Letter to the Editor

We need to wean ourselves from oil

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

To the editor:

The most critical issue facing our planet is climate change. Leading atmospheric scientist Dr. James Hansen argued the urgency by stating that the time is five past midnight. We absolutely must do something dramatic and do it soon.

The brief and accurate summary of John McCain and Barack Obama on the issue is appreciated. It revealed that Obama is far more aggressive and understands better the urgency. McCain, although rightly lauded for early leadership in addressing climate change, has been overtaken by public opinion and congressional colleagues. Unfortunately, too many in his party reject the scientific consensus reported by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 and cling to the illusion that there remains scientific debate either about the reality of climate change or the high probability that humans are contributing.

Once the nominee, McCain retreated from his previous laudable positions. While previously rejecting offshore drilling, McCain -- after pocketing huge contributions from the oil companies -- has reversed himself. His endorsement of "drill here, drill now" represents a total negation of all he previously endorsed.

What McCain must know, but chooses to suppress, is that rather than needing more oil we need to wean ourselves from oil. Continuing our reliance on oil only adds to the problem. And McCain must know that the very small amount of domestic oil available offshore and in wildlife reserves will not influence pump prices significantly, and furthermore will do nothing for 20 years.

For climate change leadership, Obama is the better choice.

ALAN JOURNET, Cape Girardeau