Stephanie Leighton’s thinly veiled promotion for her own business acumen and “fossil-free investing” is another example of the Portland Press Herald giving editorial space to special interests of corporate spokespeople.

While the intention stated in the title of the piece – “Maine Voices: Getting out of fossil fuel investing a wise approach for state” (Jan. 9) – is an eco-friendly ambition and sounds noble, it is unrealistic taken to the extreme.

Indeed, what extremes one chooses to use in calculating what carbon emissions are measured in which production process can give an unbalanced view of any company’s bottom-line environmental impact.

I’ll go to one particular product presented as a clean-energy industrial product in her investment portfolio presentation: hybrid batteries.

According to an in-depth study by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, hybrid cars do, in fact, require more energy to produce than conventional cars, emitting more greenhouse gases and burning more fossil fuels during the manufacturing process.

The production of hybrid batteries, in particular, requires much more energy than producing a standard car battery and results in higher emission levels of gases such as sulfur oxide.


In a perfect world, each investor in any particular company could find out the real environmental impact of any mass-produced product and which companies backed their eco-friendly talk with corresponding actions.

Given careful consideration, it is not an impossible task; however, average Mainers probably could not care less as they sit by their woodstoves or drive their 10-year-old SUVs to the mall.

Mark McConnell



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