The dirtiest word in the climate lexicon
Mr. McKibben, I'm sitting here in my home in west Michigan, gazing out over a snowy landscape more appropriate to mid-January than November 1. Yesterday we saw a blizzard here that dumped 8-10 inches of wet snow on us, forcing most neighborhoods to postpone trick-or-treating until this evening. I was born in 1952 and lived over half my life in this state and have never heard of any snow at all on Halloween, much less nearly a foot. The evidence of climate change is all around me, and is unequivocal.
We can talk until we're blue in the face about public opinion, economic and political factors, and the Paris Accords, but as long as Exxon can buy whatever vote it wants in our pay-to-play Congress, we may as well go outside and present our arguments to one of these beautiful snowbanks I'm looking at. Without campaign finance reform, not much is going to change. This is why we can't have nice things in this country: because we've settled for a system whereby a million dollars in strategic "campaign contributions" typically translates to billions in increased profits.
Wall Street loves it. Fossils (aka fossil fuel companies) love it. And millions of Americans are prepared to return a psychotic criminal to the White House simply on a tenuous promise that he can change it. But the stakeholders - those who now hold office and so have benefited from this system - want nothing to do with its elimination. They're not about to kill the goose.
No, I'm afraid it's up to us to alter this trajectory. That's the good news - and the bad.
What is the timeline on the LNG export terminal approvals by the Dept of Energy--how long do we have to write letters to oppose said terminals?
Apropos the passage about meat: surely you're aware that pastured animals are GOOD for the climate, as they build healthy soils that excel at sequestering carbon. Compare that to the vegans' reliance on millions of acres of mono-cropped corn, soy, wheat and oats, the genetic modification of which enables them to survive getting doused with toxic chemicals - which strip-mine soil and render it lifeless, unable to sequester carbon. There's nothing "green" about fake food alternatives to meats! The REAL problem is intensely polluting factory farming / CAFOs. But animals pastured on small, regenerative, organic farms are a blessing to the health of both people and planet. So please don't perpetuate the vegan propaganda churned out by corporations that want to dominate our food supply with plant-based "Frankenfoods," health and democracy both be damned. "It's NOT the cow, it's the HOW!"
Hallo, Mr McKibben,
Try to look on the bright side, ‘Earthshot Prize’ may help can help, HRH Prince William & Co. can & will have a good and lasting influence. It is the younger generation that will bring about turnarounds there are many, many people who are full of small scale inventions that can be scaled up to creat solutions to combat the damage we all have caused. Know that you portray what you see in USA.
Already ‘The Ocean Cleanup ‘ team started by maverick Boysn Slat, they are making a difference harvesting the plastic in the Ocean: then transforming it. OC. has created different business models.
There are also different ways of seeking to punish Governments for their lack of forward thinking through Environmental Lawyers fighting for Gaia (Earth).
Please keep on reporting, we must have positive news about the Progress to carefully fix our woes which began during the Industrial Revolution.
All the best, Thankyou, CS Dagrain
The US is the largest exporter of LNG in the world. Saudi Arabia is still the largest exporter of oil. McKibben says the US is the #1 of both, which is wrong. The US certainly is the largest producer of oil in the world ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia, but we export and import similar amounts. WTI isn't optimized for our old fleet of refineries here in the US, so we need some heavy/sour crude oil to mix with WTI if we want jet fuel and diesel. Venezuela and Canada both have plentiful heavy/sour crude resources and the SPR is also mostly heavy/sour. Today when I rode my bike past the gas station I noticed that diesel was more than $1 pricier than gasoline. Like I said, demand for diesel and jet fuel hasn't abated. Unlike some environmentalists, I do not fly. I have never held a passport. Hypermobility is bad for the planet, but we tether ourselves to the Chevron/Exxon crowd if we decide we have to travel the world. We are all complicit in overconsumption, but we can start with small things like riding bike, taking cold showers and not traveling abroad (or flying at all if possible).
I just saw Planet of the Humans on YouTube. Sorry, Bill, your posts no longer impress me--you're too deeply invested in the destruction of the world's forests as an alternative to petroleum.
Remember the 500k children who died due to the 1991 Iraq War and subsequent sanctions? This "war" opened up Iraq nationally held oil supplies to Exxon, Chevron etc. Pres. Clinton's Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, literally acknowledged these dead children were victims of this- and said "it was worth it."
Now we are seeing a massive land grab by Israel - a close US ally and strategically next to major oil reserve countries -also killing thousands of children and their families.
We the People need to admit we have an energy addiction- and this addiction is destroying the planet as well as killing millions of innocent people. When we really talk about and grasp these horrible truths, linking our addiction to the atrocities which fuel them- we can begin to really embrace change.
Our entire economy still floats on oil- we can't even brush our teeth without it. So yes, we are all complicit in the current massacre of Palestinians as Israel moves to gain full control of this region and its resources with our weapons, funding and blessing.
And if we don't have access to these oil resources- some other country will- and they will have massive power both militarily and economically because if it. Our leaders know this- and there is no easy solution.
Switching to "green energy" is not the sole solution- as long as our energy consumption is through the roof- we will see profound environmental damage and violent impacts on citizens where precious metals for green energy lie.
Right now a huge amount of the metals in the Congo are mined by essentially slaves. The Amazon, Bolivia and other regions are also seeing major ecological devastation and murder of citizens for these resources.
If we don't speak out more about the human violence of big energy, we can not motivate the public to change. And we need clear road maps for how even to change. As long as we buy into this aggressively consumeristic way of being -we will, in my view, ultimately drive massacres, ecological collapse and climate change.
I would love to learn about any roadmaps created for this. I know 10% of the worlds wealthiest produce 1/2 of the worlds carbon emissions. How can we motivate and educate our citizens to act in our best interest to save the planet? And how do we achieve this logistically? And realistically, how can we impact the gross excesses of those at the top who are burning up the planet faster than the rest of us?
I welcome all thoughts!! Thank you.
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"We’ve got to hold exporters responsible for the greenhouse gases those exports produce—otherwise we’re just paying games. America is number one here, " but UK is playing the same game, exporting FF from new gas wells and the Cumbria coal mine while insisting there is no net addition to global emissions from their use.
While the communities have banned gasoline-powered leaf blowers, I doubt that they've banned battery-powered ones., which can be just as noisy, but different.
I agree with everything you said. AND...I struggle to respond to the national security arguments about gas and oil exports, or about fracking, for that matter. We asked European countries who relied on Russian gas to stay warm to stop buying it because of the invasion of Ukraine. A request strongly bolstered by our ability to backfill with gas of our own. And it's easy to gloss over the importance of moving from a country dependent on oil and gas imports to the world's largest petroleum producer. This has insulated us from the kind of economic chaos OPEC used to be able to inflict on a whim, and it's been made possible almost entirely by fracking. We can argue that the climate crisis is so critical that none of that should matter, but we would be much more persuasive if we were able to engage constructively with the economic and geostrategic issues.
The present will do things as long as the people who lead the present to not feel they are going to be affected. this has been true before and it will be true of climate change. People do not worry about what they do not feel well affect them as a matter of course. Which is why the present, which ever present we are talking about, wakes up and finds a huge mess and they wonder why the past didn't correct this. Think of this as the present bias towards unrealized gains.