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Letter: We must not be fooled by fossil fuel industry

We must not be fooled by fossil fuel industry

In the last half of the previous century, tobacco companies faced the incontrovertible fact that their highly profitable product was harmful, even deadly. They responded with a campaign of advertising, of misinformation, of financial support for the few scientists who would promote a false controversy about the harms, and of financing legislators, to protect their profits. This obfuscation caused direct harm, even death, to huge numbers of smokers.

In the first half of this century, the fossil fuel industry faces the incontrovertible fact that the burning of highly profitable fossil fuels is causing irreversible change to our Earth’s climate, causing new and more disruptive weather patterns, drought, loss of glaciers and ice sheets, rising sea level and dislocation and disruption of human, animal and plant communities. The essential step in addressing this problem is to replace fossil fuels by developing the currently available technologies to meet our energy needs.

The fossil fuel industry, threatened with loss of profits, is responding by funding a campaign of misinformation, by promoting false controversy, by funding politicians and conferences to promote the false claim that climate change is a hoax, by opposing development and adoption of non-polluting energy sources and with a polished but vague advertising campaign telling us to “be an energy voter.”

We should not let the industry get away with this. The victims of last century’s obfuscation were the many who did not stop smoking when they might have. If this century’s obfuscation succeeds, we will all be the victims.

Peter Ewing

Lake View

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