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Letter: Reliance on fossil fuels is antithesis of progress

Reliance on fossil fuels is antithesis of progress

In the Nov. 30 Another Voice column, Alex Epstein contends that Paris climate talks seek to stall – or even reverse – human progress.

I beg to differ. Progress is defined as “moving forward” or “developing something over a period of time.”

Dependence on fossil fuels is the antithesis of progress; it keeps us stuck in 20th century technology, and forestalls development of clean, renewable energy.

Epstein calls this the “best time in human history to be alive.” I agree, but believe that even better times are yet to come. That won’t happen, though, if we maintain fossil fuel-based technologies, burdening future generations with the effects of climate change. Epstein’s Ayn Rand Institute-influenced case for selfishness shows lack of hope. Does he really believe the best we can do is maintain our fossil fuel-based comfort, and that we are not capable of something better? His stance is in stark contrast to Pope Francis’, whose “Laudato Si” encyclical calls us to work for the common good, care for our common home the earth, and embark on new paths to authentic freedom.

Epstein’s suggestion that participants in the Paris climate talks should not avail themselves of products such as cellphones because some of their components are petroleum-based is absurd. In the name of progress, we should judiciously use the technology at our disposal to promote the common good of this and future generations.

Fossil fuels had their day in the sun. It’s time for the sun (and wind) to power our future. Now that’s progress.

The Rev. William “Jud” Weiksnar, ofm