Those who are worried about carbon emissions from fossil fuels should realize that contributions from U.S. discontinuing their use is puny and overwhelmed by China and India, where hundreds of coal-fired power plants are in use, with hundreds more planned.

In 1968 and 1975, two American intellectuals predicted that population growth would overwhelm earth’s capacity to feed it, and the world would be ruined by 2000. That prediction was obviated by the combined successes of fossil fuel and farm machinery industries that “rescued” us by developing oil-powered cultivation and transportation machinery, synthetic nitrogen fertilizer from natural gas, and energy-powered irrigation systems. We now produce enough food to feed our people and more.

Much credit is due the fossil fuel industry for recent development of the fracking process, whereby shale deposits are fractured to liberate oil and natural gas. The U.S. went from a declining factor in the world petroleum industry to the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas.

Now consider the feasibility of GND enthusiasts’ two energy favorites: solar and wind. Both share shortcomings: the percentages of time each operate to generate power. Solar farms generate 30% of the time; wind farms 40% of the time. Adding to these is unpredictability: neither can be scheduled. In contrast is the 80 to 90% operating factor of natural gas-fueled power plants, plus that 10 to 15% downtime can be scheduled.

BRUCE TENNANT

Greenwood