Dear Earth: Part 3
When determining the economic impact of greenhouse gas emissions and the subsequent increase in average global temperatures, it is important to discuss the social cost of carbon, regarded as the monetized damages associated with an incremental increase in CO2 emissions each year. Determining the social cost of carbon is necessary to find out if it is economically advantageous to continue emitting carbon into the atmosphere and suffer the environmental and economic consequences, or to reduce and eliminate emission completely.
The billion dollar revenues of the fossil fuel industry benefit only those employed within that very same industry, while the environmental destruction, property damages, health costs and financial impacts caused by a polluted and burning planet falls on those that suffer the most, the average global citizen. Good environmental policy is good economic policy. When severe storms, heat waves, rising sea levels, pollution and decreased food production threaten our ability to live comfortably without fear of climate destruction and threats to our overall health and wellbeing, then we cannot afford to allow fossil fuel corporations to dictate public policy through political bribes and manipulation and the continuation of unchecked carbon emissions into a warming planet.
Natural disasters have become increasingly unsustainable and costly over the past several decades in the United States. As discussion of a recovering economy, increased productivity, a booming stock market and historic low unemployment numbers flood from mainstream media channels and out of the mouths of corrupt politicians, major issues like climate change and the destruction that it causes to the Earth’s ecosystem are rarely brought up, for fear of uncovering a hidden and uncomfortable truth about the reality of a burning planet. The United States has sustained over 233 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where damages exceeded at least $1 billion per event. Since 1980, the total cost of all these disasters exceeds $1.5 trillion, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; that is $1.5 trillion of American taxpayer funded disaster relief and repair for climate disasters made worse by greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel companies.
Climate and economic data show that extreme weather related events and climate disasters are increasing in intensity and frequency as years pass and more CO2 accumulates in our atmosphere. In the 1980s, there were 21 extreme weather disasters that exceeded $1 billion in economic losses; 38 disasters of over $1 billion in the 1990s; and 92 disasters of $1 billion or more in economic losses from the years 2007 to 2016. Within the span of 35 years, extreme climate disasters have increased by 71 per decade since the 1980s, with a 400 percent increase in economic losses. When discussing tropical storms, in particular, the United States, in the 1980s, experienced seven hurricanes, costing over $36 billion; 12 extreme storms in the 1990s, with over $97 billion in damages; and 54 destructive tropical storms from 2007 to 2016, with damages of over $144 billion.
Americans alive today are living through the most destructive and costly era since the nation began. Economic losses caused by the 92 extreme weather disasters between 2007-2016 cost the United States over $418 billion, more than any other decade; over this same period, direct damages caused by climate disasters have cost the American taxpayer $350 billion ($205 billion in domestic disaster relief; $90 billion for crop and flood insurance; $34 billion for public land fire management, safety and repair; and $28 billion for maintenance and repairs to federal facilities).
After determining the damage caused by the three major hurricanes and wildfires in the western states in 2017, the economic losses may exceed the destruction caused by all 92 weather disasters from 2007 to 2016, combined. Hurricane Harvey is estimated to cost between $75 and $160 billion; hurricane Irma, with over $50 billion in economic losses; and hurricane Maria, exceeding $30 billion in economic losses. If nothing is done to reduce carbon emission to sustainable levels, then how long can the U.S. economy survive while paying hundreds of billions of dollars every year towards public heath, disaster relief, repairs to infrastructure and higher food prices from climate disasters?
PUBLIC HEALTH COSTS
Globally, climate change eliminates over $1.2 trillion in economic profit and is attributed to over 400,000 cases of malaria each year, primarily in developing countries that are unable to prepare for or afford to pay for the high medical bills resulting from malnutrition, malaria, lack of clean water and diseases that grow in warmer climates. Air pollution produced by fossil fuel emission causes 5.5 million premature deaths every year, with that number rising each year. In the United States, the health costs of burning carbon have exceeded $240 billion per year over the past 10 years (not including the costs of the three major hurricanes in 2017); if current carbon emissions are not reduced, that cost could increase to over $360 billion per year within the next decade.
REGIONS IMPACTED MOST
Climate change will increase economic inequality in some areas and decrease it in others; rising average global temperatures may hurt some industries and benefit others. While every region across the United States are at risk of suffering damages from increasingly destructive storms, droughts, forest fires and rising ocean levels, it appears that Southern and Mid-Western states will be the hardest hit socially and economically. Not only will these states face powerful hurricanes, rising sea levels, expensive energy bills from an increased number of heat waves and a subsequent rise in crime, and an increase in the number of heat strokes and cost of medical bills, they are also in danger of harvesting low crop yields from a warmer climate with unsustainable temperatures for proper farming and food production, the primary source of income for many Mid-West and Southern states. As higher average global temperatures threaten the livelihoods of many that depend on a healthy ecosystem for survival, every global citizen will suffer from decreased food production and a general increase in the cost of food and access to clean water. The lower the crop yield in certain regions means that farmers will require larger government subsidies, paid for by the taxpayers, or be forced to raise their prices on the crops that people need to survive, again, paid for by the American citizen.
Delaying the reduction and elimination of carbon emission could leave future generations in the United States with $535 trillion debt by 2100. Cutting carbon emission is far less costly than inventing mechanisms to extract CO2 from the atmosphere, if that is even possible. The United Nations found that addressing climate change could cost global profit by up to $21 trillion, but not addressing it could lead to a 2.5 degree or more rise in global temperatures by 2050 and cost over $33 trillion to the global economy. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the United States, in particular, could save $160 billion a year by 2050 by improving air quality from fossil fuel emissions; that figure rises to $930 billion a year in savings by 2100.
When someone tells you that environmental regulations and the transition to renewable energy are bad for the economy, they are showing a lack of understanding about job creation and relying on the ideological talking points from an outdated and archaic political and economic past, based around false science and ignorant statements from political and mainstream media talking heads. These people do not actually believe that renewable energy is bad for the economy, the evidence that says otherwise is clear and understood; these climate change deniers are stuck in past ideologies and operating on momentum from an era where only fossil fuel energy production existed.
Change is painful for most people. It requires an entirely new perspective about the external world and a subsequent alteration and evolution of our internal minds. This process of change requires time and patience, something that many individuals lack, especially when many peoples lives revolve around short-term profits and immediate financial gains. For those ambitious and determined enough to try, economic growth and environmental protection can form a symbiotic relationship where each benefits the other in profound and progressive ways that move us forward into a safer and healthier future.
Renewable Energy and Jobs
Regardless if conservatives and republicans are skeptical of climate change, there is no reason why they cannot support domestic energy alternatives that increase national security and lower our reliance on foreign oil imports, boosts capitalism and energy efficiency by creating more competition in the energy industry, and increases the amount of blue-collar jobs. Climate change denial is purely ideological and financially corrupt in nature, as politicians staunchly deny the very foundation of job creation and growth and sound economic policy in order to promote a strategy based on pseudoscience and scientific ignorance for the sake of their own self-centered greed and egotistical megalomania.
The energy sector, like most other aspects of the American economy, is based around free-market capitalism and the free flow of ideas where the best rise to the top so that American consumers can vote with their dollars. The reality of the modern day fossil fuel energy sector, like the corrupt pharmaceutical industry and the financial sector, is based around Socialism, in the form of corporate subsidies for fossil fuel corporations, which allows them to compete at an advantage over renewable energy companies; and government corruption, with politicians accepting bribes from the fossil fuel industry in exchange for favorable environmental policies, deregulation, tax manipulation through loop holes in Congressional economic legislation.
Republicans and conservative politicians, especially those that grew up during the mid-to-late twentieth-century, are the loudest and the most likely to rail against Socialism and government intervention; many are unconscious of the fact that they espouse Socialist ideas more than most, which is why they are so quick to throw the blame on others in order to project their own guilt onto progressives, liberals and Democrats. From their distorted perspective, one cannot be guilty of Socialist and pro-government corruption ideas if one is the loudest and most vociferous in rejection and condemnation of those ideas. Unfortunately, in the case of climate change denial and the economic and labor prospects of the renewable energy industry, modern Republican politicians are quick to abandon the priorities of a free-market economy, unimpeded by government corruption, and stronger national security from less reliance on foreign oil, in order to advance their own arrogant and selfish political agenda.
TYPES OF RENEWABLE ENERGY
Common arguments against the renewable energy industry are based around the many varying climates in the United States and the likelihood that a particular region, like San Francisco or Seattle, which both experience many cloudy days each year, could benefit from solar powered electricity generation. For this reason, many types of renewable energy production have been created to operate effectively in different regions within the United States, such as: Wind energy, which uses turbines to capture wind flow to convert into electricity; hydroelectric, uses the power generated from storing water in reservoirs with the construction of dams; geothermal energy from the heat on the Earth’s surface, heated rock and soil or energy from the steam generated from hot water reservoirs beneath the Earth’s surface; solar energy captured with panels; biomass energy from plant and vegetable oil like ethanol and biodiesel, both of which are carbon neutral, meaning that their carbon emission and carbon reduction cancel out; tidal energy that generates power from the motion of waves; and thermal ocean energy, which uses sea water to capture heat energy from the Sun and converts it into electricity.
With this many opportunities for renewable energy power generation, job creation and economic growth, and with the many failures and planetary destruction caused by fossil fuel carbon emission, it is no longer economically viable to rely on coal, gas and petroleum energy, nor is it practical to allow corrupt politicians and fossil fuel corporations to steer the planet further towards ecological and environmental collapse.
BENEFITS OF RENEWABLE ENERGY
While fossil fuels provided opportunities for profit and job growth in the industrial era, before most human beings knew of the warming effects of carbon and other greenhouse gases, the people of Earth today live in a technological world with greater knowledge, insight and understanding about the planet and the modern tools to operate more efficiently with less pollution, less harm to public health, and less destruction to the climate. Unlike fossil fuels, which must be mined and extracted from the ground using the same methods from the past, renewable energy is a technology rather than a fuel, which means that as renewable energy technology improves, the prices will drop for consumers as more efficient ways are discovered to generate and store energy from clean sources.
Fossil fuel prices often fluctuate dramatically on a weekly and daily basis, as they are determined by their rate of extraction, global supply and demand, location of fuel source, transport fees, international agreements, and import taxes from fuel coming into the United States from foreign countries. If any interruption occurs in the fossil fuel supply chain- i.e. global conflict, tariffs on fossil fuel imports, less supply at fuel source- then this leads to an increase in cost, which is levied on the consumer. Our reliance on foreign fuel contributes tens to hundreds of billions of dollars to our trade deficit each year.
The United States government purchases oil from countries with terrorist organizations that despise America and wish to do us harm. The money that the United States pays for foreign oil directly and indirectly funds these terrorist organizations and allows them to grow and thrive off of our military and financial involvement in the international fossil fuel trade. The United States would not be beholden to foreign oil and militarily involved in the terrorist operations of the Middle East if we transitioned to domestic renewable energy sources.
Renewable energy prices remain stable because the fuel is free, and as technology improves, prices drop. The average price of generating electricity from wind turbines dropped 66 percent between 2009 and 2016, while the average price to install solar panels dropped more than 70 percent between 2010 and 2017. Much of the renewable energy job sector is labor intensive, meaning that human beings are needed to install solar panels, technicians to monitor and operate wind farms. Fossil fuel technologies are capital intensive, which means that they require a large amount of money before any operation for extraction begins; as extraction begins, much of the technology is mechanized and autonomous, requiring less human involvement, which means less job opportunities for people in the fossil fuel sector.
The American economy relies on job creation and growth in order to compete internationally and provide stable incomes for the largest number of individuals domestically. Time and resources must be directed towards job opportunities with the greatest likelihood of growth and financial success. While the fossil fuel industry provided jobs for individuals in the past, when there were less options for energy production, the renewable energy industry offers far greater opportunities across larger regions of the country with less damage to the climate and with less harm to human health.
As of 2017, there are over 4.5 million renewable energy jobs in the United States, representing one of the fastest growing industries in the country, with jobs growing at a rate 12 times faster than the rest of the American economy. The solar renewable energy sector employs over 400,000 people. In comparison, the entire coal industry employed 160,000 people in 2016, with employment numbers steadily dropping; during this same year, wind and solar renewable energy jobs grew by 32 and 25 percent, respectively, with the wind industry providing over 100,000 full-time jobs in manufacturing, development, wind turbine construction and installation, operations and maintenance, transport and logistics, financial, legal and consulting services.
Over the next decade, solar and wind jobs are predicted to grow twice as fast as any other occupation in the U.S. These are renewable energy job opportunities for American’s in America, yet politicians continue to lie about the financial benefits and career opportunities in the clean energy sector in order to fund and promote a failing fossil fuel industry that offers less jobs, increases our reliance on foreign fuel, and decreases our national security capabilities. Politicians have taken bribes and regurgitated the same lies and platitudes about the effects of greenhouse gases for decades for the benefit of themselves and the fossil fuel industry; the average American citizen sees none of these benefits, but is forced to subsidize the destruction that these fossil fuel companies cause and pay for the residual health effects and environmental damage.
SAVINGS AND REVENUES
A 2009 Union of Concerned Scientists study (leading body of scientists researching climate change) found that a 25 percent renewable energy standard in the U.S. by 2025 would create three times as many jobs than it would if we continue to rely on fossil fuels. This standard would stimulate $263.4 billion in new capital investment, $13.5 billion in new landowner income, and $11.5 billion in new property tax revenue. Republican states in the South and the Midwest are large markets for renewable energy jobs and could see the greatest benefit as rural areas of the country with large amounts of land are needed to build wind turbine and solar farms. Farmers and large land owners in these states can rent their land to renewable energy companies and receive a profit in return. Top states for renewable energy jobs today are: California, Texas, Florida, New York, Michigan, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia. Our current renewable energy technological capabilities could provide 80 percent of all power generation in the United States if the government would implement standards and regulations that support the clean energy industry.
- 18 percent of all power and electricity generation in the United States now comes from renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydroelectric.
- Renewable energy storage jobs reached 90,000 in 2016.
- The hydroelectric industry employed more than 66,000 people in 2017.
- 1 in 6 construction jobs are clean energy.
- Clean energy employs more workers than the fossil fuel industry in 42 states, including D.C.
- Energy efficiency employs two times as many workers as all fossil fuels jobs.
- Clean energy jobs outnumber fossil fuel jobs 3 to 1.
- 168 percent increase in solar jobs over the last seven years.
RENEWABLE ENERGY JOBS GLOBALLY
Global renewable energy is a $1.2 trillion industry, with over 10 million jobs around the world. Economic and labor estimates show that renewable energy jobs could increase to 28 million globally by 2050 if countries continue to put resources behind clean energy and phase out fossil fuel energy production. 70 percent of clean energy jobs are located in just six countries: China, United States, Brazil, India, Germany and Japan. 60 percent of all renewable energy jobs are located in Asia, with China offering 43 percent of all clean energy jobs in that region.
China, the worlds most populated country, is also the worlds largest carbon emitter; but China also dominates the renewable energy industry, producing a large percentage of the worlds solar panels and wind turbines. The country is also transitioning towards a carbon trading program, where fossil fuel companies are given a CO2 emission allowance, if they do not exceed their carbon allowance, then they can then sell their extra carbon credits to other companies that have already produced their maximum allowed carbon emissions. The carbon trading program represents a market oriented approach that eases the transition to renewable energy for countries that have relied on fossil fuels for power and electricity for generations; unfortunately, the cap and trade program does not do enough to encourage and speed up the process towards renewable energy production.
Special Interests and Lobbying
Any meaningful progress made over the years towards environmental sustainability through renewable energy implementation, public education, elimination of greenhouse gas emission and punishment for fossil fuel corporations that abuse their power are quickly and swiftly reversed and shot down by politicians and governments beholden to the fossil fuel industry and reliant on their special interest campaign donations for political reelection campaigns. The very governments that are superficially combating climate change are also the ones that actively fund it. In the United States, in particular, members of Congress actively work to discredit climate scientists by denying and delegitimizing their work, while simultaneously turning around to take money from fossil fuel corporations through government lobbying, which is the process where groups, individuals or corporations from the private sector influence, bribe, corrupt, persuade and manipulate public policy by soliciting Congress members to alter their beliefs and attitudes before legislation is turned into law.
As of April, 2017, 232 out of 435 members of Congress, and 53 out of 100 Senators, deny the existence of human-caused climate change. It is rare to find a politician with any knowledge or university education in the scientific field; they lack the in-depth understanding required to make the correct decisions to protect the environment, the economy and the publics health from greenhouse gas emission and climate pollution. Whatever these politicians lack in climate education and understanding, however, they make up for with their unapologetic, corrupt and ignorant behavior that relies on hypocrisy and the conscious effort to ignore scientific evidence while accepting donations from greenhouse gas emitting corporations.
The way that the United States government is set up makes it nearly impossible for the average citizen to influence the laws intended to protect the planet and our health; billion dollar corporations have priced out individuals from the election process to the point where one-person, one-vote means little more than a political slogan and rallying cry to motivate American voters to select between two candidates that represent the same corporate interests.
Between the years 2000 and 2016, fossil fuel lobbyists from greenhouse gas emitting corporations spent more than $2 billion influencing the climate laws written by Congress. This dark money that flows into the government often goes unreported, as federal law only requires that people who spend more than 20 percent of their time on lobbying activities submit disclosure forms to declare the money that they paid to bribe politicians. This means that the $2 billion reported by fossil fuel lobbyists is a conservative estimate from an otherwise more extreme amount. During this same span of time, environmental protection organizations and renewable energy groups spent $48 million and $79 million, respectively, on federal lobbying; still a large amount of money by the standards of the average American voter, but ultimately carries little significance in the eyes of greedy politicians whose primary operating system is to flock to the highest bidder, regardless of where that bidders standards, actions and beliefs stand.
An often forgotten aspect of fossil fuel industry profits and success on the national and global market relies on something called a government subsidy, essentially, a government handout paid for by the American taxpayer in order to artificially control prices and prevent market volatility in the transportation and energy production sector. A fossil fuel subsidy is any government action that lowers the cost of fossil fuel production, raises the prices received by energy producers, or lowers the price paid by energy consumers; direct funding, cash subsidies, tax giveaways, loans and guarantees at favorable rates; price controls, government providing water and land to fossil fuel companies at below market rates; research and development funding. The more federal subsidies going to fossil fuel corporations, the less that goes to education, infrastructure, renewable energy, agriculture and public healthcare.
Many industries within the United States receive government subsidies in order to remain profitable. The U.S. agriculture and farming industry uses government handouts in order to control Americas food supply and protect it from recessions, draughts, tornadoes, floods and other major climate disasters made worse by a warmer atmosphere. Unfortunately, the current state of the American agriculture industry leaves taxpayers subsidizing a food industry with poor health standards, inhumane treatment of livestock, and a diet that is void of nutrients and high in antibiotics, hormones, pesticides and other deadly and disease causing chemicals.
Other government subsidized industries include: American exports, housing, healthcare, education and the financial industry. The most disturbing government subsidy, however, resides with the money that the government takes from American citizens and shoves into greenhouse gas emitting corporations. This corporate welfare keeps these corporations profitable and financially relevant in a time where renewable energy is evolving and producing cheaper and cleaner energy for larger amounts of the population. The longer that the government continues to give free money to these fossil fuel corporations, the longer it will take for renewable energy to gain traction and provide opportunities for the country to cut ties from pollution emitting fossil fuel companies.
Federal fossil fuel subsidies mean that American taxpayers are paying for the destruction of their planet, while receiving none of the profits gained by the companies that we pay for. When considering the levels of corruption within the U.S. government and the corporate welfare that it provides, Americans are left with the fossil fuel industries bill two times over: Once in the form of government subsidies, and twice, when natural disasters made worse by a burning planet from increased carbon in the atmosphere causes destruction to our infrastructure and food supply, which require repairs paid for, again, by the American taxpayer.
The U.S. government takes $26 billion a year away from American citizens and funnels it into fossil fuel corporations (with estimates ranging from $10 billion to as high as $52 billion in fossil fuel subsidies). With every $1 spent by fossil fuel companies on lobbying Congress with bribes, manipulation and corruption, they receive $119 in taxpayer funded subsidies. Data from the most recent years on record show that oil, coal and gas companies spent $350 million on lobbying Congress and received $41.8 billion in federal subsidies during the 2013-2014 election cycle; in the 2015-2016 election year, the fossil fuel industry spent $354 million on campaign bribes and lobbying and received $29.4 billion in federal subsidies. Since 2009, the fossil fuel industry has spent over $2 billion lobbying Congress for greater subsidies, blocks to renewable energy efforts, less regulation and lower pollution standards, while at the same time receiving $135 billion dollars in taxpayer funded subsidies.
Subsidies are meant to assist industries that keep us healthy and protected, but as is clear today, fossil fuel subsidies protect industries that contribute to the planets destruction and prolong our reliance and dependence on carbon pollution emitting corporations, while treating climate destruction as a non-issue. The greater the amount of taxpayer dollars funneled into fossil fuel subsidies, the greater the amount of environmental damage and the greater the amount of money that will be required by taxpayers to repair the climate destruction caused by a warmer atmosphere.
Even with the many feigned attempts by world governments to limit carbon emission from fossil fuels with global climate accords and pollution reduction agreements, these same global governments combined to provide $4.9 trillion in subsidies to greenhouse gas emitting corporations in 2013 and $5.3 trillion in subsidies in 2015. The top 20 world governments, known as the G20, account for over $444 billion on fossil fuel subsidies, on average, every year. Estimates show that for ever $1 spent by governments on renewable energy, $6 are spent on fossil fuel subsidies.
Climate Deception by Fossil Fuel Companies
Climate change denial and the corruption and deception engaged in by politicians, special interests, lobbyists and the fossil fuel industry, stands as the greatest hubris and fraud of the United States. For the fossil fuel industry to knowingly engage in, and for politicians to allow, actions that poison the environment, destroy the ecosystem and threaten the health and wellbeing of global citizens for the sake of short-term profit, shows us that for all of our knowledge and intelligence, human beings continue to lack the consciousness required of an advance species capable of overcoming the pitfalls of ego, selfishness, greed and arrogance. Our inability to understand our role as intelligent beings at the top of an interdependent and interconnected ecosystem, and our lack of foresight to comprehend the consequences of destroying the environment that we depend on for survival, shows us that our advanced technology and global dominance over a planet that no species owns by itself, requires a particular kind of lowly pettiness and ignorance reserved for an uncivilized and mislead animal race.
Human beings have known about the atmospheric warming effect of greenhouse gases as early as 1827, while climate change denial and deception of climate science by the fossil fuel industry began as early as 1977; from that time until today, various mechanisms of denial, obstruction, deceit and fraud have been used by politicians and the fossil fuel industry to sow doubt into the climate discussion as a means to distract and confuse the global population from recognizing the environmental destruction wrecked by climate change.
Disinformation campaigns, similar to the tactics used by the tobacco industry in their distorted and malignant defense of the non-deadly effects of cigarettes, are expanded and perfected on a global scale by those in the fossil fuel industry, in particular, those representing the multinational, billion-dollar fossil fuel corporations of Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, BP, Shell and Peabody Energy. These companies, and others within the fossil fuel industry in the United States, spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year to oppose efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Some of the biggest financial contributors to climate deception include: American Petroleum Institute, the countries largest trade organization for oil and gas spends, which spends, on average, $65 million a year to block climate policy; ExxonMobil spends $27 million; Shell spends $22 million.
Internal memos from Exxon Mobil and other fossil fuel companies state that human impact on climate change cannot be denied; yet, the reality of their deceptive tactics and external actions contradict the facts and the scientific evidence of a burning planet and changing climate. The fossil fuel industry actively engages in climate science deception by creating and funding illegitimate front groups that pose as real grassroots organizations in support of greenhouse gas emission technology, who then seek to discredit scientific evidence, persuade politicians with misinformation and bribes, and sow doubt into the publics view of climate science and evidence based science in general. This climate science deception allows the fossil fuel industry to create and fund their own third-party climate science studies, which appear as honest and objective, but prove to be nothing other than their own scientists paid off to eliminate any data or evidence in support of climate change. This type of deception gives the fossil fuel industry the appearance of conducting studies to discover scientific evidence that shows that the climate temperature remains stable, but ends up as nothing other than their fraudulent attempt to exclude data and distort the evidence of climate change.
AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE
The largest petroleum and gas trade organization, The American Petroleum Institute (API), represents over 650 corporations and is involved with the production, distribution and refinement of fossil fuels; as well as with advocacy, governmental lobbying, research into environmental effects through self-funded studies, and the economic impact of fossil fuel production. The organizations core mission is to ‘influence public policy in support of a strong, viable U.S. oil and natural gas industry.’ This mission statement shows that API has a vested interest in climate science deception and manipulation of the political system through bribes, corruption and fraud.
When an organization is tasked with defending an industry that causes environmental destruction and damage to the health and wellbeing of global citizens, they must find increasingly devious ways to distort facts with lies and misinformation. Like the lies told by the tobacco industry in their defense of cigarettes, the API, lobbyists and corporations in the fossil fuel industry have sought to sow enough doubt into the climate change discussion so as to cause enough of the population to disregard all climate science, confuse fact with fiction, truth with lies, and demoralize the population with myopia and confusion about the global climate.
In 1998, API created a campaign of deception that used real scientists, paid off by the fossil fuel industry, as mouthpieces for the political and environmental views of that industry. API and top fossil fuel companies like Chevron, BP, Conoco Phillips, Exxon and Shell, sought and paid unknown scientists wiling to produce peer reviewed studies and papers that contradicted climate change evidence. The fossil fuel industries and the APIs strategy outlined plans to reach the media, the public and politicians with a message of uncertainty in climate science in order to sow enough doubt to prolong the period of, and increase the amount of, fossil fuel extraction before any meaningful climate laws and regulations were enacted; their strategy was not to deny the existence of climate change, but to delay for long enough that people became disillusioned and confused with climate change fact and fiction. An internal memo from the API states that climate denial victory, ‘would be achieved when the average citizen and media were convinced of uncertainties in climate science.’ In conjunction with the strategies in the climate uncertainty memo, API organized fake rallies composed of protesters paid off by the fossil fuel industry to give the appearance that there was public opposition from regular citizens against climate change science.
A more recent climate deception plan from the API, in 2009, shows that the fossil fuel industry forged letters posing as grassroots organizations and sent them to Congress ahead of an important vote on the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which proposed to implement a federal carbon emissions reduction plan. This plan, paid for by coal industry executives from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy, drew up and put forth fake letters posing as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Cresciendo Juntos (a nonprofit latino organization), American Association of University Women, and the American Legion (U.S. Veterans association) in order to disrupt and delay the clean energy bill by distorting the truth and views of the politicians making the vote. The politicians that received the forged letters were not notified of the fraud until after the vote was completed. Part 4