Posted on behalf of Dean Emeritus Richard Ottinger:

To the Editors, The New York Times:

Joe Nocero’s two recent Op Ed columns on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline demonstrate a disturbing disregard of the overwhelming dangers of climate change that threaten sea level rise; food shortages and starvation, spread of tropical diseases; economic disruptions; mass migrations and many other catastrophic ills.

Mr. Nocero shrugs off the admittedly adverse climate effects of tar sands oil as if it were a minor consideration in our quest for oil independence.

But how on earth are we to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions causing such grave threats to the planet if we continually increase our dependence on fossil fuels every time a new oil opportunity comes along?

Thus we are embracing dangerous drilling for more oil off the U.S. coastline; hydrofracking technologies that jeopardize water and air; opening up precious national park areas and Alaska to drilling — all on the basis of oil security.

All these endeavors increase our dependence on fossil fuels that have been proven to be the principal cause of the dangers of climate change. And they take the emphasis off and divert funding from the far more benign ways of reducing our dependence on foreign oil through energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The arguments put forward by Mr. Nocera and other fossil fuel apologists ignore, and will exacerbate, the real and catastrophic climate change dangers threatening the future of the world.

Richard L. Ottinger