The Great Carbon Bubble: Why the Fossil Fuel Industry Fights So Hard
by Bill McKibben
The giant energy companies are making so much money right now that they can’t stop gorging themselves. ExxonMobil, year after year, pulls in more money than any company in history. Chevron’s not far behind. Everyone in the business is swimming in money… Still, they could theoretically invest all that cash in new clean technology or research and development for the same. As it happens, though, they’ve got a deeper problem, one that’s become clear only in the last few years. Put briefly: their value is largely based on fossil-fuel reserves that won’t be burned if we ever take global warming seriously… Climate scientists have shown that if we want to avoid utter, civilization-shaking disaster, a two-degree rise in global temperatures is the most we could possibly deal with…If we spew 565 gigatons more carbon into the atmosphere, we’ll quite possibly go right past that reddest of red lines. But the oil companies, private and state-owned, have current reserves on the books equivalent to 2,795 gigatons — five times more than we can ever safely burn. It has to stay in the ground.
P.S. According to the US Dept. of Commerce, the USA suffered 14 weather disasters each causing $1 billion or more in damage last year. (The old record was nine.)…