New NowThis video lies to viewers to blame capitalism, tie up complex problem with false bow

September 8, 2023

By Tim Worstall

NowThis News tells its viewers in its latest video that climate change is ExxonMobil’s fault. 

This is a very dangerous thing to be telling everyone because it leads to the conclusion that if we can just force Exxon to change what they do, then the climate change problem is solved, which is not true. 

Let’s not get into trying to relitigate climate change. For the purposes here, we’ll accept the basic argument that CO2 causes problems, and maybe we should even do something about that. OK. 

Now, if we think that we just have to change Exxon (or, to be more complete, them, Shell, BP, Chevron, and so on), that seems pretty straightforward, right? That’s them, over there.

But that’s not what is causing climate change – accepting as we are the idea that it is happening. What’s causing climate change is that we like to travel, cook our food, and heat our houses. These all currently use fossil fuels. It’s not the people who sell fossil fuels that are causing CO2 emissions; it’s the people who use fossil fuels who are. You know, us.

This is the danger of what NowThis is pushing. If it’s just them, over there, those few companies, then this looks like a pretty simple problem to solve. If the solution is that all of us – 350 million Americans, perhaps 8 billion humans – have to change how we live, that’s more difficult. Even to the point that maybe we’ll say we don’t want to change our lives. 

With NowThis, there’s also the other part of their argument left unsaid. If it’s capitalist companies causing the problem, then the problem can be solved by eliminating capitalist companies, right? So socialism becomes the solution despite the actual science – the IPCC and all that – saying that socialism would make it worse, not better.

For the first Earth Day, Walt Kelly had Pogo say, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” “Enemy” might be a bit strong, but the climate change problem is that we do like travel, heating, cooking, and so on. It’s not the people who enable us to do those things that are the problem; it’s us wanting to do them.

Exxon isn’t the climate change problem; our desire to buy from Exxon is. Anything else – like this NowThis video – is misinformation on the subject.


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