Ethical Black Hole: Fossil Fuel Interests Still Use Astroturfing to Subvert Democracy

I suppose one could argue this isn’t really “news”, since fossil fuel interests have been funding misinformation campaigns for decades. Still, every year they continue working to prevent a shift to renewable energy sources is another example of just how little they care about their fellow humans. From Climate Progress:

The paid actors, who played the role of civic-minded residents, held signs about the power plant project’s job-creating potential at New Orleans City Council meetings. Some of the actors also gave speeches in favor of the proposed Entergy New Orleans LLC power plant during the public comment period.

Roughly 50 people turned out to support a $210 million effort to build a power plant in the city during an October 2017 meeting. Several of them told the Lens, a local New Orleans news outlet, they were paid $60 to wear orange shirts. Others were paid more to speak in front of the city council members.

In a vote of 6-1, the New Orleans City Council in March ended up voting in favor of Entergy’s proposed power plant.

In my opinion, doing that should be illegal, and punished by banning any company or person trying it from all political spending or lobbying for a period of time. 5 years sounds good for a first offense.

Comparisons are regularly drawn between the fossil fuel industry’s misinformation campaign, and the tactics used by tobacco companies to hide that danger. I think that comparison is no longer fair to the tobacco lobby. Their kind of evil is global in scale, but small in scope. They profit from the destruction of individuals.

Companies and people who lie to the public about climate science while making money off of fossil fuels are profiting off of the destruction of civilization. Whether or not we end this century with an intact civilization, the world as we know it will be gone, and replaced with a less stable, more hostile one.

It’s hard to think of a greater crime against humanity.


  1. Some Old Programmer says

    Perhaps a more apt parallel would be with the disinformation campaign mounted by the companies that produced the lead-based additives for gasoline. They poisoned generations of populations for profit–although that’s looking like small potatoes compared to AGW.

  2. says

    Well, I’ll be damned if I can’t find a durned thing wrong with your comment!a

    Perhaps “wise” should go between “some” and “old”?

  3. Some Old Programmer says

    @2: you’re making me blush.
    I learned about the behavior of the lead-based additive industry from the Cosmos reboot (episode 7, “The Clean Room”). I doubt it’s the first instance of science refutation in the interest of profit, but (disturbingly) companies seem to be getting better at it.

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