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Page added on September 1, 2010

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Fossil Fuels vs. The Public Interest



The fossil fuel industry often pretends to have the public’s best interests in mind. The operative word is “pretends.”

Fossil fuel executives get out of bed in the morning thinking about two things: 1)

Making sure they can sell all their current in-ground inventory of fossil fuels at a profitable price and 2) finding more fossil fuels to replace those they’ve already taken out of the ground.

But it is how they do their jobs which should interest us. In the past when few suspected that carbon emissions might affect the climate or that fossil fuels were limited enough in their ultimate supply that the world needed to be looking for alternatives, these executives had an easier job. Almost no one questioned the wisdom of using fossil fuels to power the expanding industrial base of the world, a base that was bringing ever greater material wealth to whomever was able to build it. The job of the fossil fuel companies was simple: Get fossil fuels out of the ground and deliver them in ever greater quantities to voracious industrial, commercial and residential customers.

Then the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, a huge jump in oil prices in the 1970s associated with the Arab oil embargo, the publication of Limits to Growth, rising concerns about air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels, and preliminary concerns about climate change linked to carbon emissions, all combined to make the public and policymakers question the world’s heavy reliance on fossil fuels.

Fossil fuel companies have fought back both in the media and in the halls of government so successfully that today some 40 years are the Santa Barbara spill, the world remains dependent on fossil fuels for 86 percent of its energy. How have these companies argued their case?

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One Comment on "Fossil Fuels vs. The Public Interest"

  1. Jimmy on Thu, 2nd Sep 2010 10:06 pm 

    The question is: can people divert their attention away from the industrial machine long enough to realise that it has no future, and the longer you stay in dream world, the more likely it is you will become a statistic in history books of the great western collapse of the early 21st century.

    Hemp oil, not crude oil

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