2019: The Revolution Will Not Be Fossilized

January 1, 2019

Michael Liebrich is founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

For my 2019 New Year piece I was inspired by Gil Scott-Heron, of “The Future Will Not Be Televised” fame. If you don’t know it, probably best to listen to him reading it first.(above)

You will not be able to stay in business-as-usual, brother.
You will not be able to pull in, fill up and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on Facebook or skip,
Skip out to the Hamptons during weekends

because the revolution will not be fossilized.

The revolution will not be fossilized.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Fox News
in talking head segments with old sex pests.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Mitch McConnell
in a Guns-Freedom-Coal tee, leading the charge by Scott Pruitt,
Nigel Lawson and Myron Ebell to laugh
about Inhofe’s snowball and Morrison’s coal lump.

The revolution will not be fossilized.

The revolution will be brought to you by national labs and smart investors and
will not star Bjorn Lomborg and Matt Ridley or Monckton and Palin.
The revolution will not Energise the World one BTu at a time.
The revolution will not Fuel Progress but poison children.
The revolution will not get you Beyond Petroleum, because

The revolution will not be fossilized, Brother.

There will be no staged pictures of young women engineers
bossing big-armed men on fake rigs in the Mexican Gulf,
or designing petro-molecules on fake supercomputers.
CNBC will not hail the discovery of the next billion barrels or cheer the yield from the lower 48.

The revolution will not be fossilized.

There will be no pictures of tugs hosing down
burning rigs in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of locals being
dragged from rail tracks to let coal trains pass.
There will be no slow motion or still life of
ministers strolling through neighborhoods in hard hats and
high-vis jackets they had been saving
for just the right gas explosion.
Daily Mail, Breitbart, Wall Street Journal and
The Australian will no longer be so damned relevant, and
No one will care if Mike or Rex finally gets down with
Donald on every single channel, because young people
will be in the street, divesting for a brighter day.

The revolution will not be fossilized.

There will be no false balance on the 24-hour news
and no pictures of hairy-faced hipsters schmoozing petrogarchs in Davos and
Gerhard Schroeder pimping his pipelines.
The theme song will not be written in quarterly results by Glencore or Exxon
or sung by the oil giants of Saudi Arabia and China, and it will not
be halted for lack of lithium or Rare Earths.

The revolution will not be fossilized.

The revolution will not be held back by a tweet
from a white President, white premier, or white prime minister.
There will be no more speeches about digging coal,
fracking for freedom, or drill-baby-drilling.

The revolution will not go better with clean coal, a green deal or no deal.
The revolution will not extend the life of your gearbox.
The revolution WILL liberate you from the driver’s seat.
The revolution will not be fossilized,

Will not be fossilized, will not be fossilized.

The revolution will be no model-run, sisters;
The revolution will be live.

With apologies to the late, great and inspiring Gil Scott Heron. Click here to listen to him reading the original: “The Future Will Not Be Televised”. And never stop

13 Responses to “2019: The Revolution Will Not Be Fossilized”

  1. Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:


  2. dumboldguy Says:

    Ignoring the usual “look at me” inanities from Chucky, this is a good post. When I first read it, I was a bit taken aback at how much liberty Liebrich took with Heron’s work, but then decided that Heron would probably approve if he were alive—-He would be astute enough to see the connection between racism, fossil fuels, homophobia, misogyny, and corporate feudalism that resulted in Trumps’ election and the new revolution that seems to be now starting with the blue wave and will, we hope, help restart the civil rights movement and Heron’s “revolution”.

    Heron has quite a backstory—-for those not familiar with it:

    View at Medium.com

    And for those with hearing problems like me:


  3. ecoquant Says:

    @Sir Charles,

    The best time to start reducing emissions was 25 years ago. The second best time is today.

    Surely that’s only if “reducing emissions” is The Only Way. Indeed, “reducing emissions” is Never A Way. Reducing emissions only is a Way if the objective is to get to Zero Emissions. Waiting to start means that the measures need to be more drastic, not that decisions foregone in the past need to be short-listed now.

    After a point, actions need to be qualitatively different. And I do not mean in a This Changes Everything manner.

    Big projects, if they are likely to succeed, like all projects, need to contain risk. Big projects inevitably include some big risks, but if they are to have a good chance of working, all other aspects of these projects need to be boringly ordinary, without innovation. This is to be sure that risk, averaged over all all parts of the project and for the project’s duration will be minimized. The more important the success of the project is, the more important is this program.

    Accordingly, at this late date, I am very skeptical of a proposal to address poverty and social justice all at the same time and coupled with converting our collective energy systems from fossil fuels to zero Carbon energy. A delay in implementation means triage, not that the wound should be made bigger. I’m sure this is unpopular and considered unprogressive.

    But, remember, you do not make the rules. Natures writes the rules. We have abridged. Also, every one of us, the vast majority of us, but surely everyone in the United States, Canada, and much of Western Europe are vastly more comfortable than anyone in history, and vastly healthier, all because of our consumption of fossil fuels per capita, both in the present and historically to obtain our infrastructure. Facts are, we owe the planet some sacrifice, and need to curtail our lifestyle, choices and economies to help them out. They have, implicitly, given up a lot and will give up a lot for us.

    So, that’s where it needs to begin. How many opulent homes owned by progressives are there in the suburbs? What’s the minimum acceptable lifestyle? How many broken chairs do you have? Old cars? Unmowed lawns? How many high schools have their own tracks? Basketball courts? Tennis courts? Swimming pools? Football stadiums? Soccer fields?


    Talk about giving up that before you talk to me about these other things.

    And, yes, we are doing our share. And, yes, every time we fly anywhere, which we deliberately minimize, we offset more than every pound of CO2 we indirectly emit, so the effective cost of travel is 2.5x the ticket price. We do that by purchasing WRECs which each offset 40 lbs of CO2 emissions, and doing honest calculations about our emissions.

    • Sir Charles Says:

      I’m not the best, but I could reduce my carbon footprint by ~60% long time ago. It’s actually not that big deal. It started with my electricity and fuel consumption, buying more local stuff, and now I’m at a project transforming a 100-year-old cottage into a zero energy house, here in the very north of the Irish Island, which might even have the capacity to become an active house.

      But structural revolution is needed AND is possible.

      India is still performing the 2°C role model. And it’s looking promising that it stays that way. One American emits ten times as many greenhouse gases as an Indian.

      Meanwhile, China has become the leading producer of solar cells, wind turbines, energy-saving lights and solar water heaters. It aims to be the market leader in fuel-efficient cars (mainly EVs) as well. Every second new wind turbine on this planet is installed in China.

      It’s basically the oil producing countries which perform worst. Australia and Europe have to speed up too. I hope at least the latter countries have heard the warnings. 2019 has to become THE year of climate awareness. We need the media to report that we have approached crisis mode.

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