Pipeline or no, oil is not the future

August 30, 2011

Of course, the representative of the American Petroleum Institute would promote a tar sands oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S. ("Keystone XL pipeline is a step toward the future," Aug. 25). Unfortunately, this is not, as the headline says, "a step toward the future," but is a step backward. Why? Because fossil fuels are no longer viable long-term sources of energy.

Neither Cindy Schild nor the op-ed writers opposed to the pipeline mention the broader issue, which is that we are past the peak of cheap oil. Oil executives and politicians know this but don't talk about it. (See the film, "The End of Suburbia.") It means that oil extraction in the future will become more and more expensive and require environmentally more destructive techniques such as tar sands extraction. Yes, we will need to continue to extract oil and natural gas for years to come, but investment in renewal energy sources by both the private sector and our government should be the focus.

Solar, wind, geothermal, and wave energy must be developed more rapidly and become more efficient if we are to be able to afford to drive or fly in the not-too-distant future. Let's not invest billions in building pipelines for oil but invest in the renewable technologies of the future. The longer we wait and the more we divert our resources to ever more expensive ways of extracting fossil fuels the more painful life will become for all of us as oil prices escalate exponentially in the coming decades.

Brent Flickinger, Baltimore

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