Why Our Government Rejects Climate Change

By David L. Brown

Yesterday in a posting titled “The Great Climate Cover-Up” I wrote about a joint report issued by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Government Accountability Project. The study revealed widespread and apparently deliberate interference by government authorities in the public reporting of findings related to climate change. The result is to create misunderstanding and confusion about the subject.

Now why would our government, which spends $3 billion a year on climate research, want to suppress and distort the findings? Let’s see if we can find a clue. Well, a good place to start might be to look at the large corporations that drive the world economy and (perhaps) have considerable influence in the affairs of government. According to The Economist, here is a list of the ten largest companies in the world, ranked by their 2005 gross income in billions (with a “b”) of U.S. dollars:

    1. ExxonMobil … $339.9
    2. WalMart Stores … $315.7
    3. Royal Dutch Shell … $306.7
    4. BP (British Petroleum) … $267.6
    5. General Motors … $192.6
    6. Chevron … $189.5
    7. Daimler/Chrysler … $186.1
    8. Toyota Motor … $185.8
    9. Ford Motor … $177.2
    10. Conoco/Phillips … $166.7

    Hmm, do we see a pattern here? Well, yes, and it jumps out on us like a pack of hungry wolves. Every single one of these top ten corporations is heavily involved in the business of oil. Nine of the ten are either oil producers or makers of automobiles which burn petroleum products. WalMart may seem to be an anomaly, but if you drive past a WalMart or Sams Club store you will note the prominent gas pumps, and when driving on the Interstate highways of America you will probably be passed by several of the company’s tractor-trailer units every hour, bearing the motto “We Sell For Less…Always!” In other words, like the others WalMart’s business model is deeply dependent upon the exploitation of oil and ruthless domination of its markets.

    What does this mean in a world that many believe is soon going to reach peak oil production? In a world where most of the remaining easily extracted petroleum is located in places that are politically unstable and rife with terrorism aimed at bringing down the West? In a world where money talks and BS walks? Yes, that world. Our world.

    Let’s make a rash leap of faith here and assume that those big companies have undue influence in the corridors of power in Washington. That they can make or break Senators, Representatives, and even Presidents. That they can place sympathetic agents in key positions on the Cabinet and in administrative roles. In other words, that they have a lot to say about the direction taken by the Ship of State and may in fact have their invisible hands directly on the wheel.

    Well, for one thing that sure would help to explain why agents of our own government would want to suppress information that might point to the conclusion that we should reduce our dependence on oil. You see, such information might not be good for ExxonMobil and all those other companies that are sitting on top of the economic house of cards that oil has built.

    Nevermind that to continue to rely on petroleum as if it were available in infinite supply could likely lead to an economic collapse that would make the Great Depression look like a Baptist church picnic (looming disaster). Nevermind that a concerted effort to develop alternative energy technologies could create vast new fields of enterprise for those same companies (opportunities lost). Nevermind that scientists are almost completely unanimous in their warnings of the dangers that lie ahead (voices unheard). And nevermind that future historians will almost certainly identify the present era with some catchy phrase such as “The Age of Stupidity.”

    Nevermind all that, because, By Allah! ExxonMobil and all their ilk are single-mindedly determined to squeeze every last drop of oil out of the Middle Eastern sands and every last dollar from the pockets of consumers, and may the Devil take the hindmost. It has worked for them ever since the Founder John Davison Rockefeller, Sr. began his robber baron career by using ruthless methods to force competitors out of business, and they’re apparently not about to stop now.

    So there you have at least one possible explanation of why the UCS-GAP study revealed the administrative monkey business through which climate change facts are being kept from the public. Some might label me as a “conspiracy theorist,” but the fact is that conspiracies do occur. This particular conspiracy is rapidly emerging from its dark place of hiding because the facts of climate change are catching up with the desire of those in power to maintain the status quo. As the planet melts around them, they are discovering that their arguments against human-caused global warming are on thin ice indeed.

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