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Jay M. Gould
302 West 86 St.
New York, NY 10024
212 496 6787
To the Editor, New York Times
October 15, 2001
Why Ben Laden Hates the US
A story in the Sunday New York Times of October 14, entitled "Fears, Again, of Oil Supplies at Risk", states that the US with 5 percent of the world's population consumes 25 percent of the 76 billion barrels available annually.
The article also states that Ben Laden has announced "that he wants oil to be $144 per barrel -- about six times what it sells for now". Consequently the biggest fear of oil companies is that his followers might "might topple the ruling Saudi family" for selling oil too cheaply, perhaps by destroying Saudi pipelines by sabotage.
This appears to be a far more realistic scenario for the immediate future than than continued terror attacks on the US. If so, the silver lining is that most oil companies today have small but strategic investments in photovoltaics, hydrogen cells, geothermal steam and other forms of renewable energy, because as recently announced by Texaco and Chevron, they "are in the business of supplying energy".
If the price of oil does rise , we may be forced to renounce our wasteful desire for gas-guzzling SUVs.
For the past half century we have invested some $4 trillion in subsidies for developing nuclear technology for both reactors and weapons, now seen to be worse than useless for our national defense . If one percent had been spent on developing solar technology, today we would really have "energy too cheap to meter". We could furnish enough photovoltaic shingles to cover the roofs of 4 billion homes worldwide, and give employment to hundreds of millions of third world populations now considered redundant . In such a world, in which both poverty and pollution would be eliminated, no one would hate us.
Jay M. Gould