The oil and gas industry was born in Pennsylvania on Aug. 27, 1859, when Edwin L. Drake drilled the world’s first commercial oil well. A critic said Drake should leave the oil underground because it was needed to fuel the fires of hell, and to pump it out would protect the wicked from their eternal punishment.
That’s how long some people have believed oil companies are in league with the devil.
Today’s anti-petroleum alarmists warn of the hellish climate that someday will result from civilization’s reliance on fossil fuels. Fortunately they’ve hit on a solution: cash payments.
The strategy was hatched in 2012 at a two-day meeting in La Jolla organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Climate Accountability Institute. It brought together 23 experts on law, science and public opinion for a workshop titled, “Establishing Accountability for Climate Change Damages.”
The idea was to compare “public attitudes and legal strategies related to tobacco control” to those related to climate change, according to a report of the meeting.
The group found a few problems with the comparison to tobacco. For one thing, they couldn’t identify a specific harm from climate change that had damaged anybody.
“What is the ‘cancer’ of climate change that we need to focus on?” asked one attendee.
And there was a bigger problem. “The fact is, we do need some form of energy,” one participant said. Another lamented, “The activities that contribute to climate change are highly beneficial to us.”
Originally published in the Los Angeles Daily News. For the remainder of the column please go here.