Home | About | Donate

A Future Without Fossil Fuels?

A Future Without Fossil Fuels?

Bill McKibben

“Kingsmill Bond” certainly sounds like a proper name for a City of London financial analyst. He looks the part, too: gray hair expertly trimmed, well-cut suit. He’s lived in Moscow and Hong Kong and worked for Deutsche Bank, the Russian financial firm Troika Dialog, and Citibank.

The gawd-damned financial system is largely to blame for most of this. Complex financial shenanigans including but not limited to externalizing the planet and all of its inhabitants kept Progress at bay. Remember the turn to soccer-mom inspired commercials touting SUVs as a moral imperative? Well that occurred long after the forecasts of climate change were undeniable. It is past time for the moral imperative to be BEING PISSED OFF instead of being pissed on by Big Money, Energy, Etc. Until finances are reeled into reality there can be little hope for the planet as the greedy are never sated–even on this finite planet. Hell, let’s ship the fuckers to Mars to dig for whatever passes for wealth there.


Let’s save all that money and energy needed to send them to Mars, and let them have the choice of exploring the wealth of experience to be discovered in a 6 by 9ft cell, or, in a hole in the ground 6 feet down.

1 Like

Right in the first paragraph we encounter the fatal aspect of McKibben’s attitude, common to most environmental activists: the unfounded orthodoxy that eventually the magic of the marketplace will solve the climate problem. Supposedly a couple of economic tweaks here and there are all we need, maybe just a statement of intent like the GND, to help Mr Smith’s invisible hand take over in saving the Earth.

It’s a fantasy as wild as those of the weirdest science denialists. It’s a means of lying to people, trying to convince them that transitioning from fossil fuels will be painless, causing so much more harm than the brutal truth.


Sorry, Bill, it’s been decades, now, and we’re still waiting for your formula of “furious activism” coupled with your undying faith in a “changing energy economy” to produce the kind of results needed to address climate change. Too little and way, way too late. The kind of activism needed, now, will be the kind that topples governments and markets will crash before the world rebuilds itself with renewables. It won’t be pretty and it won’t be peaceful.


You could say the same thing as Profit .
Nobody wins if we all die …

The industrialization of innovations like airplanes, highways, the internet, and so on came from massive government expenditures motivated by fears of war. We seem to lack organic fears of climate change. This disconnect between climate knowledge and human emotion have left us like deer staring into oncoming headlights. Carbon emissions are a clear and present danger to humanity. Inertia of heavy energy industry slowed everything to a crawl. We need political leadership that will create massive incentives for all clean energy and win this dirty war against humanity.


Nothing more to add to this Sunflower333!!! Thank YOU!!!


UR welcome

They are already there, and I’m sure they are at least prospecting.
But I doubt they are setting up a duopoly, yet.

As renewables get cheaper than oil, will their highly touted market work its magic?

The oil companies tell investors not to worry. In mid-February Exxon announced that it had found huge new deepwater oil deposits off the coast of Guyana, and that overall it planned to pump 25 percent more oil and gas in 2025 than it had in 2017, which, it claimed, would triple its profits. In September, OPEC released a report predicting higher oil demand due to increases in jet travel and the production of plastics, which are made from petrochemicals. Analysts like Bond are skeptical of such claims. Although oil has been the planet’s most important industry for over a century, over the last five years it’s been the slowest-growing sector of the stock market. Petrochemicals and jet fuel are indeed harder to replace with renewable energy, but they make up a relatively small part of the market for oil—even if demand for them grows, it can’t offset the losses in core uses like pumping gas for cars.

For readers who skim…who is Bond???

I look at oil environmentally as oil/coal. You might as welll think of’em that way. Vandana Shiva says the warming can be “slowed” by just the nature of agriculture. Well, if it can slowed by just the nature of agriculture, then it’s not hopeless to begin thinking about the impact of whatever we do with oil/coal. In the first place the fact that oil is having a tough time I’m not sure is a cause to rejoice. The way markets run oil now, is like a slot machine. “Energy dominance” policy (Trump) could lead to nuke war right off the bat…so, from that standpoint the whole thing’s not even worth thinking about. You can just get your house in order, etc. Not really like a slot machine, but it’s volatile…I mean oil corporations compete on a Dark Ages level. One day they’re kings of the Earth, but when voters get savy…if governments haven’t stepped in to prepare’em…what’s gonna happen to the intricately intertwined machinery of global neoliberalism??

As far as I can see you might as well start thinking about using light rail to move stuff and people around (does it even make green sense to move folks at all to wherever to do all that claim denying?). Are there even enough muscle-fuels left to build the heavy-rails really needed to convert the almighty trucking means of conveyance? Same question for desalination. We are using oil up the yin yang simply to create plastic for SUVS! Let interiors be metal (use cushions). Forget crude pipelines and start laying smaller pipes for desalinated water (desalinated via solar).

Not sure that the 8 billion of us can be supported by green energy.

Hemp could replace most everything, except steel.

I think you are on to something we need to decide. What things are worth smelting and mining? Do we invent things to replace iron, copper, zinc, brass, aluminum, lubrication oil and grease etc?

We live and breathe computer tech like lap tops and smart phones. Having China make these things doesn’t help with world climate change.
I am curious what a hemp cell phone looks and works like. A little sarcasm. But seriously too?

A feel-good analysis that forgets to mention that carbon emissions were up this year, despite the toothless Paris Accords (not a single signatory to Paris has achieved their self-imposed reductions so far), and that they’re on pace to go up again this year. Reliable predictions don’t have emissions peaking until 2030.

If we’re relying on technology and market mechanisms to save our asses, I call bullshit.

And I have to respectfully ask Bill McKibben: How is it that young people have raised the sense of worldwide collective urgency on this issue in one year more than your org in a decade?

1 Like

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe hemp can be used as an alternative to plastic.

Add a little THC and it would make it a terrific cell phone.


1 Like

If government’s didn’t watch it, the transition could end up like one of those books by Velikovsky (in terms of societies rather than Earth’s crust). So, you see the light (which is really kinda dark)…have any ideas for the mandatory change over?