Skip to main content

If Snake Oil* Were a Fossil Fuel...
Bill McKibben Would Be One of the World's Worst Polluters

*aka BULLSHIT

A flare burns at Venture Global new liquid gas facility in Louisiana

 

Eight liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals operate in the U.S. like this one in Louisiana. In 2023, they exported an average of 11.6 billion cubic feet of LNG per day.    Photo: AP

On January 16, Joe Biden announced a “pause” in the expansion of new government-approved projects to export U.S. liquid natural gas (LNG). This did nothing to stop the ever-rising level of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere caused by the burning of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal)—or to lower the rising temperature of the planet. It only put a temporary pause on granting permits for new natural gas terminals where natural gas is loaded onto ships for transport to other countries. 

Yet Bill McKibben, well-known climate activist and author—and ever one to chase after and promote illusions about this capitalist-imperialist system—hailed Biden’s move as a “massive win” for the climate movement. 

McKibben’s claim is utterly out of touch with the reality of accelerating global warming. It is utterly out of touch with the urgent and monumental measures required to address the environmental emergency. Instead, McKibben's celebration of Biden's puny face-saving move serves to legitimize Joe Biden and the capitalist-imperialist system.

BAsics 1-29

 

Bill McKibben's track record as an ideological-opioid pusher—keeping people who care about the environment in a dream state about the capitalist-imperialist system's ability to reform itself—has been remarkably and sickeningly consistent. Let us count some of the ways:

—He was over-the-top excited about an Obama presidency that he said would be environmentally transformative. But a funny thing happened through eight years: the vast expansion of fracking of oil and natural gas.

—He toasted the recently concluded COP28 global climate summit, with its empty call for transition away from fossil fuel, as at least providing climate activists with a “strong talking point to use as leverage in the fights that lie ahead.” 

—He oozes with praise for Biden's Inflation Reduction Act (Biden's climate legislation) for expanding clean energy as never before... never mind that it does nothing—nada, zilch—to mandate any limits on the extraction, burning, and emissions of fossil fuels.

Some Basic Facts About the Climate Crisis and the “Biden Pause”

2023 was the hottest year on this planet in probably 125,000 years. Unprecedented forest fires have raged across Canada. Sea ice in Antarctica has hit the lowest level ever recorded. These are just a few of the many signs that Earth's environment is stretched to its breaking point. And the governments of the planet have repeatedly shown themselves to be both unwilling and unable to make the wrenching transformations demanded. 

As for natural gas (the same as you burn in a stove): It is a fossil fuel. Liquid natural gas is natural gas cooled to such extreme cold that it shrinks and turns into a liquid that can be loaded onto ships for transport around the world. Burning, extracting, processing, shipping LNG is a big cause of climate change. Carbonbrief points out that in the last decade, the U.S. has become the #1 producer of LNG in the world, and now produces four times as much as it did four years ago. This is an environmental disaster. This expansion is also tied into geopolitical moves the U.S. has been making to weaken Russia as an energy supplier to Western Europe.

Wildfire burns in McDougall Creek, B.C., Canada, in worst fire season on record, August 18, 2023.

 

Wildfire burns in McDougall Creek, B.C., Canada, in worst fire season on record, August 18, 2023.    Photo: AP

Another fact. Biden’s “pause” is just a temporary pause on new, yet-to-be approved LNG projects. The U.S. has already approved plans for new LNG terminals in coming years that will double U.S. capacity to export LNG. They are going full-steam ahead. And the “pause” won’t affect exports from the eight LNG export terminals already operating in the U.S., which exported an average of 11.6 billion cubic feet of LNG per day in 2023—more than any other country. 

And natural gas is only a part of the picture. The U.S. has burned more fossil fuel than any other country in history. It right now produces and exports more oil and gas than any other country. Biden’s “pause” does not touch any of that. As the planet heats up. 

In short, Biden’s so-called “pause” is political flim-flam, or in other words, bullshit! With Bill McKibben a proud sponsor. 

Legitimizing the Imperialist System, Getting Out the Vote for Genocide Joe

In his Substack article on the “pause,” McKibben declares: “Biden deserves to reap the benefits of powerful environmental backing in his re-election…” One of McKibben's recent commentaries had the subtitle “Helping Biden Help Himself—and the Planet—on Climate.” Say fucking what?!? 

Let it be noted that Bill McKibben has been obscenely soft-spoken when it comes to condemning Biden-backed Israeli genocide of Palestinians. Let it be noted that Bill McKibben was and is a big booster of the U.S. proxy war with Russia over Ukraine. He has supported U.S.-NATO military assistance to Ukraine—and tried to make this “environmentally friendly” by saying America should also provide Western Europe with electrical heat pumps to warm homes instead of relying on Russian natural gas and oil.

With his collegial manner and environmental creds, Bill McKibben has become a dangerous peddler of toxic illusions. 

Legitimizing this imperialist system is harmful at any time. But now things are coming to a head, and there is great and urgent need to break with poisonous “lesser evil” delusions—and to work for revolution. A revolution to overthrow this monstrous, planet-destroying system; a revolution that has a plan and orientation for truly addressing and acting on this environmental catastrophe. (For more on this, including from the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America and from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian, go to the Environmental Resource Page on revcom.us.)

Bob Avakian puts the challenge well in his social media dispatch #9:

Especially at a time like this—a time when big things are up in the world affecting the whole future of humanity…when those big-time exploiters and oppressors who rule over us in this country are bitterly divided among themselves and increasingly unable to hold things together as a “unified” ruling class..., when there is not just an urgent need but a real possibility to seize on this situation to overthrow them altogether—if you are NOT getting with the revcoms (revolutionary communists) who are working every day for this revolution, if you are not part of working to bring about this revolution, then what the hell are you doing?!

How Would the Revolution Deal With the Climate Crisis?

A Q&A with Raymond Lotta

Help Make 2024 Our Year—a Year of Revolution! 
Donate to Revcom.us

From the genocide in Gaza, to the growing threat of world war between nuclear powers, to escalating environmental devastation… the capitalist-imperialist system ruling over us is a horror for billions around the world and is tearing up the fabric of life on earth. Now the all-out battle within the U.S. ruling class, between fascist Republicans and war criminal Democrats, is coming to a head—likely during, or before, the coming elections—ripping society apart unlike anything since the Civil War. 

Bob Avakian (BA), revolutionary leader and author of the new communism, has developed a strategy to prepare for and make revolution. He’s scientifically analyzed that this is a rare time when an actual revolution has become more possible, and has laid out the sweeping vision, solid foundation and concrete blueprint for “what comes next,” in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America

The website revcom.us follows and applies that leadership and is essential to all this. We post new materials from BA and curate his whole body of work. We apply the science he’s developed to analyze and expose every key event in society, every week. Revcom.us posts BA’s timely leadership for the revcoms (revolutionary communists), including his social media posts which break this down for people every week and sometimes more. We act as a guiding and connecting hub for the growing revcom movement nationwide: not just showing what’s being done, but going into what’s right and what’s wrong and rapidly learning—and recruiting new people into what has to be a rapidly growing force.

Put it this way: there will be no revolution unless this website not only “keeps going” but goes up to a whole different level!

So what should you give to make 2024 our year—a year of revolution? 
Everything you possibly can! 
DONATE NOW to revcom.us and get with BA and the revcoms!    

Your donations contribute to:

  • Promotion of BA on social media and the Bob Avakian Interviews on The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show 
  • Strengthen revcom.us as an accessible, secure, robust website able to rise to the challenge of meeting the extraordinary demands of navigating the storms and preparing for revolution in this pivotal, unprecedented year
  • Fund revcoms to travel to national “hotspots,” where extreme contradictions are pulling apart the fabric of this country and creating the possibility of wrenching an actual revolution out of this intensifying situation
  • Expand the reach and coverage of revcom.us
  • Printing and distribution of key Revcom materials including the Declaration and Proclamation