Sunday, October 16, 2016

Fossil Fuel Industry should pay for their Deeds..

Ignorance is no excuse; pretended ignorance deserves harsher punishment.

Mankind has this enormous capacity to deal with adversity, and those solutions will present themselves as those challenges become clear” - ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson said at the company’s 2015 annual shareholder meeting.

ExxonMobil, the american multinational oil and gas corporation giant, is under probe for withhelding information from shareholders and the public about the risks associated with their business. The company’s own climate researchers had warned the senior management of the potential negative effects of green house gas emissions way back in 1977 which was kept a secret by the company.  

19 US Senators in July 2016, called out fossil fuel industry on their Climate change denials. The big oil and gas Corporations were exposed for carrying out corporate funded campaign to spread skepticism regarding climate change. Fossil fuel industry made millions of financial transactions to fuel the climate change denial machine.

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A climate consensus was reached at the beginning of 1990s that: manmade activities are causing climate change. To prevent this from achieving a concrete status, the fossil fuel industry started funding numerous independent think tanks, researchers to write and publish against climate change. They wanted to create the sense of ’doubt’ and divide climate science into a debate. Their tactic was to place ‘doubts’ to  delay climate action. This tactic was employed by all the think tanks and researchers funded by the fossil fuel industry.  Between 1994 and 1997, 1 billion US dollar was spent to downplay the climate change effect. This misinformation campaign was funded by all the big oil companies including Exxon Mobil, Koch brothers etc. They funded everyone from business groups to think tanks to researchers to youth to senior citizens to rubbish the climate change science. They tried extensively to brand climate change as just ‘a theory’ and not truth.  Investigative reports by The Guardian, Inside climate news series found that  Exxon Mobil has spent at least $33 million since 1998 on a network of more than 60 think tanks, advocacy groups and trade associations, many of which continue to distort climate science and denigrate renewable energy to this day.

America is the largest contributor of Green house gases (GHGs). Work of geographer Richard Heede shows that a relatively small number of investor- and government-owned companies are responsible for two-thirds of human-caused carbon emissions since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Heede’s 2014 study found that just 90 companies accounted for 65 percent of worldwide carbon emissions between 1854 and 2013. Half of those companies’ total emissions have occurred since 1988 — long after the scientific community and the public became aware of the threat posed by global warming. Rather than changing their business models, they pumped in millions for climate denials and lied for decades meantime profiting billions of dollars from polluting the earth.

Its them- the fossil fuel industry including the likes of Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips, Peabody Energy, Consol Energy, Arch Coal etc - who should pay for the remedial measures. They should be charged for their actions.  Fossil fuel industry in USA gets 7.5 billion dollar subsidy annually. This should be taken away and given to clean energy industry.

They should be made to :
·         Acknowledge the negative impacts caused by them and accept wrong doings
·          Change into a clean model of energy and
·         Pay 60% or more for the climate adaptation and mitigation funds.

Only by  stringent measures can we prevent another tobacco or coal episode in future.

Anu Kuncheria

Heede, R. Climatic Change (2014) 122: 229. doi:10.1007/s10584-013-0986-y

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