My business deals in expediting the phase-out of fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy, electric transportation, and energy efficiency solutions. Moreover, I believe there are both financial and moral reasons for wanting this transition to happen.
Financially, we see that oil, coal and natural gas are going away, just like silver mining left Colorado 125 years ago, and DVD/game/video rental left us in the last decade; it’s an industry with an expiration date, and that’s becoming increasingly clear. It’s why ExxonMobil is traded today at 32.7% of what it was just a few years ago. That’s a lot of evaporated capital, and it’s a signal this sector has no future.
Morally, it’s widely believed that the impact of 8 billion people on this planet is causing environmental ruin in the form of climate change, ocean acidification, loss of biodiversity, and widespread disease to humans and other life forms.
This doesn’t mean that people like me (and the tens of thousands of scientists who understand the science behind what’s happening) are not constantly hounded, often ridiculed as “alarmists.” In particular, scorn comes with the territory. Cowboys have to deal with rattlesnakes, truck drivers with traffic cops, mailmen with dogs, and environmentalists with mockery and disdain.
In fact, ridiculing people who believe that the planet is losing its capacity to support life is a piece of cake. After all, the planet’s been here 4.5 billion years, and it’s been supporting life for almost that entire time. Are we to believe that something is going on here and now that’s in any way singular? Is it possible that, after all this time, we’ve arrived at a tipping point, beyond which it will impossible for humankind to preserve a decent environment (like virtually all our scientists are telling us)?
The video below is very well produced. It features John Stossel, an incredibly polished television news journalist, who goes ably at his task, i.e., taunting and jeering the entire environmental movement. I note with amusement that it spotlights the fanatical right-wing think tank Heartland Institute, which exists at the forefront of denying manmade climate change. It has deep ties to the Koch brothers and a network of other right-wing, climate-denying groups.
The people at Heartland appear to be amazed that actual climate scientists refuse to go in there to debate the organization’s “experts.” What they are trying pretend they don’t understand is that there is a reason this won’t happen at this venue with these people; it’s the same reason that is won’t happen at a QAnon convention, or the headquarters of InfoWars. These are all places that lack even the most basic respect for truth and fact. The billboard shown here is a product of the Heartland Institute; that’s Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber at the left. This is indicative of the level of their capacity to think, and to communicate to others in a reasoned and civil way.
So, are we doomed? Of course not. The best case is that humankind somehow comes together and deals with the present-day danger before it results in catastrophe. The worst that happens here actually is the collapse of our most important ecosystems, massive displacement of human populations due to sea-level rise and desertification, unprecedented levels of disease caused by infection-carrying insects, potable water shortages, etc., but, in the absence of nuclear annihilation, our civilization will continue on and rebuild itself–until the next major challenge, that is.
And what will the environmentalists face then? That’s right, a new round of ridicule.