Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Big Oil and a few super-rich are pushing a global crisis--Ferrel of MarketWatch

When a commentator on MarketWatch worries about the same things I worry about it makes me think I might not be as crazy as I have feared. Paul B. Farrell [Big Oil’s civilization-ending pollution push: And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s ‘insane’ plan.] is worried that "Big Oil" will "end civilization" because of its powerful financial grip on political affairs around the world.  This is what he says:
  • Are you focused solely on a piece of Big Oil’s estimated $150 billion short-term profits in 2012? Or are you investing for the long term, in a new America, in a sustainable planet for your grand kids, the one our next generation inherits in 2050?
  • [We live in] a sharply polarized America, [there is a] deep gap that divides politicians and voters, conservatives and progressives, occupiers and tea partiers, Big Oil and environmentalists, the Super Rich 1% and the 99% rest of Americans.
  • [N]o matter who’s elected president, [World War IV] now has its own momentum, it will intensify, and will grow deadlier in the next decades as global population explodes from 7 billion today to 10 billion by 2050 and our depleting natural resources can no longer produce enough food for 10 billion.
  • [The US Chamber of Commerce] gets . . . $100 million from deep pockets like Big Oil giants: British Petroleum, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell Oil and dirty-coal giant Massey. And equally significant, more than 50 private and sovereign foreign corporations in India, Bahrain, Germany, Britain, and Canada, all paying dues to the Chamber, money that funds the Chamber’s political ads and lobbyists fighting America’s environmental energy policies, fighting to wipe out regulations that protect the public.
  • [The opposition to this influence from the left] is environmental economist Bill McKibben, author of the 1990 classic, “End of Nature,” and founder of 350.org, a “global grassroots movement” of “thousands of volunteer organizers in over 188 countries.” . . . McKibben’s 350.org says “to preserve our planet, scientists tell us we must reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current level of 392 parts per million to below 350 ppm.” 
  • [The] Chamber loves Big Oil’s civilization-ending pollution agenda.  . . .  Thomas Donohue, the chamber’s CEO, delivered his annual State of American Business address mocking government “regulations, mandates and higher taxes.”
  • McKibben warns of the chamber’s bias: They were “the biggest political funder in the last election cycle, outspending the Republican and Democratic national committees combined.
  • Donohue claimed America has “1.4 trillion barrels of oil, enough to last at least 200 years. We have 2.7 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough to last 120 years. We have 486 billion tons of coal, enough to last more than 450 years, and we need to use more of this strategic resource cleanly and wisely here at home while selling it around the world.”
  • [The response] But then what? The world ends? Yes. Actually much sooner. Because waiting till the last minute is suicidal. ThinkProgress.org columnist Brad Johnson even called Donohue’s speech a “Civilization-Ending Pollution Agenda” where “free enterprise requires a future of accelerated, unending global warming.” . . . 
  • “[S]cientists have long since concluded that to keep the planet’s temperature rise below a disastrous 2 degrees Celsius, the entire globe can burn, at most, an additional 650 billion tons of CO2. Or about one-third” of what the Chamber, Big Oil, Dirty Coal and Hot Gas propose burning.  . . . “Using tables from the government’s Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, [NASA scientists] calculated that burning those quantities of coal, gas and oil would raise the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide from its current 392 parts per million to almost 650 ppm.” 
  • [McKibben:] “For Donohue to recommend blithely increasing it by more than 50% is — well, it’s insane. Every nation on Earth has been conducting negotiations in an attempt to keep CO2 concentrations below 450 ppm; much research indicates we actually need to get back below 350 ppm to stabilize global climate.”  Worse: “Donohue was only talking about American hydrocarbons.” Add in Canada, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Kuwait, Venezuela, Norway, China, South Africa, Indonesia, Brazil and more, and “his prescription is fundamentally outrageous, at odds with everything we know,” a doomsday scenario “beyond dumb” that “only the most profound global-warming denier could ever embrace.”
Yes, our civilization could simply overdrive the system it depends on to the point of collapse.  You might think our leaders are too sensible, too rational to allow that to happen.  Well, considering the way they have behaved in the last decade, what would you expect?

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