Mr. Barron (letter Jan. 3-9) claims that "There is no ethical value that can be put to energy use" and that "energy awareness" is a meaningless concept. He shows an astounding lack of understanding, or ignorance, of current world events and the externalized costs of US energy consumption.First Externalized Cost: War. The U.S. is completing the fifth year of a naked war of aggression is Iraq. The sole purpose of this war is to ensure access to Iraqi oil in order to supply our gluttonous consumption of petroleum products. It has cost the lives of almost 4,000 of our kids, and the total cost to the taxpayer will eventually be $1-to $2-trillion. We will casually pass that debt on to our children and grandchildren.

We are responsible for the deaths of several hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens, four million refugees and the destruction of their country. This war-for-petroleum is unethical, immoral, and illegal.

My son is in Iraq for his fourth tour of duty. Does Mr. Barron, or any like-minded free market capitalist, have any family members in Iraq willing to take a bullet or an improvised explosive device to ensure their supply of energy?

Second Externalized Cost: Global Warming. For more than a hundred years our free market capitalists have used the earth's atmosphere as a free dumping ground for the waste gasses from burning fossil fuels. The U.S., with 5 percent of world's population, consumes 25 to 30 percent of the world's petroleum and other natural resources and produces 25 to 30 percent of the carbon dioxide, disproportionately causing global warming and climate change. Sea level rise, more intense weather, water shortages, and extinction of thousands of other species will be just a few of the externalized costs. Our excessive energy consumption is not a meaningless concept.

B. Gerard Bricks

Kennett Township

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