Berger letter on clean energy revolution published in The New York Times
To the Editor:
In “Wind, Sun and Fire” (column, Feb. 1), Paul Krugman, concluding that we can have the energy revolution we need “even if the crazies retain control of the House,” ignores some important realities.
The powerful oil, gas and coal industries are committed to keeping the world dependent on fossil fuels. Trillions of dollars of fossil fuel assets would be rendered worthless if a clean energy “revolution” truly succeeded. These assets include gasoline-burning cars and trucks, natural gas power plants, fossil-fueled cement plants and other factories, not to mention oil refineries, coal mines, pipelines and offshore oil platforms.
A costly new renewable power transmission infrastructure and smart national grid are needed. Extensive policy and regulatory changes need to be adopted to speedily convert us to a truly clean energy economy.
A national carbon tax and other vital national climate legislation can be blocked by an obdurate legislature. An authentic clean energy revolution will take more than “fairly modest policy changes” and will require very substantial public and private investment.
JOHN J. BERGER
El Cerrito, Calif.
The writer, an energy and environmental policy specialist, is the author of “Climate Peril: The Intelligent Reader’s Guide to Understanding the Climate Crisis.” He reported on the recent Paris climate talks.