Weighing In On The Alaskan Wilderness Debate

I had to read "Gore's `reckless and offensive' passion for the environment" (Economic Viewpoint, Nov. 6) twice to make sure this was not a satire. As an expert he should know that the oil won't last forever and that these resources are controlled by a cartel of exporting countries that can set the price as they like. Exploration in Alaska won't change this, at least not in the long term.

As far as the environment is concerned, the exploration for oil as well as the pollution produced by the various processes to convert oil into energy is a threat to the planet. The author describes Alaska as "a vast wilderness that is not especially attractive and that most of us will never see" and wants to put a price tag on the destruction of nature. To prove that the profit outweighs the damage, he calls this a "cost-benefit approach to the environment."

He also criticizes Al Gore for his attempt to initiate a rethink of this matter. To find a solution, it is mandatory to create awareness among all groups. That's what Gore is trying to do. This is neither reckless nor offensive but wise.

Olaf Kassner

Braunschweig, Germany

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