Environment Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader: Dishonoring Earth Day 2022 with An Oil, Gas, Coal & Nuclear Heyday

Washington is silent on using taxes on fossil-fuel price profiteering for more wind, solar and the little mentioned energy conservation retrofits of buildings throughout the U.S.
With Barrow On Soar power station generating away in the background 66066 hoves into view with 6M57 Lindsey to Kingsbury loaded petroleum.

By Ralph Nader / Nader.org

Instead of championing solar, wind and conservation energy, the GOP (Greedy Old Party) is championing the skyrocketing profits and prices for the omnicidal fossil fuel and atomic power companies.

Surging gasoline prices at the pump are not met with excess profits taxes on profit-glutted Big Oil. Rather the GOP and the Democrats are suspending taxes on gasoline sales that are used to repair roads and bridges. An excess profits tax could be used to provide rebates to consumers who are being gouged at the pump.

The case for an excess profits tax is made in a new report, Big Oil’s Wartime Bonus: How Big Oil Turns Profits Into Wealth, April 5, 2022, by Bailout Watch, Public Citizen and Friends of the Earth. Profits (and stocks) of companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron zoomed so much that Big Oil, not wanting to moderate their wholesale prices, have spent $45 billion of your money to buy back their stocks this past year and increase the compensation of their bosses.

Unleashing their lobbying forces in Washington, Big Oil and Gas are demanding, the report relates, “faster approval for natural gas pipelines … and increased drilling on public lands and waters.” Biden is opening up more oil and gas leases on public lands even though he reported some 9000 leases already granted are still not being utilized by the oil and gas companies.

The Biden administration is spending $6 billion to shore up aging nuclear plants that safety advocates say should be mothballed.

Washington is silent on using taxes on fossil-fuel price profiteering for more wind, solar and the little mentioned energy conservation retrofits of buildings throughout the U.S. The energy savings and renewable approach would be faster, cleaner, produce more jobs and benefit more directly to Main and Elm Streets USA.

The becalmed Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission should swing into bold action under their anti-monopoly and consumer protection authorities.

It shouldn’t have taken Consumer Watchdog in California to sound the alarm on the price manipulation by the five big oil refiners that control 96 percent of the gasoline made in California, led by Chevron. Jamie Court, the dynamic president of Consumer Watchdog, declared: “with California taxes and environmental fees adding about 60 cents per gallon, Californians have long wondered where the extra $1.50 per gallon more they are paying than other US drivers (from 5 to 7 dollars per gallon) goes, and with this legislation (SB1322) we will finally know. California has been an ATM for oil refiners for too long. SB1322 requires California oil refiners to document monthly how much they pay for the average barrel of crude oil they process into gasoline and how much they charge for the barrel of finished gasoline. At 42 gallons per barrel, we will then know how much they are making per gallon of gasoline sold in California, and be able to take back the excessive profits.” That is, assuming the completely Democratic Party dominated California state legislature enacts this legislation.

If Democrats do not stand tall in going after gasoline price inflation and other price gouging, the GOP will succeed in putting the blame on the Dems in the November elections. Washington is decades late in cutting our addiction to fossil fuels that are causing the climate crises.

On the first Earth Day in April 1970, over 1500 demonstrations against air, water and pesticide pollution were held on college campuses around the country. With the onset of the omnicidal fossil-fuel-driven climate catastrophes, leading to even more virulent wildfires, hurricanes, droughts and floods, the college campuses are now too silent, the streets are too empty, and the Congress too somnolent.

Congress is on another vacation this week so citizens should be buttonholing their representatives back home and pressing them to take action to counter the fossil fuel industry’s greed and to move toward a clean energy future.

Except for the far too small number of authentic advocates pressing decision-makers in government and industry to “follow the science”, the country’s officials appear too resigned, too attentive to short-term campaign money and political myopia to be stewards of the people, the natural environment and the planet.

If these power brokers need any more evidence of the ominous threat to humanity and its tiny planet, they should read the latest assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said humanity has a “brief and rapidly closing window” to head off a hotter, deadly future.” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the world is “sleepwalking to climate catastrophe” as the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and lack of political willpower undermine the necessity to cut greenhouse gas pollution by about half before 2030 and get rid of the carbon footprint by 2050.

It is not as if an abused Nature is not warning homo sapiens daily with unprecedented intensifications of its deadly outbursts and disruptions all around the world.

Once again, given the way our government is structured, it is the Congress – with just 535 members – which can become the rapid engine of energy transformation to the readily known renewable solutions. Solar panels are now seen on rooftops, and windmills on hillsides. Energy efficient technologies are affordable and abundant. Unfortunately, the GOP blocked the infrastructure proposals for clean energy proposed by Biden and the Democrats. Will the voters remember in November?

You know the Congressional switchboard number: 202-224-3121. Summon your representatives to your own town hall meetings and directly confront their desire for re-election in the fall. Tell them, for the sake of the world, their country and their state, it is time to shake off whatever invisible chains are around them and do what they and most of America knows has to be done. A clean energy future is better for the climate, the economy, the health and consumer pocketbooks of ALL THE PEOPLE, regardless of their self-described political labels.

When it comes to the ravaging climate disruptions, all people bleed the same color. Summon your Senators and Representatives directly to your community. (See my book, Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think, Pages 144-145).

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader is one of America’s most effective social critics. His analyses and advocacy have enhanced public awareness and increased government and corporate accountability. And his example has inspired a whole generation of consumer advocates, citizen activists, and public interest lawyers who in turn have established their own organizations throughout the country.

24 comments

  1. You tell um Ralph!
    For all the good it will do.
    sigh.

    “The Environment must become our Priority”
    Bernie Sanders

  2. Good article, except I don’t agree with Nader about nuclear. I believe it is the best way to get away from fossil fuels., which are bad for the climate and are in limited supply. In spite of three horrible accidents with 40 year old designs, nuclear has overall the best safety record of any energy-generating method. It deserves a second look.

    1. Agreed. Thorium reactors cannot melt down, cannot produce nuclear weapons material. They are less expensive to build and operate. Their waste is not as problematic as conventional reactors. Waste is a long-term problem, climate change is near-term, happening now.

      Fossil fuel pollution kills man more people than all the nuclear accidents combined, but the failures have been spectacular, while the fossil fuel deaths are “silent.”

      A capitalist-run society cannot deal with these issues rationally because political power is in the hands of the owners. This applies to the GOP, a denial force, and the Democrats, a “moderate” and ultimately ineffective party whose main product is virtue-signalling.,

      Only an overthrow and replacement of capitalism can “save the planet.”

    2. To David,
      “3 horrible accidents” – of course that’s not counting all the radioactive pollution around the Hanford site, the “sacrifice zones” in the areas, primarily on Native lands, where uranium is mined, the tritium released in air and water from nuke plant sites – the question of what to do with radioactive waste – that generations will suffer from in terms of cancer and other health conditions – hey, “other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how do you like the play?”
      Those areas, in their long term effects, are mini Chernobyls …
      We can’t keep them “safe”, there will be more accidents and now that idiot Gates is pushing for mini-nuke plants all over – with “new technologies”. Good grief!

      1. SH – I am aware of your concerns, some real but exaggerated, but there have been developments since. Look into them, and examine the total history of nuclear power. Nuclear is getting a second look in many countries, and has been the first choice in France for yearswith excellent results. As for ambient radiation, burning coal has been more of a problem than even older design nuclear power plants. See https://www.epa.gov/radtown/radioactive-wastes-coal-fired-power-plants

      2. @David Ecklein
        There are other major problems with nukes that SH didn’t mention. Uranium mines not only add radioactivity to our atmosphere — and keep in mind that there is NO safe level of ionizing radiation, and that ANY additional amount of it is harmful — but at least as important, they are massive destruction of formerly natural land, and killing of the native plants and animals who live there. Have you ever seen a uranium mine? No one talks about this issue except for the Natives who work in the mines and those who have to live near them and suffer the consequences, and real environmentalists who advocate for the Earth and all the life here.

        Another major issue that SH did mention is nuclear waste, for which there is no solution. This crap will be around until the sun burns out and Andromeda crashes into our solar system.

        As to accidents, yes, they’re unlikely. But they do happen, and when they do, they’re catastrophic. Nothing with the potential to cause this amount of harm should ever be considered as a source of energy, though the real problem is “energy” itself, see below.

        What you are doing, and which the vast majority of people addressing this issue are doing, is advocating for your unnatural and hideously destructive lifeSTYLE instead of advocating for life. Adults should understand that nothing in life is free, that everything comes from something, and that all actions have equal and opposite reactions (in life in general, not just in physics). The only real choices are to live naturally in balance with your ecosystem and the Earth, or to live unnaturally as we now do and destroy and kill everything around.

      3. To David,
        From your citation: “The amount of natural radiation in wastes from coal-fired power plants is so small that no precautions need to be taken.”

        Nuclear is an accident waiting to happen – we haven’t seen the last of Fukushima

    3. Especially thorium reactors which can be safely designed while being much more efficient than uranium

      1. @Vulxn
        Nuclear is not an answer to anything and just causes more problems. Uranium mines destroy entire ecosystems, mining uranium and using it in nuclear reactors both emit radioactivity, there is no way to dispose of the massive amounts of nuclear waste that these damn things produce, and nuclear power plants are extremely dangerous (not because the chance of an accident is high, but because of the great harm that an accident causes, like Chernobyl and Fukushima, the latter of which is STILL emitting massive amounts of radioactive water into the Pacific ocean). If you think that nukes are so great, you should go live in a uranium mine, then get back to us a year later if you’re still alive.

        As I said on this thread, the only way to fix these types of problems is to live a lot more simply and naturally. Instead, humans prioritize their lifeSTYLE over life itself, and childishly fantasize that there’s some magical technology that will allow us to live unnaturally while not harming the planet or the life on it. Sorry bub, no such thing.

      2. So where are these “safe reactors”? Show me one that has been operating for awhile …

      3. SH – Actually, a thorium reactor was first in operation at Oak Ridge for some time before Nixon had it shut down in favor of uranium-based designs. As far as I know, there are none in regular operation today in the US. Regular commercial operation would involve an approval process which right now is set up for uranium-style reactors. China and India supposedly have operational thorium reactors in trial stage. There are some private efforts in the US to reintroduce this technology in a practical way. https://flibe-energy.com/ is one; although privately held, they have gotten some support from the US Department of Energy. If you google “thorium reactor”, you will get more information, plus some pros and cons. It is still a work in progress, but with huge implications.

      4. SH- Actually, it has been a waste product from rare earth mining. Monazite sand is a source. Some has been used in alloys in electron tube filaments. Also, its oxide was used in gas lanterns and furnaces, as it has a very high melting point. There is about four times as much thorium in the world as uranium, but it is not evenly distributed. India has a lot of thorium in sand, but they must import their uranium, so they are very interested in the thorium cycle. China has the world’s largest supply of rare earths, and thorium, although not a rare earth, is usually associated with them in ores. See https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/monazite-sand
        https://thoriumtheanswer.weebly.com/past–present-uses.html
        Lots of other factual material can be had on the internet. Opinions are also prevalent!

      5. @SH
        This is BS propaganda and/or fantasizing from pro-nuclear people. Thorium reactors are a theory, not reality. Their previous fantasy was fusion reactors that would only require an initial input of fuel and run forever without producing radioactive waste. Those who honestly believe this and are fantasizing simply don’t understand that in life you can’t get something from nothing, and that therefore living unnaturally, in this case industrially, requires destruction of the natural environment and killing those living there.

  3. Many thanks Ralph Nader for your persistence and intelligence. I write, petition and call my congressional reps
    regularly. I am dismayed by friends disinclined to talk about all the awful political stuff because it is “upsetting and there’s nothing to be done” and a new wrinkle “the current situations are a repeat of the past all due to human nature which you can’t do anything about” and “I’m an outlier and or apolitical” which drive me nuts and it is all I can do to keep my mouth from saying THAT my beloved sister or brother simply isn’t a viable option if you have one scintilla of gratitude for the gift of life itself and the white privileged existence that enabled you to get an education, decent work, and an agreeable amount of protection and safety for you and your kids from harm all of your long life stop your chickenshit attitude and give back by standing up for what made your and your adult children’s and grandchildren’s quality of life possible. Urgggh.

  4. Firstly, Bitten is the most Repugnant Dementiacrap the Establishment Dementiacraps = Repugnants could dig up. His four decades record speaks for itself: he was consistently to the right of Raygun. In addition to authoring some of the most odious legislation, he supported the repeal of Glass-Steagal and deregulation of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. If that wasn’t bad enough, Bitten has been an inveterate warmonger, supporting and advocating every illegal US/NATO invasion from the late 20th century to the present.

    Bitten’s fingerprints are all over the shitshow that Ukraine is today. How can he fire or ask for the resignation of comatose incomp Merrick Garland who refuses to appoint Special Counsels to investigate the defrauding and near overthrow of the US government when the DoJ is investigating his son for tax evasion and money laundering.? Bitten himself may be tangentially implicated in the money laundering crimes. Bitten wanted a war and wouldn’t take no for an answer. His Big Oil and war profiteering donors would never countenance Russia supplying 70% of Europe’s energy capacity cheaply. How do you kill a pipeline that you’ve tried to stop for years that is already completed, loaded, ready to go online pending some pro forma paperwork? You start a war. Bitten killed diplomacy, shepherded the destruction of Minsk 1 and 2 and poured gasoline on the fire shipping thousands of tons of lethal weapons to Ukraine while providing advisors to a huge Ukraine offensive against the autonomous regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. The shelling had already resumed before and after the Russians recognized the independence of those regions.

    Bitten’s coitus of off-shore leases were interrupted by a federal court. His social spending and infrastructure bills that he pretended to support were reduced to sawdust and then the sawdust torched. Just as he offers no off-ramp from the insanity he orchestrated in Europe, he has no initiative to invest in clean, renewable, sustainable energy and production technologies that are also exportable. This is because the polluters are in charge of the National Security State and they are driving us on one hand toward Armageddon and on the other to climate change extinction.

    1. Indeed, Bitten is biting us, as Trumpty-Dumpty has been scrambling us – both D/R parties are fundamentally corrupt and gotta go …

      My problem with Ralph, for whom i voted 4 times, is that he has ceased promoting 3rd parties have not been corrupted by Big Money – parties who represent what most of us need and want ..

  5. Excellent column on what humans are doing wrong (fossil fuels, pollution, ruining public lands & waters, etc.). But more of the Green New Deal lies about what we need to do to fix things. Nader made a brief mention of conservation, but greatly reducing consumption by living a lot more simply and naturally needs to be the No. 1 solution (along with greatly lowering human population), not just one thing in a list of false solutions that will do at least as much and possibly more harm. No one ever talks about the massive mining, destruction of lands and waters, and toxic pollution that massively changing our infrastructure from fossil fuels to wind & solar would cause. Nader is right that politicians are doing nothing about global warming/climate change, but he’s wrong about what he thinks they should be doing.

    1. Agree, consumer capitalism has to be stopped – it is a plague on the planet

      1. @horatio
        When I said “living a lot more simply and naturally,” I meant a LOT more, like before industrial society, and even before any mining. After all, industrial society is by far the biggrest cause of global warming/climate change, and the only way to fix it is to stop living industrially. Capitalism must be abolished because its requirement of ever more consumption and growth is a cancer on the planet, but this goes way beyond getting rid of capitalism.

  6. Soon after Earth Day started, Exxon became its biggest sponsor. That’s emblematic of the greenwashing which has since turned environmental movements and organizations into philanthrocapitalist colonies of the NGO/nonprofit industrial complex; above all advancing corporate class sponsorship of global warming/climate change narrative and agenda designed, among other Problem-Reaction-Solution plans, to transition working class masses into depopulation and Hunger-Games austerity from powered-down alternative energies like solar and wind, owned and controlled by the same oligarchs who preside over fossil fuels, while all the more reserving nonrenewable supplies of fossil fuels, if not reviving nuclear energy, for their own interests.

    Forget Earth Day, which dishonors us with deception and misdirection. We need revolution across the earth to save ourselves from those who are out to own and control it all by turning the planet into one big prison of the biosecurity state, from pandemic to climate change lockdowns.

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