It’s no secret where this denialism comes from: the fossil fuel industry pays for it. (Of the 16 authors of the Journal article, for instance, five had had ties to Exxon.) Writers from Ross Gelbspan to Naomi Oreskes have made this case with such overwhelming power that no one even really tries denying it any more. The open question is why the industry persists in denial in the face of an endless body of fact showing climate change is the greatest danger we’ve ever faced.
Why doesn’t it fold the way the tobacco industry eventually did? Why doesn’t it invest its riches in things like solar panels and so profit handsomely from the next generation of energy? As it happens, the answer is more interesting than you might think.
Part of it’s simple enough: the giant energy companies are making so much money right now that they can’t stop gorging themselves. ExxonMobil, year after year, pulls in more money than any company in history. Chevron’s not far behind. Everyone in the business is swimming in money.
Still, they could theoretically invest all that cash in new clean technology or research and development for the same. As it happens, though, they’ve got a deeper problem, one that’s become clear only in the last few years. Put briefly: their value is largely based on fossil-fuel reserves that won’t be burned if we ever take global warming seriously.
Take a look at New York City’s skyscrapers and brownstones through a new interactive map released by Columbia University engineers that depicts how the city’s buildings consume energy.
Sign the petition
The finance package for Brazil’s most destructive dam may be decided in days. Let’s raise our voices with the Xingu people to stop our government using public money to sign the Amazon’s death sentence.
Brazil’s national bank for social and economic development — BNDES — plans to give R$24.7 billion of our money to private banks to lend to contractors to build the dam. The bank has agreed not to fund projects that cause irreversible social and environmental damage, which this dam would clearly do. It is being investigated for breaching Brazilian law over Belo Monte, but massive lobbies are pushing to get their hands on the billions now. A loud public outcry is the only thing that can block this shady deal.
Together we can stop the BNDES backing massive companies to plunder the Amazon, our national treasure. Sign the petition on the right and then tell everyone you know. When we reach 100,000 signatures, we’ll deliver it with a media-grabbing action to BNDES President Luciano Coutinho.