If corporations told the truth

A video made by a fictitious “Australians for Coal 2014” initiative. It’s hilarious but also painfully true, surely reflecting the damn-the-science mindset of corporate denialists.

h/t: Gunnar


  1. Merilee
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 11:03 am | Permalink


  2. Posted April 18, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink


    …but there’s a very sobering and depressing truth to that.

    Far and away, the wealthiest corporations on Earth are the petrochemical giants.

    The value of those companies is reflected in their stock prices.

    Those stock prices are a representation of the company’s total equity.

    The overwhelmingly most substantial portion of that equity is the various as-yet-unmined petrochemicals the companies have the rights to extract.

    If the companies extract all those petrochemicals and we burn them, we’re dead.

    But if we prevent the companies from extracting all the petrochemicals, we render worthless those assets, the company’s net worth is dramatically reduced, the stock prices tumble, and the economy collapses and the world is thrown into chaos.

    It’s physically possible to transition to a solar-powered post-oil society, especially if we use our remaining oil reserves to help us bootstrap the process. I just don’t know if it’s even remotely economically or socially or politically possible.

    “Fuck you,” indeed.


    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      If the companies extract all those petrochemicals and we burn them, we’re dead.

      Not quite true. If we burn all those proven/ probable reserves, then your grandchildren (I count myself out – descendent-free) are going to have a lot of problems, and some of them may well die because of it.
      The situation is bad enough to not need hyperbole.
      Still driving a hydrocarbon-fuelled car?

      • Posted April 18, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        It might be a bit of hyperbole…but I don’t see how civilization as we know it can survive the double whammy of no more energy reserves and a fucked-up climate. That right there would take out industrialized agriculture, which would directly kill billions due to starvation and indirectly kill most of the rest due to wars and the like.

        …and, as a matter of fact, yes, I am still driving a ’68 VW Westfalia…but at a rate of just a gallon or two a week, and it’s likely to be less than a year before I’ve bought a Karmann Ghia and replaced the gasoline engine with an electric motor — and I’m already generating enough surplus electricity from the solar panels on my roof to power it.

        I’m not exactly carbon-neutral, but I am if you grant me a bit of rounding.

        And the best part?

        Fiscally, it’s far and away the best investment I’ve ever made in my entire life….



        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted April 18, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

          Good for you on the carbon footprint. Being 20-odd degrees further north, and much colder, we’ve little realistic prospect of getting much out of photovoltaics. For a start, we’d need to turn the house into a bungalow, and raise the angle of the roof line by about 20 degrees. I’m trying to persuade the wife to let me install an air-source heat pump or some of the heating load … but she thinks it’s a waste of money. (And I can’t say that she’s wrong.)
          The loss of population doesn’t particularly worry me – breeding has never been that much of a problem for humans. We do need to get the term “gigadeath” into the dictionary though.
          What does worry me is that, if we crunch technological society for several centuries, we might have real problems with supplies of rare and exotic metals such as copper while trying to rebuild.
          Anyway, it’s definitely not my descendant’s problem.

          • Posted April 18, 2014 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

            Germany is doing gangbusters with solar even though they’re almost as bad for solar as Olympia, the worst region of the (contiguous) States for solar. The UK isn’t quite as good as Germany, as I understand, but it still might be borderline profitable, just as a much longer-term investment.

            (Almost) everybody in Arizona has an heat pump primarily for cooling, and they’re just dandy for what little heating we occasionally need. I honestly have no clue how well they’d do in extreme cold, though just on the physics I’d expect them to be the most energy efficient. Financially, though…would depend on upfront capital costs, and what you pay for electricity as opposed to heating oil (or whatever you use).

            Probably the best thing to start with is insulation and related weather sealing, though, especially if it’s an older house. That would include double- (or triple-)pane windows, that sort of thing. Unless it’s a newer home built to energy efficiency standards, chances are very good that the dollars you put into those sorts of improvements will pay themselves back much quicker than the dollars you put into anything else. There’s also a comfort factor; you can be comfortable in a much wider range of ambient air temperatures if you don’t have the walls and ceiling acting as giant radiant heat transmitters. Before I got the new attic insulation blown in, I had to set the thermostat to 77 – 78 (F) to just not be uncomfortable. Now, I can set it to 81 – 82 for about the same comfort level. Before, you could feel the heat radiating off the ceiling, like one of those lamps they use to utterly destroy already-bad food at a buffet. Now, the ceiling doesn’t even feel warm when you put your hand on it.

            In the abstract, I’m not upset about a decrease in population. Indeed, I’d suggest that a global population of about as many people as currently live in North America is probably more than we should be looking at.

            What I’m worried about is how we reduce the population by a couple orders of magnitude. Ideally, it’d be through near-universal birth control until old age and what-not catches up with those already alive. Realistically, it means horrors that will make WWII and the Black Death look like pleasant interludes.

            Not exactly something I want to live through, or that I’d wish on very many people — let alone several billions of them.


            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted April 19, 2014 at 3:54 am | Permalink

              We’re 5 degrees north from Berlin and 9 degrees north of Munich (I did have to check the numbers!). And rattling around in the back of my mind is a result from celestial mechanics that gives the bearing of solsticial sunrise and sunset as varying according to the square of the cosine of the latitude. What that means is that in winter we get effective sunrise (over the roofs of the surrounding houses – starting from 5m away to the horizon) at around 10:00 to 10:15 and sunset between 15:30 and 16:00 (it should be symmetrical, but I think of these things more in terms of light for mountaineering by).
              Understandably, that cuts down the energy available during winter, when you really need it.
              I’ve got to go. I’ll address your other points later.

              • Posted April 19, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

                Yeah…the UK isn’t exactly a poster child for solar. I think it works out on paper if you use solar energy to make hydrocarbon fuels from atmospheric and oceanic CO2 and then burn those during dark times, but I suspect it’s more likely that the UK would be a net energy importer, especially from the rest of Europe.

                And, by-the-way, fuels from environmental CO2 isn’t a fantasy. The Nazis turned to the Fischer-Tropsch process in desperation at the end of the War, but they didn’t have either an abundant energy source or a plentiful source of carbon; instead, they idiotically burned entire forests.

                And just in the news is a US Navy research project to filter CO2 out of seawater to generate hydrocarbon fuels. They’ve been successful in demonstration projects, including the gimmick of flying an RC plane with fuel from the project. They say they’re on track to commercial viability in under a decade, and their plan is to use the reactors on nuclear-powered aircraft carriers to produce the fuels at prices comparable to what they’re paying today. Their goal is to reduce or eliminate supply-chain problems for the aircraft the carriers carry, but the same technology could well reduce dependence on fossil fuels outside of the Navy and thus proportionately reduce the need for the Navy in the first place.

                Links and discussion here:




              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted April 19, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

                And, by-the-way, fuels from environmental CO2 isn’t a fantasy.

                Trees have been doing it … since they evolved from whichever other plants the particular tree you’re thinking of. Ditto for algae.
                The “fuel from CO2” thing is just a different way of storing energy from the nuclear reactor. Perfectly sane, but not exactly universe inverting. Using the reactor to split water, then shove the hydrogen into fuel tanks and using it to power a drone’s fuel cell is as earth shaking. And I bet they’ve got that in development too.

              • Posted April 19, 2014 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

                I hope I wasn’t implying it was earth-shaking — quite the contrary! It’s practical, real-world science that could have been turned into everyday technology generations ago, and would have been were it not for the fact that, until recently, it’s been cheaper to suck petroleum from the ground and burn it.

                I don’t think the infamous hydrogen economy will ever take off, though. Our current fuels are actually pretty damned impressive. If you had no cost or pollution concerns, there’s just no way that hydrogen (with current storage and transport technology) could ever compete with Jet-A and diesel. Rather, I’d see us using alternate energy sources to make the same (or equivalent) hydrocarbon fuels we do today; it’s the best of both worlds…and, if we ever get to the point that we have surpluses of said fuels, we can then start pumping it right back from where you’re currently extracting it from (did you mark the spot on the map?) and thereby restore the pre-industrial atmospheric and oceanic CO2 balance.

                …if we ever make it that far, which is, admittedly, rather doubtful….


              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted April 20, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

                My big uncertainty about the whole “hydrogen economy” thing is because hydrogen is notoriously good at finding leak points, even in metal-to-metal seals. Some years ago I was building a workshop at the company’s new premises, for which we needed service lines of hydrogen, compressed air, and two hydrocarbon mixes. So I put the lines in (not the first time I’ve done this sort of work), all the switch-over points, manifolds etc, lines out to the gas bottle cage (outside, obviously). Pumped all the lines up to 10bar with air to find all the leaks. Fixed the leaks and pumped the lines back up to 10bar with air. All tight. Left the lines pumped up overnight … and they were still tight the next morning. Everything hunky dory?
                The compressed air and hydrocarbon lines went into service perfectly well ; the hydrogen line leaked like a sieve when tested with hydrogen. You could see the pressure gauge dropping. It took longer to get that one line tight than it took to build the rest of the system put together.
                CO2 to plants (algae) to hydrocarbons (gas or liquid) will result in far fewer losses to atmosphere than cooking water to hydrogen and pumping that.

              • Posted April 20, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

                There’s not just the leakage problem; as I understand it, hydrogen embrittles metals like there’s no tomorrow. I once toyed with the idea of using the excess electricity from my solar array to analyze water, compress the hydrogen, and use that in the Camper. You can do an hydrogen conversion on pretty much any standard gasoline engine by replacing the carburetor (or equivalent) and everything before it with a pressurized (ideally, turbocharged) feed of hydrogen gas and air at the right stoichiometric ratio. It’s basically the exact same as a CNG conversion, and I think some even build in a switch to let you fill up the tank with either and adjust ratios accordingly.

                I gave up on that idea for lots of reasons, especially including the risk of the block or heads simply cracking after being saturated with pressurized hydrogen.

                There’s some promising research into biofuels, including a guy at ASU just down the road doing some great things with algae. But biofuels seem to be fighting two problems: either they’re technically easy because they’re generic agriculture but they compete with crops and / or undisturbed habitat for land and other resources; or they’re very resource-efficient but face currently-insurmountable technological challenges, especially along the lines of keeping your preferred strain alive and predominant. The algae guy at ASU is fighting that; getting diesel-equivalent out of a lab-sized reactor is no problem. Building a refinery-scale reactor out in the field that doesn’t soil itself or get invaded by unproductive algae is another matter entirely.

                That’s why I’m guessing that purely chemical reactions, such as what the Navy just did or older processes like Fischer-Tropsch, are going to be what wins the day.

                That reminds me…somebody somewhere has a solid engineering proposal for industrial-scale production of crude-equivalent using the CO2 sequestered from coal plants and wind turbines; it would be economically competitive when oil stays at or above ~$150 / barrel. The idea is that the coal plants are going to keep operating, lump it or leave it; this offers a way to make the carbon from the coal serve double duty — and, at the same time, lay the infrastructure for doing the exact same thing with atmospheric CO2 instead of coal plant CO2 when the time comes.

                We can solve the problem; we just don’t want to, not if it means spending half again or twice as much on petroleum as we do today. I’m just hoping that that’ll change once we have no choice but to spend that much on energy, and that said forced decision will happen soon enough to avoid all the other nasty shit headed our way.


              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted April 21, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

                Embrittlement is certainly a problem. Not insoluble – you can get alloys that are robust against embrittlement, but they have different mechanical properties and are often inferior to the ones currently in use. Which realistically means much redesign such as forging cylinder heads from linings of embrittlement-resistant alloy and a structural component of a different alloy. Not impossible, but decidedly more expensive in both materials and process.
                I haven’t seen any of the wossname “Formula-E” electric car racing yet ; a “formula-H” might be interesting as a test bed. And doing a hot hydrogen refuel on a racing car is going to return a certain level of excitement to pit stops which has been banished for a while now.

                We can solve the problem; we just don’t want to,

                For a fairly broad interpretation of “we”. In practice, there are major social divisions growing over this, despite what our corporate overlords would want us to think.

              • Posted April 21, 2014 at 10:08 am | Permalink

                Embrittlement is less of a problem if you’re designing new engines from scratch…but that doesn’t do us any good for converting existing engines, alas.

                And if we’re going to build new engines from scratch rather than convert existing ones, why bother with infernal combustion, when a fuel cell is more efficient?

                …and, once we’re talking about fuel cells, the question becomes the most volume- and weight-efficient method of storing hydrogen, and it’s hard to beat binding the hydrogen to carbon, which brings us right back where we started….

                It’s that dual nature of the beast. We need both energy and storage. Petroleum (etc.) has been awesome at both, but (as I’m sure you’re much more aware than I am) it’s not such a great energy source any more (even ignoring the pollution). However…it’s still pretty damned awesome for storage. The challenge now, I think, is primarily getting petroleum into the pipelines without (sorry!) squeezing it from rocks.

                One of the practical things I think artificial hydrocarbon fuels has going for it is that we’d still need much of the infrastructure our corporate overlords currently lord over us. Whether or not they generated the energy that goes into the raw materials or not, we still need to change those raw materials into a brazilian and one different products, and we need to transport those products, and all the rest.

                “All” we need, then, is a plentiful and clean energy source with which to make the crude feedstock…minor little detail, I know….


            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted April 19, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

              The house is pretty well insulated already – the whole 3 bedroom house (vintage 1983) only a little more expensive to heat than the 2 bedroom apartment (vintage 1938) which we left a couple of years ago. About 120mm of rockwool in the loft (under the flooring) ; cavity walls insulated ; double-glazed throughout. The only uninsulated thing is the garage door, but since that’s not heated either … I’m trying to persuade the wife to let me line the walls and build a workshop/ utility room there, but until then it’s all rather academic.
              I can’t remember the last time I saw anyone selling single-glazed windows anywhere in Britain, except for garden sheds. OTOH, if I were in Norway, I’d be saying the same thing about triple-glazing, with double-glazing approaching extinction.
              Temperatures … the thermostats aren’t calibrated – just relative settings. Again, the controlling factor is the wife’s preferences not mine (she spends twice as much time on the same continent as the house as I do anyway), and she likes it a lot warmer than I can stand. We found a double duvet a few months ago that makes life a lot more comfortable : 10.5 TOG on her side, 4.5 TOG on mine. (Does America use TOG ratings?)
              But life is very different on this side of personal comfort equation. It’s a bit different at 50°C with no insulation on the steel box that comprises the accommodation and needing to put your slippers on before you get out of the bunk. And the tins of diesel to stop the cockroaches climbing up the legs of the bunks. Stops you smoking in bed though … well, most folk anyway, but it only takes one in a dozen to make the bunk house stink.
              Multiple gigadeath adjustments to the population will not going to be nice. I make the meat disposal problem to be a cube around 370m on edge per gigadeath. Still, landfill on that scale is something that could be achieved … where’s that photo … several on this page … yeah, we’ve probably got the technology to handle it. I wouldn’t want to live down wind though. Might make Arizona a bit smelly.
              Ultimate sustainable population levels … big topic. I use the 1900 (-ish) global population as a basis for discussion, since before then global effects of the human population seemed pretty minimal, and after then the effects get more noticeable. You could make a case for 1930 population levels, but I’m a bit dubious about some of the abnormal temperatures recorded in the 1930s. A couple of billion, maybe 3 billion is credible. 7+ billion isn’t.

              • Posted April 19, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

                Sounds like you’ve got a good foundation laid, so to speak.

                I’d never heard of TOG ratings before. Of course, here the bedding ranges from a sheet, one or two blankets at most and a comforter (and a cat) during the coldest winter nights to nothing at all for at least a few months at the opposite side of the orbit. 50°C indoors never happens, but it’s not unheard of outdoors…and I rather expect us to at least flirt with it this season.

                And, remember: here in the Sonoran Desert, it’s (generally) a dry heat. A large population die-off would only be smelly in close proximity, and not for long. Now, in Florida….

                As for total population numbers…I think, realistically, we should look to something at the left side of the inflection point on this graph:

                Half a billion is likely plenty of people for the planet. One billion is getting crowded. A quarter billion is probably ideal — large genetic and labor pool, but as much elbow room and other resources as anybody could possibly ever want. And still enough for several huge metropolitan areas for those who like that kind of thing, but with people getting whole floors to themselves rather than sharing tiny apartments.

                But, no matter how you slice it, we’re already seriously overpopulated. The widespread poverty and income disparity is all the proof you need of that. What use more billions if they’re just more mouths to feed and doomed to impoverished and miserable lives? Isn’t it better to just not have anywhere near so many children in the first place?


          • Posted April 18, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

            A teeny tangent on this interesting discussion — have you looked into antimony futures lately?

            • Posted April 18, 2014 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

              No. Should we…?


              • Posted April 18, 2014 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

                Only if you somehow manage to use such an investment to your advantage before the machinery of money/investments becomes unworkable… it was a bit tongue-in-cheek of me to say so, given the whole corporate domination theme of the thread… but it is yet just another way we’re massively screwed.

                We’ll need it for things like NPN and Hall effect transistors, lead-acid batteries and such… and it’s getting pissed away on fire retardants and plastic hardeners (one of the things that’s of concern with plastic bottles leaching toxics into out bodies) — and it’s likely to be the first thing to run out pronto.

                Corporate investors are scrambling over themselves to deal with hard reality in light of consumption levels.

                an infographic from the Beeb from two years ago, which is overly pessimistic granted – but is a broad sketch of the picture nonetheless http://www.adroitresources.ca/antimony/antimony-supply-demand-and-price.html

                From a random investment news site I just pulled out of my ass and have not bothered reading, but a skimming shows the general picture… the wiki gives for info on the general scientific consensus on how much we are likely to extract, plus its uses. Not good bedtime reading material.


              • Posted April 19, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

                Oh, shit.

                We’re truly fucked, aren’t we?


                Well, maybe we’ll luck out and this type of “minor” resource exhaustion will wake us up to the dangers of exhausting other resources….


              • Posted April 19, 2014 at 1:20 am | Permalink

                BTW, kudos for Dave Richards bringing this state of affairs front and center yesterday morning.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted April 19, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

              Antimony specifically?
              To be honest, I’d not really know how to find an antimony future price, nor what to do with one if I did find it in the street. Go and collect firewood to smelt it into an ingot, I suppose. (Got some nice little silver ingots a few days ago … running a 25 to 50% profit margin on purchase price.)
              Wouldn’t tin and/ or selenium be worth a look too, considering http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v508/n7496/full/nature13184.html

        • Bob J.
          Posted April 18, 2014 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

          Well, my organic chemistry professor, Dr Stump, back in the early 1970’s (just around the first Earth Day) had this hypothesis regarding the carbon cycle. Most processes consolidate and bury carbon. Only human activity brings the carbon back to the surface and distributes it across the entire surface of the planet. This is a 65 to 70 million year cycle. Once we have completed the task, it will be another 65 million years until a new species is needed to repeat the cycle.

          • Posted April 19, 2014 at 7:40 am | Permalink

            Now there’s a depressing thought.

            That, and there aren’t all that many more ~100 MY cycles left before the Sun heats up more than organic chemistry can tolerate….


    • Posted April 18, 2014 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      IF technology to consume/sequester C02 and MH4 molecules is developed, implemented, and at minimum preventing atmospheric increases of those two molecules NLT ~2050 …
      and …

      IF technology to replace fossil fuel energy is providing at least minimum economic supply requirements NLT than ~2085 for all but food production/transportation, and security force mechanization civil/military …

      …civilization is still likely to collapse sometime within the next 100 – 200 years. Population growth and shrunken finite resource potential, even if the almost certainly unachievable technological achievements mentioned above miraculously occur, are unlikely to prevent failure of existing societal governmental institutions.

      Before that collapse point is reached: panic reactions due to chronic water/food shortage conditions; zero air conditioning (I’ll be grateful just for a refrigerator, and so will everyone else — including the poor schmucks broiling in high-rise complexes) except for a few elites, on a planet where the temp rarely dips below 90F — at dawn — 9 months of the year; mass refugee migration conflict on every continent; rampant world-wide perennial deadly disease outbreak; extreme poverty/deprivation for half or more of the planet’s population …

      … all this and perhaps much worse that I am unable to imagine is going to set the stage for the born-obedient to wholeheartedly commit to totalitarian authority. An example of a group which lusts to impose their authority chomps at the bit within the Tea Party this very instant, and they are far from the only wanna-be dictators around who are the only ones with the right answers. For everybody. To everything.

      So when might totalitarian society become the norm? At any moment. Especially during any of the looming economic disasters I expect once every 7 years or so, if not more frequently, from now on.

      If I last as long as three-fourths of members from both sides of my parent’s families, I’ll croak around 2040. I’d be very happy if some sort of democratic USA lasts until I die, but I’m not very optimistic. Richard Olson

      • Posted April 18, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        The big question aside from the technological ones is whether or not populations continue to (attempt to) grow. We see growth rates in the developed world dramatically slowing, with some countries actually in decline if one ignores immigration. Globally, the population growth rate is also slowing down.

        Collapses also tend to come in waves and in clumps. We could well see disasters do very nasty things to lots of people in one corner of the developing world. How that plays out in the longer term will be important. Does it convince people of the necessity of population control, or does it convince people to have as many children as they can in the hopes that some will survive to take care of their grandparents?

        The future may well be as bleak as you paint it, but there are other possibilities. None of the likely ones are especially pretty or glamorous, but not all are Armageddon, either.

        Indeed, I’m really hoping that Putin will cut off Russian petrochemical supplies as part of this whole Ukraine crisis. It would be nasty in the short term, but it’s likely getting the pain of that out of the way now would cause us to avoid much worse pain in the future.


        • Posted April 18, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

          I just finished listening to a conversation between Jared Diamond and Idre Viskontis on “Inquiring Minds.” Diamond says he puts it at 51% humans avoid planetary collapse, and of course forty-nine we do not. He also claims that if collapse occurs it will be planetary due to the inter-locking effects of globalization, and estimates civilization will return to levels existent tens of thousands of years previous.

          I don’t see how absolute economic failure is averted unless clean energy replaces fossil inputs by not one instant later than 2050, which by the way is the very best case climate modeling estimate estimate.

          Once permafrost thaws, and polar and mountain glaciers are mostly gone, the methane and carbon they sequester meets up with their molecular brethren already crowding our atmosphere, increasing heat retention effects by many orders of magnitude.

          Not many plants or animals will survive the resulting temperature on the planet’s surface, the ocean will be dead, and the plankton that produce 50% of the planet’s daily oxygen supply will expire with it.

          Four decades is far too short an amount of time to construct nuclear generator facilities for immediate, short term replacement of fossil fuel sources (not to mention the long term enviro debt it brings — you’re welcome, kids; and on the subject of debt, isn’t it lovely how the GOP continues to successfully woo it’s followers with the stinking red herring government debt issue. The same debt they cheerfully voted to generate some 27 times, I think it was, during the Reagan-Bush 41-Bush 43 administrations, but is toxic waste-with-no-safe-repository since 1/21/09. All while sitting on their we-hate-science asses while the very real climate debt burden awaits the young’uns.)

          Solar, wave and wind may power private sector housing, and it would be fabulous if it could operate both refrigerator’s and sufficient air conditioning. If society summons the political will to overcome the existing energy monster and make solar happen. But manufacturing sector energy requirements? And what will be manufactured? Cars? If so, they better be powered by a renewable non-pollutant source, or they’ll just keep fucking us up.

          Cars are a huge component of the economy. Gasoline buggies stand the best chance of being replaced by sustainable vehicles, at least, and the industry can remain an employer.

          Ski boats, motorcycles, pleasure cruises on ships constructed at the rate of one a day, I think I read recently, airplane travel for fun and business — all this, the recreation and even the business travel, goes away within two decades or less, when demand for food production and security transportation kicks in big time and fuel is finally priced out of reach for non-essential purposes. Delay of the inevitable. These things should have all been priced out of business 20 years ago. Lots of employment goes away as a result, of course.

          On the plus side, lawn care devices won’t constitute much of a pollution source. Fast-growing grass won’t survive future heat, and water will be too expensive for lawn maintenance anyway.

          Trees are pretty much fucked too, in a lot of places. The ones that survive will be tough arid varieties that won’t manage beautiful autumn displays, unfortunately, but even their minor summer greenery will contrast nicely with uniform earth-toned flora that replaces bluegrass, flowers and most bushes. Few people will be able to afford lawn maintenance services in twenty years, anyway, but that’s a lot of employment going bye-bye, too. Richard Olson

          • Posted April 19, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

            Solar, wave and wind may power private sector housing, and it would be fabulous if it could operate both refrigerator’s and sufficient air conditioning. If society summons the political will to overcome the existing energy monster and make solar happen. But manufacturing sector energy requirements? And what will be manufactured? Cars? If so, they better be powered by a renewable non-pollutant source, or they’ll just keep fucking us up.

            For what it’s worth, I live in a rather modest suburban home. The southern half of my roof is mostly (but not entirely) covered in solar panels, and I generate half again as much electricity as I use — enough to power the electric vehicle that I hope to have in less than a year. This is in the Valley of the Sun; I assure you, I most emphatically do have air conditioning, and it’ll be running day and night in a month or two. I’ve easily got enough roof space to triple, if not quadruple, the size of my array, and there’s nowhere in the States that’s worse than half as good for solar as here.

            And I’m probably only a couple months away from starting work on the vegetable garden I’ll be putting in in the front. The goal is to be loosely self-sufficient for produce, though I’m not going to be anal about it. The other part of the goal is to put in a bunch of work up front with the hardscape and drip irrigation and the like, such that, afterwards, I don’t have to do much more than plant seeds, do a bit of weeding if the weeds start to look ugly, pick the produce when it’s ready to eat, roto-till what’s left back under the soil, and start again; should be less work, actually, than keeping a lawn. If I wanted to devote my life to it, I’ve probably got enough land to be completely self-sufficient for food — and, again, this is just a regular suburban plot in a decidedly middle-class neighborhood.

            So if we don’t kill the oceans first and all the rest, it’s entirely possible to live most comfortably in a solar-powered world. Much more than comfortably, in fact; the sunlight that currently falls on existing rooftops represents far more energy than we as a species actually use. If we harvested all of that, we’d literally not know what to do with that much energy. We’d have enough to do everything we do today and to extract carbon from the atmosphere and oceans and pump it back into the ground and desalinate ocean water and use it to recharge depleted aquifers and lots more. Again: just by harvesting the solar energy that currently falls on rooftops.

            …the problem is how to get from here to there….


  3. sensorrhea
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I love it. But it should be “fuck it” instead of “fuck you”.

  4. H.H.
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    “We needed to take a leap of faith… an intuitive step outside of the limitations of a science-based argument.”

    🙂 Yes, science is limited in that it stifles certain kinds of creativity, like lying.

  5. cooeerup
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    The legitimate twitter campaign coal companies ran, #australiansforcoal, was overun by anti coal tweets, which served as the inspiration for this clip. I was proud of my fellow Aussies that day. Not impressed with who the majority voted for last election though 😦

  6. Diana MacPherson
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    OMG I love it!

  7. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Very funny. All the funnier for being very close to the Doublethink that many corporations and individuals indulge themselves with.

  8. Kevin Alexander
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    I had to check the credits to see if our Prime Minister was moonlighting as a scriptwriter.
    His excuse for cancelling environmental initiatives he inherited from his predecessor was ‘Well, the Chinese are poisoning their children for profit, why shouldn’t we do the same for ours?’*
    *It’s a paraphrase but it’s pretty close to what he actually said.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted April 18, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      My PM ended all the scientific studies about the environment then the research just, you know, “disappeared” when some of it was digitally archived.

  9. Marlon
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    “It’s my fiduciary responsibility to increase shareholder value is our I was just following orders.”

    from nplusonemag.com/revolt-of-the-elites

  10. BillyJoe
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Were the subtitles really necessary?

  11. Adam M.
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Grah, the woman doesn’t blink! Blink, I say!

  12. Andrikzen
    Posted April 20, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Corporations are brilliant in that they can reduce their operating costs by spreading their liability (lie-ability) over the entire population.

    They demonize the government and regulation, but who gets stuck paying the bill? We do – right in the end!

    2nd law of capitalism: who’s going to pay!

  13. Richard Meyers
    Posted April 26, 2014 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    I laughed myself silly, but in this laughter is the realization that many corporations have this same philosophy. Pity the poor consumer.
    Well done!!

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