Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hypocrisy Exposed

You have to admire the chutzpah.

The fossil fuel industry has a track record of funding professional science deniers to undermine public confidence in climate science and global warming. Climate change, we were led to believe, was "junk science" (along with other science that predicts effects harmful to an industry, like the ozone hole, and harmful consequences of tobacco and asbestos). Now that a predicted effect, the rapid decline of Arctic sea ice, is happening on schedule, if not a little faster, fossil fuel companies are rushing to exploit the new opening of lower-cost exploitation of Arctic reserves.

Clearly, if fossil fuel execs do not believe that the climate is changing to a warmer phase, they cannot plan on Arctic waters being increasingly accessible through summer. Such improved access is critical to economic viability. While a large part of the Arctic will still ice over in winter, easy access during summer radically reduces costs of supplying operations and shipping out gas and oil over water.

Part of the rush to exploit these reserves can be explained by growing demand and depletion of other reserves. Even so, fossil fuel companies have to have increased confidence that costs will be lower than previously to find the prospect of tapping into Arctic reserves appealing. If what climate deniers claim is true, the current low in Arctic sea ice is a temporary blip, and we have summers ahead when ice will return to former levels.

I can think of only two explanations for the industry's confidence in the profitability of exploiting the Arctic: there is some natural phenomenon someone has modelled accurately that predicts a continuing decline in Arctic sea ice, or the industry accepts the mainstream climate models that predict human-caused climate change will continue to radically reduce Arctic summer sea ice. If the former applies, no one has published such a model and, given the huge interest fossil fuel companies have in deflecting action on climate change, it would be bizarre if they had such a model and didn't publish.

There is only one conclusion that fits the evidence:
fossil fuel companies accept the mainstream science and are using it to predict the future viability of Arctic fossil fuel extraction

If you previously believed climate change was a hoax, this is a good time to stop conning yourself. The fossil fuel industry clearly does not believe their own propaganda, so why should you?

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