Fossil fuels and the environment


Sir, – Matthew Glover (Letters, June 13th) claims that the “scientific method” is missing from many of the popular policies advocated to stop climate change from becoming a disaster.

It is not good science to continue extracting even more fossil fuels when we will need to stop using them as soon as possible to have any chance of getting global greenhouse emissions to near-zero by 2050. We cannot use the total proven fossil fuel reserves in the world at the moment if we are going to halt climate change. We may be able to use from a third to a half of these reserves, depending on issues such as deforestation, increasing energy efficiency, reduced demand and other factors.

If we keep exploring and exploiting even more fossil fuels, we run the risk of wasted investments and stranded assets which could have a very serious effect on the world economy. For example, many pension funds are dependent on returns from investments in fossil fuels. As we can only use a fraction of present reserves if we continue developing new gas and oil fields, there will be an increasing amount of stranded assets and worthless fossil fuels.

Increased investment in fossil fuels reduces the money available for renewable energy and other technologies essential for reversing climate change.

Increasing the amount of available fossil fuels may spur their increased use, resulting not only in climate crisis but also increased pollution and serious health effects. We certainly need fossil fuels in the short term but we have far more than we need or could safely use on a global level.

Ireland does not need to develop more gas and oil off our coast for energy security reasons.

That we need to reduce the amount of fossil fuels we use as quickly as possible is actually what the science is saying, and this will increase out energy security. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 16.