Climate change: what they’re putting off saying

Published online 30 November 2014.

So, OK, back in 2009 I was telling everyone that if the movement to (as Naomi Klein called it) “save the climate” was to accomplish anything at all, we’d need a movement to “Keep the grease in the ground.”  September 24th of 2009, to be exact.  Mark that date.  At some point (I don’t remember when) even Bill McKibben was “feh,” to be exact this was his reaction at a talk he gave at Scripps College in Claremont, when I brought up the “keep the grease in the ground” thing.  Well guess what?  Now even Obama’s climate envoy is saying the same thing!  Obama’s envoy:

“It is going to have to be a solution that leaves a lot of fossil fuel assets in the ground,” he said. “We are not going to get rid of fossil fuel overnight but we are not going to solve climate change on the basis of all the fossil fuels that are in the ground are going to have to come out. That’s pretty obvious.”

So after a decade of diddling around with “cap and trade,” and flirting with a carbon tax, after pretending that all we needed to do was to make it a bit harder for people to buy the stuff and the problem would go away, world society may be on the verge of admitting the obvious — that the fossil fuels must stay in the ground if the consumers are not to burn them.  Obama’s climate envoy has now trended with what Bill McKibben actually said in Rolling Stone back in 2012.  McKibben, then:

We have five times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn. We’d have to keep 80 percent of those reserves locked away underground to avoid that fate.

So tell us, dear pundits of the world: if it’s now “obvious,” what kept you from SAYING IT for so long?  Could it be that you hadn’t just yet come to terms with your own fossil fuel addictions?

At any rate, this got me started: what if “keep the grease in the ground” is not the only thing they’re putting off saying?  So here are some other things they might be putting off saying:

Capitalism will last forever or maybe not.  But omigod our privileges!

Alternative energy won’t save capitalism.  Solar energy is cheaper now so the problem will go away all by itself y’know.

A “green dictatorship” will not solve the global warming problem.   Father figures, save us!

As a civilization struggles with its own denial… I’m sure, dear readers, you watch enough melodrama, so you know the tune.  Can you think of other things they’re putting off saying?

(also available at )


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