25Alex Epstein. “Don’t Divest, Educate—An Open Letter to American Universities,” Center for Industrial Progress, June 5, 2013. Archived October 1, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/P4HGc

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.”26Alex Epstein. “Don’t Divest, Educate—An Open Letter to American Universities,” Center for Industrial Progress, June 5, 2013. Archived October 1, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/P4HGc 

May 21–23, 2012

CIP is listed as a co-sponsor of the Heartland Institute‘s Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7).27Seventh International Conference on Climate Change,” The Heartland Institute. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

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.28Alex Epstein. “Challenging Bill McKibben and the Green Establishment: The Environmental Case for Fossil Fuels,” MasterResource, September 28, 2012. Archived June 14, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/LNoWR

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.”29McKibben vs Epstein: the ultimate environmental debate,” indiegogo (fundraising campaign). Archived November 30, 2012. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/68XM5

Other Resources

Resources

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