We must acknowledge the economic downside of getting rid of fossil fuels | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Saturday’s letters to the editor.
Smoke and steam rise from a coal processing plant in Hejin in central China's Shanxi Province in 2019.
Smoke and steam rise from a coal processing plant in Hejin in central China's Shanxi Province in 2019. [ SAM MCNEIL | AP ]
Published Nov. 25, 2023

The flip side of ‘net zero’

Plea to slash fossil fuels | Nov. 24

In all the urgent reports about the dangers of fossil fuels the Tampa Bay Times prints, I’m waiting for the policy agencies to tell us what lies beyond “net zero”? What will be the climate and economic effects?

The environmentalists naturally don’t like oil and gas officials to attend their conferences. They don’t like certain economists to attend, either. But there are two sides to this “net zero” coin. It’s staggering the number of people who blindly accept policies from Western governments that are driving the world off a cliff without any tip of the hat to the benefits fossil fuels give humanity. They ignore the economic fortunes of those who’d be without the benefits of fossil fuels, especially poor people in many less-advantaged countries.

Economics is a study in choices. We cannot achieve “net zero” without costs. If it means the cost of energy rises for farmers, food prices will rise, which makes it harder for poor people to get enough to eat. Or is this the plan? There’s a movement within environmentalism that advocates for population reduction. That these costs are never discussed in some circles tells me this is a garden variety authoritarian power grab and not the existential crisis it’s always portrayed as.

Jason Barrera, Oldsmar

A meaningful life

College grads find sparse job market | Nov. 21

It’s not surprising to read that college grads find a tight job market. For a long time, college has been tied to job potential. Recent loss of interest in the humanities, shaving off courses in history, literature, philosophy and art in general education, for instance, means that society considers these disciplines as the “frills” of education. The social sciences, which can lead to careers of modest income, generate less enrollment than tech and business. We all know this. The conundrum is that a full and balanced education, rich in insight, comes from engaging in disciplines where students develop the skills to live meaningfully. Becoming a high-end consumer is not the only goal of life. We need to make that message clearer to the generation who will shape society to come. The article states that President Joe Biden has a problem with this shift in economics. Let’s rethink that assertion.

Antonia Lewandowski, Largo

Union strong

Teacher union vies to endure | Nov. 19

For 42 years I was a member of the Manatee Education Association. The MEA bargained for higher pay, health care benefits and many more items that improved teacher morale, which leads to better teaching. Now the Republican Legislature passed a new law making it harder than ever for many public-sector collective bargaining agents to keep operating. In other words, the Republicans wish to eliminate teacher unions as part of their overall plan, which I believe is to eliminate public schools. The state will long regret what Republicans are on their way to accomplishing.

Bruce W. Dietch, Bradenton

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Thought control

Florida House bill aims to restrict personal pronouns, workplace training | Nov. 22

A Florida legislator wants to restrict personal pronouns and some workplace training he dislikes. Why this obsession with telling others what to read, write and teach? Is thought control now a legislative function?

Robert Ross, Tampa

My mother, the librarian

Pasco school board is urged to drop library group | Nov. 24

For years, my mother, a devout Christian, was an elementary school librarian in a small town in Texas. She and her best friend, Billie, became storytellers in retirement, delighting schoolchildren with their productions. Mother was a thespian at heart and also loved performing in hometown theater. After Alzheimer’s began to take its toll, her fellow actors would feed the lines to her so that she could continue to do what she loved.

Mother was always in character and costume (male or female) when storytelling or acting. I remember one part in which she successfully portrayed an old male farmer. She was very good. I’m certain that she would also have been fine with a man dressed as a woman if the children were entertained. She would have placed full trust in the American Library Association and been appalled by the banning of any book based upon some politician’s political agenda. She was cool like that.

Vickie Weiss, Treasure Island