There is a scene from Francis Ford Coppola’s bleak masterpiece Apocalypse NowThat was what I thought of in the aftermath. Glasgow climate conference and Wednesday’s big oil lease shindigFor drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico
Captain Willard is played by Martin Sheen who is an impossibly young actor. He drags a boat crew deep in the Vietnam jungle to search for his target, Col. Walter Kurtz. The boat arrives at Do Lung Bridge, where there is a battle going on. The night is rife with explosions, rifle fire, and the screams and cries of the dead. Willard attempts to locate the commanding officers, but he is only able to find a handful U.S. soldiers hidden behind an earthen wall. “Hey soldier,” he asks one hollow-eyed troop, “do you know who’s in command here?” The soldier stares at him a moment and replies, “Yeah,” before turning back to the darkness.
The implication is clear: You’re not in charge, captain. I am not, nor are any of these other people. Those voices that are heard beyond the perimeter, those who move in great force but are not visible? They’re the ones running this nightmare.
In Glasgow, representatives from 200 countries came together to give speeches and praise each other for taking action, but in the end, they could not bring themselves to say, “Coal is bad.” Clearly, someone else was in charge.
“Case in point,” reports The Los Angeles Times. “The Glasgow pact for the first time in more than 25 years of negotiations makes explicit reference to the fossil fuels that are causing climate change. But it calls only for a ‘phasedown of unabated coal’ — language that was supposed to read ‘phase-out’ until it was weakened at the last minute by India. It calls for a ‘phase-out’ of ‘inefficient’ fossil-fuel subsidies, but includes no commitment to ending oil and gas production.”
Tens of thousands of protesters, many young, demonstrated in the streets. roared their displeasureAt the lack of progress made in Glasgow. “Now is the time,” said Dominique Palmer, a 22-year-old activist. “Yesterday was the time. We need action right now.” Eric Njuguna, a 19-year-old activist from Kenya, echoed Palmer’s sentiments. “Cognitive dissonance,” he said. “We were expecting serious commitments at COP26 on climate finance and climate mitigation. The commitments aren’t strong enough.”
Mr. Njuguna if you are looking for cognitive dissonance, you should look no further than sun-bleached and oil-poisoned waters of the Gulf of Mexico. His administration was able to sell a huge lease for oil drilling rights in the Gulf, but President Biden and his Glasgow comrades were not able to adjust to the changes in time zones.
Biden worked hard to save the environment. His administration claims it tried to stop the sale but it was too late: Lease Sale 257 generated $191688,984 in high bidding for 308 tracts that cover 1.7 million acres in federal waterways of the Gulf of Mexico. According to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, (BOEM), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. “ExxonMobil Corporation submitted the highest number of total bids at 94 and Chevron U.S.A. Inc submitted the largest value of total high bids at $47,128,011, lease sale 257’s final notice of sale information package shows,” reports Rigzone. “Other companies participating in the sale included Shell Offshore Inc, BP Exploration & Production Inc and Equinor Gulf of Mexico LLC.”
Yep, there’s BP back in its old stomping grounds, where you can still see how the 130 million barrels of crude oil it dumped into the waters 11 years ago continue to do deep damagefor wildlife and the environment. Now, BP and its friends are building a whole new slew rigs on top of the boneyard that they created a decade earlier.
… and even that really isn’t even the worst part. It will take many years to get this new oil-pumping infrastructure up and running. This means that these things will only be getting started with extraction when we reach 2030. This date is considered by many climate scientists to be a point of no return on carbon emissions and global warming. In other words, the U.S. government paid top dollar for the privilege to build profitable suicide machines in the dying Gulf waters.
The infrastructure bill is loaded with billions in fossil fuel subsidies while it has been stripped of any meaningful climate policy. The Build Back Better Act is a lifeboat for those climate policies that have been stripped out. Its fate is largely controlled from West Virginia by a coal baron. The Glasgow climate conference may have caused damage to the environment due to all the jet fuel that was used to get there. But it did little else. Leases for more oil drilling are now available to anyone who can write the government enough money.
Do you know who’s in command here?