What’s Your Strategy for These Words of Climate Delay?

  • “Renewable natural” gas — Your gas company
  • “Lower-emission solutions” — ExxonMobil
  • “Developing our global strategy for creating sustainable energy…” — ExxonMobil
  • “Advancing a lower carbon future” — Chevron
  • “Accelerating the transition to lower to net zero emissions” -Shell
  • “Know your carbon footprint” — BP
  1. Redirection of responsibility
    I’ve said that we need massive collective and systemic action on climate. Yet by promoting individualism (i.e. Know your carbon footprint — BP above), fossil fuel companies are deflecting blame, placing responsibility on individuals and making you think that actions like composting will keep our polar icecaps from melting. Individual action is required, sets an example, and creates an identity for further action. But the main individual action is showing up civically to call on our governments and leaders to take action.
  2. Pushing non-transformative solutions
    I call this the Silver Bullet syndrome. When they promote ineffective or wildly distant solutions, they draw attention away from the actions and solutions we need to take now. I recently sat through an hour long webinar by a member of the American Petroleum Institute. The speaker concluded that the best solution was to put 14,000 nuclear reactors on barges in the ocean to capture carbon and sequester it in the form of an insoluble carbonate. I suppose we could also move the earth further from the sun. Has anyone thought of that?
  3. Emphasizing the downsides
    We are a risk averse species. We’d rather pay two dollars to avoid a one dollar loss, than invest a dollar to make two. So many of the arguments against climate action come framed in fear as “it costs too much.” We look at cost rather than investment because we discount the risk and emphasize the cost. Remember when they said wind turbines were too expensive. They are now the lowest cost form of energy.
  4. Surrendering or adapting
    Helplessness or doomism is also a key tool used by the fossil fuel industry and their PR gigolos. Climate doomism is a new form of climate denial. A corollary is that fossil fuel companies convince us that only they have the solution. Neither approach makes sense.
  1. Stop using fear and facts as a motivator to convince people
  2. Pivot to our own strategies and narratives
  3. Tell more stories based on our values.
  1. As Americans, no matter where we live, how we make a living, or the color of our skin, we all want clean air to breathe and a safe future for our kids. (Our values)
  2. But for too long, a few fossil fuel company execs, like crack cocaine dealers, have subtly drugged us into believing that climate change is our fault, or that they have some magic solution, or that it cost too much and there is nothing we can do. They create delay just so they can continue polluting our air, killing our children’s future and so they can maintain their obscene profits.* (Villains and Why)
  3. Imagine if we stopped believing them, and stopped burning their crap by switching to clean renewable energy as fast as possible. (Our solutions.)
  4. Join us now… insert call to action, and repeat our values.

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Hobart Stocking

Hobart Stocking

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Environmentalist. Writer. Earthwalker. SkyWaterEarth.com. Changing perceptions and climate communications. Promoting solutions. Savor the Earth!