How to avoid climate action – 21 May 2023

Climate scientists were subjected to personal attacks and smear campaigns creating doubt about their work and findings

Climate change is a major threat to the survival of humanity on the planet. It was known to the scientists of a major fossil fuel corporation back in the 70s. But the industry used money and influence to keep a heavy lid on this finding so as to avoid any hurdle in their profitable empire. Once it became known, there was a sophisticated propaganda campaign unleashed to delay any action against the use of fossil fuel.

Climate scientists were subjected to personal attacks and smear campaigns creating doubt about their work and findings. Media attack dogs went on the offensive. Divisions were sown among people to slow down further action against fossil fuel by making people fight against each other. In a nutshell, the fossil fuel industry war against climate action went through various stages such as denialism, deflection, disinformation, delayism and doomism. While the climate is becoming warmer everyday, the fossil industry is also facing ever more critique for their very existence.

The people cannot be effectively fooled for long. Eventually, the unprecedented heat and the extreme weather will convince the most hardcore anti-science crowd as well. However, it also does not mean that the fossil industry is just going to lay their arms and surrender to the public will. They have trillions of dollars invested in this business and they are not going to give up on that money and the profit that it can bring with the continuous business as usual sale and use of fossil fuel. Rich and strong nations have made pledges to become carbon neutral in the near future. How is this going to work? Who is going to lose in the end without accepting defeat; the people or the oil corporations?

Well, it turns out that the only practical way for the fossil fuel industry to maintain the status quo is to delay the action against climate change. And this time around, their method wouldn’t be anything from the past such as the five Ds mentioned above, over which I have already written in this space before. Rather that delay will come through a war against some defenseless country in the world.

Wars have traditionally allowed leaders of strong nations such as the United States and the United Kingdom to drop almost everything they were occupied with and focus on the much touted and urgent war at hand. The global public opinion right now is overwhelmingly in support of climate action as an urgent issue. But if history is any indication into the future, then it would serve us to remember that the global public opinion was overwhelmingly against the invasion of Iraq 2 decades ago. Even the United Nations did not approve of the war. But none of those things stopped the invasion of Iraq based on absolute lies. It allowed both the US and UK governments respectively to sacrifice the civil liberties of their citizens without the knowledge or consent of the latter. Torture, murder, global assassination campaigns and other atrocities became more urgent than feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless in America and England. The civil liberties of the American citizens were so compromised that some of them were brutally killed without any due process of law.

If a similar situation were to come our way, the strong nations would drop any actions they promised to tackle the threat of climate change and focus on fighting the urgent threat such as another cooked up WMD. Leaders cannot be forced by the fossil industry. Neither can they fool the people with their sophisticated propaganda campaigns. And they are not going to give up on the business of selling oil. So, the most workable solution to get to a situation where leadership ignores and abandons climate action and people are not enraged is to make the leadership take desperate decisions while keeping the public in the dark like before. This can happen in wartime. This model has worked before. No reason it won’t work again.

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