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Fossil fuels are still necessary

I WAS concerned at your report that Glasgow University would divest itself of funds in fossil fuel companies after pressure from environmental organisations and students alike ("University to end investment in oil", The Herald, October 9).

I expect naivety from environmental organisations; their utopian visions rarely if ever connect with reality. But I would expect students at a university to be able to apply their critical faculties to any common assumptions made about fossil fuels.

Are they not aware of the extent to which health, wealth and welfare are dependent on them and how stable generating systems cannot be constructed from renewable and thus inherently variable and expensive sources? Student climate societies I would also expect not to hide behind the skirts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) but to investigate the claims and founda­tions of such claims so that they become aware of their limitat­ions.

While expecting students to be idealistic, democracies only survive if the population at large is inherently sceptical and investigate for them­selves much of what they hear from various media sources. The common knee-jerk response against fossil fuels is most certainly one of them.

Cheap abundant energy is necessary to lift all of mankind up by its bootstraps. That means fossil fuels and/or nuclear energy.

Professor Tony Trewavas,
Scientific Alliance Scotland,
7-9 North St David Street, Edinburgh.