Your October 2022 Inbox published three letters by alumni dismayed by the University’s decision not to divest from fossil fuels. These writers are believers in what I call “Climate Change Catastrophism,” the belief that civilization is doomed unless we ban fossil fuels. What they fail to understand is that fossil fuels have been the overwhelming reason that life on Earth has improved in the developed world over the past 150 years. For the less developed world, the improvement has not been so impressive. More than 80 percent of the world’s population (roughly 6 billion people) would love nothing more than to have greater access to energy, which is today overwhelmingly provided by fossil fuels.
By declaring fossil fuels to be evil, our alumni advocates are saying that these 6 billion people should wait the decades it will take to replace fossil fuels with renewables before they are entitled to consume more energy. This is an unbearably elitist mindset and explains much of the disconnect between the Left and the Right in our country today.
Editor’s note: The October letters calling for Princeton to divest were written prior to the University’s divestment and dissociation announcement in late September.