How mankind blew the fight against climate change

The Washington Post, June 5, 2015, By Bill McKibben

"If historians someday need to explain how mankind managed to blow the fight against climate change, they need only point to last month’s shareholder meeting at Exxon Mobil headquarters in Dallas.

The meeting came two days after Texas smashed old rainfall records — almost doubled them, in some cases — and as authorities were still searching for families swept away after rivers crested many feet beyond their previous records. As Exxon Mobil’s Rex Tillerson — the highest-paid chief executive of the richest fossil fuel firm on the planet — gave his talk, the death toll from India’s heat wave mounted and pictures circulated on the Internet of Delhi’s pavement literally melting. Meanwhile, satellite images showed Antarctica’s Larsen B ice shelf on the edge of disintegration.

And how did Tillerson react? By downplaying climate change and mocking renewable energy. ...

... Divestment won’t move Exxon Mobil directly — that’s impossible; the company is dug in, and someone else will simply buy the stock when it’s sold. But divestment will undercut the industry’s political power, just as happened a generation ago when the issue was South Africa and hundreds of colleges, churches, and state and local governments took action. In the words of Nobel Peace Prize recipient Desmond Tutu, who helped spearhead the anti-apartheid drive, 'we were not only able to apply economic pressure on the unjust state but also serious moral pressure.' Divestment is one tool to change the zeitgeist, so that the day arrives more quickly when the richest and most powerful can no longer mock renewable energy and play down climate change."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-perils-of-engagement/2015/06/05/1d3392ea-094c-11e5-9e39-0db921c47b93_story.html

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