The Fossil Fuel Industry - Predatory capitalism at its worst

In one day, Big Oil earns $342 million in profit, pays their CEOs $60,000 in salaries, spends more than $160,000 lobbying, and dumps a billion pounds of carbon pollution into our skies. All that in a single day. And what do we get out of it? Rapid climate change that’s threatening to destabilize the entire planet.

According to the US Department of Agriculture – more than half of all the counties in the United States are now primary disaster areas – stricken by one of the worst droughts in our nation’s history. To give relief, the USDA has opened up 3.8 million acres of conservation land for ranchers to use for grazing. It’s the latest effort by the Department to prevent a rapid increase in food prices that could kill our fragile economic recovery, hurt working Americans, and push the developing world into starvation and chaos.

Meanwhile – Big Oil and Big Coal – which have been dumping unimaginable amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere for centuries – continues to rake in enormous profits without contributing one cent to fixing the destruction they’re causing around the planet. This is predatory capitalism at its worst, and if continues unchecked, then our future is uncertain.


Kend's picture
Kend 11 years 46 weeks ago

Americans sure hate big oil. Its the only industry left that pays better than the government. Even though there where very little cars in the 30's wasn't it the worst drought in American history. What caused that? The world has had climate change for millions of years. We have spent trillions of dollars on climate change over 30 years now and it hasn't changed a thing.

I guess I am little sceptical because I am old enough to remember when science was going to spray the artic with insulation because we where going to freeze to death. Then we where all going to burn to death because of the hole in the ozone.

I guess what scares me is there is never any dialog when it comes to climate change. Its fact, thats it. Sceince doesn't work that way. All sceince should always have opposition. Shouldn't it?

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 46 weeks ago

The victims need to finally strike back at the predators and it won't come merely by voting for "more of the same" at election time. Even if you succeeded in voting for a 100% Democrat Congress and a Democrat won't make much of a difference...they're all hooked, or blackmailed, or threatened by the power elite. These politicians know how little the voters really matter. It's a rigged game. As long as you keep voting for one faction of the business party...we will continue to be stepped on.

If you call, email, or write to your elected will be screened by aids...they may tally up the general mood about certain issues but then that info is only used to formulate the rhetoric and lies they will then tell you to keep you from rioting in the streets. They feed you false hope to buy more time.

The only way that things will really change is when the majority of really ticked off people realize that we are in a war that the ruling elite started. We are all backed into a corner from which there is no escape and we have no choice but to fight back.

One way to fight back is to make those business people, who most likely all voted over the years since Reagan, suffer by not buying anything from them. I know it sounds like an odd proposition but since we all have to buy things from someone, sometime, we should all buy, exclusively, from the very top of the capitalist-pig chain..the ones who have beaten the other capitalist-pigs at their own Walmart!

Make those sorry right-wing voters lower down on the business party chain, who have helped make the laws favoring big-business, sorry they ever thought about supporting right-wing, Republican pigs.

The Democrat politicians, perhaps at one time, would have been more controllable by the voters. But, when it becomes quite obvious that the ruling elite will continue to bully everyone else around to their liking...even assassinating any politician that stands in their way and doesn't play their game...then it would take way bigger men than the ones that currently in Congress, or the President, to stand up to them.

Yes, I realize that there must have been a few left-leaning or progressive businesses who might also suffer but unfortunately in every war there is a certain amount of collateral damage. And, perhaps, it would start an avalanche of businesses who are left-leaning or progressive to vigorously advertize and prove to their prospective customers that they did not vote for Conservative, right-wing, Republican issues.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 46 weeks ago

The Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.

"Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal."
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years.1

Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale. Studying these climate data collected over many years reveal the signals of a changing climate.

Certain facts about Earth's climate are not in dispute:

The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century.2 Their ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere is the scientific basis of many JPL-designed instruments, such as AIRS. Increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response.

Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that the Earth’s climate responds to changes in solar output, in the Earth’s orbit, and in greenhouse gas levels. They also show that in the past, large changes in climate have happened very quickly, geologically-speaking: in tens of years, not in millions or even thousands.3

The evidence for rapid climate change is compelling:

Sea level rise
Global sea level rose about 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in the last century. The rate in the last decade, however, is nearly double that of the last century.4

Global temperature rise
All three major global surface temperature reconstructions show that Earth has warmed since 1880. 5 Most of this warming has occurred since the 1970s, with the 20 warmest years having occurred since 1981 and with all 10 of the warmest years occurring in the past 12 years. 6 Even though the 2000s witnessed a solar output decline resulting in an unusually deep solar minimum in 2007-2009, surface temperatures continue to increase. 7

Warming oceans
The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of 0.302 degrees Fahrenheit since 1969.8

Shrinking ice sheets
The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. Data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show Greenland lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometers (36 to 60 cubic miles) of ice per year between 2002 and 2006, while Antarctica lost about 152 cubic kilometers (36 cubic miles) of ice between 2002 and 2005.

Declining Arctic sea ice
Both the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice has declined rapidly over the last several decades. 9

Glacial retreat
Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere around the world — including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa.10

Extreme events
The number of record high temperature events in the United States has been increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950. The U.S. has also witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events.11

Ocean acidification
Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30 percent.12,13 This increase is the result of humans emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and hence more being absorbed into the oceans. The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year.14,15

A very compelling, and telling, graph, along with this article, can be seen here:

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 46 weeks ago

Science always has had "opposition" from a lot of people who prefer to believe in superstitions and dogma. But aside from that major works because there is scientific peer review, evidence gathering, experimentation, etc. and what tends to work most of the time tends to gain favoritism within the scientific repeated experiments producing the same results over and over again.

And if it wasn't for'd have to continue to rely on your camel or your flying carpet for transportation.

We're way beyond the Dark Ages...but, evidently, some people are still living there...and want to force others to reside there with them....on a burned out orb of a planet who's inhabitants listened to superstitious poppycock rather than scientific evidence warning of the dangers.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 46 weeks ago

"Richard Muller is the head of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project, which has just made available a preliminary paper (not yet having passed the peer-review process) regarding the causes of the recent global warming.

Muller started out very skeptical about the accuracy of the surface temperature record and the causes of global warming. For example, see these collections of his skeptical quotes and articles. Muller formed the BEST team to investigate his climate-related skepticism independently, even obtaining funding from the Koch Foundation, whose wealth is primarily derived from fossil fuel interests.

Now despite his prior criticisms of the climate science community (i.e. see our previous Muller posts), Muller and BEST have independently confirmed the accuracy of some of the main components of the body of climate science research. As Muller wrote in an editorial published in the NY Times,

"Call me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause." "

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 46 weeks ago

"Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt"
Posted on 29 July 2012 by Neven

"News from NASA regarding the Greenland ice sheet via Neven's Arctic Sea Ice blog. Note that similar Greenland ice sheet melt events have happened in the distant past, but perhaps not quite of this magnitude. On top of the natural influences, we now have the long-term human-caused Greenland ice sheet decline as well."

"According to satellite data, an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface thawed at some point in mid-July."

See the before and after satellite photos here:

dowdotica's picture
dowdotica 11 years 46 weeks ago


TarryFaster 11 years 46 weeks ago

I believe that about ten years ago, I saw a very small news item on TV that sounded like a great idea. I don't recall if it was something someone was attempting to do, or just discussing. In any event, here -- along with some of my own thinking -- is the essence of that concept.


First of all, I believe that we need to reconfigure our current way of thinking about electricity. The best way to describe this new perspective is to look at the historical computer model. When I was growing up (I was born in 1944), computers were massive mainframes that were accessed by terminals that were attached to it. It was basically a central CPU with remote access. This is similar to the way our power grids have been, and are now, structured. We have a central electrical source with "terminals" connecting to that source. With the advent of microcomputers, there was a transformation that allowed each user to have their own CPU without the necessity to connect to a mainframe. The same is now true for electricity. We can now generate most of our electricity locally and over time the need for a grid will be diminished, if not eventually eliminated. The long and short term result is that we can/should phase out our need to refurbish and/or replace our current overburdened and expensive grid infrastructure.

I have no doubt that the major reason that more individuals and smaller businesses don't rush to conserve and/or convert to this new off the grid paradigm is due to the initial capital expense. This is where this TV idea came from and here is how it would/could work. An individual or small business contacts an organization (let's call it Home/Office) and asks for an evaluation. The Home/Office sends out a team to evaluate their current usage, credit worthiness, capital cost to maximize conservation and capital cost to convert off the grid. The next step is taking the total capital requirements to a local bank or credit union and, using the requirements relative to the current usage, custom design a loan that will provide the necessary capital while having payments that don't exceed their current monthly outlay for electricity. Next, the Home/Office brings in the specialized contractors to complete the conversion process. This is absolutely a win, win, win, win, etc., for the home/business owner, the environment, the conversion employees , the bank/credit union, national unemployment stats, Green suppliers, etc. The only folks that won't "win" are the present power companies; however, this could be done at a level that would not entail any (or at least a nominal amount of) government/political/lobbyist involvement. Small profits could be designed into each procedure so that the entire system would be not only self-sustaining but scaleable, as well.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 11 years 46 weeks ago

Is this NAFTA? 'Cause this is Krupp coal. Why do we need to trade coal with the Krupp Empire?

4/29/1975 RUHRKOHLE TRADING CORPORATION DOS ID #: 368528 Initial DOS Filing Date: APRIL 29, 1975 County: NEW YORK Jurisdiction: DELAWARE Termination (Jan 25, 1983)


1991-12-31 RUHRKOHLE HANDEL GMBH located at RELLINGHAUSERSTRASSE 1, ESSEN, 0, GERMANY was established as a Foreign Entity Other.

NIC 1991-12-31 Institution is closed. ABN BANK INTERNATIONAL USA renamed to ABN AMRO BANK INTERNATIONAL USA.

NIC 1991-12-31 AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL PETROLEUM CORP. located at 7515 GREENVILLE AVENUE, SUITE 312, DALLAS, TX was established as a Domestic Entity Other.


csobek's picture
csobek 11 years 46 weeks ago

Buy @ Walmart? Sorry not me. Local mom and pop for me.

Jeffthinx 11 years 46 weeks ago


It was generous of you to say that our future is "uncertain". I think a somewhat more negative word would have been more appropriate. Hopefully the change of opinion by this guy Muller will help with the wider acceptance that "climate change" IS the fault of humans. But, I remain pessimistic.

Jeff McKnight

Spring Hill (the sink hole capital of America...that's a whole other story), FL

ken ware's picture
ken ware 11 years 46 weeks ago

I have read Thom's blog, as well as all the comments posted about our energy dilemma. But, I haven't heard one bit of advice or information on how to stop the demise of our planet due to the pollution we as a species are dumping into our atmosphere. Local production of electricity sounds great, but we will still be using the same amount of electricity and the resulting pollution, just on a local level. Electric cars are great, but you still need to plug them into an outlet to recharge. Are we not to blame, just as much as the power producing giants that are destroying the planet? We have tried to produce solar cells for generating electricity, and it does not seem to have gone too well at this point. Scrubbers on the power plants is a great idea as well, but aren't there laws on the books about this and the EPA is supposed to enforce these regs? China seems to be one of the main contributors to the massive pollution that is destroying our environment, but we are still buying everything they produce, because it is cheaper. I could go on to blame everyone who contributes to our environmental disaster in the making, but what is the point. Ice sheets are melting, weird weather changes threaten our food chain in the grain belt and here in California in the central valley, yet we still seem to demand and consume as much as we possibly can as a nation and the world at large as well. So, aren't we to blame for what is destroying our future. Complaints, comments and finger pointing on what is going wrong seems all I hear or read, with no one willing to change their eating and purchasing habits. So, who is really to blame for our demise, it is us. I would like to see some real ideas that would actually work and be used by humans on this planet, who seem to be pushing this planet to extinction and all that live on it. And, to the gentleman who thinks this is the same old story of the sky is falling, the sky is falling, and everything is just as it has always been in the past, this time the sky is falling according to the leading scientists around the globe and it may be too late to fix it......Not a very comforting prospect at this point concerning the World's future and our inability to change it or should I say our unwillingness to change! Look at what happened to one of the most populated nations in the World, India and their inability to cooperate with each other to stop the massive power outages that hit their major cities. As we over populate a planet that is at it's limits, we as a species face extinction on more than one level. If we continue to destroy the planets ability to grow enough food to support us all, it appears wars of all types and massive riots will be the next step in our evolutionary process as a species. Maybe the Mormons are right and it is time to stock up on all the food and essentials we can at this point. A sad commentary for mankind.

Jimspy's picture
Jimspy 11 years 46 weeks ago

I don't know how to tell you this, Thom, but our future is FAR from uncertain.

A CERTAIN amount of global warming is LOCKED IN. It is CERTAIN that we will fly past +2 degrees Celsius. It is CERTAIN that our climate has started to go bonkers, and will do so into the indefinite future. It is CERTAIN we do not currently possess the political will to make any changes at least for a couple of years. And it is CERTAIN that THAT will be way too late.

The only uncertainty is exactly how bad it will be: Really bad, Really REALLY, bad, Disastrous, Catastrophic, Cataclysmic, or Extinctionary.

Have a nice day!

historywriter's picture
historywriter 11 years 46 weeks ago

I don't know if we will survive, but if we, right now, undertook a Marshall Plan on energy, we might be able to stop it. Bur first--and the first problem--is convincing or regulating all the energy companies--especially the fracking ones--and using scrubbers, and moving toward green energy whereever possible--windmills, solar, whatever--which would take a long time to do. We would have to change our way of living, and I doubt that many people are going to be willing to do that. We need to stop or at least cut down flying, which is one of the biggest pollutants of all. And we need to switch to a plant-based diet (Bill Clinton lost a lot of weight on it) so that we're not using up billions of tons of water to raise livestock which also polllute the air--I guess they fart alot. We need to be willing to give up the idea we have meat every day. I am not yet a vegetarian, but I eat less and less meat (it no longer appeals to me much). And we have to forego at least of our heavy use of energy--our cars (biking, walking, buying low-energy cars), our air conditioning (we can live with a thermostat set a little higher, or live without AC. Right now I don't want to do that but I do set my thermostat as high as I can manage; the big problem for me anyway is humidity.

All that other stuff--recycling, buying less, reusing, using less--are good ideas. We don't need all that stuff. I drop in to thrift shops and second hand stores fairlly often and I've found incredible deals on pots and pans, glass and cups, scarves and vests, napkins and place mats. One of my nieces who is always elegantly dressed, gets a lot of her clothing from these stores.

But the big thing holding it all up are the coal, gas, oil, and other companies who spend billions getting Congress to do their bidding.

megalomaniac's picture
megalomaniac 11 years 46 weeks ago

In an outrageous behavior of mixed independent thought, my thinking will go somewhat technical. This whole ideal of predator capitalism is from my view, stems from good old mathematics America has been using handed down from old Europe. American finance uses what is called that Gaussian math for market analysis. Even more than just Gaussian, some Euler, Fourier, with histograms mixed with the probability distribution function.

The central limit theorem says that anything that grows will at least approximate or follow a bell curve. Which seems normal that we all live in this bubble called earth. Remember we need that mix of nitrogen and oxygen to breath and see things and continue the ecosystem. Obviously using this math is not working for business or our economy. It bothers me to think it is not going to work for our ecosystem. You who did you get that!

Many articles are on the Internet about this Gaussian Bell curve approach. Also many are saying and blame the 2007 market crash, collapse on the use of a model based on the normal distribution bell curve. Yikes. Many have suggested that even amongst all the other serious problems in the housing industry at the time simply switching from Gaussian to a different model would have prevented the catastrophic collapse of the mortgage based securities industry. Moreover, I view that switching the high major portion of interest payments to the back end in amortized loans that the citizen must endure would definitely stabilize the market. However, conservatives would likely balk at the very notion of such action and block any concept like that. With one swipe of the pen in our so called banking committee could accomplish a whole new ownership plan for America. Though, the banks would have to look to other markets to make such enormous profits. But, is that not what is called the free market out there?

George Reiter's picture
George Reiter 11 years 46 weeks ago

Lawrence Lessig in his book “Republic Lost” explains the externalizing of costs foisted upon us by the corporations. We as a society absorb their costs, the cost of operating a corporation who look only at the bottom line. Our democracy and our quality of life are now relegated to a spreadsheet.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 46 weeks ago

MITT ROMNEY......"My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emmisions IS NOT THE RIGHT COURSE FOR US.".....This comment from the same person who thinks, "rich people are smarter than poor people, that's why they are rich." .....the same comment I've heard for years, from some of the dumbest people I've ever met!

With roughly half of the voters polled, willing to vote for this arrogant numbnut, It appears that predatory capitalism is here to stay..... surely a Vulture Capitalist as President..... will put his full support behind like-minded predatory, "smarter people."

ken ware's picture
ken ware 11 years 46 weeks ago

You very well may be right in theory, but you have left out one factor in your presentation. The main problem is not which theory to use on utilizing a Gaussian Bell curve or other type of mathematical formula, the real problem lies in the fact the information provided in applying for a mortgage was not accurate, and therefore the outcome would still have been incorrect using the Bell curve or any other mathematical theory. The numbers were "cooked" on most of the information submitted by the people applying for the loans, therefor would not have given an accurate graph to base any increments upon to foresee the future analysis. Many of the people who applied for the loans that failed did not have the capital to pay the higher interest payments as the rates matured (they lied about income) and were counting on perpetual borrowing as time passed and the debt payments increased. The middle men and the banks on Wall St. knew the scheme would eventually self-destruct, and that is why they hid the truth from the world by creating complex derivatives that nobody understood. Thus creating a worldwide catastrophe in the financial world. People all over the world were duped into buying these derivatives under the p.o.v. Wall St. must know what they are doing, and they did! They were going for a quick profit and to hell with tomorrow. Millionaires were made over night; the Wall St. boys actually hit the road(s) and flew all over the World selling these unsound derivatives as quickly as possible. And it worked for their scheme to get "richer quicker". A mathematical formula is only as good as the information used to calculate the Bell curve or graph. In this case the information was generally false. And, the good old boys on Wall St. are at it again with buying up the titles on leased vehicles and hiding them in more derivatives to sell to the public and possibly create another disaster. Will we never learn these bastards can never be trusted?

Virginia Jarvis's picture
Virginia Jarvis 11 years 45 weeks ago

"Except these last days be shortened there shall be no life left on the earth"

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 45 weeks ago

Many of those people seeking a mortgage were encouraged to lie...the mortgage brokers suggested amounts to put down on the forms. I know, because they were doing this back 30 years ago when I applied for a mortgage loan. I also have a relative who worked as a loan officer who said that pressure from up the corporate chain was put on them to do this even though he had a guilty conscience about it...but, in order to keep his job, all he could do is keep his mouth shut about people applying for loans, who really couldn't afford it, and sell them on getting the loan...even if it meant fudging the income and debt figures. And it is common knowledge, now, that many loan officers were fudging figures in order to get the loans approved. Plus they had very deceptive loans that squeezed many people into the loans fully knowing that the rates would go up making people lose their homes. This was a big scam, and people up the corporate ladder knew exactly what they were doing. Gangsters have taken over this country and the politicians can't, or won't, do anything about it.

So, you can't really blame most of the people who relied on the expertise of getting a mortgage loan..the mortgage companies used high-pressure psychology to make people believe that there would never be any ceiling to the value of houses..and that they had better "buy now"..."never a better time to buy"...etc....the blame should be solidly placed on the mortgage companies and the politicians (Republican and Democrat) who allowed this to happen.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 45 weeks ago

Yes, that may very well be so today..because we have hard scientific evidence that we are heading in that direction. But that worn out scare tactic, based on some "prophet" who just had a feeling, was used many times by many people in order to scare people into their flocks. People who fell for that to the extent that they actually took shelter in caves, etc. came out red-faced and embarrassed...and had to recalibrate their dogmatic idiocy.

sound n light's picture
sound n light 11 years 45 weeks ago

If a company pollutes our natural resources without our consent then they are guilty of environmental damages at the very least. Bigger yet is that these companies use waste management companies to deal with the waste and that means contracts, legal signed contracts only signed by two parties and not three, which makes them all illegal and unbinding contracts since they fail to include the real owners of the air, water, environment, animals, land, us the 99%ers. So where are the lawyers, politicans, cops because these actions are criminal and someone needs to go to jail besides the non violent tax paying pot smoking voters.

fatfax's picture
fatfax 11 years 45 weeks ago


stop driving stop ridin an an stop flyin !


leighmf's picture
leighmf 11 years 45 weeks ago

Yeah and keep off the ocean and waterways with your leaky engines and bilgewater and Norwalk virus cruises.

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