Following recent comments by the Environment Minister in Northern Ireland, Sammy Wilson MLA, it has become apparent that the environmental lobby still has a lot of work to do before some people are convinced that anthropogenic activity has any effect on the global climate.
Although it is faintly ludicrous to have an environment minister that has no scientific background there is another reason to make all reasonable efforts to conserve energy.
The fact is that the vast majority of energy consumed globally is derived from fossil fuels. No-one can deny that they are a finite resource. The rate of extraction vastly outweighs the rate of oil generation in sedimentary basins globally. Oil, ultimately, is not a sustainable resource.
The uses of hydrocarbons are many and varied. From the mundane filling the car petrol tank and electricity generation through to the obvious uses in plastics manufacture. From the clothes most of us wear to the medically vital production of surgical instruments, medicinal drugs and equipment, hydrocarbons are an essential part of modern life.
Surely in this case it makes sense to conserve a diminishing resource?
Can it not be argued to the likes of Sammy Wilson that whether or not he believes that climate change is an anthropogenic issue it makes sense to save energy? Or when he is 70 years old and in need of a hip replacement would he rather be told that because he enjoyed the “personal freedom” of leaving his TV on standby for the last 30 years the procedure will have to be performed without pain killers?