NORTHRUP: The Answer? Conservation

Letter From CHIP NORTHRUP

The Answer? Conservation

To the Editor:

George W. Bush is an old acquaintance of mine, I have known him since before he was governor of Texas, much less President. Although he was a so-so governor and a terrible President, one thing he’s not is a hypocrite.

His erstwhile opponent, Al Gore, became the darling of the environmental movement with his groundbreaking film, “An Inconvenient Truth.” The most inconvenient truth about “Inconvenient Truth” is that Gore subsequently cashed in on “green technology” without limiting his own consumption of energy – while, in contrast, George retired to his solar-powered, energy-efficient, rain-harvesting, minimal-consumption Texas ranch.

I was in the solar energy business from 1973 to 1980, when we sold Northrup Energy to Atlantic Richfield, to create ARCO Solar, where I became the planning manager for alternative energy systems.

So I know the potential of alternative energy and its limitations.

Michael Moore has attempted to overturn some shibboleths of the green apple cart with his new documentary “Planet of the Humans.”

When you cut through the melodrama, misstatements and erroneous assumptions, the core conclusion of the film is sound, and one I agree with: The fundamental problem is our consumption of resources, the primary solution is conservation.

The easiest way to reduce energy consumption is to not use it. That was part of the original environmentalist message – conserve, recycle, reuse – much of which has been drowned out by the marketing of alternative energy systems as if over-reliance on fossil fuels can simply be replaced with over-reliance on renewable energy systems, some of which, particularly biomass, may not be so environmentally friendly after all.

It’s an inconvenient point that we have learned during The Plague: the most effective green solution is plain old-fashioned conservation. Try it some time.

CHIP NORTHRUP
Cooperstown


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