So, the straight dope is that the whole Keystone XL protest gesture did not keep a tablespoon of tar sands in the ground. And the expansion of fossil fuel use continues very much apace.
[By the way, a point-of-information for the kiddies: This fuel gets put onto railroad cars when gesturers block pipelines.]
The only two ways to change fossil fuel use are 1) business-as-usual/eco-social collapse or 2) radical alteration of the structure of everyday life — not just the mode of fuel deliveries — in our modern, corporate capitalist order.
The hour for McKibbenite posing is getting very, very late.
DbC has always held that Bill McKibben is a mis-leader. The new Planet of the Humans movie, which is provoking a veritable firestorm of hate from green photo-op “movement” types, includes a scene that raises the addictional question of whether McKibben is conscious of his own awfulness.
The scene, which shows the would-be saint being asked the most basic question in the world, runs from 1:24:32 through 1:25:45 of the film:
Draw your own conclusions, as Preacher Danny Radnor once said…
There are now more than 200 million SUVs around the world, up from about 35 million in 2010, accounting for 60 percent of the increase in the global car fleet since 2010, IEA data shows.
As a result, SUVs were the second-largest contributor to the increase in global CO2 emissions since 2010 after the power sector — ahead of heavy industry including iron and steel, cement, aluminum, as well as trucks and aviation, it said.
The standard EV apology is the claim that battery-powered vehicles are merely in their early days, and are about to explode into conquering the roads.
Leaving aside the question of whether this eventuality would be a good thing, this claim is starting to get a bit stale, isn’t it?
Meanwhile, the facts are there:
In the year 2018, for every one new battery-electric vehicle on the world’s roads, there were 30 new SUVs/pickups.
“Electric” automobiles will go down as one of the greatest hoaxes in human history.
In the early 21st century, as the reality of greenhouse gas pollution became less and less deniable, the corporate capitalist overclass continued to sell its core product, automobiles, on the same premise as always — bigger vehicles for bigger profits.
The auto-making corporations simultaneous sold a few loss-leading “electric” vehicles, partly as a way of researching possible future adaptations but mostly to put a halo around the insane idea of continuing to rely on automobiles for everyday transportation.
The New York Times today features a front-page story suggesting that the oil industry is the main source of the Trump Administration’s suspension of pending rules requiring faster improvement of automotive fuel-economy standards. According to Times reporter Hiroko Tabuchi, “it turns out that there was a hidden beneficiary of the plan that was pushing for the changes all along: the nation’s oil industry.”
First, in Tabuchi’s telling, the oil industry was, at some time, a hidden opponent of rules reducing its own sales? ROFL. Pure balderdash.
It is also simply bad history to suggest that the idea of halting Obama’s CAFE rules originated with the petroleum corporations. The Trump Campaign was obviously planning such a move all along. And, contrary to Tabuchi’s claim that “[c]armakers, for their part, had sought more flexibility in meeting the original 2025 standards, not a categorical rollback,” the auto corporations have been every bit as early and eager as the oilmongers in their entirely welcome lobbying on this issue. They may have framed their wishes with a more careful eye to their public perception, but it is naive in the extreme to therefore make these dedicated devils look like angels in this string of pathetic events.
Which point brings us to the NYT‘s rotten-appleism: The oil industry is not the relevant villain in our shamefully under- and mis-discussed cars-and-energy crisis. The oil industry is huge and important and partially independent, but it is nonetheless a squarely subordinate part of the automotive-industrial complex, which is itself a deeply logical, probably indispensable component of corporate capitalism. To miss this institutional fact is to do damage to the possibility of its decent resolution, by passing off a mere symptom as the disease we need to cure.
As much as liberals and greens want it to be true, we aren’t going to sweet-talk or band-aid our way through our coming storms. Self-delusion will not cut the mustard.
You want a real case of Facebook knowingly selling space to evil mind-controllers? Here is a straight-up FB lie from your friends at ExxonMobil:
There is a zero percent chance that algae or any other bio-fuel is going to replace current petroleum use. No entity in the world knows this more surely than does the ExxonMobil corporation. Yet, this is what it wants you to think it believes.
California aspires to obtain all its electricity from renewable sources, 27 years hence. The great fly in the ointment? As always, corporate capitalism’s lifeblood commodity, the private automobile.
The reality is that the U.S. automotive fleet is now the nation’s #1 domestic GHG emitter, out-GHG-polluting not just each of the economy’s other four end-use sectors (farms, retailers, factories, households), but also the entire electricity-generation industry. And the gulf will only widen.
So Trump is getting ready to relax federal rules on automotive fuel efficiency, as the second great SUV-selling bonanza continues apace, with the crucial help of the loss-leading “EV” haloware schtick. In the automotive industry and press, this astounding stupidity is known as “modernizing CAFE standards.”
Here is GM CEO Mary Barra’s totally shameless statement on the topic, per Automotive Age:
“A single, national standard would allow us to focus our resources on innovations that benefit our customers and society as we pursue our vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion, instead of diffusing resources to meet different rules within the United States,” Barra told GM’s workforce.
Benefit society? Zero crashes? Zero emissions? Here’s major proof that you don’t need cojones to have world-class chutzpah.
They know what’s happening, even as they insist we keep speeding for the cliff:
“Electric motors are good for acceleration and for the stop-and-go of urban duty cycles. Internal combustion engines are great for highway driving because gasoline is an incredibly dense power source,” he said. “What you’re seeing at this show is that automakers are combining the two, in a wide variety of ways, for the benefit of consumers.”
“The EV strategy is still alive and well,” he said. ”Fuel is a finite commodity” and prices “will go up again.”