March 9, 2007
Re: BP and the Energy Biosciences Institute: Hope Springs Eternal!
To the Editor:
Humans have a large capacity for hope, and it's a good thing. But along with hope comes a tendency for self-deception. It is fascinating to watch people struggle to deal with this actually very simple issue!
We need to immediately reduce the burning of carbon-based fuels to a minimum. That is crystal clear. There are only three possible sources of energy large enough to replace petroleum: coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy (cold fusion, which is even better, is just getting off the ground – see http://brillouinenergy.com). Burning coal or natural gas pollutes our air and causes global warming. Since natural gas is relatively clean, it should be reserved, if it is to be burned at all, for heating our homes. Nuclear energy is expensive, and unsafe in many ways, including the risk of radiation poisoning, genetic damage, and of course atomic warfare.
That leaves energy conservation (reducing energy consumption) as the only viable alternative. And we know how to do it: public transit, bicycling, and walking. So why do we need BP and an Energy Biosciences Institute to tell us these obvious facts?
Mike Vandeman, Ph.D.