Renewable energy good idea, too costly to implement

Letter to Editor by Brent Black

An almost maniacal antagonism toward fossil fuels has emerged in recent years. Sadly, the hysteria is reaching UK.

The goal of operating the university on 100 percent alternative energy is admirable. The ends are, without a doubt, worthy of the endeavor, but the means chosen by some are brash and unacceptable.

Oil is the life blood of industry. America’s move into industrialization could not have been accomplished without the aid of fossil fuels, particularly oil and coal.

It is a law of economics that when human labor is augmented with capital, i.e. machinery fuelled by some energy source, the labor becomes more productive and consequently more valuable. Wage rates rise. Because production increases, goods and services become more abundant and less expensive. The society that embraces industrialization will progressively become more wealthy.

No one denies that oil, coal and other fossil fuels are scarce. But their scarcity, combined with increasing world demand for energy, has not yet pushed the cost of operating with coal and oil above alternative sources of energy.

To put bluntly, it still costs more to provide the same goods and services with renewable energy than it does with fossil fuels. To peremptorily mandate UK to move beyond coal is tantamount to calling for higher tuition rates, higher parking fees, costlier books and a reduction of services.

Contrary to the claims of Nobel Prize winning scientist and global warming expert Al Gore, the jury is still out on global warming. To date, global warming has claimed the life of zero flora, zero fauna and zero human beings.

Record colds and snowmageddon-like blizzards have swept the East Coast, the likes of which have not been seen for multiple generations. If the threat of global warming is real, it certainly is not imminent.

In time, the technology for renewable energy will catch up with demand. On that day I will be proud and excited to personally make the conversion.

Until then, it would be an absurd injustice to switch to a more expensive mode of operation. It would be the equivalent of a regression to more primitive methods of production and would certainly amount in a diminution of living standards.

Only fools rush headlong into projects without first calculating the costs. For the time being, oil and coal are UK’s only hope of reaching top-20 status by 2020.

Brent Black

economics junior