A Thimble Of Gas

I agree with Kari Johnson’s assessment of the environmental drawbacks of solar and wind energy technologies (Letters, 10/3). Also not commonly understood is that all the solar panels and wind turbines on Earth will not produce one thimble full of gasoline, diesel fuel, natural gas or coal.

We don’t appreciate what a boon to civilization the fossil fuels have been and how difficult it’s going to be to
replace them.

There’s no guarantee that battery technology will ever become so light and durable that solar and wind powered airliners will be able to fly 150 people across oceans and continents at 600 miles per hour. The mining, refining and processing of metals requires vast fossil fuel resources.

Those images of foundries, forges and steel mills with huge red-hot pieces of metal represent staggering amounts of fossil fuel energy. No doubt many of those things can be done with electricity, but at what cost? Try pushing your car the distance you can drive it on $1 worth of gasoline.

Meaningfully addressing climate change will have to include an end to economic growth and frivolous consumerism. People will howl in protest, but the alternative is an unforgivable disservice to future generations.

Robert Bolman