The true price of oil


Sir, – Brian O’Brien (November 12th) raises some valid distinctions between diamonds and oil in terms of their contrasting practical usefulness and the way they are traded. What he misses, however, is that making a direct analogy between the two was never intended.

The metaphor of “bloody oil” is valid in that it draws attention away from the myriad dependencies we have on oil, towards its provenance, and the effects it has on societies and the environment.

Mr O’Brien rightly states that diamonds are a luxury and focuses on oil as an essential fuel, but he omits the many ways oil itself is used as a luxury. People rarely stop to think where their single-use plastics or cosmetics come from.

It is correct that it would be naive to believe that oil could ever be truly ethical or traceable but in our attempts to replace oil we must also ensure that alternative energy sources are themselves clean and ethical.

There have been serious issues raised with biomass, for example, and many communities resent wind farms being imposed on them without their consent.

We certainly need “long-term” energy goals, but how much time do we realistically have left? – Yours, etc,