Enough of Mr. Mann

To the Addison Eagle: I have become accustomed to, and bored by, Ed Manns rants, which are often based on selected anecdote regardless of the overwhelming incidence of counter-examples. But his final paragraph (Letters: April 12) indicates just how deeply buried in the sand he keeps his head. His time-horizon appears to extend no farther than the next tank of gas. Can he really be oblivious of the fact that oil and natural gas will run out? I dont know how many decades supplies will last, but decades, not centuries, are the relevant time-frame. Maybe the fate of future generations is not his concern? I am perplexed by Mr Manns logic: to paraphrase, we should use more energy, hence providing more revenue to the suppliers so they can better maintain the supply infrastructure. Let us fast-forward this through a few decades: using more energy will inevitably hasten the exhaustion of the finite fossil fuel reserves which yield most of our energy, thus rendering the wonderfully maintained infrastructure obsolete sooner. Nice one! Certainly, infrastructure requires maintenance, which must be funded. But I suggest there is a more pressing infrastructure to be developed, which requires huge investments by all of us. I refer to a long-term energy supply and distribution infrastructure, not centered on exhaustible fossil fuels. The e-mail which congratulates us on winning the lottery we never entered (and incidentally asks for our SSN and bank details) is too good to be true. The wonderful mortgage deals in recent years, sold by the irresponsible and seized by the unwary, have turned to bite us (not only here check out Northern Rock in the U.K.). They proved too good to be true. Likewise, our current lifestyle, fuelled by cheap oil, is too good to be true. If we believe the myth that oil will last forever, and continue to invest only in a fossil-fuel-based energy system, the economic meltdown, when it does run short, will be horrific, as will the social impact. I contend that, while we still have oil, we should use it to develop the technology and infrastructure which must inevitably replace our oil-based system. If this means the oil companies have to accept less-than-obscene profits or we have to pay higher taxes or oil prices, so be it. Sure, I don't like the cost of gas (although its still less than half the UK cost) and I grumble about taxes, but the alternative doesnt bear thinking about exhausting oil supplies before an alternative energy system is up and running. Some argue that there remains insufficient oil to see a new system reach fruition. I have to hope theyre wrong. Mr. Mann apparently knows they are. Maybe, rather than directing his sarcasm at Mr. Meakin, Mr. Mann would better use his time to research some definitions, such as finite" (as in finite resources) and sustainable (as in sustainable rate of consumption). If his intelligence is what he claims through his rhetoric, he will easily construct a scenario which fits all the facts and is uncomfortably at odds with his current world-view. He may, of course, prefer to reside in the comfort of his self-affirming, head-accommodating sand-pile. Peter Macfarlane, Addison

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