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2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #6

Posted on 11 February 2023 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news and opinion articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Feb 5, 2023 thru Sat, Feb 11, 2023.

Story of the Week

Imagining a World Without Fossil Fuels

Mark Stoll’s new book “Profit” describes how capitalism and its spawn, consumerism, fuel climate change and environmental degradation. “The environment,” he writes, “can no longer bear the cost.”

The commercial, from 2021, starts with a typical prelude to a 21st-century first date. There’s a young woman, with pink-streaked hair and a teal smartphone, swiping on dating profiles as upbeat music plays in the background. She fixes her hair, puts contacts in her eyes and applies lipstick in the backseat of a car on her way to the restaurant to meet her date. The date, a guy in glasses, appears in front of his bathroom mirror, smearing gel in his hair. The camera zooms in on his white sneakers as he approaches the girl, and they stop on the sidewalk, staring at each other and smiling.

“That connection was brought to you by petroleum products,” the commercial’s narrator informs us. “But what if we lived in a world without oil and natural gas?” The video rewinds, reversing to the first scene of the girl in her apartment. Her phone distingrates in her outstretched hand, melting away into nothing. “Life would be very different, because oil and gas are part of just about everything you touch,” the narrator says. 

The guy’s hair gel vanishes. So do her contacts and his clean white sneakers. When the car’s tires disappear, she smudges her lipstick across her face as the backseat lurches suddenly to the ground. They sit down at the restaurant and her hair dye and make-up evaporate, along with his glasses, a beer glass, the TV on the wall and a football jersey.

“Our world would be unrecognizable if the products we rely on just disappeared,” the narrator concludes, snapping his fingers. “Better luck next time,” he says to the guy, who looks unhappy. In this petrochemical-free universe, the date doesn’t work out. The screen fills with the blue logo of Energy Transfer, a Texas-based company that builds natural gas and propane pipelines.

I thought about this commercial—which I’ve seen multiple times on TV in the last few weeks—as I read Mark Stoll’s new book about the environmental history of capitalism, Profit. Stoll’s book offers the opportunity to better understand how the world depicted in the commercial came to be.  

Click here to access the entire article as originally posted on the Inside Climate News website.

Imagining a World Without Fossil Fuels by Kiley Bense, Warming Trends, Inside Climate News, Feb 11, 2023

Links posted on Facebook

Sun, Feb 5, 2023

Mon, Feb 6, 2023

Tue, Feb 7, 2023

Wed, Feb 8, 2023

Thu, Feb 9, 2023

Fri, Feb 10, 2023

Sat, Feb 11, 2023

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Comments 1 to 2:

  1. "Our world would be unrecognizable if the products we rely on just disappeared"  According to Energy Transfer, sunlight cannot cause skin cancer because it makes plants grow.  Put another way, if "Petroleum used in plastics" is "apples", and "Petroleum used for energy" is "moldy cheese", then I refuse to stop eating moldy cheese, because apples are good for me.

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  2. ubrew12,

    Well presented point about the fundamental, and glaringly obvious,  harmfully misleading nature of the proponents of fossil fuel use.

    I would go one step further, to be more general. Harmfully misleading promotion of fossil fuels is part of the larger developed collective of harmful misleaders regarding so much more.

    There are other harmful impacts of many of the things 'harmful misleaders' want people to 'fear not being able to continue to believe, desire and enjoy'. In almost every case there is a less harmful, but more expensive, alternative that does not require 'petroleum'. In every case it is possible to enjoy life with less of the 'promoted consumption'. And in many cases it is possible to enjoy life without the 'developed desires'.

    The reality is that almost everything 'unnecessary but desired' today could be obtained less harmfully at a: higher cost, lower level of convenience, or reduced perception of superiority. That reality contradicts the developed interests of a person who has allowed themselves to be fooled and indoctrinated into 'desiring' understandably harmful beliefs and related actions.

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