The Softer Side of Darth Vader.

February 25, 2016


Divestment movement starting to bite.

Climate Change News:

Big Oil must thwart the movement to leave fossil fuels in the ground, the world’s most powerful oilman said on Tuesday.

Addressing executives in Texas, Saudi oil minister Ali Al-Naimi said the industry had to shed its “Dark Side” image and show it was a “force for good”.

“As an industry, we should be celebrating that fact, and better explaining the vital importance of these precious natural resources,” he said according to an transcript from an event in Houston.

“We should not be apologizing. And we must not ignore the misguided campaign to ‘keep it in the ground’ and hope it will go away. For too long the oil industry has been portrayed as the Dark Side, but it is not. It is a force, yes, but a force for good.”

vaderumbThe growing divestment campaign bids to blacklist the industry as others shunned tobacco producers or Apartheid-era South Africa.

By last December, over 500 institutions including large insurers, funds and banks managing US$3.4 trillion of assets pledged to move out of fossil fuels for climate reasons. That’s a 70-fold rise on September 2014.

Fossil fuels were not the problem, but their “harmful emissions,” said Al-Naimi, who represents the hydrocarbon-rich Middle Eastern kingdom at UN climate talks and stepped down as chairman of national oil company Aramco in 2015.

The world must scale up technologies that capture carbon dioxide, instead of replacing the polluting fuels with renewable sources, he added.

Jamie Henn, spokesman for which is organising the divestment campaign, said Al-Naimi’s comments were like “Darth Vader trying to softer side” and “out of touch with reality”.


The US now leads Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil producer following a revolution in techniques to extract it from shale rock, according to BP data.

Better do something about this.

Scientific American:

More than 100 Earth scientists, ourselves included, have signed a letter urging our preeminent professional society, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) to cut financial ties with ExxonMobil. We are joining the growing chorus of scientists who refuse to turn a blind eye to the destructive behaviors of the industry partners of our profession, ExxonMobil being the most egregious. We hope that this action will inspire our community to embark on an open assessment of the role of fossil fuel companies in the Earth sciences.

For decades now, climate scientists have been quietly reporting astonishing findings about the causes and consequences of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions on the life-sustaining systems of the Earth. Some have even taken their findings directly to the public and to legislators at venues ranging from town hall meetings to Senate committee hearings to international political summits. And what has this tremendous effort achieved? In terms of meaningful large-scale policies resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions, not nearly enough.

While scientists and science communicators have been hard at work generating factual information and attempting to share it with the public, those who hold a financial stake in perpetuating society’s reliance on fossil fuel energy have been diligently countering their efforts. Fossil fuel companies, among the most profitable enterprises on Earth, have employed every technique available to mislead the public and politicians about the veracity of climate science and, as pure denial grows ever less compelling, to argue that the potential costs and benefits of policy action warrant indefinite delay.


11 Responses to “The Softer Side of Darth Vader.”

  1. Gingerbaker Says:

    “We should not be apologizing….

    Fossil fuels were not the problem, but their “harmful emissions,” said Al-Naimi…”

    The man makes a good point. Fossil fuels are NOT the problem, in exactly the same way that guns and bullets are not the problem – the problem is human flesh and its idiotic propensity to explode into lifeless smithereens when it is hit by higbh-speed projectiles.

    Asteroids are not the problem, either, its the shortsighted propensity of the earth’s crust to transmit force and erupt into superheated plasma that is the real culprit.

    Evidently, it is WE who are the problem, not privileged misogynistic greedy self-righteous anti environmental oligarchs. Who knew?

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Who knew, you ask? Anyone who has been studying what’s going on with the planet over the past 60 years knows, GB. WE most definitely ARE the problem.

      Inside nearly of us lurks a figurative “misogynistic greedy self-righteous anti environmental oligarch” just waiting to be let out so that they can take advantage of the free-market system and become “wealthy and privileged”. It’s unfortunately programmed into our genes, and we ARE, after all, buying and using all those fossil fuels and other toxic junk that the human brain has cooked up under the heading of “progress” and “growth”.

      I got into an extended navel-gazing session with jimbills some time back (you may have been involved in that also) about the “worthiness” of the human race and its place on the planet. My opinion hasn’t changed. Nature bats last, and we will be lucky if there are any extra innings. No matter how it turns out, the members of the biosphere “home team” will be booing the human race mightily as they go extinct by the billions because of AGW. (Watched “Chasing Extinction” last night, and Hansen’s rehashing of the CO2 increase sealed the deal—don’t try to cheer me up).

      • indy222 Says:

        “Chasing Extinction”? Do you mean “Racing Extinction”? Do you have a link?

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Yes, I did mean to say “racing”, although “chasing” is perhaps more appropriate since we are in more of a catch-up situation than an actual race. I got it via mail from Netflix, but it’s available via itunes and amazon video.

      • jimbills Says:

        For the record, I never said we were worthy. My point was that humans were no different than any other animal species – neither more nor less worthy. This seemed to get lost in translation, or you took the moral view that humans were more unworthy than any other animal.

        I was trying to say that the view that we are ‘special’ (either in good or bad ways) is a mistake. We simply are following our own biological imperatives just as any species does or would do. The fact that we are particularly ‘successful’ (re: destructive) at it is due to the evolutionary path that we have taken, apparently uniquely, in brain function.

        We are the same as the shark or the toad or the amoeba. We can just do more than them, and therefore our reach is much longer than theirs. We’re just an evolutionary freak show, a species that thinks we’re special, but when viewed as a collective or as individuals are revealed to simply be any other biological species seeking reproductive (and in our case, social) advantage. I said this before here, but we’re monkeys (to which you said ‘apes’, and fair enough, but I think ‘monkeys’ imparts the meaning more clearly) with delusions of grandeur.

        Other species, if they had our particular characteristics in brain function and dexterity, would behave much like we do. And our actions, any of our actions, stripped of the delusional glow that we ourselves place upon them, are merely our unconscious drives compelling us – our biological and social programming – in other words, animalistic in design and outcome. As such, other species are no more or less worthy than us, and we are no more less worthy than them.

        You insisted we are less worthy, though, which always struck me as a particularly anthropocentric view, and I’ll stick to my guns, too. There are no ‘noble savages’ – only humans and other animals seeking advantage and their own desires as aggressively and ‘successfully’ as they are able.

        Can we be more? Maybe. I strive to be, and I’m sure other do as well. But read the news, watch human behavior closely, examine oneself closely, examine animal behavior closely, and the blinders start to rock off their hinges after a while.

        Best to you and all, btw. I check here very infrequently these days. I just happened to run across this comment. I won’t respond more here – there’s not much else to say on this, and I’ve had little to say on other posts. My opinion about how we’re screwed hasn’t changed, by the by.

        • jimbills Says:

          Any yes, many other species are screwed, too. Unfortunately.

        • indy222 Says:

          And yet, Nature also gave us a cortex, with the ability to abstract principles, make predictions, see the future, and plan for it. Those that do are not genetic freaks, but also obeying their genetic makeup. So I’m not so easy about excusing our behavior. We could do better – but the real problem is that doing better for CLIMATE on an individual basis is all sacrifice and no personal gain. Unlike any other problem (or at least, MORE so than any other problem), climate requires coordinated global action or nothing will get accomplished. This is what we are particularly bad at. Game theory says – we’re screwed because we make the consistently predictably rationally irrational decision of immediate personal gain at the (very tiny) expense to the Planet. But added up globally, our very tiny expenses are fatal.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Welcome back, even if for only a short stay. Drop in more often. “For the record”, we have never been in much disagreement—-I have no quarrel with anything you’ve said here except your insistence that we must go along with your reasoning regarding “worthy” (and nothing was ever lost “in translation”).

          The one thing that sets man apart from all the other animals is his brain, and that brain has allowed him to develop the technology that is now destroying the planet. It has also allowed him to develop those attributes that go beyond dealing with the small problems of daily survival and deal with the BIG questions like “Why is there air?”, as Bill Cosby’s philosophy major asked and to which the PE major replied “Stupid question—everyone knows why there’s air—it’s for blowing up basketballs, footballs….”.

          We now have religion, philosophy, ethics, morality, money, free-markets, profit, and “accumulation of things” hung around our necks because of our brains. Those are things that no animal has, as far as we can tell, because no animal has developed abstract thinking, speech, and writing to the level that we have.

          And that lies at the root of our disagreement on “worthiness”. I maintain that because man DOES operate on a “higher” thought plane, DOES babble on about how wonderful he is, and then proceeds to act in ways opposite to all his fine-sounding bullshit about ethics and morality, that he is “unworthy” of his self-anointed and exalted place in the biosphere. It is not a biological truth, but a philosophical one.

          Man IS different from all other animal species in that one regard, and the fact that man is going to destroy the planet is proof of that. Yes, our “biological imperatives” drive our behavior, but our brains SHOULD allow us to recognize the damage we are doing and make efforts to deal with it—-the fact that we aren’t doing so is where the “unworthiness” comes in—-and yes, that’s an anthropocentric and subjective judgment based on using my dumb and tired old human brain.

          Hope to see an occasional comment from you, and I agree 100% with “My opinion about how we’re screwed hasn’t changed, by the by”. I see little evidence that the blinders will fall off in time to make a difference.

  2. “The world must scale up technologies that capture carbon dioxide, instead of replacing the polluting fuels with renewable sources, he added.”

    If Big Oil believe in CCS, why don’t they spend some of their vast profits to develop the technology for themselves. Win-win for Big Oil.

  3. grindupbaker Says:

    Well, Al-Naimi doesn’t sound like my father. Though things did get muddled during WWII.

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