As if it wasn’t clear enough already, even fossil fuel giant Exxon-Mobil has publicly accepted the harsh truth of the coming climate crisis. Even though they’ve spent the past thirty years trying to cover up the extent of which their polluting practices has warmed the globe, Exxon has finally come to accept the writing on the wall, admitting to the Washington Post that “with no government action…average temperatures are likely to rise by 5 degrees Celsius, with rises of 6, 7 or even more quite possible.” Most tellingly is the use of the phrase “with no government action,” a resigned acceptance that the fact that we will require government intervention, and that free-market-driven solutions will not be sufficient in order to combat our excessive fossil fuel emissions – a slap in the face to climate deniers like Carly Fiorina and Jeb Bush who will only offer up private sector solutions – if they bother to offer any at all.
Exxon also endorsed a comprehensive carbon tax, not unlike that proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) earlier today: “ExxonMobil believes a revenue-neutral carbon tax would be a more effective policy option than cap-and-trade schemes, regulations, mandates, or standards. A properly designed carbon tax can be predictable, transparent, and comparatively simple to understand and implement,” ultimately proposing that the “goal of climate policies should be to reduce the risks of serious impacts to humanity and ecosystems at minimum societal cost, while recognizing other societal priorities, including the importance of abundant reliable and affordable energy to enable improved global living standards.”
While these admissions do not forgive the oil giant’s three decades of systematic climate research repression, having internally concluded that climate change was a major threat to human civilization some thirty-eight years ago, it does provide a strong and public endorsement that may finally have some kind of effect on the obstinately ignorant members of the Republican Party. The fact that the statements by one of the world’s largest fossil fuel emitters constitutes a moderate position when compared with American conservatives shows just far out of touch with reality the GOP has really fallen. Unless we take substantial action to combat the warming of the atmosphere and our reckless emission of carbon dioxide soon, human society as we know it will have to undergo some incredibly painful changes – far more painful than having to tell voters their energy bills might go up.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.