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EXXON or Cap-and-trade? Higher-Gas Prices or a Million New Jobs?

December 12th, 2009 · No Comments · Economics, energy, Politics

EXXON Oil Corporation has very profitable sales of about $1 billion per day. It also spends more than any other corporation trying to prevent alternative energy. The excess profits you pay in gas prices…buys all the latest alternative technology. They’re hedging their bets. They want gasoline at exorbitant prices and then they want to own and control the next generation of energy. Once they run out of oil, and once their friends, the American-hating Arabs run out of oil, they want to be in a position to control the prices on whatever kind of energy powers the next generation of transportation.

EXXON can afford to spend half a day’s income in order to crush any attempt to grow jobs or develop alternative energy resources. They are big sponsors of pro-drilling organizations like the Cato Institute (founded by oil-industry executives) and the Heritage Institute, which all out-of-office Conservatives use as winter pasture. Apparently any time you are willing to work on any program that will sell out the American people, you are welcome at Heritage.

Activism to retard the acceleration of global warming requires that, until and unless some new options appear, societies reduce the amount of CO2 and other pollutants in the air. Of course the Right Wing talkers say that people breathe out carbon dioxide, so how could it be harmful. That is, of course, a specious argument. Too much carbon dioxide or too much oxygen for that matter can be toxic to humans. Carbon dioxide is only one of the components in creating damage to the ozone. But, you can see in the opposition argument that we actually breathe carbon dioxide that they merely want to create confusion. That is the technique.

Exxon has supported organizations like the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the academic-sounding Centre for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. But more often than not, it has funded other kinds of studies. For example, in the 1960s Fred Seitz was president of the National Academy of Sciences. He was a physicist, not a climatologist. But in 1998, he wrote a document commonly known as the Oregon Petition. In this document, he urges President Clinton not to sign the Kyoto Agreement and maintains that there is no tangible evidence that man-made pollutants were causing dangerous warming of the atmosphere.

Exxon seized on this document, signed by this physicist, countersigned by someone who was not even a scientist but a Christian fundamentalist and had it quickly copied and mailed out. It eventually attracted 17,000 signatures. The organization that put out the petition? The George C. Marshall Institute. EXXON gave them $632,000.

Since 2007 there is no international body of scientific standing that dissents with the premise that the last 50 years at least have experienced serious warming of the atmosphere. There has been some comment lately on the cooling of the troposphere, but this is normal and such cooling in any case contributes to a widening of the hole in the Arctic ozone.

The fact is that even in the United States some simple climatic observations tend to reinforce the data. We have experienced average increases both air and water temperatures, with winter temperatures in the middle of the country having risen by 7 degrees over just the last 30 years. We have had observable loss of snow cover and a longer ice-free period on lakes and rivers. In almost all cases, despite occasional reverses for a time, the warming trends are outpacing predictions.

After the last assessment of the situation, during preparations for the recent G8 convention, the national science academies of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa all agreed that global warming caused or contributed to by man-made activity is now incontrovertible.

Despite overwhelming evidence the global warming deniers do not give up. They are all funded by big oil, whose ox is being gored by the facts. These groups distort and misrepresent the facts, even though they are virtually by now incontrovertible. Since 1998, EXXON alone has spent over $23 million simply to stand up phony groups of pseudo-scientists against organizations like the British Royal Society or the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The International Panel on Climate Change, the body established by the United Nations to investigate and provide feedback on the issue is made up of 2,500 distinguished scientists from over 130 countries has made it clear…global warming is a reality with man-made implications and is an extremely serious matter. The IPCC says with 90% certainty that man-caused heat-trapping gases are at fault in global warming.

To get a much clearer picture of those who are denying that all the above is true anyone can go here and see it all laid out clearly and explicitly. These are not concerned scientists who wonder if we are applying the right data to address a problem with the right approach. These are merely individuals who are paid to create confusion and distraction.

Isn’t it clear to everyone that this particular diversion is as reprehensible as it gets? People from the Maldives, the Islands in the Indian Ocean are concerned that their islands, the lowest lying in the world, may be simply inundated by the minor projections or disappear completely by 2100. Places like Bangladesh…even our own shores, such as the beaches of Florida and South Carolina may disappear. It is happening now and for EXXON to pay for false science that would inhibit the fight against this catastrophe is the worst kind of public behavior.

On the other hand, we have members of Congress who are working diligently to see what kinds of positive programs may come out of our energy deficits and our global warming solutions. The so called Kerry-Boxer bill, The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, when combined with the Waxman bill from the House, provide huge new investments in alternative energy, the electric grid, wind and solar power, clean coal, nuclear and conservation programs that will create enormous numbers of jobs and revolutionize the creation and delivery of energy in this country.

The so-called “cap-and-trade” provisions mean that many large corporations that will have requirements to meet certain energy standards (actually quite mild by International standards) will now be able to purchase credits from another company that has exceeded its standards and now has a “carbon credit.” That carbon credit will give the company purchasing it some time to gradually get down to the levels necessary for bringing down global warming. Years ago, when we had serious acid-rain problems, this was done with emissions from coal-fired power plants and other types of polluters. It worked so well that the acid raid problem was erased in a matter of years. This system has also worked in Europe, where the demands on corporations are much more severe than in this country.

We can do this. We can end global warming. We can create a million new jobs in energy. But we cannot do it with EXXON snapping at the heels of every rational and sensible program that science and politics combine to create. It is time we looked out for ourselves. “Remember the EXXON Valdez” might be our motto. That problem, an oil spill that covered 1300 square miles of pristine Alaskan coastline was never satisfactorily resolved. Hundreds of thousands of seabirds died as well as otters, fish, whales and other animals. While the damages were estimated to be in the neighborhood of $4 billion to $5 billion EXXON strung the case out on appeals from 1989 to 2008, when they were finally obliged to pay about $500 million, a fraction of the damages they should have paid.

The oil and gas industry is out to maximize their profits and they do not care who gets hurt in the process. Always remember what ENRON did to your fellow citizens of California. Many people died as a result of their callousness. Remember the EXXON Valdez and the 300,000 seabirds that died and the $4.00 per gallon gasoline that you paid once, and that, if EXXON can make it happen, you will pay again.

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