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Fossil fuel days are over, Turner informs Houston

Bob Tippee

When an oil company executive comments on energy trends, television people discount the observations on the basis of vested interest.

A television executive, however, lugs around no such baggage.

So when CNN founder Ted Turner shows up in Houston to opine about energy and the environment, people should take note. Right?

"The days of fossil fuels as a fuel are over," Turner told the Houston World Affairs Council Feb. 7 while voicing fear about global warming. "It's just a matter of how soon everybody recognizes it. We only have one atmosphere."

Only one atmosphere! Who could have known?

But there it was, straight from a billionaire with insight unencumbered by connection with anything as nasty as oil and gas. He must be right.

In response to Turner's revelation about the death of fossil fuels, however, Houston didn't act eager to abandon its role as an oil and gas center.

A quick check indicated that rigs were still drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and around Texas. Refineries stayed busy along the coast. Tankers plied the Ship Channel pretty much as usual.

It must reflect failure by the witless to recognize what Turner—he's a television guy, after all—finds obvious: fossil fuels, 85% of the world's energy supply—kaput!

And forget war. Forget AIDS. Forget 2 billion human beings living in poverty.

"I think dealing with climate change is going to be the biggest single challenge humanity has ever faced, and we're facing it now," he proclaimed.

Remember: Turner's not an oil guy. When he speaks of doom, every word is worth its weight in ethanol.

In fact, Turner's better than not an oil guy; he's a solar guy. He told reporters in Houston that he recently invested millions of dollars in a New Jersey solar energy company.

No vested interest there. It's solar. It's righteous.

Predicting that clean, renewable future "is going to make a fortune," Turner praised wind, too.

So extend the logic. Millions of windmills, spinning furiously...and...and cutting the atmosphere into two pieces so there's a spare on hand when one overheats!

Somebody call Congress.

(Online Feb. 9, 2007; author's e-mail:

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