To the editor:
In her recent column "Hybrids responsible choice but : " (Dec. 10), Elizabeth Black shows considerable confusion about energy sources. This is forgivable since the media and our own government have subscribed to the same confusion.
She mentions compressed natural gas, electric cars and hydrogen fuel, among other things, as alternatives that might be better than her hybrid, which merely uses less gas. Unfortunately, CNG is a fossil fuel as well. Hydrogen has to be made somehow, and that takes energy. Electricity has to be generated, using energy. Unfortunately, most of that energy now comes from burning coal or natural gas. Despite the hype, this does not solve any problem, but merely transfers the problem and the money. Even with the hybrid, you have to ask whether the extra production of energy pays off when compared with the gasoline saved.
Face it, the planet now can't support as many people as we have in a comfortable lifestyle without massive damage. If you want to help, drive less. If we can learn to produce hydrogen or electricity efficiently from sunlight or other renewable sources, or get controlled fusion energy, the hydrogen or electric car might be a good idea. It's going to take lifestyle changes and a lot more investment in fundamental research, rather than short-term fads, to make the planet livable.