It was a hoot to read Walter Bobruk's letter [“Plastics are not here to stay,” June 13, Page 6] and the responses that followed. However, Mr. Bobruk's recommended reading list is really not so much a listing of scientific studies but rather a series of political screeds.
One can go back to 1798 when Thomas Malthus published his “Essay on the Principle of Population” for dire predictions of food shortages, or the first predictions that we were running out of oil in the late 1800s, but none were based on science. One may complain about the price of oil, but when it is inflation-adjusted, it is still less than when we had a real oil shortage in 1979. And by the way, don't get excited by newspaper reports of $60 for a barrel of oil — those are the prices that speculators are bidding for futures exchanges, not the actual prices paid.
The truth is we don't know what our oil and gas reserves are because so many remain undiscovered! New drilling technologies have opened up reserves at depths in the ocean that have been inaccessible before (this is one of the reasons that CNOOC wanted to acquire Unocal). Russian university researchers believe they have found some evidence that oil and gas deposits are still being formed at depths heretofore unexplored. The fact is that we simply do not have the knowledge to predict when and if we will ever run out of oil. And if we eventually do, the “invisible hand” of Adam Smith will have guided business managers, scientists and engineers to find and apply new energy sources that are more economic than the existing ones.
To those who are getting excited about these “coming shortages,” I offer a suggestion: Switch to decaf.
Roger F. Jones
Franklin International LLC