Fossil fuels still needed

Re. Zena Ryder's letter Make companies pay (Castanet, Sept. 21)

After reading the letter submitted by Zena Ryder regarding climate change and how fossil fuels have contributed to it, I would like to remind the writer that without fossil fuels she would not have been able to contribute her letter.

Plastics are derived from fossil fuels, so if you look around your home or office and take note of how much we rely on plastic in our every day lives it’s an eye opener.

Your laptop, (desk-top) computer, cell phone, electrical outlets and light switches, the insulator on electrical wires, kitchen appliances, medical equipment and a lot of the car parts that will be needed for building the electric vehicles (are plastic). Plastic is even used in the making of solar panels.

It’s questionable if solar and wind-generated electricity can generate the volume of electricity required to power the electrical devices we use but they definitely cannot provide the plastics needed to build them, so we are—and will continue to be—reliant on fossil fuels for decades to come.

I am not now, nor ever was, employed or invested in the oil industry but I can see both sides. The earth’s climate has been constantly changing since the beginning of time. The dinosaur age ended due to the ice age. Since then, the earth’s climate has been warming. Have fossil fuels contributed to accelerating that change, I believe so.

Sadly, if only the advanced nations buy into climate change initiatives and the world’s largest populations (India and China) do not, I don’t see how humans can make much of a difference.

We are in a true dilemma. Scientists tell us we need to evolve away from fossil fuels but what is the workable alternative and how do we force all countries to adhere to whatever that alternative is once it’s discovered?

It’s easy to protest the way things are but when you do it’s best if you have a viable and workable alternative. Until that happens, humans will continue to depend on fossil fuels and suffer the ill effects that accompany that dependence.

In the meantime, those who wish to use their computers to write letters of protest against the oil companies can do so. I won’t call it hypocritical but what does one call it when you use your computer to compose and send a letter of protest against the oil companies suggesting they be fined for producing the raw materials required to make the plastics needed to build that computer?

It is not realistic to compare the oil industry to the tobacco companies. The latter contributes nothing positive to our lives but (we) cannot live without plastics at this time.

Guy Bissonnette, Lake Country

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