Oil Billionaires Plot Secret Campaigns against Renewable Energy (duh)

The intrepid Suzanne Goldenberg of the Guardian reveals the secret campaign waged behind the scenes by the greasy oil billionaires, the Koch brothers, and other Big Oil interests to fight wind and solar power and to undermine President Obama’s clean energy policy.

In an America where second-hand smoke has led to a ban on smoking in public places because it has bad health effects on others, especially children, it is truly bizarre that we still let people burn coal, oil and gas, which is far worse for people than smoking. Putting high levels of carbon dioxide into the air is causing global climate change, including extreme weather events already. There are some children born today who as elderly persons will live in a world where the average surface temperature of the earth is 2 to 3 degrees C. (3.6 to 5.4 degrees F.) hotter than now, and where the seas likely will have risen six feet to nine feet (2 to 3 meters). Even by mid-century, high winds and sea surges could inundate coastal areas with 4 feet of water from time to time.

And that’s only the beginning. As the decades roll by thereafter, the temperature will likely go up to 5 degrees C. more than now (9 degrees F.). The ultimate sea rise with run through the hydrocarbons is likely to be at least 50 meters (150 feet). If we do go up 5 degrees C. typically in the past every 1 degree C. increase has equaled 10 to 20 meters sea rise (about 30 to 60 feet). We’ll lose a third of the earth’s land mass, all coastal areas, and everywhere will be tropical. Much sea life will die of acidity. Many plants will die. It is not clear that human beings could survive such extreme changes.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is right that the big banks need to be reformed and held accountable. But the banks are a minor problem compared to Big Coal and Big Oil. Where is the activism around those issues? Where are the consumer boycotts of the people who are playing dirty tricks on us?

9 Responses

  1. well, I’M boycotting it/them. Have been for a long time, and when I find others doing this, I applaud and urge them to continue. But I’m one old lady in tennis shoes. Who pays attention to them?

  2. The most recent May Day list of demands from the Occupy movement (posted at Guardian) includes a request for a full transition to renewable. We’re on it!

  3. People listen when money talks.

    If there is enough organization to boycott their products, Big Oil and Big Coal will earn less money; they might acknowledge the environmental cost of burning their products; they might promote carbon recapture to mitigate the damage done by burning their products.

    I, for one, don’t own a car. I bring my own bag (BYOB) or bottle, and I boycott packaging when I can.

    Juan Cole’s article is one of the few, rare articles I have read on this subject. Thank you Juan.

  4. I quit driving in 2003 and quit working, in 2003 when the Americans attacked Iraq. But they kept doing it. I notice, when people try to stop burning oil coal and gas, it just leaves more supply for the people without a conscience. They will proliferate. It’s darwinian. Unless we stop them. What does that look like? Armed guards to keep all the oil wells shut? Reminds me of the drug wars. Its hopeless.

    • The problem of leaving more oil behind for other nations to burn is called Jevon’s Paradox. So you’re not alone in your concerns. There’s a particular branch of this paradox called the Export Land Model, which says that oil-producing countries will have abnormal economic growth as the price of oil rises, so they will burn more of their own oil and have less to export. Not just joyriding around in Cadillacs or putting up silly skyscrapers, the oil exporters may simply convince the big corporations that the surest way to keep their own factories running is to move to their territory and use the oil for electricity or for plastics.

  5. I doubt if many at this site are in the market for a $49,900 full-size luxury sedan, but you ought to know that the US-built Tesla Model S electric-powered sedan is now in pre-production, with cars expected to reach dealers during July. That price will get you an estimated range of 185 miles, depending on which test cycle you measure by. You can probably find out on the Internet how much of your local electricity comes from renewable sources, and you can see if your electric company has a 100% wind plan as an option if you’re willing to pay for home charging equipment. Electricity is not produced in the US using imported fuel. Even if that’s produced by coal, the CO2 emissions should be less than any non-hybrid gasoline car, since it will be rated at the equivalent of close to 100 mpg.

    Due to its lack of an engine, the hatchback sedan has a trunk in the front as well, and 2 rear-facing folding seats in the back. So this is a 7-passenger car, comparable in performance and handling to the largest German and Japanese sedans and the cheaper Chrysler 300. The price is after the US tax credit, but some localities have additional subsidies.

  6. Here is an article about German renewable energy. During daylight hours of peak usage prices actually do DOWN. The details can be found at the link below.

    link to crikey.com.au

    Remember, the Germans have made a commitment to produce energy without resorting to nuclear or traditional “dirty” energy. It has been an all out development program. Here are some of the results and they don’t look good for coal, “fracking”, or Western supported Middle Eastern dictatorships.

    Remember, Another World is Possible, despite the group that phrase is now associated with.

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