Big Oil would like you to know: Bill McKibben is evil and your punk friends want you to break up with your coal-fired girlfriend.
With the fossil fuel divestment movement gaining momentum and Global Divestment Day(s) coming up this Friday and Saturday, dirty energy’s devoted spin doctors are throwing desperation punches. This misinformational video, from the conservative Environmental Policy Alliance, wants you to believe that breaking up with the fossil fuel industry this Valentine’s Day will leave you in a cold, dark cave with no clothes or gadgets.
The video does make a good point: Basically everything we do and have relies on fossil fuels. All the more reason to show we don’t support dirty energy companies — because, you know, climate change — by divesting!
The point of the divestment movement is obviously not to quit using fossil fuels cold turkey, as the video suggests. As Naomi Klein explained in a recent interview, it’s about making it clear that the oil and natural gas industry is “a rogue sector, that their business plan is at odds with life on earth.” In short, these companies plan to sell enough fuel to emit five times more carbon than the atmosphere can handle without warming more than 2 degrees C.
This bizarre short isn’t the only frantic move in the fossil fuel industry’s last-ditch offensive against divestment. Just this week, the American Energy Alliance released a report called, “Coal: Bedrock of modern life,” and another study, commissioned by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, suggests that U.S. universities could lose money by divesting, based on the really stupid assumption that the future of the stock market will look like the past 50 years.
Damian Carrington writes in his Guardian blog that the leaders of that research have their heads stuck in the tar sands:
The overwhelming majority of the economic evidence I have seen shows the exact opposite. Here are some studies, not funded by the oil industry, which indicate recent divestment would, if anything, have had a positive impact on returns and can reduce investment risk: MSCI, Advisor Partners, Impax, Aperio, S&P Capital IQ and BNEF. I have seen one report, from Mercer, that said “divestment is likely to have up-front and recurring costs.”
The fossil fuel industry is scared. As it should be.