Bankers, insurers, and investors are assaulting our freedoms

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Reports are that ExxonMobil has two new members on its 12-member Board of Directors who are climate activists backed by investor “Engine 1.”

Under the headline, “Shareholders tell Exxon to eat sh*t,” G/O Media and Earther “reporter” Molly Taft gleefully ends paragraph 1 with, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!? The widely read journalist explained that, “The bigger boys in the room [notably financial giant BlackRock] decided to play along,” prompting “panicked” Exxon officials to pause voting, but only after two of the four Engine 1 candidates (of the three endorsed by BlackRock) had been voted onto the board. “Too bad, guys,” Taft gloated.

But in truth, the battle to alter ExxonMobil was over before the latest skirmish began. Taft reported that Exxon had promised to add “other more climate friendly directors” to its board in an effort to appease investors.

Two weeks earlier, Canadian activist Seth Klein had declared it was “Time to stop playing nice with fossil fuel companies,” who in his mind are “villains” who “outright lied for decades about the truth of climate change” and work tirelessly to “delay and divert the need for climate action.” The fossil fuel industry, said Klein, “in pursuit of its financial self-interest and preservation, has become expert at preying on our fears, misgivings, and desires.”

Preying on our fears? You would think we are trapped in a burning building, or about to be eaten by Godzilla, when this entire climate pandemic is driven by a desire to shave maybe half a degree Fahrenheit off forthcoming world temperatures!

But Yes! In the same week that once-proud ExxonMobil raised the white flag of surrender to climate mythologists, 61 percent of Chevron Corp. investors backed a radical proposal to force customers to reduce their “emissions” of carbon dioxide. Investors barely blocked a demand that Chevron report on how significant reductions in fossil fuel demand [at a time when fossil fuel demand is rising!] would affect its business.

On the same day, a Dutch court ordered Royal Dutch Shell Plc to slash its “emissions” by 43 percent by 2030. Earlier, 30 percent of Shell’s investors had voted to adopt a more ambitious climate [decarbonization] plan put forward by Follow This, a campaign group that also targeted BP and the French oil company Total.

This may appear to be a war on big oil and gas, but in reality the war is against citizens who cherish their vehicles, their appliances, and their freedoms. Few of the loudest mouths of the “green” movement have altered their lavish lifestyles, yet the super rich cannot abide “irredeemable, deplorable” ordinary people enjoying a drive in the country.

Climate elitists are influencing boardrooms not only of big oil but also of big finance and big insurance. Back in 2019, the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced it would cease financing fossil fuels projects at the end of 2021. And in 2020, major U.S. banks joined forces in their refusal to finance oil and gas drilling in the tiny portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that President Trump had opened to drilling.

Also in 2020, Lloyd’s of London announced a decision to stop providing insurance to fossil fuel companies by 2030. As Property Claim Services strategist Tom Johansmeyer explained, “Insurers and reinsurers around the world are grappling with issues related to both climate change and the impact of energy transition on their portfolios. Some have made the same commitment that Lloyd’s did, and others are likely to follow.”

And now the International Energy Agency has demanded [!!] an immediate end to oil and gas exploration – period! Otherwise, these elitists predict a worldwide disaster over “our” failure to limit global temperature’s increase to a maximum 1.5o C by 2050. Not to be outdone, COP26 President-designate Alok Sharma has called for an end to international coal financing. In Sharma’s view, “The days of coal providing the cheapest form of power are in the past, and in the past they must remain.”

As Tim de Chant, founder and editor at Future Proof, sees it, “If global leaders started following the [IEA] report’s recommendations tomorrow, the most significant—and immediate—impact would be the cessation of all new fossil fuel projects starting next year. Countries could continue extracting the oil, gas, and coal they’re currently exploiting, but they shouldn’t authorize any new exploration, drilling, or mining.”

Another report claims the world is already too hot to support human life. Scientific American’s Andrea Thompson makes the astounding claim that, “Even in the abundantly air-conditioned U.S., heat currently kills more people* than cold, floods or hurricanes.” [*USA Today reported in 2015 that cold kills nearly 20 times as many people worldwide as heat and that, even in the U.S., cold kills more than twice as many as heat.]

Meanwhile, as Molly Taft reports, Russia’s national oil company Rosneft has begun construction on a massive project in the Arctic that officials say will produce 25 million tons of oil annually by 2024. Taft describes the project as “dauntingly huge,” as Rosneft anticipates exporting 115 million tons of oil a year by 2030 by building 15 entirely new towns for an anticipated 400,000 employees. Is it her own “blindness-inducing rage” she feels in adding that “Rosneft has said that oil produced from the Vostok project is ‘environmentally friendly’” because the company plans to power its extraction “with wind turbines”?

What do ordinary people think of these grandiose plans – all made “in their best interest” by the enlightened? Britons are less than enthusiastic about a government mandate to replace natural gas home heating units with heat pumps at a cost of up to US$50,000. Only a few Americans have invested in electric vehicles, and 20 percent of them bought an internal combustion engine vehicle after turning in their EV – despite the outright bribery (huge subsidies) to “encourage” EV usage.

Vauxhall CEO Carlos Tavares, noting the high price and low environmental benefits of today’s EVs, scoffed at planners hell-bent on eliminating the internal combustion engine, stating, “I can’t imagine a democratic society where there is no freedom of mobility because it’s only for wealthy people and all the others will use public transport.” Personal mobility, the CEO argued, “should be seen as a fundamental right.”

Clearly, world leaders know that human rights interfere with their utopian plans. Without major pushback against these draconian mandates, planners will have little trouble extending their control over just about everyone. It is but a small step from banning, or simply refusing to finance or insure, fossil fuel exploration and production and new car manufacturing to banning, or refusing to finance or insure, individual purchases of just about anything THEY decide we should not have. And they are already doing it.

Just as they lied for a year about the origins of and treatment for the “COVID-19” corona virus “for our own good,” their claims of coming catastrophes from “climate change” (no longer global warming) ring hollow. All of their solutions increase their power and wealth at our expense. But we are expected to “eat our broccoli” and accept pandemic plagues while they dine at The French Laundry and fly to climate conferences in private jets. Pass the e coli, please!

Just who the hell do they think they are? And why are we putting up with their angry, ignorant, and offensive demands?

Or have we all just become spineless worms?

Did it all start with global cooling/warming/climate-change? Or the anti-nuke movement?

Who came up with all of this mish-mash? From cancel culture to climate calamity to Antifa and anti-racism?

How have we become enslaved by the spiteful?

No, we did not vote for an all-electric society that bans auto racing, gas appliances, backyard cookouts, and swimming.

  • Duggan Flanakin is the Director of Policy Research at the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow. A former Senior Fellow with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Mr. Flanakin authored definitive works on the creation of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and on environmental education in Texas. A brief history of his multifaceted career appears in his book, "Infinite Galaxies: Poems from the Dugout."

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