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Big Oil is Earth’s Public Enemy No.1

Paul Farrell: Big Oil is Earth’s Public Enemy No. 1

The world has “1.4 trillion barrels of oil, enough to last at least 200 years,” brags Thomas Donohue, U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO: “We have 2.7 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough to last 120 years. We have 486 billion tons of coal, enough to last more than 450 years, and we need to use more of this strategic resource cleanly and wisely here at home while selling it around the world.”

Yes, 200 years of oil. Too bad it’ll kill us in 50 years. How? Easy, “we have five times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn,” says environmentalist Bill McKibben in Rolling Stone.

The author of the 1989 classic “End of Nature” warns: “We’d have to keep 80% of those reserves locked away underground to avoid that fate. Before we knew those numbers, our fate had been likely. Now, barring some massive intervention, it seems certain.”

Who’s right? Is McKibben an overreacting alarmist? Is Donohue too biased to trust? After all, the petroleum industry is the U.S. Chamber’s biggest source of money. Both are right. Yes, we have too much energy. Five times too much.

As a result, using more than one-fifth of it will dump so much excess carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that by 2050 fossil fuel companies will kill the planet. And that’s exactly what they plan to do.

The world’s behavior is now like a drug addict’s: The more we have, the more we demand, the more we love using it. Till we crash. McKibben has called this collective behavior a “suicide pact.”