[A version of this article originally appeared in The London Economic]
An oxymoron is a figure of speech that contradicts itself. Examples include “authentic replica”, “acting naturally” and “unbiased opinion”.
“The Energy and Climate Change Committee are investigating how to maximise the economic recovery of oil and gas” is another example.
As global warming spirals out of control, politicians tasked with the explicit responsibility of managing the government’s response to climate change, are focusing their efforts on making sure we extract and burn as much oil and gas as possible.
Just yesterday in parliament, fossil fuel representatives explained how the discovery of new oil reserves was at a sixty-year low. “The revenues have gone out of the industry,” cried one chief executive. Some companies are “fighting for survival”, cried another.
With no sense of irony, the Chief Executive of Oil and Gas UK proclaimed that a lack of exploration for oil and gas was “not sustainable”.
Some people would argue that an unsustainable fossil fuel industry might be a price worth paying for a sustainable planetary atmosphere and its human civilisation. But not the British government.
Our government seem determined to make sure that every last drop of oil and every last gasp of gas is violently pulled from within our planet and consumed. Which is why in January they funded seismic surveys in the hope of uncovering more of it.
Our planet’s atmosphere might spiral into collapse, but it will be good for “the economy”.
Header image: DVIDSHUB/ Wikimedia Commons