What’s a beleaguered fossil fuel industry to do, what with growing and increasingly organized protests and demands to “keep it in the ground,” lawsuits from every direction, divestment movements, and the like? Clamorous insistence from young people that governments take radical and urgent action to confront the climate crisis is especially troubling to some of the wealthiest and most powerful corporations in the world. After all, these young people represent the future voters, office-holders, and investors. They are also very angry over the climate crisis, with the most to lose, on a planet that may rapidly become very, very tough, if not altogether uninhabitable. They are surely not likely to “chill” and take in a movie, as President Trump recently admonished global superstar teen protester Greta Thunberg to. They are motivated to raise hell.
But an industry used to sitting on top of the world will not capitulate without reaching deep into its trick bag. After decades of denial and promoting bogus science, after massive lobbying efforts and sometimes buying politicians outright to defend its interests, after “green washing” its real work of relentless extraction with minuscule efforts at pollution reduction and renewable energy development – after all this comes a most blatant attempt to co-opt and confuse youth, in the form of the BP sponsored “One Young World Summit,” Shell’s “#MakeTheFuture” campaign, and the multi mega-corporation sponsored “International Student Energy Summit.”
But wait – Isn’t the fossil fuel industry just concerned about telling all sides of the story, to “engage” and “educate” young people so that they can grasp the whole, “balanced,” truth? Right, and smoking doesn’t cause cancer, either. Take a look at Alleen Brown’s piece in The Intercept – https://theintercept.com/2019/12/13/youth-climate-movement-fossil-fuel-industry/, and send it to a young person that you know.