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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 7/11/19

Climate Change is Growing the Fossil Fuel Industry.

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Looking back, gas may have 'liberated' America. At least it made US industries exceedingly rich. Investors pumped post-war capital back into America, mainly through sprawl. Cars meant freedom from the crisis of our cities that their rigged market was busy inventing. But since it entailed guzzling a quarter of the world's oil, we obviously didn't -then- plan to free anyone else. On the contrary, some we produced, but the rest we got cheap by knocking over other oil-producing countries, starting with Iran in 1954. One recalls 'the humanity' with which we freed Iraq in 2002.

Of course, no country stays 'great' forever. America's social progress has declined 40% since the post-war heydays. If Perry's goal is to export 'freedom', bear in mind we now rank 10 th , according to the UN. -Not the worst, but hardly a blueprint. And to unpack that, we rank 19 th in mobility, 19 th in happiness, 48 th in press freedom, and 64 th in life-expectancy. We have the 4 th -highest income disparity, and the highest incarceration.

'Free' the world? -We might finally be ready. Perry was in Europe to sign agreements that would double the amount of gas we sell them. But consider, before 2008 US production was in decline. It's nearly tripled since, thanks to a financial coup that poured capital -that otherwise wouldn't have gathered- into fracking. JP Morgan, Citigroup, Wells Fargo (and others) each lent hundreds of millions of (our) dollars to the nascent industry, before it was proved either safe or profitable. So, besides indebting us, evicting us, killing our democracy, and other kicks to the gut, bailouts spurred global warming. [iv]

Now that we've figured how to gut our own country our trips abroad are more to open markets than taps (though it still spills blood). Mind, fracking was sold to us as a path to energy independence, which implied cheaper costs, but also fewer fiascoes like the Iraq War. Now we are the world's #1 oil producer, and the bulk of it gets exported. (And we still import.) NAFTA has made great strides addicting oil-rich Mexico to our gas, about 2/3 of all exports. The remaining 1/3 scatters to China, Russia, and 30 other countries.

Bolton unabashedly claims we want access to Venezuela's oil. But, ironically, Chavez brought electricity to the poor of Caracas, and now they're in need of fuel to power it. Violating the spirit of our own embargo, we've been selling oil to Venezuela since 2015. Not really violating. The embargo, as intended, has opened a hostage market. At the cost of more than a few lives.

Perry may be dim, even for a Trump swampling. He named his ranch Niggerhead and couldn't count to five on TV (whoops). And he took his Energy Secretary job without knowing what it was. (Hope no one's squeamish; it's managing our nuclear weapons.) But, like his boss, he's just what the mostly liberal,1% needs. Someone to perform the terrors that secure their petrol-empire, yet won't get caught winking at them, after.

As Perry's words belie, global warming is a bigger political hurdle, than a tech or economic one. Is there a political solution?

Well, history is rife with ruling classes that chose catastrophe over yielding a bit of their power. 2016 was plenty convincing, ours would prefer losing to the four horsemen than to even modest reformers. For a more current example, the Green New Deal hardly seeks to abolish capitalism. On the contrary, it's predicated on private, green growth. Yet it gets stonewalled by entirely political accusations of socialism.

Ominously, the point was and remains to avoid a political crisis, to profit second, and our survival is tertiary, at best. But that's not to protect the economy, if by economy you mean the common market. Because we know for sure global warming will hurt it more. Rather there's the political economy, which right now is defined by the 1% and the .001% through tax structures and regulatory policies that privilege them, almost beyond measure.

-Almost. We estimate US fossil fuel subsidies are between 20 and $50 billion per year. That does not include the social costs of pollution the industry avoids, which research out of Stanford University puts at $220 per ton, or $1.76 trillion, annually [v]. Subsidies, held-fast by a client-government. For measure, 22 of the 55 Congressmembers on the Committee assigned to address global warming hold stock in fossil fuels to the tune of at least $16 million. [vi]

Together, business and government protect their hill with two lines of bullshit: Technology and Economics. And these turn into more world-eating boons.

For example, the alleged center-path between Trump's nihilism and AOC's so-called socialism draws heavy on carbon capture. Problem is, not a soul, including the industry lobby/ alleged authority, the Carbon Capture Coalition (CCC) believes carbon capture reduces emissions. In their words, carbon capture "extends domestic oil production" and "achieves significant CO 2emissions reductions from oil, natural gas, coal, and ethanol and from key industrial processes essential to modern society." [vii]

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JAMES MUNSON Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Writer, activist, some-times artist and musician, all-times dad. Pissed and saying so in Portland, OR.

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