Delusional political leaders and myopic energy consultants are lulling Americas into sleepwalking to the end of the Earth.
A full cost-accounting of the fossil fuel addiction of modern industrial civilization has never been undertaken. This is, in part, because it is difficult to decide upon what must be included for an honest “cost-benefit” analysis. In nearly all cases, those who reap the benefits are not those who bear the costs, and for this reason it is difficult to “bound” the meaningful community of activity in such a way that costs and benefits can be assessed accurately.
Consider, for example, the number of people that have been affected by America’s resource wars around the world to control the flow of petroleum. A recent report estimated this. See: “At Least 37 Million People Have Been Displaced by America’s War on Terror – The New York Times.” While these resource wars may easily be seen to have benefited the fossil fuel corporations and some of the consumers in America, the massive costs of these wars are largely borne by the tens of thousands who were killed and the the estimated 37 million people displaced. Part of any honest cost-benefit analysis would have to reflect this horrific and enduring imbalance.
For for further discussions of the Cheney-Bush administration’s role in these matters see the links listed in “At Least 37 Million People Have Been Displaced by America’s War ….”
For further discussions of how corporations have attacked science and manipulated the public to promote their private gain at the expense of public health and welfare see: “The Corporate Perversion of Science,”
Beyond the question of warfare and the liability for the full cost of the damages an honest cost-benefit analysis would have to includes in both material and human lives, there is the additional question of inter-generational equity and ethics. Any honest cost-benefit analysis would need to include the question of inter-generational equity as well. See: “The Moral Betrayal of Our Children: Reckoning the Coming Cost of Climate Change Denial.”
Finally, there is the larger question of how to quantify the transformation of Earth’s entire ecosystem for the profit of a handful of private corporations. While the benefits of fossil fuel usage are apparent, no serious attempt has been made to quantify the costs of converting terrestrial carbon to atmospheric carbon in terms of the over all alteration it is in the process of engendering in Earth’s ecosystem.
See, for example, “Needed: An Honest Cost-Benefit Analysis of Fossil Fuels to Avoid Extinction” and “Climate Damage Assessment: Assessing the Full Cost of 40 Years of Profits, Lies, and Deception from the Fossil-Fuel Industries.”
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This program — “Delusional Politicians, Short-Sighted Energy “Experts” & ‘Sleepwalking Toward the End of the Earth’” — was recorded on 30 October for broadcast on 1 November 2020 at 4:30pm on Channel 9 of Cambridge Community Television. It is episode #365 of an ongoing series of educational videos from the Citizen-Science Online Learning Initiative (CSOLI). For Google doc version from Cambridge Community Television (CCTV).
These educational videos explore key thinkers and public figures who understand the transitions we must make in our institutions and behavior in order to survive the coming decades. See: “Learning in the Global Lockdown: Self-Guided Learning & Teaching Through ‘Transition-Studies.Net’”
For other programs in the “Conversations…” series see