Kingpins of Carbon
Attention Conservation Notice: It's straight from environmental policy wonkville. Goes on quite a while, and includes a tedious table of facts and figures.
Entries in the Viridian Summer Health Warning Contest:
http://www.earthlight.co.nz/~bretts/vs.html http://www.tux.org/~lasser/viridian/ http://www.subterrane.com/heat.htm http://www.ugrad.cs.jhu.edu/~rmharman/img/viridian/sun.bmp http://humlog.homestead.com/viridianart/HEAT.html http://members.tripod.com/~MSpong/viridian/heatdeath.html http://www.premierestedivolt.com/HEAT.HTML http://www.radix.net/~kreinsch/viridian/heatkills.html http://www.provide.net/~herrell/heat.html http://www.gothic.net/~weasel/viridian/ http://home.earthlink.net/~keim9/heatwarning.htm http://www.well.com/conf/mirrorshades/viridian/viridianheat.html http://www.octa.net/heatposter.html http://www.boston.quik.com/kitsune/gfx/heatwarn.jpg http://jhunix.hcf.jhu.edu/~djb14/viridian/heatkills.htm http://www.artlung.com/viridian6/
This contest expires on September 1, 01999.
The press release has a strongly anti-corporate spin, pointing big j'accuse fingers at Exxon, Mobil, Peabody Coal, Chevron and Shell. Why pick on them? Mostly because the NRDC is annoyed by their highly successful, anti-regulatory, anti-Kyoto activities. Besides, after many decades of the same old approaches, environmental activists know what to do about Exxon: pickets, angry faxes, embarrassing references to that drunk tanker captain who bathed Alaska in crude oil, etc etc.
However, actual study of the meticulous figures in this report reveals that the world's worst carbon offenders are not big, fat, capitalist oil companies. Exxon, for instance, ranks in at a shrimpy number 10, with less than 2 percent of the world's carbon action. Leading the pack are highly anti-capitalist royal Saudi Arabs! Followed by stiffly anti-market Chinese Communists!
What is one to do about these Chinese and Arab state- controlled carbon enterprises, when you are an American political activist in the NRDC? Well, you can't do very much that's useful, actually. So the less said about it, the better.
Further complicating the strategic picture is the fact that BP-Amoco (number 17) wants to eat Arco (number 19) to become the biggest, most ambitious private- enterprise oil company on earth. BP-Amoco is also a solar-energy darling! Their European gasoline stations are clad in big sexy solar cells. Furthermore, BP-Amoco makes no bones about the hazards of climate change: http://www.bpamoco.com/_nav/hse/index_climate.htm
This suggests a useful Viridian tactic. Rather than struggle to reign in multinat state-oil companies through an utterly recalcitrant American Republican Congress, it would be better to refer henceforth to coal and oil as "something that Arabs and Communists do."
Oil and coal should become the signifier of backward, totalitarian, massively corrupt regimes. Places full of weird misogynistic Wahhabi cultists, and crooked Red Party princelings, and such.
Oil and coal producers and consumers might be confronted with languid ridicule: "You burn dirt for a living? Are you a Chinese Communist? Do you carry nightsoil in a bucket?"
Confronting and stigmatizing mere corporations will become increasingly useless, anyway. The 20th-century legal fiction of a "corporation" is merely a billboard for the 21st century's titanic globalist market forces and electronic capital flows. Way back in the 1960s, corporations strode the earth as Three Initial Colossi, rigid, rectilinear enterprises full of white guys in identical clothing. That's over now. The 21st century's corporations will be flimsy, whimsical, and rhizomatic, popping up like Hollywood production companies and vanishing just as quickly.
Plus, they're politically sophisticated. Nail Monsanto for their eerie, unnatural genetic meddling, and you'll soon discover that Monsanto's gay and lesbian employment practices are second to none, and they're mighty proud of it. Given half a chance, they'll call a press conference and out you as a Luddite bigot.
As long as there's market demand for carbon-powered energy, it will be met. "Gazprom," for instance, has been through the wringer as a clunky Soviet apparat, a privatized mega-oil company, and a front for Semibankyrshina Russian Mafia moguls. But Gazprom's continental seas of gas and oil have always chugged along unmolested, decade after decade, despite every change in Moscow. No mere Kyoto regulatory regime will stop this vast State/Maphiya racket. As for the Red Chinese, they'll never bow the knee to Kyoto as long as they're still laughing heartily at Bill Gates and his software cops.
The Viridian answer is: cultivate consumer loathing. Not another dime for these filthy rascals. Buy from the ones that sell clean energy, and disinvest in all that don't. Cut their revenues, reward their competitors, destroy their margins, make them obsolete.
And here they are:
Table 1: The World's Top 20 Carbon Producers: 1997
"Quads stands for quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) and measures the energy content of the fuel. For comparison, U.S. fossil fuel consumption in 1997 was 80 Quads, releasing 1480 million metric tons (MMT) of carbon."
"In 1997 the world energy industry produced 5.2 billion tons of coal, 26.4 billion barrels of petroleum, and 81.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. When these carbon- based fuels were consumed, their combustion resulted in the emissions of 6.2 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere."
IF YOU'RE SO SMART, THEN WHY ARE YOU SO DIRTY?
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