Who Will Buy Oil, Gas, & Coal When We Are All Dead?

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Another decade has slipped away. While ocean levels rise, ice caps melt, wildfires increase in ferocity, average temperatures soar around the globe, and more powerful storms increase in frequency, the world’s political leaders have done next to nothing to address the clear and present danger of a warming planet.

Image credit: NASA

China is building coal-fired generating plants for other countries. Australia is busy digging coal to power those new facilities. Japan is dithering about building a hydrogen economy. Russia has nothing to sell the world except natural gas. The United States is sucking every molecule out of the ground so it can have bragging rights as the biggest oil producing nation in the world.

Jeff Bezos, who has more money than 90% of Americans combined, says Amazon, the retail behemoth he created when he wasn’t sending dick pix to his neighbor’s wife, has threatened to fire workers who dare to point out the company has done little but make empty promises about reducing its carbon footprint.

Instead, he has served up yet another serving of weak tea, pledging to reduce how much carbon dioxide his company pumps into the atmosphere by 2040, God willing and the creek don’t rise. In the meantime, it is business as usual at Amazon, which has bought up so many gasoline and diesel powered delivery vans to handle the daily flood of packages that manufacturers are struggling to build more of them. Here’s a question for you, Jeff, if you can stop schtupping long enough to answer it:

Who will you deliver your precious packages to when all your customers are dead?

Money Talks

There are so many people with bazillions of dollars at their disposal who could step up and take a leadership position on global heating but choose to sit on their hands instead while they watch all that lovely money roll in. Warren Buffet, for instance. A plethora of Silicon Valley titans starting with Tim Cook and including Bill Gates, who is fooling around with some energy storage scheme that won’t move the needle on climate destruction one iota.

At the end of 2019, Germany finally passed a climate law that has some teeth in it, but it is already being watered down by those who worry it goes too far, too fast. In her annual year end speech, chancellor Angela Merkel praised the new law and said, “It’s our children and grandchildren who will have to live with the consequences of what we do now, or fail to do. That’s why I’m dedicating all my strength to making sure Germany does its part — ecologically, economically, socially — to come to grips with climate change.”

Here’s a tip, people. If we don’t go too far, too fast, we will all be extinct, poisoned by our own waste products within a century or two. The changes needed to protect the Earth from a mass extinction event will take many decades to work. We need to begin now if we are to have any hope of survival.

Think Of The Titanic

Perhaps an analogy will help. Think of the world as the Titanic. We are sailing blissfully along, having a wonderful time. We know the iceberg is out there, we can see it on our radar screens. We know what will happen when (not if) we hit it. And yet we continue to party on. Why let reality intrude on our excellent adventure?

Maybe someone will invent a heat ray that will melt the iceberg before we hit it. Maybe the ship will bounce off and continue its serene voyage undamaged. Maybe a comet will strike the Earth and kill us all before we ever hit the iceberg. Drink up, the party never ends for humanity. We always talk about our children and grandchildren but the reality is we are far too selfish to allow such noble thoughts to alter our actions. Let them worry about tomorrow. We are only concerned about today.

Government As Theater

It is popular to rail against feckless politicians and promise to vote the bastards out of office, but nothing ever changes. Government today is a charade, a stage set designed to conceal what is going on backstage. The actors are there to distract us from the truth, which is that private, short term interests always take priority over actual governance. If you see an analogy here to the ending of The Wizard of Oz, go to the head of the class.

It’s All About Oil

George Carlin once told us, “The USA is nothing more than an oil company with an army.” Did we listen? No. Most recently America stabbed its Kurdish allies in the back by suddenly withdrawing its troops from Syria. Then a few days later it sent troops back in to guard…oil wells. Anyone who thinks the Iraq war was about weapons of mass destruction simply isn’t paying attention. It was about controlling Iraqi oil. The Kuwait expedition was all about oil. America’s long standing relationship with Saudi Arabia is all about oil. And US policy toward Iran is heavily influenced by that country’s oil reserves.

What Can One Person Do?

Not only is oil polluting our skies with billions of tons of carbon dioxide, it is also polluting our political institutions and virtually guaranteeing a premature death for humanity. As individuals, our power to influence the course of events is limited. One thing we can do is limit how much fossil fuel we use in our daily lives. We can install solar panels on our roofs. Even if they only supply a third of the electricity we use, imagine for a minute what would happen to the utility industry if demand was cut by 33%.

We can buy a used Nissan LEAF or Honda Fit EV. Even if it only gets used for a third of our journeys, imagine what would happen to the oil industry if demand for gasoline dropped by 33%. We can install a solar hot water heater or switch from air conditioning to heat pumps. Anything we do personally will have a negligible effect on the world at large. But if enough people join in, the impact can be dramatic.

Take control of your own world to the extent possible. When it comes down to the nitty gritty, that is all any of us can do. We can’t rely on others to save us. We will have to save ourselves. Today is a great day to begin.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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