Home » Economics » Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh CLXXVI–Confessions Of A Fossil Fuel Shill

Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

Post Archives by Category

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh CLXXVI–Confessions Of A Fossil Fuel Shill

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh CLXXVI

Tulum, Mexico (1986). Photo by author.

Confessions Of A Fossil Fuel Shill

For anyone who has been following my writing over the past couple of years, you will know that I have been critical of non-renewable, renewable energy-harvesting technologies (aka ‘renewables’) and the ‘marketing’ that surrounds them[1]. My critiques are usually focused upon the resource limits and ecological systems-destruction blindness that appear prevalent in many (most? all?) of the mainstream narratives, and the subsequent cheerleading surrounding such products and their ability to transition us smoothly away from hydrocarbon-based fuels/products[2].

On top of this is the argument that as with much (most? all?) in our modern world, the pursuit of controlling/expanding revenue streams to sustain the power/wealth accumulation (and thus privilege/influence) of an ‘elite’ few of our species plays a key role in the narrative management surrounding these industrial products and their uptake; particularly the ‘Electrify Everything’ and ‘Net Zero’ stories[3]. It’s no secret that this is increasingly being accomplished through legislation under the guise of carbon emissions reduction to address concerns with climate change.

As a consequence of my highlighting the biogeochemical restrictions, negative ecological consequences, and the motivation behind the marketing and uptake of these industrial products, I have been the recipient of accusations regarding my motivation for pointing these aspects out. These have ranged from being labelled, in no particular order: a fossil fuel shill, conspiracy theorist, Big Oil accomplice, technophobia cult member, right wing (Republican) supporter, climate change denier, Malthusian doomer, left wing (Democrat) extremist, etc.[4].

And it’s not that I support the ongoing growth in complexities that hydrocarbons has brought. In fact, I have extensively highlighted that this resource has been one of the most significant catalysts to our ecological overshoot predicament and modern societal complexities[5]. Again and again I have pointed out that the rise in complexity of societies through time contributes to the recurring ‘collapse’ processes that pre/history has shown occur, and that hydrocarbons have contributed to this time the phenomena being important on a global scale.

I’ve also pointed out that I don’t criticise these non-renewable, renewable energy-products because I ‘hate’ them, and that I am not unfamiliar with them having constructed my own solar photovoltaic back-up system for my home[6]. I’ve simply come to the realisation and accepted that there are limits to their usefulness in supporting the extremely complex systems of our modern world, and that the industrial processes required to manufacture and dispose of/recycle them are costly in terms of ecological destruction and resource drawdown.

It seems to me that the failure to accept the limitations (and thus consequences) that these industrial technologies bring with them are for the most part ignored/denied or justified/rationalised away[7]. There is little if any recognition that not only is their pursuit adding to the destruction of our very important ecological systems, but that they are contributing to our resource drawdown rather than offsetting it, and making our ecological overshoot predicament worse.

Humanity is not ‘transitioning’ away from its unsustainable path but exacerbating it by both increasing the overshoot and decreasing the natural carrying capacity for our species through the pursuit of these complex, industrial products. And rather than acknowledge our mistaken choices, we are creating stories to double-down on them and attacking the messengers who point out our errant ways.

The vast majority of people are accepting of the dominant narratives because it helps to avoid the anxiety and stress of cognitive dissonance that arises otherwise[8]. What do you mean we can’t have our cake and eat it too? Hang on a minute, that’s not what we were promised…

In our mistaken beliefs that we stand above and beyond Nature, and that our tool (i.e., technology) innovativeness and use can address any issue/dilemma that arises, we continue our journey towards the inevitable consequences that any species experiencing significant overshoot must endure. In our uniquely human way, however, we are sharing stories to avoid this reality — because we can, and by doing so makes us feel better (or, at least, not as bad). We are avoiding pain to pursue pleasure. The most head-scratching to me are the ones that insist physical limits do not exist, and that infinite growth is indeed possible on a finite planet (with zero repercussions, of course).

In the end, we humans tend to believe what we want to believe regardless of evidence that challenges these beliefs. Rather than confront our misguided beliefs, we tend to justify/rationalise them. Our reactions to evidence that contradicts our views tend to be emotional in nature, lashing out at the naysayers and clinging more firmly to our beliefs because having our beliefs challenged is threatening to our personal identity and the social circle/echo chamber we live within[9].

And because we abhor uncertainty, we cling to the certainty espoused by our ‘leaders/authority figures’ even if it is wrong and leading to greater harm. It’s simply our way of avoiding anxiety-provoking thoughts and evidence for as long as we are able — forever if we can.

So, sure, call me a fossil fuel shill or engage in some other ad hominem attack if it makes you feel better when you don’t like what I’m saying about why non-renewable, renewable energy-products are no ‘solution’ to overshoot and that your promotion of them is actually making our predicament worse.

But make no mistake, the future ain’t what it used to be when we imagined it based upon a notion of limitless energy and other resources — not even close. We are, at our peril, ignoring the signals being sent by our planet and its other species in our ongoing narcissistic beliefs that Homo sapiens are in some way ‘special’ and above and beyond the reproach of Nature, the biogeophysical limits of existence upon a finite planet, and laws of the universe.

Payback for our behaviours is sure to be cruel and unforgiving. But then again, I’m just a Malthusian doomer and right-wing conspiracy theorist…or is that left-wing?

[1] See:
A ‘Solution’ to Our Predicaments: More Mass-Produced, Industrial Technologies. Blog Medium
-To EV Or Not To EV? One Of Many Questions Regarding Our ‘Clean/Green’ Utopian Future, Part 1
. Blog Medium
Electrify Everything: Neither ‘Green’ Nor ‘Sustainable’. Blog Medium Substack
Electrify Everything: The Wrong ‘Solution’. Blog Medium Substack

[2] See:
The Pursuit of ‘Renewables’: Putting Us Further Into Ecological Overshoot. Medium
Roadblocks to Our ‘Renewable’ Energy Transition: Debt, Resource Constraints, and Diminishing Returns. Medium
Ignoring Ecological Systems Destruction. Medium
‘Renewables’: Virtuous Circles, Resource Limits, and Ecological Systems. Medium

[3] See:
Finite Energy, ‘Renewables’, and the Ruling Elite. Blog Medium Substack
‘Renewables’, Electrify Everything and Marketing Propaganda. Blog Medium Substack
‘Net Zero’ Policies: Propaganda To Support Continued Economic Growth. Blog Medium Substack
The Ruling Class: Chasing Growth Regardless Of the Consequences. Blog Medium

[4] See:
Thou Shall Not Disturb the ‘Renewables’ Force. Medium
Criticising ‘Renewables’ is Not a Sin. Blog Medium Substack
Sometimes People Don’t Want to Hear the Truth. Blog Medium Substack
Differing Opinions On ‘Renewables’. Medium

[5] See:
Finite Energy, Overconsumption, and Magical Thinking Through Denial. Medium Substack
Fossil Fuels: Contributing to Complexity and Overshoot. Blog Medium Substack
Ecological Overshoot, Hydrocarbon Energy, and Biophysical Reality. Blog Medium Substack
Surplus Energy From Hydrocarbons: Another Predicament Catalyst. Medium

[6] See:
Personal Experience With ‘Renewables’. Medium

[7] See:
Infinite Growth, Finite Planet; What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Blog Medium Substack
Growth Greenwashing: A Comforting Narrative. Blog Medium Substack
‘Renewables’ and the Overton Window That Ignores Biophysical Realities. Blog Medium Substack
Climate Emergency Action Plan: Electrification and Magical Thinking. Blog Medium Substack

[8] See:
Grieving: There Are No ‘Solutions’ to Overshoot. Blog Medium Substack
‘Clean’ Energy and the Stages of Grieving. Blog Medium Substack
Magical Thinking to Help Avoid Anxiety-Provoking Thoughts. Blog Medium
Magical Thinking About the Energy Transition. Medium

[9] See this, this, this, and/or this.

Olduvai IV: Courage
Click on image to read excerpts

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Click on image to purchase @ FriesenPress