How Big Oil co-oped the Environmental Movement Part One

Think I’m nuts saying that the AGW crowd is tied to ‘Big Oil’? Then you need to poke your head out of the sand and pay attention to the world around you. Here I’m going to show you why ‘Big Oil’ is all for what is called the Cap and Trade system in the US and ETS in places like the UK and Australia and sequestration of CO2 schemes. This will be in multiple parts.

 The environmental movement basically grew out of the upheaval of the changes that the 1960’s wrought in the western world and at the time had no central direction. It was basically taking a back seat to other problems such as the Vietnam War and the possibility of a nuclear WWIII. At the same time you had a group of intellectuals that were steeped in the old 1920’s/30’s progressive movement that believed that an ‘Intellectual Elite’ should rule. The way they saw it the world should be run from a big central government, preferably a world government. They knew that people that were steeped in traditions of government being accountable to the citizens was not going to buy that idea; they would have to be scared into it by exaggerations, lies and falsehoods. The best way to do that was to invoke the image of the neutral scientist that the majority of the citizens of the western world held, but use the methods I just described. This is called post modern science, where the theory doesn’t have to fit the empirical evidence on its own but must also take into account other things such as cultural and political ends. This point was made by Dr. Stephen Schneider with his statement:

 “It is journalistically irresponsible to present both sides [of the global warming issue] as though it were a question of balance. . . . I don’t set very much store by looking at the direct evidence. . . . To avert the risk we need to get some broad-based support, to capture public imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make some simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. . . . Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest” (qtd. in Bandow 1998, 35)

 While that was going on ‘Big Oil’ was having a rough go of it. The oil companies before and after WWII had spent a lot of money exploring for oil in such far flung places as Libya, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. They developed these oil fields and kept finding themselves being kicked out afterward as those countries ‘nationalized’ the oil fields. In and of itself that was bad enough since they didn’t always recoup the investment back but the real problem was their old oil fields in the US was increasingly drying up. This meant they then had to turn around and buy the product of their investment from the same people that kicked them out. With the coming of the 60’s and communist revolutions popping up seemingly everywhere these companies saw more trouble coming, and there was this new environmental movement back home that was getting more and more concerned about pollution and the environment. Seems these people didn’t want more drilling happening in the US and the companies kept losing their overseas fields and they were being backed into a corner. See the demand for oil was growing and it wasn’t just for use to make gas at the time the planet was getting colder and oil was the preferred method of heating. So Big Oil had a choice either find some way to keep their overseas fields from being ‘nationalized’ or finding someway to make the environmental movement work for them.

They went with option number two.


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