The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.
Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in the mid 1700s, fossil fuels have transformed humankind’s journey in almost every conceivable way. Agricultural production has soared, transportation was revolutionized, electrical power enabled breathtaking technological advancements, and petro-chemistry has provided synthetic materials for the manufacture of everything from fertilizers to plastics to clothing and even heart valves.
Real GDP per capita, the measure most closely reflecting global living standards, has soared by more than 1,600 per cent (according to Indur Goklany, a member of the U.S. delegation that established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) in lock-step with the per-capita growth in fossil-fuel consumption.
Harnessing our planet’s enormous endowment of natural hydrocarbon energy is, without doubt, the greatest factor underpinning the huge gains in virtually every aspect of humanity’s remarkable progress. And the technological advances made by the workers who unlock those buried resources have been equally profound.
But now those workers, and the companies that employ them, are being attacked as environment-destroying pariahs.
They have become the prime target in a global anti-fossil-fuel war that aims to cripple their financing and destroy their livelihoods. Last February, an international group calling itself Fossil Free disrupted the opening of the Toronto Stock Exchange and other stock exchanges around the world.
The occasion was a so-called “Global Divestment Day” aimed at convincing shareholders of corporations “who have become rogue entities seeking profits at the expense of people and planet” to divest their holdings. The group claims its advocacy has stimulated a $50-billion reduction in fossil-fuel investments. That number is likely exaggerated, but the movement is definitely gaining traction, most notably among churches, academia, leftist politicians and, now, doctors.
Here in Canada, the General Council of the United Church has voted to drop fossil fuels from its investment portfolios, saying the decision is based on “the Christian duty to care for the earth.”
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