If you’ve ever seen an ad featuring ExxonMobil scientists handling beakers of green goo, the algae that will supposedly fuel the future, you’ve been the target of an oil company’s advertisement. Exxon isn’t trying to sell you a product, exactly — but it is hoping to sell you on the idea that it’s committed to a greener future.
There are more possibilities than a marginally less-bad business-as-usual future. Effectively and justly achieving deep emissions cuts requires fundamentally changing the system, not merely modifying it or slapping its beneficiaries’ wrists. Real change requires state programs and regulations as well as trying out new forms of ownership and governance.
It is in this joyous and self-congratulatory atmosphere [of the first Earth Day] that a curmudgeonly I.F. Stone, by now a full-fledged icon on the left, takes the stage. And he unapologetically rains on the parade, accusing Earth Day of providing cover for escalating war and calling for a movement willing to demand “enormous changes—psychological, military, and bureaucratic—to end the existing world system, a system of hatred, of anarchy, of murder, of war and pollution.”
The oil industry has corrupted the Keystone XL environmental assessment process just as it has hijacked the climate change debate and interfered with action.
Scrolling through the website of the World Economic Forum – convening this week in Davos, Switzerland – one might confuse the premier platform for global capital with a savvy and hip think tank, or perhaps a philanthropic aid and development charity. The content is carefully curated to sedate and comfort.