There is something fundamentally wrong in treating the earth as if it were a business in liquidation

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Herman Daly, World Bank Economist Science, Vol. 240, pg. 1611, 1989

The recovery, handling and combustion of the earth's finite supply of fossil fuels are damaging the environment. This damage may ultimately cause many plant and animal species to become extinct. If we continue to increase our use of fossil fuels for energy production, humanity may ultimately become one of the species that perish. Some may feel that the potential for human extinction several hundred years in the future. They assert that this is an inadequate justification to make profound near term changes in the energy infrastructure. There are, however, two other reasons to stop the use of fossil fuels as our main energy source. In the short term, as globalization improves world economies there will be increased competition for the remaining reserves. This competition has the potential to germinate into open conflict that will be lethal for humanity. In the mid term, justification comes from the need to conserve the unique substances in fossil fuels for future higher value use as chemical feedstock. These three drives, one to stop using fossil fuels because they may threaten the survival of humanity, the second to moderate the potential for international conflict and the third to save the fossil materials for higher value use constitute powerful motivation to terminate the burning of fossil fuels.

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