My new book, Abolish Oil Now: Our Last, Best Hope to Save the Climate, Stop Endless Wars and Live in Freedom will be coming out in January of 2020.
Here’s an outline of the book so far:
Our current path towards climate chaos will bring storms, floods and draughts with destruction, disease and death in their wake. Massive human suffering and competition for dwindling resources will lead to wars that will create millions of refugees and stress governments across the globe to the point of threatening our democratic freedoms. A full blown climate emergency could lead to angry nationalism, unending martial law, the rise of authoritarian leaders and worse — even climate fascism.
Part I: Either Oil Companies Must Die or We Will
Oil Companies are Not Your Friends
- Back in the 1960s and 1970s, two or three decades before the rest of us had ever heard of climate change, internal oil company scientists warned their management that burning fossil fuels risked heating the atmosphere to dangerous levels
- At that time, companies should have shared the results with the public, offering to help fix the damage and wind down the production and burning of oil and natural gas on a rapid timeline
- But with trillions of dollars in future profits at stake, oil companies decided to withhold knowledge of climate change from the public
- Furthermore, as oil producers were preparing their own operations to withstand — or even benefit from — effects of climate heating like sea-level rise and a melting Arctic, oil companies began a coverup and disinformation campaign to confuse the public, paying pliable scientists and partisan think tanks to deny the findings of climate science
Oil Companies Will Always Choose their Profits Over our Lives
- Oil companies betrayed their countries and the people of the world, all so that their owners could enjoy a few more decades of profits
- As a result of the delay caused by oil companies, we lost valuable time in fighting climate chaos
- Today, oil companies continue to sabotage the efforts of the world’s governments to reduce their greenhouse pollution through those companies power over the political system, especially the Republican Party in the U.S.
- To have any hope of stopping runaway climate change, we must break the grip of oil companies over our governments and then make them pay to clean up the mess they’ve made
- Oil companies have shown that there’s no way we can trust them to abandon their dangerous business and get into clean energy nor can we trust them to agree to any meaningful climate solutions fast enough
- Since it’s clear that oil companies won’t get out of the way on their own, we must push them out of the way
- We must do more than abolish the massive subsidies that governments provide to companies that produce oil, gas and coal — we must abolish those companies and their business as a whole
Part II: We’ve Done It Before. This is How We Do It Again.
It’s Going to Be Harder and Take Longer to Get Real Climate Solutions than Anybody Thought
- After thirty years of campaigning, the climate movement has won some important victories and built wide public support
- But getting governments to implement key climate solutions such as a carbon tax has been harder than anticipated because oil companies have fought harder than people thought against efforts that would significantly cut climate pollution
- It will take longer and be harder than the movement thought to overcome the political power of Big Oil
- To win, climate campaigners need a campaign with the persistence to last decades more on the one hand, and on the other, can build public support deep enough to face off against the oil industry
- The climate crisis is unprecedented scientifically but its politics closely resemble one movement in history that achieved a stunning success against a massive societal challenge: the abolition of slavery
- While there’s no moral equivalent between a molecule of oil and a human being, yet the challenge in both cases is primarily economic: as it so happens, both the “value” of enslaved people in the United States before the Civil War and the value of all remaining reserves of oil and other fossil fuels is about the same: in today’s money, about $10 trillion
- This wealth is the major factor in causing oil companies to resist climate solutions so hard, just as it was the factor causing southern slaveholders to resist abolition so hard that in America they were willing to fight a war to protect their property
- By contrast, the British Empire managed to phase out slavery over a period of several years three decades earlier — and in a peaceful manner
- Today, we face a similar situation: we can abolish oil peacefully through an orderly phase-out over the next decade or we will be locked into chaotic climate heating that will plunge the world into conflict and violence comparable to or greater than the U.S. Civil War
- Ordinary citizens must rise up against the destruction of our world and put an end to oil once and for all before oil puts an end to us
Lessons from an Impossible Victory in the Past to Make Possible Victory Tomorrow
- Abolish Oil Now will offer timely lessons from key aspects that made the abolition movement able to persist for nearly a century and achieve the first widespread emancipation of enslaved people in human history
- Leaders of the climate movement today can take inspiration from heroic abolition leaders like William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth in the U.S. and William Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson, Granville Sharp and Olaudah Equiano in Britain
- Anyone active in the climate movement can learn from the brilliant political strategies and the powerful communications tactics that helped recruit enough ordinary people to override the political power of some of the richest and most powerful special interests ever determined to hold onto their wealth, leading to ultimate victory