In Australia, the US and Britain, young people calling for urgent climate action are being arrested and jailed. Harsh new laws are being passed to prohibit free expression of opinion about climate and fossil fuels on the internet.
At COP26, the largest single delegation was from the fossil fuels sector with 508 representatives, compared to 165 from the USA, 312 from Russia, 279 from Canada, 134 from India and 60 from China. Petrodelegates outnumbered the largest country delegation, Brazil with 479, ramming home the message that fossil fuels are not just a "country" - they are a superpower.
The political muscle of the petro sector (coal-oil-gas-petrochemicals) is flexed publicly almost every day. Politicians from a dozen countries and different parties chant the same carefully scripted anti-climate-action "talking points", like the trained parrots they have become. Social media is awash with industry-funded bots, trolls and agents of disinformation.
Meanwhile governments pour billions of taxpayer dollars into the pockets of fossil fuel barons - over $420bn in 2020 alone, according to the BBC. So corrupted has politics worldwide become that it now freely spends its citizens' hard-earned money on destroying the very climate all humans rely on for their survival. Many countries now spend more on subsidies to the petro sector than they do on renewable energy. Many countries who vowed to act on climate at COP26 were at the same time opening up new coal, oil and gas fields.
Worldwide the petro sector is tightening its grip on politics and locking in its power base. Collectively the sector is worth $7 trillion a year, making it the third largest economy on Earth after the US (GDP $17tr) and China ($10tr), an autocratic superpower without borders but with global reach into every government on Earth.
In tweaking the reins of government in countries autocratic, democratic and in between, the petro sector pursues three agendas:
At the same time, the petro sector is anxious to cover up the worst crime against humanity in history: the needless deaths of up to 13.7 million people every year due to environmental poisoning caused by the toxic pollution of air, water, food and living environment. According to the World Health Organisation, one person in four now dies as a result of this chemical assault, and 602 million are crippled by it. This is twice the annual death toll in World War II.
Transcending the tired and obsolescent nationalism of the 20th century, a new, unelected global political force is arising - the seizure and exercise of world power by corporate macro-interests, whose wealth and influence far outmatches those of the atrophying nation states they are gradually replacing. Being corporate, however, they do not wish to govern the whole of society - only the bits from which they draw their profit and powerbase. For education, health, equality, the environment, they care not a fig. About the fate of humanity, they give not a damn.
It is time this force had a name and, with its increasingly brutal exercise of physical and mental control over the citizenry, petro-fascism seems appropriate. Our police, our media, even our militaries and courts are being turned against their own citizens to serve the interests of fossil fuels corporates, with the naked compliance of the cabinets, parliaments and media it has already suborned.
Some may argue that fascism, as a concept, applies only to countries - not to industries. However, consider its main features:
Many, if not all of these defining features apply equally to the rising potency, influence and control exerted by the petro sector. It may be more a global economic consortium than a nation state - but so what, if its methods are those of autocracy? If it leaves the same boot-prints on the face of society, to borrow the Orwellian image?
One of its most heinous tactics is to employ disinformation to so confuse the citizenry that they do not know what is going on or whom to vote for. The climate lie-factories funded by big US coal barons have now metastasised into a global industry, using a range of psychological warfare tactics to deceive, misinform and distract the populace. Recent studies indicate the five oil majors alone spend $200m a year buying political influence. The fact that governments then pay the petro sector $420bn a year makes it a pretty lucrative exercise.
By denying the public the right to understand the very real threats which now confront us and take timely action to remedy them, the petro sector is denying humanity the right to survive.
That their own grandchildren will perish is of less importance to them than today's "shareholder value". Meanwhile, through our parliaments and leaders, they will continue to deploy the methods of brute force and brainwashing against the young, the clean and the valiant, until all hope is erased.
The age of the petrofascist has begun.
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