Magazine article New Internationalist

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Magazine article New Internationalist

From Our Website

Article excerpt

Reaction to 'Ending the oil age', Big Oil RIP?, Nl 477

The carbon tax In British Columbia lowered their emissions by 16 per cent while the rest ofCanadalsupB percent. It works. How much has divestment lowered actual emissions to date? I think not at all. How much will It reduce emissions? Probably notât all. It doesn't make sense economically. Capital flows right In when shares are sold off by ethical Investors, and many fossil fuel extraction companies are privately capitalized. It has no real economic effect, whereas a carbon tax would cut directly Into the profit margin of all extraction operations, and reduce the total amount extracted greatly.

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If we want to get effective climate laws of any kind, then we need to reduce the power and Influence of fossil fuel companies. That's where the trends and strategies described In this article come Into play. It's true that divestment and antl-oll-sponsorshlp campaigns don't have an Immediate Impact on emissions, but they do erode the social licence of these companies and push them closer to pariah status. If this happens on a large enough scale, It will make It much easier for us to breakthe links between the fossil fuel Industry and government.

So If you want a carbon tax (or any other form of climate legislation), you should be cheering on the divestment campaigners because their work Is helping to bring effective climate laws closer to reality!

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It doesn't matter how eloquently we argue the risks of climate change and the other harms from the extraction and burning of oll (and gas and coal) as long as half of us are heating poorly Insulated houses with gas, driving long distances dally In gasoline-engine cars, and using embarrassing amounts of electricity produced mostly by burning coal. We can protest, we can dlslnvest, we can write letters, and little will change. To actually reduce emissions, we need to reduce these things drastically, not only by adding a lot of solar and wind (which will require diverting some ofthe last ofthe fossil fuels from other uses) but also by efficiency. …

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