Letter to the editor: Fossil fuel divestment is counterproductive

May 31, 2013, 2:24 p.m.

Dear Editor,

Students promoting the Fossil Free campaign appear to have not properly researched the reasons for, or implications of, their campaign. If they had done their homework, they would realize that:

1) Today’s climate change is not out of bounds with the natural variability that geologists see in the past.

2) The idea that dangerous climate change will happen because of emissions from human activities is merely an hypothesis, and one that is looking increasingly improbable as science advances.

3) If dangerous change were happening, then the proper response would be to increase our use of hydrocarbon fuels, especially coal, the cheapest and most abundant source of power.

In the event of climate problems, however caused, more electricity would be needed to handle greater demands for air conditioning and heating. More power would be required to irrigate lands, build dikes, strengthen public infrastructure and relocate populations living on flood plains or at risk from tornadoes and hurricanes.

Yet the Fossil Free campaign does not suggest how we will generate this extra power. They are simply against hydrocarbon fuels. This makes no sense. Moving away from our strongest power sources because of climate concerns is analogous to a ship captain ordering his crew into lifeboats when a severe storm is approaching. It would be suicide to abandon ship exactly when the protection of a sturdy vessel is most needed. Similarly, it is suicide to quickly move away from today’s dependable energy sources, no matter what the climate does.

Tom Harris, B.Eng., M.Eng. (Mechanical)

Executive Director, International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC)

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