LETTER: Looking beyond burning hydrocarbons


The United States rocks at working with hydrocarbons. We make many of the world’s best engines. Our vehicles of all kinds are competitive globally. No one makes chariots of fire like we do. We are the gods of hydrocarbons, and the whole world knows it. My ability to talk engines, aircraft and cars until people run screaming is simply a normal product of growing up in America.

In this Sept. 1, 2015 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media while on a hike to the Exit Glacier in Seward, Alaska. After an emotionally trying week, the president is heading West to celebrate the raw beauty of America's national parks as the system nears its 100th birthday, and highlight challenges threatening it over the next 100 years, including climate change and chronic underfunding by Congress. Obama was taking his wife and daughters on a Father's Day weekend getaway to Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico and Yosemite National Park in California. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

When a refinery needs to be built somewhere, it’s Americans that are sought. Saudi Arabia is the ultimate example.

Doing amazing things with hydrocarbons, especially by burning them, has been a core part of being American for over a century.

And it shows in Congress whenever climate change is brought up. Despite 68 percent of Americans supporting a fee on carbon pollution (including 51 percent of Trump supporters) according to the Yale program on climate change communication. Representatives in D.C., dependent on fossil fuel industry election funding, just passed an unenforceable measure against any fee on carbon pollution, sponsored by a representative from refineries-rich Louisiana. (It conveniently ignores the fact that the leading carbon pollution fee proposal refunds all the revenue evenly back to households, keeping it from growing the government.)

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We have been so ingenious at working with hydrocarbons for so long that it’s part of how we define ourselves. We all know there are serious cumulative health and environmental problems associated with burning hydrocarbons. Instead of practically worshiping combustion, basically burning money, it’s time to acknowledge those issues while learning to be just as magnificent at what’s next too (lithium ion cells, for one, use plenty of graphite and carbon black as a durable good).


Citizens’ Climate Lobby, York, volunteer

York City