Scuttling Sincere Intentions

Fights over pipelines are counterproductive distractions. Why not fight for legislation that makes the sale of fuel-burning cars and trucks illegal? German legislation like this, and it’s perfectly feasible.

Yes, I’m insensitive to so many people who work very hard, and at great personal risk, to protest pipelines. But oil companies themselves like nothing better than to have large popular movements protesting one pipeline or another, one after another (Pipeline protests in one place or another have been in the news for as long as I can remember. I remember seeing them, as a kid, in educational pamphlets about environment and government in classrooms in the 1970s)

Why would oil companies want protesters protesting pipelines? I’ll get to that. First though, what’s wrong with my attitude? I hear you:

“Your holier-than-thou attitude; your purer than fresh-fallen snow condescension; you sit at your computer…and denigrate what others do, and you’ve accomplished soooo much…”

Yes, and you sound like Jack Black saying that: “You create something! You, ca-kay-ous!”  <<< Listen, it’s funny.

Yes, I’m holier-than-thou and pure as fresh-fallen snow, condescending, and I’ve accomplished nothing. But that changes none of the facts that aren’t about me.gastransmission-hazliquidpipelinesmap

If oil companies had set out to devise a grand strategy, the purpose of which is to sap, scuttle, and waste, the time and energy of everyone interested in climate change and the necessary move away from fuel-burning energy sources, then they couldn’t have devised  a more effective method of wasting those good intentions than periodically staging pipeline protests. And the more dramatic the protests, the more intense the standoffs, the better.

Scuttling of sincere intentions

Logic alone shows this. No evidence needed. No proof of conspiracy needed.

Here’s the logic:

Q: What happens during a pipeline protest?

A: The protest movement expends a great deal of intellectual and physical energy, and must be sustained inexhaustibly to achieve its goal

Q: What impact does a pipeline protest have on the oil industry if the protest achieves its goal?

A: There is no impact on the oil industry. The pipeline will be rerouted.

Q: What if pipeline protests scale up 10x or 100x, from one pipeline to tens or hundreds of pipelines?

A: No impact on the oil industry. Oil companies reroute pipelines in some cases, and increase rail transport in others.

Protesting an oil pipeline is like protesting a branch of the internet. If you close off an internet pipe or connection, the internet just goes around. You can chase the internet all over the place but it’s everywhere. Chasing it becomes a waste, right from the start. Pipeline protests are black hole energy voids. It doesn’t matter how much energy you put into them; you never get anything in return. You pour your heart and soul and intellectual and financial and physical energy into these protests, and you never get anything back for your effort. The black hole absorbs all, scuttles all, wastes all.

The protests are designed, by oil companies, to sap and scuttle all human energy, and divert it away from all of the kinds of actions that actually could, and would, significantly reduce oil consumption, and positively impact climate change. For example: action that demands new laws that make the sale of new fuel-burning cars and trucks illegal after a certain date, say 2025ish, or 2030, like this, , German, and proposed EU legislation. This article came up in a Facebook discussion, “Germany wants gas-powered cars banned in Europe”

Someone responded,

“I need something for US or California :/

The answer there is, you may have to create it.

I haven’t heard of anything comparable in the US.

Instead we protest pipelines.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I took some criticism on this post, and clarified my opinion in response:

  2. Marc Middleton
    With regard to Q 2 and 3, of course they will reroute. At its core this is a NIMBY argument. Bismark wanted nothing to do with the DAPL, that’s why it was rerouted through Standing Rock. Closer to home (for me) the Sabal Trail pipeline mirrors all others. It is carefully routed following the path of least resistance – eg the property of those least able to fight and through environmentaly sensitive State lands our legislature is more than willing to green light. It meanders as far as possible from our wealthy areas.

    You seem to suggest that the demand for environmetaly cleaner options for autos, electricity et al and the protests over pipelines are mutually exclusive. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Would you have written this and anti-women’s march posts if not for the protests themselves? I would guess not and there’s the rub. It gets people talking about the issues surrounding it. Be it equal rights, income inequality, BLM, healhcare foriegn policy et al.

    In short I would much rather see an actively involved citizenry than worry about where some of the motivation came from or whether they are “doing it right”.

    Rob Snyder
    I’m not worried about the motivation. Pipeline protests have zero effect on the oil industry even when the protest succeeds. Therefore, the protest is wasted effort. We’ve seen pipeline protests since you and I were both in elementary school in the 70s (they were written up in school pamphlets). Every one, useless

    Rob Snyder
    In other words I agree, they are not mutually exclusive. People can do whatever they want to but if they want to be effective, they have to do things that are effective

    Answering your question, yes, I would have written it. I want the flow of oil to dwindle and the drive for pipeline expansion to collapse. Therefore I want effective action instead of wasted effort.

    Marc Middleton
    Of course the protesters would want an end to all pipelines. However that does not make the protest in and of itself futile. No one wants it near them and that is what this is all about. The Sabal Palm will run through my region, but it won’t come too close. I am surrounded by far too valuable real estate/development. I would not however begrudge someone 25 miles from me beint furious about it and feeling the need to do something – anything to prevent it.

    Rob Snyder
    That’s a good point. I acknowledge that point. Perfectly legitimate to protest the location of a pipeline to try to prevent its construction near you. That’s good. But that’s not something that will have any negative impact on the oil industry, and it will have no positive impact on climate change. I think it will help climate change activism to be clear about that. Moving pipelines will not help the climate. Forcing ALL pipelines to be shut down, nor even a small fraction of all, is unachievable. But legislation that moves the entire surface transport industry to non-petroleum energies, that will have a strong positive affect on the environment, and the oil flowing through pipelines will dwindle and the oil industry will build fewer pipelines

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