The debate over energy
Regarding “Shell CEO: Cutting oil, gas ‘not healthy,’" (March 7): So Shell’s new CEO alleges that cutting oil and gas production is “not healthy.” This may be true, in a limited sense, for his stockholders’ pocketbooks, except that they are human beings who must live on a planet with concentrations of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere (420 parts per million of CO2) that have already passed safe atmospheric CO2 levels (350 ppm) by 20 percent.
The world may well be uninhabitable for humans if this climate change continues unabated.
His “health” concern does raise an interesting question for Texans. What is the best way to help our oil companies transition to sustainable energy production? Do we follow the model of the buggy whip manufacturers who were simply destroyed by the switch from horses to horsepower?
Another model we might consider is the tobacco industry. The similarities are striking. Both produced products that, if used according to the manufacturer’s instructions, had catastrophic impacts on their customers. Both fought the acceptance of these impacts by attacking the science to delay as much as possible their loss of customers.
Is there a better way to speed the transition to sustainable power? Texas leads the U.S. in production of oil and gas. We lead in the production of wind power. We lead in the emission of greenhouse gases. With these credentials, we could lead in finding a way to get the oil companies to cooperate in keeping our planet as habitable as possible, starting now.
Texas could show the world how to make this transition work, quickly enough to reduce the effects of the destructive path we are currently taking.
Jon Greene, Houston