Gas and oil companies were deceiving us? What a surprise.
Pump jack illustration (By Getty Images).
The House Committee on Oversight and Reform released a trove of documents last week that show while gas and oil mega-corporations have been mouthing their commitment to clean energy “transition,” they’ve actually been peddling what, in the West, would be called “bull pucky.”
In the common vernacular of our time, it’s a practice known as “greenwashing,” which amounts to putting lipstick on the pig of their planet-killing pollution.
Right out of the chute, let’s be clear that these enormous mega-corporations are not in business to break even or save the planet. They are wholly dedicated to making as much money as possible as quickly as possible. They don’t do that by “transitioning” to clean energy, they do it by selling gas, oil and petroleum products.
Going on 64 years later, Teller’s chilling analogy is coming true. Only instead of instant annihilation from nukes, we’re experiencing a slower, but no less deadly, self-immolation as the Earth overheats. Now we’re wiping out a record number of species at a breakneck pace in the 6th Great Extinction Event, the predicted sea level rise is accelerating, and huge areas of the planet are running out of fresh water and facing desertification.
Much like the tobacco companies whose scientists and doctors knew their products were killing people — but fought tooth and nail to deny it for decades — the oil and gas giants knew what their products were causing and would continue to cause long into a bleak future.
Of course it’s not exactly a revelation that the fossil fuel industry is predatory in every sense of the word. Take, for example, the outrageous price gouging that recently took place under the excuse that blamed the Ukraine war for skyrocketing fuel costs. Then our “friends” the Saudis added to the trauma at the pump by declaring a cutback in output. I mean, why not kick us when we’re down?
George Ochenski is a longtime Helena resident, an environmental activist and Montana’s longest running columnist.
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