EDITORIAL: How young people can save the planet

without fossil fuels, the prosperous country they live in would not exist, and their lives would be short and brutal.

Similarly, simplistically demanding that Third World nations abandon fossil fuels — so they cannot power themselves into the First World as we did — would condemn millions of young people living in those countries to premature deaths.

The use of fossil fuels to provide electricity alone is vital to the well-being of nations.

Without it, people have to stop working when the sun goes down.

Water treatment and distribution collapse. Food and vaccines cannot be stored because freezers and fridges stop working.

Hospitals can’t function. Traffic becomes chaotic.

In the poorest countries, people have to heat and light their homes by burning wood, peat and animal dung, leading to millions of premature deaths from indoor air pollution.

Without electricity, computers are useless.

The cell phones these students will use to keep in touch with one another at Friday’s protest wouldn’t exist.

The most significant thing we can do globally to combat human-induced climate change and air pollution is to replace the use of coal to provide electricity with non-emitting nuclear power and low-emitting natural gas.