Carbon Counterattack

| 1/8/2015 3:42:00 PM

Carbon-Based Fuels

Big Energy presents a glowing dreamscape of a glorious future with carbon-based fuels, but it would be more like a nightmare with flooded coastlines and a devastatingly hot planet.

Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch.

Around the world, carbon-based fuels are under attack. Increasingly grim economic pressures, growing popular resistance, and the efforts of government regulators have all shocked the energy industry. Oil prices are falling, colleges and universities are divesting from their carbon stocks, voters are instituting curbs on hydro-fracking, and delegates at the U.N. climate conference in Peru have agreed to impose substantial restrictions on global carbon emissions at a conference in Paris later in the year. All this has been accompanied by what might be viewed as a moral assault on the very act of extracting carbon-based fuels from the earth, in which the major oil, gas, and coal companies find themselves portrayed as the enemies of humankind.

Under such pressures, you might assume that Big Energy would react defensively, perhaps apologizing for its role in spurring climate change while assuming a leadership position in planning for the transition to a post-carbon economy. But you would be wrong: instead of retreating, the major companies have gone on the offensive, extolling their contributions to human progress and minimizing the potential for renewables to replace fossil fuels in just about any imaginable future.

That the big carbon outfits would seek to perpetuate their privileged market position in the global economy is, of course, hardly surprising. After all, oil is the most valuable commodity in international commerce and major producing firms like ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Shell regularly top lists of the world’s most profitable enterprises. Still, these companies are not just employing conventional legal and corporate tactics to protect their position, they’re mounting a moral assault of their own, claiming that fossil fuels are an essential factor in eradicating poverty and achieving a decent life on this planet.

2/2/2015 3:49:17 PM

Typo. . . .junk up my PO Box

2/2/2015 3:32:00 PM

As a progressive, I have subscribed to Utne Reader for many years. If Utne is really a progressive magazine, why are they wasting so much paper by subscribing to grossly outdated magazine marketing. Utne junks up my email box many months before my subscription is up with paper, paper and more paper. Is Utne a leader in progressive thought? If they are why don't they step in to the 21st century and notify me by email regarding subscription renewal. This may be my last year with Utne if this practice is not stopped.

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