Illustration by Victor Juhasz, courtesy of Rolling Stone Magazine
By Victor Juhasz

Its not often now in journalism that someone tells you how it is and puts their neck on the line in no nonsense language.

So good old Rolling Stone – the grandfather rock and roll mag that has a great article on how the oil and gas killed hopes of a climate deal in the US and with it Copenhagen.

And then, undeterred they go on to list who they believe are the biggest “Climate Killers” in the US who are derailing climate change efforts.

Tomorrow I’ll go through the list of the seventeen “Killers” as they are listed, and give a reaction to that.

But first let’s give you the highlights of Jeff Goodall’s excellent article, some of which will be known by people who keep an eye on the political energy scene in the US.  Even still its well worth a read.

“Over the past year” writes Goodall , “the corporations and special interests most responsible for climate change waged an all-out war to prevent Congress from cracking down on carbon pollution in time for Copenhagen.”

He continues: “The oil and coal industries deployed an unprecedented army of lobbyists, spent millions on misleading studies and engaged in outright deception to derail climate legislation.”

Goodall quotes the veteran Democratic consultant, Paul Begala as saying “It was the most aggressive and corrupt lobbying campaign I’ve ever seen.”

Another insightful quote from the article is from Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, who says: “In the long term, the fossil-fuel industry is going to lose this war. But in the short term, they are doing everything they can to delay the revolution. For them, what this fight is really about is buying precious time to maximize profits from carbon sources. It’s really no more complicated than that.”

Due to the fossil fuel lobbying, the Waxman and Markey’s bill were “wimpy”. But still for coal companies such as Southern and Peabody, “as well as for oil giants like ExxonMobil, the Waxman-Markey bill meant war: If they could kill it, they could not only stall action on climate at home, they could also wreck the chances for an international deal in Copenhagen.”

The tactics, as any regularl reader of this blog will know, included front-groups using fraudulent tactics, astroturfing and scaremongering.

In the end, the Waxman and Markey bill was a “sweetheart deal for Big Coal. The climate bill was amended to include more free permits for carbon polluters, as well as $1 billion a year to support “clean coal” research.

Goodall points out that this was on top of the $3.4 billion in research funds already included in the president’s stimulus plan.

In total the Bill contained $60 billion in support for coal — far more than the aid given to wind, solar and all other forms of renewable energy combined.”

He ends on a depressing note by arguing that “the most disturbing achievement of the energy industry in the battle over global warming is its success in lowering our expectations. Climate activists like to talk about mobilizing all of America’s resources, as we did during World War II, to fight global warming.”

“But as the failure to pass the climate bill reveals, it may be easier to defeat a dictator like Hitler than to overcome internal threats to our future as powerful as Big Coal and Big Oil.”

Doesn’t bode well for the fight in the Senate or any international deal in Mexico at the end of the year.


  • And where will WE be if Big Coal and Big Oil are still around 100 years from now? Dead, starving, or just under saltwater?

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