21. Climate Memo Mondays, Maddow and Klein, 5-3-21
Rachel Maddow, Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth (2019).
The fossil fuel industry is “a key ingredient in the global chaos and democratic downturn we’re now living through.” “…the oil and gas industry is essentially a big casino that can produce both power and triumphant great gobs of cash, often with little regard for merit. That equation invites gangsterism, extortion, thuggery. . . . causing mindless damage and laying the groundwork for the global catastrophe that is the climate crisis….” (xx). “This book won’t catalog the whole slimy slick that the oil and gas industry has left behind it all over the world. Think of it as more of a guided tour of some of the landmarks, like Oklahoma, and Equatorial Guinea, and Russia, of course. But naturally…it all starts right here in America” (xxi).
“Climate disaster has put a spotlight on the need for human society to evolve beyond dependence on petroleum, but our very capacity to decide on that…remains at risk as long as the industry is still ranging like a ravenous predator on the field of democracy. The oil and gas industry—left to its own devices—will mindlessly follow its own nature. It will make tons of money. It will corrode and corrupt and sabotage democratic governance. It will screw up and…fatally injure the whole freaking planet. . . .The end-times battle that we’re engaged in now is to figure out how to get along without oil and gas” and ““commit to a whole new level of constraint and regulatory protection” (364-65).
[She ends her engrossing book with only two and a half pages of solutions, a feeble effort to say the least. As ways to achieve “constraint and regulatory protection,” everything related to FF must become thoroughly transparent, all subsidies to the industry must end yesterday, conversion from FF to non-carbon energy must be accomplished without creating an unemployment crisis, democratic governance must be maintained, all public service citizens—transparency activists, “anticorruption nerds,” reporters—must be recognized as heroes. It’s meager, but I assume she believed her exposure of the sociopathy of the carbon regime would motivate readers to end it. –Dick]
Naomi Klein's On Fire