After 150 years we are so dependent on Fossil Fuels
Climate Change, Trump and the Virus have shown how fragile our Globe really is…
Just consider what we are facing as a result of the discovery of oil and other fossil fuels. Throughout history, energy has been a key enabler of living standards. In the agrarian era, people burned wood for warmth and cooking – wood remained the chief global fuel for centuries.
Then came the steam engine, at the beginning of the 18th century where coal became the preferred fuel because it produced 4 times more energy than wood and was cheaper. Machines powered by coal enabled breakthroughs in productivity while reducing physical toil. With the dawn of the 20th century, environmental concerns and new technologies led another energy source shift from coal to oil.
The first oil was discovered by the Chinese in 600 B.C. and transported in bamboo pipelines. However, Colonel Drake’s discovery of oil in Pennsylvania in 1859 and the Spindletop discovery in Texas in 1901 set the stage for the new oil economy.
With the technological breakthroughs of the 20th century, oil emerged as the preferred energy source. The key drivers of that transformation were the electric light bulb and the automobile.
Automobile ownership and demand for electricity grew exponentially and, with them, the demand for oil. Oil-powered ships, trucks and tanks, and military airplanes in World War I proved the role of oil as not only a strategic energy source, but also a critical military asset.
John D. Rockefeller became the industry’s first “baron” in 1865, when he formed Standard Oil Company and by 1879, he controlled 90% of America’s refining capacity. While Rockefeller was building his U.S. empire, the Nobel and Rothschild families were competing for control of production and refining of Russia’s oil riches.
In search of a global transportation network the Rothschilds commissioned the first oil tankers from a British trader, Marcus Samuel. The first of these tankers was named the Murex, after a type of seashell, and became the flagship of Shell Transport and Trading, which Samuel formed in 1897.
In 1907 oil was discovered in Iran by an Englishman and a Middle Eastern shah that led to the incorporation of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. The British government purchased 51% of the company in 1914 to secure sufficient oil for the military and the company became British Petroleum in 1954 and is now BP.
More oil was discovered in the MiddleEast and the world ended up with a cartel of seven companies was formed that controlled the world’s oil and gas business for much of the twentieth century. Known as the Seven Sisters, they included: Exxon (originally Standard Oil), Royal Dutch/Shell, BP, Mobil, Texaco, Gulf, and Chevron.
The last 50 years have been trumpeted as thr biggest improvement in human well-being… but that is far from reality…
Fossil Fuels can easily destroy life as we know it in 30 years
- We have a globe that is pumping too much carbon dioxide and other dirty gases into the Earth’s atmosphere causing Climate Change.
- We have filthy cities with air pollution that causes millions of deaths from lung diseases.
- We have cars lorries, and motorbikes that kill and main millions each year.
- We have airplanes and boats that transport people and viruses from one part of the globe to other parts in just hours and days. More will be coming…
- We have seas and lakes polluted by human sewage, farm and industrial pollution, and plastics.
- We have new droughts and floods forcing millions of people to move, starve and die.
- We have wars over natural resources that cause millions to move and die in terrible conditions.
- We have huge companies, banks, and other financial institutions that make huge profits by financing and investing in fossil fuels and factories that depend on energy created by fossil fuels.
- We have national economies that are made fragile because they depend on importing and exporting materials, equipment, services and labour from the far side of the globe. These last few months has shown us that our societies are is not as robust as we have been led to believe – the basics like security, food and good health are at risk in ways we could not have imagined just three months ago.
At the centre of all the above we have many awful politicians in big countries who win elections because their election campaigns are financed by these huge companies, banks, and other financial institutions. The lobby of these huge companies, banks, and other financial institutions is overpowering in strength and efficiency. The lobby does little to reduce greenhouse gases without coercion from governments, nor do they stop the defiling of our globe. They lobby hard to ensure that governments will protect their financial interests.
The Seven Sisters, Google, Facebook, Twitter, BlackRock, the Big Banks and many others do not share our agenda. In fact they far from having aligned interest with us because they are clearly undermining our interests in many ways more than one.
One of the biggest myths we are now facing is that we are meant to believe that these huge companies, banks, and other financial institutions are too big to fail – the real truth is that they are too big to exist!
We need to break them up into smaller pieces because that is the only way to break up this vicious circle that defend the present system of no quid pro quo for us but plenty for them!
New pandemics are coming along with longer hotter summers and shorter colder winters – they are the new norm unless we seek out change.