Of Course They Knew

We owe thanks to Jelmer Mommers, a Dutch journalist who has uncovered Shell Oil Company reports dating to the 1980’s that prove that this global fossil fuel petrol company has known for many decades that their products are destroying our planet, warming its climate and causing seas to rise.

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From Shell’s 1988 report aptly entitled “The Greenhouse Effect”:

“by the time global warming becomes detectable it could be too late to take effective countermeasures to reduce the effects or even to stabilize the situation.”

They knew.

Shell concluded that as of 1988 their company was generating 4% of world-wide carbon-dioxide emissions from the products it produces: oil, natural gas and coal.

They knew.

And as has happened, the 1988 report, which can be found here, correctly predicted that by the late 20th or early 21st century scientists would be able to conclude that our climate’s severe warming was, you guessed it, caused by these products and the carbon dioxide they emit into our atmosphere and oceans.

And what did they do armed with “The Greenhouse Effect report”? They covered it up, of course. For another decade they were a member of something called the Global Climate Coalition, a trade group whose purpose was to deceive the public by producing propaganda that attempted to question or discredit the scientific truth, the truth that their own experts had provided to their company leadership in that 1988 report. Talk about crimes against humanity.

They knew.

Their own report concluded that as of 1981, 99% of carbon-dioxide emitted into our atmosphere came from the products that Shell and their competitors produce. From their own report:

44% of carbon-dioxide emissions came from oil,

38% from coal and

17% from natural gas.

Their report also includes an analysis about the impact of a warming climate including sea level rise, acidification and the impact of rising temperatures on people including how this will force us to migrate to other places as our environment is destroyed by their products. It even suggests strategies to deal with the problem including a recommendation that they take political action as soon as possible and not wait for more people to see more obvious changes in our climate such as those they predicted would be apparent (and is now evident) in the decades after the report.

They knew.

In fact, they have all known for decades that the products they make and humans pay for and use are destroying earth’s environment and warming our climate to catastrophic levels. And one can conclude that they covered it up time and time and time again because it’s bad for business to have the public know you are destroying the only planet we have, and along with that our children’s future.

And when I say “they” I don’t, of course, mean only Shell (Royal Dutch Shell) but every large and small oil company and nation including EXXON, Chevron, Valero, Marathon, Conoco, BP and every other maker and distributor of fossil fuel products. Saudi’s Aramco, China’s Sinopec, National Petro Corp and Petro China, Brazil’s Petrobras and on and on.

Every car manufacturer knows the truth too and yet they are successfully lobbying our President and his EPA Director RIGHT NOW to relax emissions rules so they can keep selling the products that emit the pollution for as long as possible.

And every utility company knows too. They can run all of the “slick” ads they like about how low their rates are or how much they love solar but they are not being honest with you. As I have mentioned here before, our own local utility, FP&L, produces less than half of 1% of its energy from solar and that’s because they would rather use coal, natural gas and nuclear energy over the last nearly 100 years they’ve been in business instead of robustly investing in sustainable solutions like the widespread use of solar power.

And you know who else knows and actively plays along in the cover-up and lying game? Politicians such as Florida’s Governor Rick Scott, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, EPA Director Scott Pruitt, and, of course, U.S. President Donald Trump. They and the others that protect and perpetuate the fossil fuel firms like Shell and the products that emit the pollution, the established utilities, car makers and the rest, all know.

Of course they knew, they all did. “The Greenhouse Effect” report only adds to the growing pile of irrefutable scientific evidence and facts that prove carbon-dioxide from fossil fuel products has most certainly caused our global climate crisis. Anyone that suggests otherwise, that these products are not warming our planet to disastrous levels, is wasting our time. Time we simply don’t have to waste.

The question is now that we know, what are the rest of us going to do to fix the problem before it’s too late?

To learn more about “The Greenhouse Effect” please click here for an excellent article from The Washington Post by Steven Mufson and Chris Mooney.   

Generation Delta

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I am friends with a remarkable man by the name of Dick Jacobs. Dick has traveled the world many times over and publishes a wonderful blog by the name of The Global Naturalist about his travels and thoughts that I highly suggest. Those of you who are long time readers of my blog might recognize Dick’s name as a Guest Blogger here in the past and, in addition to having an amazing perspective on the important topics of our time, Dick is also one of the nicest people that I’ve ever met.

He has become a trusted mentor and is a passionate supporter of my work and concerns. He possess more energy and ideas than just about anyone I know and given my respect for him, I was humbled this weekend when he asked me if he could re-publish my recent blog Step Aside, It’s Our Turn to Fix What’s Wrong. As humbled as I was that Dick would ask that question, I was and am equally humbled that so many of his readers took the time to respond and post a comment of their own. One of those comments, just below, led me to write today’s blog:

I immediately thought of our grandkids, Rebecca 15 and Will 17 and sent a copy of Delaney’s blog to my daughter, Jennifer, their mom. She responded, “That is beautifully written. Thanks for sharing. This generation is a force! I think I read last year a proposal to call these (basically) post-911 kids Generation Delta, as in the mathematical symbol for change. They have an entirely different view on what is possible. I do really, really hope they can fix all this mess we’re leaving for them!” Also, thanks Dick for mentoring and sharing with these young people. Donna

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I’ve never heard the term Generation Delta but I have to say that I very much like it given that it symbolizes change. And while I’d not heard of it in context for my generation I have heard it with regards to my studies in math (I love calculus) and science so the idea of putting those two fields together with my generation’s zeal to change things makes great sense to me. I sure hope that Generation Delta catches on and that we are already on our way to making the changes our world needs.

As if one needed an example of why it’s so important for my generation to step up and make the changes that our society needs rather than rely on some of the adults who are or have been in charge, you need to only read former two time Presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s comments related to the recent Parkland Shooting in response to young people subsequently calling for sensible gun laws following that tragedy. Mr. Rick Santorum, in all of his multi-decades long ‘adult’ wisdom had the audacity to recently suggest that rather than demand change to our gun laws kids should take a CPR class to be prepared to help people the next time their friends or family are shot.

How About kids instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations that when there is a violent shooter that you can actually respond to that.”

Former Pennsylvania Senator and two-time Presidential candidate (2012 and 2016) Rick Santorum

Wait.

What?

CPR classes?

Seriously?

In over a month of often insensitive, ignorant statements by ‘adult leaders’ from the White House to just about every corner of America, his comment just might be the worst of them all. How insulting to those who died, those who lived and are forever impacted, much less the rest of us who care to not see this bloodshed continue. I am waiting for the NRA to claim his comment was their idea like ISIS claims one terror attack after another. His comments are along the same line of thinking that leads a President to hold up a sign announcing ‘TRUMP Digs Coal’ or to not follow the rest of the world into a sustainable future by supporting the Paris Accord or by looking to relax pollution laws that car makers, oil companies and other carbon polluters whose products are raising sea levels in ways that will destroy much of South Florida.

But Mr. Santorum’s comments are also wonderful in a weird way as they, yet again, paint a vivid picture of why our country so desperately needs transformational change and why my generation, Generation Delta if you will, is well equipped to be the Agents of Change to make that happen. Whether the topics are guns, our climate crisis, gender equality, race relations or one of the many other important issues that need our attention the time has come for Generation Delta to take control and force change.

So, thanks Dick, Jennifer and Donna for sharing that name and idea with me. Here’s to hoping it catches on as my generation continues to rise up and fix what’s wrong all around us.

Step Aside, It’s Our Turn to Fix What’s Wrong

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“I haven’t seen a movement like this, period,” Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie, whose district includes Parkland, said last week after an estimated 1 million U.S. students walked out of class. “I think it can be a critical turning point in the politics of this country.”

Some say that the children that are speaking up and out are too young to voice their views, but I beg to differ.

My friends and I, my peers, youth all over the world are connected to one another, literally wired to one another, like has never been possible in all of history.

The only world we know is a wired one and within it we have a world of information, of answers, in our pockets. We’ve grown up accessing information and connecting with one another at the speed of light our entire lives. And when we have questions, or want something, you might have noticed that we are not particularly patient. And that’s especially true when it’s something that common sense tells us needs to get fixed. We are the most informed generation in history and we have the tools to make transformational change at our fingertips.

When our parents and grandparents fiddle with their own phones and tablets and computers to the point of frustration, it’s us, their children and grandchildren, that you turn to and ask us to fix whatever’s wrong. We are the fixers you’ve been turning to since we were young and we’ve not let you down yet.

And now the time has come for young people all over the world to fix the messes we see and sense all around us. Those problems that adults before us created or keep overlooking as they tolerate the pollution, murder, apathy and something, that for some reason they call a political ‘system’, that permeates our society.

“The power of the youth has been displayed,” said Minisee, the Youth EMPOWER organizer, “and we are going to be reckoned with.”

I am incredibly inspired by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students from Parkland, their strength, their will and their passion. We can agree that it’s unconscionable that you had to be placed in this position in the first place but you are well armed, yes armed, to change the world. And you are already making a breathtaking difference and are political forces setting an example for our generation to run over any and every one who stands in our way of fixing what’s broken here in the United States. I proudly stand with the MSD children and children all over our country and the world who demand sensible gun laws including a ban on automatic weapons and devices that turn ‘semi’ automatic into automatic machine guns. It’s just common sense to outlaw these weapons of war.

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Likewise, I am inspired by the young people all over America that comprise Our Children’s Trust, kids that are taking on our state and federal governments in court by suing them to demand that they protect our environment for future generations. The fact that we must wage such a legal fight is unfortunate but it’s a fight that we will gladly spend our lifetimes fighting so as to fix what’s broken. Carbon from fossil fuels has no place in our environment and eliminating it while fighting the global climate crisis is the biggest challenge that my generation will ever face but it is one we must and will overcome. Yes today’s youth will fix our climate crisis and we will not allow anyone to stand in our way.

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To consider how truly different things are today, how kids in my generation will not settle for ‘politics as usual’ I hope that you will please consider reading an excellent article by David Smiley entitled Youths Mobilize for Change After Parkland that can be found here.

Please also consider sitting down and having an ‘adult’ conversation with your children or grandchildren about their thoughts on gun violence, the need for an automatic weapons ban or the fact that we must stop pumping fossil fuel pollution into our oceans and atmosphere and shift to sustainable energy such as solar before it’s too late. You might be surprised by how engaged and enraged we are over the fact that these issues exist as well as how committed we are to fixing them.

And speaking of fixing things, please consider supporting your children and grandchildren by voting with them or, for those too young to vote, by voting for them, and for their future. I would hope that today’s adults will step up and set their bias aside by applying common sense to fixing things while they are still ‘in charge’ but in the event you choose not to help then I promise you that my generation will do it ourselves.

Don’t believe me?

Just watch how quickly we elect new leaders that truly support common sense solutions or how fast we move to enact the laws we need to fix what’s broken.

My connected, compassionate friends and I, are ready to fix things, and this time I’m not talking about helping you with installing your latest phone update. No, this time I am talking about fixing what’s wrong in our world. So either help us or step aside because our time, my generation’s time, has arrived.

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