Month 4, Day 12: Time Enough For Lies

I revised the letter I sent to the Boston Globe and sent it off to Time Magazine, which ran the AP story about the Shen Neng 1. Same point, same framing, different phrasing.

The Chinese coal ship foundering on the Great Barrier Reef is not just a sad story about oily birds, or a sea-captain’s dereliction of duty. The disaster off the coast of Australia also warns us to acknowledge the huge hidden costs of so-called “cheap energy.”

The Shen Neng 1 could just as easily be a million cases of black lung disease or the imminent loss of the polar ice cap, for these tragedies are all consequences of our addiction to fossil fuels. If we are to survive and prosper in the coming centuries, we must acknowledge the truth: oil and coal are only “cheap” when we ignore their health, ecological, and environmental costs. Any realistic energy policy must include these factors; to disregard them is to perpetuate a lie — and with catastrophic climate change looming on the horizon, lies about “cheap energy” are a luxury we can no longer afford.

Warren Senders

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