It’s a tragic truth that some people are willing to inflict unfathomable suffering and death for the sake of power and wealth. From Russia’s aggression in Ukraine to the push for continued climate-altering fossil fuel expansion, selfish gain means more to some than the health and well-being of our children and grandchildren and those yet to be born.
Take the decades-spanning efforts to downplay and deny the evidence of human-caused climate disruption—efforts that have accelerated in recent days, as the fossil fuel industry and its political and media allies cynically use the Russia-Ukraine crisis to advocate for increased development and expansion of the products and infrastructure they tout.
Alberta’s premier tweeted, “Now if Canada really wants to help defang Putin, then let’s get some pipelines built.” He fails to acknowledge that the pipes are largely being made by a company 60 percent owned by Russian oligarchs—one with close ties to Putin—and that the Alberta Investment Management Corporation owns half a million shares of a Russian investment fund whose largest holdings are in Russian fossil fuel companies Gazprom, Sberbank, and Lukoil.
He did halt Russian alcohol sales, though (which is mostly just Russian Standard vodka, not really popular in Alberta).
UN secretary-general António Guterres had a more rational take, tweeting: “As current events make all too clear, our reliance on fossil fuels makes the global economy & our energy security vulnerable to geopolitical crises. Instead of slowing down decarbonization, now is the time to accelerate the transition to a renewable energy future.”
The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, explains the dangers of deception: “Rhetoric and misinformation on climate change and the deliberate undermining of science have contributed to misperceptions of the scientific consensus, uncertainty, disregarded risk and urgency, and dissent.”