LETTER : Green future will enrich our lives

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The Independent Online
Sir: The Prime Minister's speech to the UN Environment Summit in New York on the need for urgent action to protect the environment and, in particular, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is an encouraging sign of the UK's willingness to take a lead.

There is a further powerful economic consideration which does not seem to have figured in recent discussions. As well as the environmental constraints on excessive fossil fuel use, there are resource limits. These apply particularly to oil, which is the main energy source for transport, the most rapidly growing sector of energy demand.

On current trends, readily exploitable reserves of oil will be severely depleted in a few decades. While there may be some new discoveries and new means of extraction, these are likely to be more than offset by increasing demand from rapidly developing countries with large populations like China. The likely outcome will be a huge rise in oil prices which will affect the US as a large net oil importer, as well as having disastrous consequences for many poorer countries.

We must rapidly curb our consumption of fossil fuels. We can choose to do this in a controlled way, or have unpleasant consequences forced upon us.

MARTIN QUICK

Chairman, Architects and Engineers for Social Responsibility

Stroud, Gloucestershire

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