Motive For Deliberately Causing Global Warming

Bill McKibben points to this LA Times article about what Exxon knew decades ago about global warming, noting that this story has made him as angry as never before in 28 years of working on the issue.

The article describes internal efforts at Exxon to predict what global warming would mean for their business.

And some of these effects would be positive. That’s true for drilling in the Arctic. A warmer Arctic means more days of drilling season, reducing cost. The article notes that the Arctic holds 13 percent of the planet’s undiscovered oil, and one third of untapped gas.

Unfortunately, from the point of someone who would like to drill for all that gas and oil, there is a lot of ice in the way. Having that melt would make it easier to get at those reserves.

That of course means that Exxon had a motive for deliberately causing global warming. Not as an inconvenient byproduct of their business, but as a strategic goal. Warm up the planet to get at those Arctic reserves.

Kindly note that I am not in any way asserting that some evil mastermind at Exxon actually actively pursued a strategy of deliberately warming up the planet. I am just stating that, given the facts reported in that article, they would have had a motive to do so.

The idea might make for an interesting global warming novel.

On the other hand, I already wrote a novel about the evil motivation for deliberately causing global warming, and it is heating up the planet for the purpose of running a television show.

And the motive above is actually rather weak. So what if costs of drilling in the Arctic go down. They go down for everyone in the industry. In contrast to Jules Verne’s novel plot, Exxon has not “bought the North Pole”.

In contrast, causing a mild case of global warming and have the politicians enact laws that restrict oil production as a countermeasure would be a much better motive.

That’s because such laws would work to bring oil prices up. It would work like a cartel, but without the need to violate antitrust laws and worry about enforcement.

The only problem with that motive is that it would require much more evil genius than the oil industry has.

They don’t even seem to understand the opportunity to make some massive profits from asking for laws requiring production quotas.


Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003,

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