How fossil fuel companies are knowingly scheming to profit from climate change

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But never any justice for our “betters”.


Imagine if, back in the ‘60s when Shell published that internal document acknowledging their complicity in climate catastrophe, they had made investments in renewables and cornered the market. They’d be the Exxon of the renewable energy sector by now.


If there was any justice in the world, these people would be strung up by their toes.

But clearly, there isn’t.


So many sads.

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They should certainly be held to account for the misinformation projects.

But continuing to drill for oil while it’s currently legal, necessary, and very much in demand? I find it hard to summon the will to punish them for doing something the vast majority of humanity would do in their place.


That’s how the Sacklers felt about oxycontin. The low level people, yeah, but not so much anyone who knew climate change was a problem, and they were making it worse. It stayed legal and in demand because they lied about the consequences.


I don’t agree.

Oxy is a legitimate painkiller just like oil is a legitimate fuel. But the major crime of the Sacklers is not selling Oxycontin. It’s that they knew about a massive number of fake clinics and doctors who were selling Oxycontin on black market and helping drive the opiod epidemic, and instead of reporting and shutting down this black market activity they used it to drive more sales.

I don’t see a meaningful comparison to the oil industry.

Did they both do damage to civilization by not reporting what they knew? Could the oil industry not paid experts to downplay the risk of climate change? Could they have invested heavily in alternative energy in the 1970’s?


Didn’t I already answer this?

The topic I was discussing (and the article seems to discuss) was essentially that fossil fuel companies plan to keep producing fossil fuels.

This isn’t new - in the 1980s BP and Shell regularly used to run advertising in the UK featuring poor African kids being able to study at night thanks to their largesse (and a solar cell topping up a car battery).

And you don’t need a terribly long memory to recall that when British Petroleum became just BP that they spun the story it stood for ‘Beyond Petroleum’ - and here’s a shiny new logo to show it.

But as soon as oil became cheap again, the two of them couldn’t wait to dump their non-fossil fuel holdings.

See also oh-so-green Norway’s colossal Statoil which quietly rebranded itself Equinor and talks loudly about floating wind turbines whilst planning to frack the shit out of Australia’s Northern Territories and drill for oil in the Bight.

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Exactly. If I had a dollar for every exposé I’ve read or seen since the '70s about this, it would fund a nice vacation. So, it’s 2020 and still happening…no need to wonder why. We know who controls the regulatory agencies that had any hope of preventing this from happening in the first place. :woman_shrugging:t4:

ETA: accent

They should certainly be held to account for the misinformation projects.


But continuing to drill for oil while it’s currently legal, necessary, and very much in demand? I find it hard to summon the will to punish them for doing something the vast majority of humanity would do in their place.

Disagree. At the time, much of what the Sacklers were doing was legal. None of them have seen jail time, and they’re still insanely rich. Both the Sacklers and oil companies paid experts to testify that what they were doing wasn’t dangerous. If the oil companies had reported earlier on the existential threat of continuing to burn fossil fuels, we (society) could have invested earlier in alternative fuels and made continuing to drill much less necessary, and decreased the demand. For both oil and oxy, they knew better, but pretended that it was safe to keep pumping it out harmed the world. If selling meth or heroin became legal, would you do it? I can’t see myself doing that. I disagree that the vast majority of humans would do as they did.

Maybe, but this isn’t a discussion about them.

Oil companies have no particular reason to do climate science, so why is this a thing that you’d expect oil companies to have known earlier than others?

You wouldn’t work as a pharmacist?

Aside from the pithy comment. No matter how green you are you undoubtedly use a ton of fossil fuels as part of your daily life, driving (if you don’t own an electric car), busing probably, home heating, a lot of your power, electricity, plastics, etc, etc.

I don’t see how working in oil is immoral when there are still a lot of legitimate and essential uses for it. Yes, you can do your job immorally, but you can also do it with the knowledge that your actions have consequences good and bad. ETA: That’s when Exxon should have spoken up. The vast majority of uses for oil could be replaced by something else. I should have specified about pharmaceutical vs. recreational. While there are legitimate reasons for meth and opiates in medicine, I was referring to recreational use of it, not regulated medical use. Due to their addictive nature, there are many people who shouldn’t have unlimited access to those drugs.

Again, I’m not discussing the disinformation campaign. I’m talking about oil extraction performed today.

As am I. The government, scientists, consumers and workers should be transitioning out of companies that cause problems for humanity. We’re not only not punishing them, we’re currently rewarding the industry with subsidies. It’s “cheap”, because the health cost of its pollution and the cost of its environmental damage isn’t factored into its cost. While oil has specialized uses, most of it is set on fire to push our cars around. Trying to extract as much possible right now and setting it on fire doesn’t leave us any for the future, or for those special uses, but that’s the business model for oil companies. Not everyone has a choice in the job they work at, so I don’t see people working at gas stations as immoral. I’m not talking about penalizing the working poor. But at higher levels of skills, people do have choices where to work. People who can work in other industries shouldn’t work for coal or oil companies. Investors shouldn’t invest in oil or coal. It’s hard to quit smoking, and not everyone can quit cold turkey and stay functional. But that doesn’t mean the tobacco industry is moral, even though it’s legal, in demand and necessary. How you live your life has consequences, good and bad, and your occupation is one of those life choices. It’s good to choose occupations with more good consequences than bad.

Also, the Sacklers pushed the concept that oxycontin was nonaddictive, based on no research. It was prescribed to people with any sort of pain, including chronic problems like osteoarthritis, where it is almost always contraindicated. So it wasn’t just the fake doctors and clinics, it was the company convincing legitimate doctors that it was ok to routinely give out opioids for routine pain. For most people, no significant consequences, for a significant percentage, it was the start of addiction.

When I read articles claiming that there has to be a long transition, claiming that we need to create a hydrogen-based transportation infrastructure, or aggressively defending nuclear energy - I see monopolies in the making. The same goes to utilities who are aggressively fighting providing energy credits to solar energy contributors on their grids.

Other countries have already completed their “transition” to solar and wind power as primary energy sources, without handing out semi-temporary control over energy supplies to new corporate industries. Renewable sources like solar, wind and geothermal energy are much more difficult resources to control. The USA has been allowing the petrochemical industry to put the brakes on accepting renewables far too long, giving other countries a ginourmous head start.

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