Climate Change is finally a non-deniable issue but the way we are looking at it now will not change much. The statement that we are not responsible for our planet’s demise may seem irresponsible but that is just because of how well this narrative has been set in our minds by those who are the real culprits.
In 2005, the concept of personal carbon footprints was popularized by environmental activists which made it appear genuine and reputable. However, behind this idea was a multinational company British Petroleum (BP), a fossil fuel giant. This is the same company that dumped 200 million gallons of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico.
Why would an oil company spend billions of dollars spreading the idea of carbon footprint and awareness about climate change when it is actually going to suffer a loss from it?
In the late 1980s, the effects of climate change started to become apparent and people started to become aware of it. Over 80 percent of US citizens believed that it was a real issue and accepted that it was caused by the burning of fossil fuels. It was also not a political issue because both the right and left agreed that global warming is very real. This was the time when fossil fuel companies started getting scared of regulations and public backlash. So they started to scale up their campaigns to increase, what came to be known as Climate Change Denial.
In fact, Climate Change was discovered by Exxon-hired scientists. This was in the early 1980s when fuel prices were decreasing; Exxon decided to ignore it and grow the company, so they told their scientists to research more about it.
In 1982, their scientists revealed that climate change was much worse than they thought. They recommended a major reduction in fossil fuel combustion. If Exxon wanted to be an innovator in this field, it would have invested in alternative sources of energy. Instead, it went against its own scientists and said that they “need to emphasize the uncertainty of scientific data around climate change”. When they could no longer say that Climate change isn’t real, they had to come up with something cleverer- that was the Carbon Footprint concept so that the blame could now be put on the common people.
The worst part is that they used this information for their own benefit by building their drilling platforms in the ocean a little higher above the estimated rise of sea level. They also planned to dig the Arctic knowing that the polar ice was going to melt.
BP came up with a master plan that would fix all the problems and public backlash they were facing because of contributing a lot to climate change. They set a narrative with these carbon footprint campaigns so that people start blaming themselves instead of the oil companies. The plan was so well crafted that actual environmental activists started campaigning in support of carbon footprints. This gave it more credibility.
We can reduce as much of our carbon footprint by living in a cave and eating grass but we still won’t be able to achieve zero emissions because of the fact that 53% of our total carbon footprint is burned without our consent on behalf of us by the government. This may include processes like energy production, building highways, the military, and many other emissive government services.
It is to be noted that according to The Carbon Majors Database of 2017, more than 70% percent of emissions are produced by just 100 companies. Despite this, we still feel guilty and try to make our lives inconvenient when it is essentially not required.
Many other corporations like Tesla are benefiting because of this since carbon footprints are reduced by using electric cars.
This raises the question that what if it’s not the player’s fault but the entire game’s? It could be that these companies are just products of a very evil system that will result in the end of humanity. If we just let these companies crank those numbers back up and higher, we aren’t to blame for the Climate Change, and making our own lives inconvenient to save the earth does nothing!
(This article was part of the Series “Climate Change is not your Fault”)