The woke mob has moved on from Aaron Rodgers to find something new to stuff into the “cancel culture casket.” That something is poor, misunderstood fossil fuels.
In an official submission to the United Nations, a coalition of major gas exporters decried the “ongoing reductionism and cancel culture on hydrocarbons.” Please pour one out for these misunderstood sources of energy that have overheated the atmosphere and put humanity at risk.
The statement came in the wake of climate talks that wrapped in Glasgow on Saturday. Observer groups and countries send their thoughts to the UN during and after climate talks wrap each year. Most are pretty bland, but the Gas Exporting Countries Forum’s (GECF) stands out for containing what is, I feel fairly confident in saying, the first or one of the first mentions of cancel culture in an official communication to the UN’s climate division.
The GECF is an umbrella group for 19 countries that have major natural gas reserves. According to the statement, they represent 70% of all proven reserves on Earth.
The statement contains typical diplomatic language, heaping praise on the UK for hosting talks that featured “excellent arrangement and warm hospitality,” calling now a “critical time” for humanity in the wake of the pandemic, and noting that gas has “embedded itself in all important discussions” around energy. Blah blah blah, in other words. But the statement goes off into a bizarre tangential ending that adds to the fever dream of modern life:
“Notwithstanding the ongoing reductionism and cancel culture on hydrocarbons, the GECF aspires to present a balanced energy-transition roadmap for a constructive debate that will enable policymakers to instigate and, perhaps, lead a realistic energy transition.”
Yes, a group of 19 countries just felt the urge to tell the UN about the “cancel culture on hydrocarbons,” as if this is somehow a real problem and not the fact that we are in midst of the sixth mass extinction tied to said hydrocarbons.
The best available science from groups like the International Energy Agency, which was founded to help prop up the supply of fossil fuels, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is stocked with very staid scientists, shows that hydrocarbon use needs to end to protect the climate. This decade will be pivotal to decreasing the world’s reliance on oil, gas, and coal. The pact signed in Glasgow mentions coal and fossil fuel subsidies for the first time, but it’s hardly forceful enough to end them.
Yet here are the world’s biggest gas producers invoking cancel culture like they hope to get a 2,000-word feature in Bari Weiss’ newsletter. (Maybe they can endow a professorship at her “university.”)
Even more farcical is that the GECF letter paints the country members as working really hard on the solution. We shouldn’t be canceling these countries, we should be uplifting and empowering them, they say. “The gas industry, including in the GECF Member countries, is fully engaged in adopting practices and developing technology options that support the decarbonisation potential of natural gas, including carbon capture, utilisation and sequestration (CCUS) methods and production of blue hydrogen and ammonia from natural gas,” the statement says.
There are just a few things I’d like to note. The “u” is CCUS means that the carbon dioxide is injected into the ground to extract more fossil fuels. Blue hydrogen is a scam. And despite being committed to the whole reducing emissions thing, only six of the 19 countries that are part of the GECF signed onto a pledge the climate talks to reduce methane emissions from gas 30% by 2030. The pledge is the barest minimum, with zero penalties for failing to meet it. And yet.
The cancel culture line brings to mind Republican talking points about how banks not funding Arctic oil and gas exploration was akin to redlining, a racist banking practice, or how the Texas legislature blacklisted companies that didn’t show sufficient slavish love of fossil fuels. At the risk of stating something obvious, fossil fuels are not victims, they’re the perpetrators of so much damage to the climate. (I mean, technically it’s the companies and countries extracting them doing the damage since the fuels themselves are not sentient, but I digress.)
Anyways, one of the GECF members is Egypt, which is hosting next year’s climate talks. We’re already off to a great start.