Bernie Sanders, prostitution, and fossil fuels – three things that will never go away

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“Hello, this is 9-1-1, how may I assist you?”

“I’d like to report a major criminal enterprise and see the perpetrators thrown in jail.”

“…is someone in imminent danger? Because this is an emergency line and perhaps you want to speak with the police to launch an investigation.”

“No, this is indeed an emergency, caused entirely by these criminals. It was just in the news. A front-running US presidential candidate said that the fossil fuel industry is conducting criminal activity that is destroying the planet and it can’t be allowed to continue. Sounds like an emergency to me.”

“I’m not sure that hearing that in the news constitutes an emergency…”

“Well, it is. It was Bernie Sanders and he says we have to deal with these criminal organizations and save the planet.”

“I’m sorry but this is an emergency hotline. Abusing it is a criminal offence. Oh lord, did you say…save the planet? Are you the one that called a few weeks ago about the climate emergency?”

“Morning sunshine! How’ve you been?”

[Soft sound of a forehead hitting a desk] “How did you wind up in my queue…”

“I just kept calling until I recognized your voice.”

“You did what??? How many times did you call?”

“Only about 10 or 12 times. I thought it would be more efficient dealing with the same person since we made some progress last time.”

“No we did not! And do you know what calling and then hanging up on an emergency line does? It’s terrible! We don’t know what’s going on, if someone is in danger or what. What you did may have caused a great deal of pandemonium – “

“Excellent. Glad to hear I’m shaking things up. We need to instill fear, that’s the only way to save the climate. That and taking down this criminal organization.

“This is outrageous. And serious. I’m going to have to report this to the authorities. You are making a mockery of an emergency response service.”

“Oh, you’ve forgotten haven’t you… I’m enforcing the edicts of our own federal government, who declared a climate emergency. Do your authorities top that?”

[Forehead-hitting-desk sound becoming more frequent and less muffled]

“So what do you want me to do about this criminal organization?”

“Ok good! Now we’re back in business. But now that you mention it, I never really thought about what we should do to actually charge these criminals. Glad you brought that up. Well, we know they’re criminals because they’re killing the planet. So let’s just work from there.”

“What crimes did they commit?”

“THEY’RE KILLING THE PLANET. Aren’t you listening?”

“You need to be a bit more specific. I don’t even know how you’d kill a rock never mind a planet.”

“It’s all around us! It’s hotter sometimes. And colder in winter sometimes. And sometimes there’s too much rain or not enough rain. There’s more, like, weather. Bad weather. Well sometimes it’s good weather. But you know what I mean. Everything is more extreme. And the planet is getting hotter. Stuff like that.”

“I’m failing to see the crime though. You’re accusing an industry of changing the weather?”

“Yes. Well no, it’s not that simple. It’s complicated. Don’t you read the news?”

“Not if I can help it.”

“Not even Twitter?”

“Oh God.”

“Well if you would have you would have heard Senator Sanders explain this, and not a single other candidate disagreed with him.”

“Fine. What exactly is the criminal organization? Would you like the police to investigate?”

“Excellent place to start. I just grabbed a fresh cappuccino so let’s get to work! The organization is the fossil fuel industry.”

[Forehead-pounding noise has stopped, replaced by long low moan muffled through possibly a crooked arm or some soft object in which a face is buried]

“I…I…i don’t even know where to start. I’ve used fossil fuels a few times already today and its not even 8:30.”

“Nope, you’re wrong. You’ve used them dozens of times already today. That’s the problem! This massive criminal organization supplies them and got us hooked on them.”

“So you want to press charges against the entire industry?”

“Yes! No. Yes. I don’t know. I can’t remember exactly how Bernie put it…It’s a whole bunch of industries. Fossil fuels is a big umbrella, you know. There’s of course Big Oil, we need to throw the book at them, but all the pieces are part of the problem. Coal, natural gas, pipelines, refineries – we’ve got to stop all of them. Or we’re doomed.”

“So who are you going to charge, specifically? The leaders? Management? The board of directors?”

“…never thought about that exactly…I’m assuming the whole lot of them. They’re all complicit. I mean, anyone involved in producing or transporting it. Bernie didn’t get into details. He’s a visionary, he doesn’t actually do things.”

“But that would include millions of people around the world. Kind of a big operation to charge them all isn’t it? And wouldn’t that, you know, cut off the fuel supply for everything we do? I mean, I need gas to travel, and heat for my home, and, well, like you said, there are countless ways we rely on that stuff.”

“Stop defending those criminals. If you read the news you’d know that renewable energy is taking over. There are windmills and solar panels everywhere.”

“I’ve seen them. But I also see millions of regular cars and everyone’s driving a pickup truck nowadays and there doesn’t seem to be any shortage of air travellers. Anyway we’re getting off track. What is the criminal activity exactly? You need to be specific or else you’ll just sound like a crazy person.”

“Oh really? I’m trying to save your life! And that of your kids! Does that sound crazy to you? But it appears you’re some kind of bureaucrat so I’ll play along. The criminal activity is producing fossil fuels, because that is what’s killing the planet. There is pretty much a universal consensus on this now.”

“So it’s the producers of fossil fuels you’re going after, right?”

“Exactly. Studies have shown they are responsible for most of the man-made CO2 in the air.”

“OK, I think I’m getting on to what you’re saying. It’s the producers that are the problem. It’s kind of like the old prostitution dilemma, where it is illegal to purchase sexual services but legal to sell them. Like, legal to be a prostitute but illegal to be a customer. Except the fossil fuel situation is the other way around. Just as unfathomable but the other way around.”

“…kind of…as long as in whatever you said the producer of fossil fuels is the criminal.”

“Got it. And us, the consumers of fossil fuels, are not the criminals.”

“Exactly! Because I can’t live without them.”

“But then that’s kind of a problem, isn’t it? I mean, if it’s burning fossil fuels that is actually creating climate change, but you need them to live, I don’t see how making criminals out of producers will do anything but make it impossible for you to live.”

“Argh! This is so exasperating. Who do you think you are, Stephen Hawking? Look. Stop thinking and do something. Haven’t you heard this time after time after time in the news, from the UN, from Swedish children, from movie stars? We need to panic, and we need to act, they say it pretty clearly.”

“Panic then act – that’s the sort of thinking that keeps 9-1-1 busy! Sorry, a little gallows humour there.”

“I don’t see anything funny here at all. There will be no civilization left in 20 years if we don’t act. So what are you going to do? Are you part of the solution or part of the problem?”

“Well, I can’t deny that you’re acting consistently with what the federal government seems to be saying. I don’t know how to get around this, so let’s think about it. First we’re going to have to gather some evidence.”

“Now we’re talking.”

“Hmm. This is indeed complicated…oh wait, I think I see what we have to do. We have to document all the instances where the fossil fuel industry produces products that are harming the environment, but we need to exclude any of the fossil fuels that benefit consumers. It’s not fair to them. Because like you pointed out, it’s illegal to produce fossil fuels but not to consume them. So the criminal activity must center on those fossil fuels produced that aren’t being consumed by consumers, or that benefit them. Want to get started? And remember, the more the better.”

“Good plan! Absolutely, it’s not the consumers fault so we’ll exclude them and what they require. And the rest…well I guess they all benefit consumers somehow…wait a minute…this is all very confusing…”

“It sure is isn’t it. Are you sure you want to go ahead with pursuing criminal investigation?”

“I…think so…Senior US politicians wouldn’t say anything crazy, would they?”

“I’m speechless.”

“This is going to take some thought. Can you tell me your name so I can get through quickly nex-“

[Click]

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3 Comments

  1. Gary D. says:

    Here’s one that maybe should be investigated.

    In mid-2008, the then government of the province of British Columbia (Canada) issued a document called “Climate Action Plan”.

    It starred the then premier of the province and one of his cabinet ministers.

    They declared, in essence, that they were going to act to mitigate so-called Climate Change.

    Today, in British Columbia, its government applies a carbon tax of 128% on domestic natural gas use.

    “Give us da’ money or the Earth gets it.”

    Like

  2. sammy says:

    It is impossible to get rid of all fossil fuels. However we can look to reduce out dependence on them. First we must get rid of coal. It emits about 50% more carbon than natural gas. Instead of the government subsidizing coal it should look to increase subsidize to wind energy. Utilities are all in on wind. Wind now represents about 7% of the total US energy production, a huge increase from even a decade ago. Those two changes will significantly reduce are carbon output, make electric cars greener, and slow down global warming.

    Like

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