So I go to read a Washington Post story online, “Climate change could burn a hole in the government’s finances, GAO says.” And there is this banner ad mocking humanity’s primary hope of avoiding climate catastrophe:
“Energy Tomorrow is brought to you by the American Petroleum Institute (API),” in case you were wondering.
We all need to “imagine life without fossil fuels,” since that is where we will are going to end up this century one way or another:
- Either we will make the decision by choice fast enough to stabilize near 2°C (3.6°F) warming to avoid the very worst impacts — and that means the rich countries in particular will be essentially off fossil fuels by mid-century (see “Study Confirms Optimal Climate Strategy: Deploy, Deploy, Deploy, Research and Develop, Deploy, Deploy, Deploy.”
- Or we will be forced off fossil fuels soon after that by the ever-worsening reality of climate change — when we realize that we are headed toward 10+°F warming and a planet with a carrying capacity far below 9 billion (see “An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts“).
[Carbon capture and storage might enable the continued use of some fossil fuels until they run out, though it probably won't be a decisive player in the solution and in any case wouldn't save Big Oil.]
As the WashPost article explains:
As climate change leads to more frequent and destructive natural disasters and threatens crop yields, bridges and other infrastructure, the federal government faces big financial risks that it is poorly positioned to address, auditors said Thursday.
Try imagining life with more frequent and destructive natural disasters and threatened crop yields. It isn’t hard to do (see “We’re Already Topping Dust Bowl Temperatures — Imagine What’ll Happen If We Fail To Stop 10°F Warming.”
Now it appears the API ad is just appearing in rotation, but I did come across it again for another climate article:
The story on Tom Steyer (who is also on the CAP board) explains:
Steyer is convinced that global greenhouse gas emissions will have to begin to fall within the next few years or the world will suffer catastrophic consequences. But when he talks to many in his circle — including business leaders and prominent politicians — he finds them oblivious to what he sees as a monumental threat.
So yes this is a story about a billionaire investor who can imagine life without fossil fuels — and the business leaders who are oblivious to climate reality.
In short, the Washington Post is explaining that influential people are oblivious to a threat that the Washington Post runs ads regularly mocking. You can’t make this stuff up (unless you are a fossil-fuel-funded denier, of course).