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"Grand Coalitions" With Big Oil and Gas Won’t Solve the Climate Crisis

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/01/28/grand-coalitions-big-oil-and-gas-wont-solve-climate-crisis

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I agree - the International Energy Agency is greenwashing - in short - spin - always more spin.

I’ve just finished Rachel Maddow’s “Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power” (2012), which is not only superb, but accurate and concise. I presume, citing the laudatory backing of one Andrew Bacevich, that this book may have been a partial impetus for his own 2014 book “Breach of Trust” ?

On now to Maddow’s new book, “Blowout” about the very subject highlighted in this article.

Having been a part of oil & gas for eighteen years, I feel rather like a vet I presume, who finds an honorable career besmirched by the ‘head shed’.

We’ll see, and I’ll try and keep any commenters here on CD that are interested in this subject posted as I read:

Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth (Rachel Maddow)

Yikes, what is this peddling of official M$MBS-minted Rusophobia? If this is an attempt to make folks wonder about you, you’re succeeding.

I don’t get it. I’m waiting for the “haha – fooled you!” punchline or something…

Hannah McKinnon sez:

2020 has to be the year that the fossil fuel sector runs out of places to hide. Piece by piece, their cover is being blown: major public finance institutions are banning upstream investments on climate grounds, countries are putting an end to licensing new fossil fuel exploration and extraction, and civil society is mobilizing around crystal clear demands to end fossil fuel financing and expansion.

Why is it my curiosity seeks out the pessimistic angle? Maybe because I’m old enough to have heard things like “1990 has to be the year…” when things didn’t turn out that way that year, or the next, or the next. I have many questions about all the claims in this paragraph: which upstream investments, countries, and anti-extractivist demands? Maybe I can find the details on her FixTheWEO site (which actually looks quite informative).


Have you read “Drift” ?

This might be of interest, as climate is once more a topic worthy of discussion here on CD:

Antarctica melting: Climate change and the journey to the ‘doomsday glacier’


Agree, the IEA is using greenwashing. I have to admit that I am a bit surprised that you agree that the climate crisis is real. Why? Because of this you wrote :

So many people in that industry are in denial about climate change. It seems to be some kind of psychological mechanism that protects them from the pain of having worked for such a destructive industry. Good for you for acknowledging climate change. Wow, do you still work in oil and gas? Sorry but you put it out there. It seems a bit difficult to be progressive and work in that industry.

1980 thru 1997 Brd48 - then I went climbing full time for seven years - saw the light, got married, had a son, and became an environmentalist full time too. True story.

You know I’m a field geologist, wellsite, exploration. We thought we were just bringing home the bacon, keeping the lights on, which, strangely, is also true.

The guys in the office now - yea, they have to be in denial to keep their jobs - should have left long time ago, but then I sold my condo and went broke to climb - kind of an artistic thing to do - also true.

I read the Club of Rome Report “Limits to Growth” in 1972 when it came out, by the MIT group Meadows et al, worse, when I was at McGill University taking marine geology in my third year in 1970, we were all given Gilbert Plass’ article written in 1959 for Scientific American, “Carbon Dioxide and Climate” - and Dr. Plass laid things out - basically - we could have a problem here !

I have the fairly recent biography of Marion King Hubbert here, “Oracle of Oil” - you know, Shell’s top geologist way back who predicted ‘peak oil’ for the U.S. would occur in 1970 plus or minus, and he predicted that back in 1956. Even more, I have written on the frontspiece of the book:

"Limits to Growth" in 1948. Turns out ol King Hubbert was a genius of sorts, an environmentalist all his life, and called our future twenty four years before the MIT group wrote that famous Club of Rome report !

Truth really is stranger than fiction, like the time we bombed Spain with four thermonuclear warheads, accidentally of course, and are still doing remediation (Drift", Rachel Maddow 2012). Not to worry, they didn’t ignite in a thermonuclear sense - just kind of exploded and wrecked a lot of soil and such, plus some increased cancer cases - but e don’t want to go there, now do we ?

Of course Alexander von Humboldt predicted most of this current ecological crisis even earlier, ca 1800, when he was arguably the most famous scientist in the world.

All true -

So now what ?

Drawdown my friend - asap. It can be done - James Hansen says to 350 ppm for a start.

But we seem to be a long way from that start, mucking around with Elon’s electric cars, thus deposing Evo Morales in another greenwashing event of magnitude - the idea that we just have to switch energy sources and all will be well !!!

Gee - why didn’t I think of that ???

Got to maintain that sense of humor whenever possible - it’s pretty much all we have left.

What is your story ?

Here’s a pencil. I just sharpened it. Should I ever forget myself enough to admire or appreciate any aspect of Dame Rachel’s person, thoughts, or accomplishments, I want you to take this pencil and poke me in the eye. Thanks. (I try to keep an open mind, but not so open that my brains fall out.)

It gets even worse ! I just went out and bought, forty-two Canadian samolians, “Blowout”, about my industry. I will interpret your reply - 'No, I haven’t read “Drift” ’

  • Right !

And 'No, I will not be reading “Blowout” ’

  • Right !

Glad to hear you have an open mind.

You got it. To some of us, the prospect of a book about military excesses by a warmonger seriously contending for worst person on Earth – that sounds as attractive as romancing wasps.

Bit of ad hom there don’t you think ?

Actually, “Drift” is more political than military, in the sense that we believe that politics runs the show, and the military does what they are told.

I have never seen as concise, as incisive a recounting of U.S. political history from the time of LBJ on as this little gem of a book. You and I are much older than Maddow, so there is the added benefit of seeing what we actually lived thru from the point of view of someone who arrived on the scene later than we did.

I think it comes down to one’s views on pacifism actually.

Some homs richly deserve the ad, my friend. Established enemies of truth, for instance.

Seriously, I didn’t find anything but truth in her depiction in “Drift”. She has a sense of humor for sure, but that Ph.D. of hers from Oxford comes thru big time. She cherry picks her chapters for sure, but I found it revealing that she gave short shrift to both George W & Obama’s terms in office, yet was expansive in her treatment of the senior Bush and his term in office. And her treatment is exactly consistent with the way I saw things ca Desert Storm. And for me, both George W & Obama are non-entities, which is how she treats them. Interesting !

Her chapter on the nuclear industry, “An $8 Trillion Fungus Among Us”, is not only priceless, but disturbing and truly thought provoking, from several perspectives.

I’m just obligingly filling in another reiteration of my disgust with vile imperial slime such as Dame Rachel, to provide you space for another plug. Go for it. Maybe you’ll get it out of your system.

OK - Andrew Bacevich gave “Drift” a huge thumbs up.

And another: Maddow starts her book with a quote from James Madison (1795):

“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

Those truths are well established. They are read in every page which records the progression from a less arbitrary to a more arbitrary government, or the transition from a popular government to an aristocracy or a monarchy."

Doesn’t sound like a warmonger to me ~

You win. You get the last word.

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Interesting story you have there. I have always been a nature person since childhood. I hike, bird and I am somewhat of an amateur naturalist. I garden with native plants. I try to do my part to help the environment wherever I live. As an example the anti-mosquito spraying in my neighborhood. The solar panels have been my recent project. In my undergraduate degree I used to work with sick dolphins, and studied the behavior of wild dolphins. In my graduate degree I have worked with the homeless, poor, and mentally ill. So that is why I just love Bernie and always have. He is there for the environment, and for all the people who are so in need of help. He has been doing this for a long time. Bernie the real deal.



I have read his book - and I agree - he is for real - and doing his best.

There is probably a ‘change of state’ imminent for the planetary ecosphere.

But if we can somehow manage to manufacture - to ‘create’ - a political and cultural change of state before that happens - we have a fighting chance.

Same here ! Just wanted to be outside - and for the most part I have managed to do just that, with the odd hiccup.

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