The oil and gas industry intends to spend $4.9tn over the next 10 years, exploring and developing new reserves, none of which we can afford to burn. According to the IMF, every year governments subsidise fossil fuels to the tune of $5tn – many times more than they spend on addressing our existential predicament. The US spends 10 times more on these mad subsidies than on its federal education budget. Last year, the world burned more fossil fuels than ever before.— George Monbiot in The Guardian, 7 AUG 19
Climate change denialism followers generally fall into two categories. The first, are the religious whack-jobs whose adherence to their pernicious worldview of Evangelical Christianity is so tight, it resembles that of a baby to its blanket. They cannot admit that ‘God’s creation’ could be in any way affected by anything man does. Man is puny, God is great. Therefore, who are we to think we can influence his perfect creation?
The second group are capitalists of all stripes. It’s a simple thing – climate change threatens their cash flow and they can’t have that. After all, they earned their money the good old-fashioned American way (usually through inheritance or graft) and since, despite many of their claims of being Christian, believe they only get one life of luxury to live, they don’t mind seeing the rest of the world perish if their lives have been, well, enriched.
The greed with many of these is so strong, they are willing to fuck their own children over, perhaps believing that a shorter life of wealth and luxury beats no life at all. Many of them are also digging underground bunkers, buying land in New Zealand or hatching plans to live in fortified floating cities on the world’s oceans.
Of course, these two groups can intersect in a Venn diagram of evil, forming perhaps a third group — small but powerful, typified by millionaire mega-church preachers.
For the rest of us little people, ensnared in a trap laid for us by the above groups’ dominance of the media, think tanks, politics and police, the best we can do are sober scientists and Extinction Rebellion. Our leader is 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, the St. Joan of Arc of climate causes. The scientists are harassed online, Thunberg is ridiculed in the press and Extinction Rebellion is looked upon with measured amusement as long as they remain non-violent and pay their taxes.
Merely believing in what any reasonably cognizant people can observe happening around them, is not enough and will not be enough. In the end, being able to say, ‘I told you so,’ will be the cold comfort provided to us.
Of course, you and I are not blameless. We made the choices that, little by little, helped pile drive humanity into an early grave. But I would also submit, we had a limited range of choice in consumer goods, employment, transportation and other forms of modern living. It was modern living itself, in its own wasteful, profiteering and polluting way, that set the course in motion over a hundred years ago. I live in a city, Pittsburgh, whose pollution in the early 20th century was so bad it was referred to as ‘Hell with the lid off.’
Some sociologists, scientists and historians do say that the die was cast at the start of the industrial revolution, while some hold that the machine was set in motion when humankind first started organized agriculture.
It almost seems beside the point now. In many ways, in our rush to develop and advance we, the collective we, were not wise enough to understand the long-term effects. And by the time we had the science to show us the error of our ways, it was almost too late. And since we were so locked in to our way of life, it became too late.
How long the deniers will keep up their charade remains to be seen. When the world is in extremis, the religious will probably say that what is happening are just the prophecies given in the book of Revelations (in allegorical form, of course) and they were right to oppose any attempt to stop them. After all, evidently, this was ‘God’s will.’
The plutocrats will attempt some last-minute half-hearted attempts to stop climate disaster – their final attempt at PR to assure their final grab for gold – but they will probably more invested in getting safely to their bug out bunkers than answering for their crimes.
That leaves the rest of us who knew, believed and fought the good fight to the end. What will God or gold do for us then? Nothing. The final act of grace will be for us to keep our heads and help each other do whatever must be done to either provide for a remnant of human life on earth or to ameliorate the suffering of people who, a few years ago, were planning a future that no longer exists.
And we will all go together when we go
What a comforting fact that is to know
An inspiring achievement
Yes, we all will go together when we go
We will all go together when we go
All suffuse with an incandescent glow
No one will have the endurance
To collect on his insurance
Lloyd’s of London will be loaded when they go
Oh we will all fry together when we fry— Tom Lehrer
We’ll be french fried potatoes by and by
There will be no more misery
When the world is our rotisserie
Yes, we will all fry together when we fry