Kochland, a warning from history

THE NEW YORKER

Jane Mayer in The New Yorker reviews Christopher Leonard’s book Kochland, a chronicle of “the extraordinary behind-the-scenes influence that Charles and David Koch have exerted to cripple government action on climate change” in the United States and around the world.

I can’t talk about the book, I haven’t read its seven hundred pages. What I can do is accept what Mayer is saying about Leonard’s findings, and form an opinion, pass judgment, on the brother’s Koch.

I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to say, by actively funding climate-change denial, the brother’s Koch put their interests and the profits of their companies above the lives of almost every other person on the planet. It’s a position, an arrogance, as unsettling as the “smoking gun” revelation surrounding ExxonMobil, reported earlier in the month by Oliver Milman of The Guardian. The Texas oil giant made “‘breathtakingly’ accurate climate predictions in 1970s and 80s” then systematically denied the science.

The idea anyone could or would deliberately cause harm, actively destroying life on the planet, is so far beyond my comprehension it’s hard for me to fathom.

Actually that’s not true. History is awash with examples of the self-interested, and their abilities to divorce actions from consequences. It’s the logic of faith. I believe in God. I am devout. Therefore everything I do is God’s will.

It’s how everyone from kings to terrorists, moguls to dictators, rationalise their actions.

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What’s the super-tipping point for Exxon?

Two stories, from opposite ends of the climate crisis, caught my attention yesterday.

The first by Damian Carrington, details three “super-tipping points” for climate action, that could cascade through our economies, potentially reducing “70% of global greenhouse gas emissions”. The report, from consultancy Systemiq, partnering with the University of Exeter, advocates policy interventions on electric vehicles, plant-based meat alternatives, and green fertilisers, as “the fastest way to drive global action”. Basically, push growth in these three sectors, to get us away from high-carbon options as quickly as possible.

While I think the idea sounds plausible, I wonder if it’s enough? It doesn’t deal with the structural problems that got us here in the first place. The Systemiq strategy was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos. It’s speaking business to business, which has me mulling, will another iteration of business really solve our problems?

The other story, by Oliver Milman, follows up on his piece earlier this month, “Exxon made ‘breathtakingly’ accurate climate predictions in 1970s and 80s“, detailing a report by Geoffrey Supran proving Exxon’s scientist predicted the rise in global temperatures. As I noted then, Exxon has know for at least fifty years their products were, are, and will continue causing planet wide warming.

More than a dozen America states have lawsuits against Exxon. Many believe Supran’s report strengthens their case against the Texas giant. It certainly establishes two key facts. Exxon “knew about the causes and consequences of climate change” and they “actively concealed and denied it”.

Exxon has consistently denied “they knew”. I call that a press-release denial, but they have deep pockets to defend against accusations of wrongdoing. Theoretically they could continue their denials well beyond the point of no return. I’d argue we’re already there. If, as Systemiq predicts, there’s a tipping point when detoxing our economies of carbon achieves critical mass, what’s the super-tipping point for Exxon?

When do they accept their part in all of our destruction, and do something to stop it?

The “Exxon knew” story is being ignored?

My previous post was about the recent release of a shocking report by researchers from Harvard University and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, confirming Exxon has know for at least fifty years that their products were, are, and will continue causing planet wide warming.

I first saw the Exxon story late last night on Mastodon. This morning I checked Twitter, and was surprised-not-surprised to see no mention of it. It’s there if you search, but on the UK News feed and Trending there’s nothing.

It wasn’t so long ago Twitter was my first port of call for breaking stories. Now, the top thirty stories on the platform, go from Felix to Corbyn, with no mention of Exxon. That’s just wrong, and dangerous, and confirms the kind of dangerous bias, I for one, expected when Elon Musk took over Twitter.

ExxonMobil knew, they knew!

Oliver Milman in The Guardian reports that Exxon has know for at least fifty years that their products were, are, and will continue causing planet wide warming.

The Guardian

Back in the 1970s Exxon’s own scientists “correctly and skilfully” “predicted there would be global heating of about 0.2C a decade due to the emissions of planet-heating gases from the burning of oil, coal and other fossil fuels”.

What did Exxon do with this information? Did they tell everyone, try to reverse it, invest in solutions? No, they watched as their prediction came true, then attacked the science.

Geoffrey Supran led the team of researchers from Harvard University and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, that uncovered the “smoking gun” showing Exxon “accurately predicted warming years before they started attacking the science”.

And why would Exxon make such a despicable choice, take such callous actions, for decades? You guessed it, to protect company profits.

They did it for the money!

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