Shining a spotlight on the oil industry
I believe most people are basically good: kind, well-intentioned and guided by sound principles. But there’s one group of people out there who I believe, when examined under the clear lens of morality, are outliers. They are the leaders of the oil and gas industry, in this country and around the world.
It’s true that fossil fuels are the energy behind much of the progress and comfort we enjoy. However, knowing what we now know about their impact on our planet’s climate, we need to stop burning them as soon as possible – and from that perspective, leaders of the fossil fuel industry have much to answer for. Consider:
- They knew: a study published last January confirmed that the oil and gas industry knew that the burning of fossil fuels caused climate change in the 1950s; that the coal industry knew in the 1960s; and that oil giant Exxon’s own scientists even predicted global warming with ‘shocking skill and accuracy’ back in the 1970s. Their response? To take a page from the tobacco industry and sow doubt, trading long term planetary health for short term profit.
- They still hide stuff: earlier this year, it was revealed that Imperial Oil and Alberta’s industry regulator knew of an oilsands tailings pond leak for nine months before advising neighbouring First Nations. Earlier this week, it was revealed that they actually knew of the seepage for years.
- They still want to expand: at a time when we need to stop burning oil, Norwegian oil giant Equinor was given approval just last week to develop the 300 million barrel Rosebank oil field in the North Sea, and is still seeking to develop the Bay du Nord oilfield in deep water off the coast of Newfoundland. You can’t solve a problem when you keep producing more of what’s causing it.
- They’re backsliding: in recent years, global oil companies like Shell, BP, ExxonMobil and Chevron have all made widely-publicized net-zero pledges. Now, with oil prices once again high, those ambitions are being abandoned – the latest being in August, when Suncor Energy’s CEO announced the company would be reducing emphasis on emission reduction and refocusing on oilsands.
- They’re relying on expensive (and unproven) technologies like carbon capture and storage. Canadian oilsands companies have even set up an organization called the Pathways Alliance specifically to promote it; and they want us taxpayers to foot most of the bill, even as they earn record profits.
- They’re still undermining progress: there were more fossil fuel lobbyists than ever at last year’s UN Climate Conference in Egypt; this year’s conference will be held in Dubai (which also happens to be hosting a global oil conference this week), and will be chaired by Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.
No wonder Christiana Figueres, one of the lead negotiators of the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, wrote in July that she’d given up hope that the fossil fuel industry would ever voluntarily be part of any realistic climate solution.
It seems to me all of this should anger any parent, citizen or human. But please don’t take it out on the people at your local gas station; they don’t exactly control the levers.
- Try to see the fossil fuel industry for what it is (just reread the above points anytime you need a refresher)
- Do everything you can to use less of their products (and mainly that means burning less gasoline)
- Lend your passion and talents to organizations working to promote a sustainable, healthy future.
The fossil fuel industry may not be better off, but the rest of us sure will be.
This story was brought to Nouzie by RSS. The original post can be found on https://carlsgreenideas.wordpress.com/2023/10/03/greedy-but-strategic/