Letter: Moral Outrage Is Missing
To the Editor:
I agree with Jeff Wolfe’s letter: We should look at the whole picture, not just at Vermont or New England (“Pseudo-Science Only Misinforms Us,” Sept. 21). We all know that the U.S. and Europe will consume an increasingly smaller slice of the world’s energy pie. What the U.S. and Europe do regarding renewable energy is becoming less and less important. Certainly, the U.S. and Europe must not develop energy sources that produce power costing three to four times grid prices, such as Vermont’s SPEED program and Lowell Mountain wind turbines. Maximizing energy efficiency would be a much quicker, less controversial and less costly way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The developing world will be using the least costly ways to become like us —they will use mostly fossil fuels unless forced to do otherwise. There is no mechanism in place to force them to do otherwise. They also don’t feel the need to do much, as it was the developed nations that created the problem in the first place.
What Germany is doing, at great cost, regarding renewable energy is possible because it is rich, although a Der Spiegel article reports that there are many misgivings about the viability of its “Energiewende” — the transition to renewable energy. Many other less-rich, developed nations will not follow Germany. The multi-decade spending of several hundred billion dollars each year by Madison Avenue and its European counterparts to maintain the psychic hold on the public mind to produce and consume is too strong to set in motion the required moral outrage for energy efficiency and renewable energy, even in Germany, which happens to be rich enough to afford relatively minor moral outrage. One would need a dominant psychic hold on the public mind similar to that of the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages to create the moral force to undertake the great sacrifices and efforts required. Such a moral force would have to exist worldwide, which, I think, is not about to happen anytime soon, if ever.