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Shortsighted as a strategy is … well, shortsighted. Too bad that’s not the worst that can be said about it. Good to know that in my unexpectedly long absence away from posting that not much has changed, price drops and production numbers notwithstanding….

Fossil fuel and utility interests, concerned about the rise of cheap clean energy, are financing attacks on pro-clean energy policies, in an effort to delay the growth of a market competitor….
[S]pecial interests tied to the fossil fuel and utility industries are spreading disinformation about the cost of clean energy. The Koch Brothers and their allies want to continue selling as much coal, oil, and gas as possible — and in their effort to rollback clean energy policies, are spreading falsehoods about the energy market.

Shocking? Not so much.

That quote comes from a terrific report released last May by the Energy & Policy Institute entitled “Attacks on Renewable Energy Standards and Net Metering Policies By Fossil Fuel Interests & Front Groups 2013-2014.” It identifies those groups responsible for an ongoing disinformation campaign as part of their efforts dismantle existing or scuttle proposed clean energy legislation. Imagine that!

Shocking now? Not exactly. It’s all part of the same disingenuous, fact-free Happy Talk strategy employed [to our collective long-term detriment] “successfully” by those who understand the great benefit accruing to the few at the expense of the many by carefully-selecting appealing information shaped by a narrative where truths and full-disclosure are inconvenient intrusions. But postponing reality works only for so long, and ignoring facts which cast doubt on Happy Talk is not a consequence-free strategy.

The shale oil production boom has been a genuinely fantastic turn of events, but facts and evidence suggest limitations to the benefits—at least for those of us concerned about a future not measured exclusively in the short-term and the narrowly focused one.

The issues themselves don’t matter much. The tactics are the same ones applied regardless. Who cares about facts, the well-being of the public, or the future if profits are to be made today—especially if they benefit the few at the expense of the many? Fifth homes do not pay for themselves, you know….

After a while, one becomes almost numb to the ignorance and arrogance of those few who have decided that their interests today are the only ones to be acknowledged and catered to. Being insulated from the economic and personal harm endured by millions upon millions of fellow citizens is easy enough to do when (a) you are wealthy enough to support yourself and your family for any number of lifetimes, (b) don’t particularly care about anyone else, and (c) also don’t care how you get yours or who suffers in the process … as long as you get yours.

The key is not to become too numb to that obscene process, and realize we all still have a say in how our democracy works. Seems a bit daunting in the face of so many powerful and monied interests, but doable.

The reason to stay in the game is a simple one: while those integrity-free, self-serving few don’t give a rat’s ass about your future and your children’s well-being, you do. What these free-market, profits-at-all-and-any cost advocates care about is the bottom line, today. Bully for them.

But for the vast majority of us, reality is still the only set of conditions and facts we must actually deal with. Every effort to stifle the pursuit of paths away from dependence on finite, costlier-by-the-day-and-more-challenging-to acquire resources is one more day all of us are denied the opportunities and benefits clean/renewable energy projects will provide. Not a guarantee to be sure, and certainly not an assurance of trouble-free transitions away from fossil fuels, but reality nonetheless.

That matters because finite resources behave just as if they were finite. Shocking, yes, but true nonetheless!

So at some point, when the costs are simply too prohibitive; when the investments needed to keep on producing what’s left are deemed too risky; when we’re all clearly feeling the effects of not having what we need when we need it, how we need, and at a price we’re willing to accept, we won’t have any reasonable options to only then begin taking the necessary steps to transition away our lifestyles and economy from dependence on finite resources. That happens if we decide not to speak out, not to learn, not to recognize the self-serving and destructive consequences of those efforts by the few.

We have choices. They may not all be ideal, but sure as hell it’s better to speak out about these shadowy efforts now when we can have an impact and can start preparing ourselves and our children for a peaceful and prosperous future than to stay silent and ignorant of what’s being done at our expense.

Better a day early with those choices than a day late.

~ My Photo: sunrise – July 20, 2012

 

* I invite you to enjoy my two new books [here and here], and to view my other work at richardturcotte.com
 

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Peak Oil Matters is dedicated to informing others about the significance and impact of Peak Oil—while adding observations about politics, ideology, transportation, and smart growth.