An Unholy Trinity.

Russia’s $500 billion oil deal with Exxon was killed by U.S. sanctions. CREDIT: Wall Street Journal, 9/11/2014.

Russia’s $500 billion oil deal with Exxon was killed by U.S. sanctions. CREDIT: Wall Street Journal, 9/11/2014.

For those people who may have read all the posts about Standing Rock, DAPL, and ETP, and wondered why there was a fuss, it’s just a pipeline, right? Well, you need to read, and understand that all these smaller actions by big oil are just the tiny feeder roots of what they really want to do, and what they really want to do is stuff their already overflowing pockets, and if our earth is damaged past the point of no return, eh, who cares, because money.

There’s been little reaction to Russia’s role in making sure Trump was elected, and that should be an electric shock to all those people who care about democracy, among other things. The insane amount of attention paid to “emails! emails” when it came to Clinton was near unbelievable, but there’s solid evidence of just how much Russia did influence and manipulate this election, and all of a sudden, conservatives don’t give a shit? You may think that marching fascism in is okely dokely, because you think it’s wrapped in Christian Jingoism, but it’s going to bite your head off too. This is a game of serious money and power, and the only ones who count are those who have the goods to ante up. The rest of us? We do not matter, and that message needs to hammered home, hard. We. Do. Not. Matter. People, please, wake the fuck up.

The aligning interests between Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s choice for U.S. president (Donald Trump), and Big Oil represents the gravest threat to humanity (and democracy) since the rise of the Axis powers in the 1930s.

That’s because while Trump may not be able to destroy global climate action and the landmark 2105 Paris climate deal all by himself — as he pledged to do during the campaign — he probably could do that with help from Russia and the trillion-dollar oil industry.

So much is explained by Trump’s Secretary of State choice. Media reports now say it will be Rex Tillerson, CEO of oil giant ExxonMobil, which had made a $500 billion oil deal with Putin that got blocked by sanctions.

Stalling the biggest oil deal ever did not just “put Exxon at risk,” as the Wall Street Journal reported in 2014. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow explained last week this deal was so big it was “expected to change the historical trajectory of Russia.”

This deal could explain why Putin appears to have interfered in U.S. elections in favor of a Trump victory. Recently, “the C.I.A. altered its formal assessment of Russia’s activities to conclude that the government of President Vladimir V. Putin was not just trying to undermine the election,” as the New York Times reported Saturday, “but had also acted to give one candidate an advantage.”

You can certainly make a plausible case, as many have, that Putin had enough motivation to interfere simply to undermine the legitimacy of U.S. elections.


But for Putin and the kleptocrats who benefit from his rule, little matters more than enriching coffers right now. It is no coincidence that just last week, Putin revealed Russia had sold a 19.5 percent stake in the Kremlin-controlled oil giant Rosnet for $11.3 billion to Qatar and others, “confounding expectations that the Kremlin’s standoff with the West would scare off major investors,” as Fortune reported in a must-read piece that connects major pieces of this puzzle.

There’s so very much to this story, the full article is at Think Progress. If for some reason, you think the Paris accord will help or make a difference, you need to go read just how easy it will be for Trump and Putin to nullify it. If for some reason, you think democracy is still alive, you need to disillusion yourself – that’s close to gone, and the celeb-elect has not yet taken office. Once he does, the the death knell sounds.


  1. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Jeebus fuck. We’re all doomed.

    This doesn’t even fall into the category of ‘what could possibly go wrong’….this is so obviously a case of humans just fucking up the planet because we can and because money!!

  2. says

    Yeah, I’m afraid it is. I honestly don’t know what to do, to wake people up. It just seems that everyone is, at the last, ready only to roll over and let what happens happen.

    I know liberals are loathe to embrace nastiness, but fuck me, something has to be done.

  3. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Y’know, I haven’t seen much coverage of this (I think literally ALL of the recent coverage of this I’ve seen came during discussion of the recent Rockefeller Family Foundation statement on Exxon/Mobil) but it’s worth bearing in mind that Exxon/Mobil is literally relying on global climate change to create the higher-temperature, ice-free conditions that are a minimum requirement of being able to get gas and oil out of the ground in most if not all of these above-the-Arctic-Circle gas/oil fields that are either underwater or on land but located on islands, not continents.

    Drilling in the arctic is hard enough, and has expenses that simply don’t apply when drilling on land in the Middle-East. Drilling in deep water is also difficult and demanding. Drilling in arctic waters and/or shipping oil and gas through arctic waters simply doesn’t have remotely the same potential economic rewards which Exxon/Mobil was anticipating from the Alaska fields in 1970*1.

    Sea ice naturally shifts on a more-or-less constant basis. This constantly threatens water drilling efforts with forces that can easily crack structural steel elements. Simultaneously, it threatens ships when standing still for taking on fossil-fuel cargo AND pipelines as they pass off land and through the surface waters that (at least seasonally) make up those layers/portions of our seas and oceans that freeze, thaw, and refreeze.

    Deep pipelines might be safe, and maybe, theoretically, you could invent an oil-drilling rig that extracts oil & gas from below the ocean bottom and shunts it to a pipeline immediately on reaching the calm waters flowing along the seafloor, without ever bringing the oil or gas up through the relatively dangerous ice layer. But we don’t have such rigs and pipelines, and we are unlikely to be able to build them any time soon. In fact, it’s likely that we will necessarily have sophisticated, at least partially-independent, robotic oil-workers that can perform their work underwater and at crushing pressures before we can create such seafloor interfaces between rock-sequestered fossil fuels pumped from tens to thousands of meters below the sea bottom and pipelines that carry oil or gas just above it.

    Thus, for decades to come, drilling and shipping oil and gas in or through arctic waters will require the fossil fuels to travel through the Arctic Ocean’s surface. Island drilling, deepwater drilling: it makes no difference. The dangers of the ocean’s surface are unavoidable.

    To make this drilling profitable, then, Exxon/Mobil needs the very conditions of the ocean’s surface waters to change. Exxon/Mobil needs a world where the Arctic Ocean does not freeze, but the global populace has not yet risen up to demand a halt to human efforts – including fossil fuel production and use – that continue to push atmospheric CO2 levels higher. They cannot wait many decades for the invention of technologies that will permit economically-efficient drilling and transport despite surface ice. Even without political action, energy production is shifting in ways that make wind, solar, and other energy-generation technologies cheaper and more convenient. Waiting decades means risking the billions they spent acquiring the legal rights to drill in vast areas of the arctic by permitting the global energy market to change in ways that make fossil fuel production unprofitable.

    But even if waiting decades didn’t risk waiting beyond the invention of new, cheap solar and battery technologies that make fossil fuels technologically obsolete, there **is**, in fact, political movement towards carbon taxes and even production bans that would make fossil fuel extraction illegal or unprofitable. And the most likely trigger for the global populace of billions to assert their collective power in ways that doom fossil fuel extraction as an economic industry? A change in temperatures and coastlines where those billions live.

    For the same reasons that make oil-transport dangerous above the arctic circle, few among those billions live in the arctic. And so the desperate hope of Exxon/Mobile is the seemingly-implausible occurrence of near-term changes in average arctic temperatures of many degrees and simultaneous drastic reductions in arctic sea ice, changes of temperature and ice coverage that are obvious on the scale of years… while over the same years, in the most populated areas of earth’s surface we see average temperatures that vary less than a degree or two and sea level varying mere centimeters over the course of each human generation.

    A world where permanent arctic changes are rapid, almost annual, and temperate-tropical changes are slow enough to evade the notice of the vast majority: this is the burning need of a corporation like Exxon/Mobil. And, lucky for them, it is precisely what we get with CO2 levels rising 1-3ppm per year. For the next decades, this is exactly the inevitable response of our earth under current trends of deforestation and carbon emission.

    For Exxon/Mobil, global climate change is not the inevitable byproduct of their business strategy.

    For Exxon/Mobil, global climate change is their business strategy.

    *1: remember that was before E/M might anticipate a reduction in costs from more favorable weather with future climate changes…but ALSO before we could remotely conceive of a carbon tax and at a time when the US government had a long history of undercharging for mineral rights and royalties. That long history has yet actually end, btw. Though the level of social/political pressure to get fair levels of rights and royalties has changed in the US, it hasn’t changed nearly enough, nor does the un/fairness of the current trends in US fees for mineral rights & royalties get remotely enough media scrutiny.

    *2: Ships built for ice-breaking primarily get that benefit while moving – such ships are reinforced sufficiently against forward-impact forces generated by plowing through ice, but not against twisting/shearing forces that build up on the sides or even bottom of the hull when water freezes and shifts around such a ship. Best case for remaining still in ice involves breaking through ice to the most extreme areas where sea ice will freeze relatively solidly and be much more likely to move as a unity than ice near an oil port where ice is periodically broken up and the ocean surface then allowed to refreeze many, many times. This results in ice blocks of differing thicknesses held together by relatively thin connective ice, which results in less predictable and less uniform ice movements.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *