If you needed more proof of just how much we, our children, and our children’s children are going to get screwed by the Powers That Be as catastrophic climate change comes down the pike, look no further than this myopic message of unaldulterated praise for Big Energy from the hand of Fred Kempe. Kempe is president and CEO of the Atlantic Council, a think-tank paid for by people who build and use tanks with the mission of supporting NATO and American hegemony.
According to IEA projections, the U.S. will overtake Russia as the world’s top gas producer by 2015 and will pass Saudi Arabia as the No. 1 global oil producer by 2017. By 2035 the U.S. is likely to be energy self-sufficient and an exporter of oil and liquefied natural gas. Experts are only now beginning to absorb a gusher of geopolitical consequences.
Just when it seemed America’s global influence might be ebbing, the world’s leading military and economic power was adding unconventional energy weapons to its arsenal. The Obama administration – confronting fiscal cliffs, Middle Eastern conflagrations and China’s rise — is only now beginning to understand how to leverage this energy windfall as the president shifts his efforts from re-election to historic legacy.
Those who have despaired about American decline – either relative or absolute — in a world where less democratic and benevolent powers are rising, now hope for an American comeback. Those less inclined toward U.S. leadership worry that this fossil-fuel blessing might reverse the tide toward a more politically humble and environmentally conscious America.
Kempe wants to talk about the billions of dollars in investment and tax revenues this oil boom will give the US, and about the 3 million jobs it will create. He wants to talk about the US not having to be the gatekeeper in the Gulf any more, and about Arab or Chinese consternation when they realize that fact.
What he doesn’t want to talk about is the basic math of climate change. Hauling all that oil and gas out fo the ground may well be worth $27 trillion to Big Energy, but it means 2,795 gigatons of released carbon, more than enough to take the world past every tipping point and into “extinction event” territory. Kempe doesn’t want to talk about the billions who will die a century from now, the vast cost of international and national insecurity caused by the upheavals cliamte change will bring, or the millions of Americans who will over the next few decades lose their livelihood as the SouthWest dries up for a thousand years.
For the sake of a few decades of profit and power, those in charge of the nation are willing to sacrifice everything that comes afterwards.