Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh XXXI

Steve Bull (
4 min readNov 3, 2021
Tulum, Mexico (1986) Photo by author

Beware the Snake Oil Salesmen: Climate Change and Elite Confabs

So, dozens of political leaders, their hundreds of staff, multitudes of corporate leaders, and who knows how many ‘celebrities’ have all gathered in Glasgow, Scotland for an elite confab (#26) to discuss the ‘Climate Crisis’. Heaven knows how many resources have been extracted and pollutants dispersed in this latest political theatre (mostly? all? at taxpayer expense). The irony is not lost on many, except perhaps much of the mainstream media that tends to simply regurgitate political media releases and share simplistic narratives for exceedingly complex issues — it is indeed difficult to get someone to understand something if their income depends on them not understanding it.

Needless to say I expect little of substance to result from this event. In fact, I am increasingly seeing this event as an expo for marketing of ‘green/clean’ energy products (and making sure most? all? countries pursue purchasing them) that do not address our fundamental predicament — ecological overshoot — of which greenhouse gases is but one negative consequence (and not even the worst). And, of course, all of this provides the justification to create trillions of more dollars out of thin air (the debt held by a variety of the ruling class) that will be funnelled towards specific industries (owned by others of the ruling class) while doing little to reduce actual consumption or ecologically-destructive extraction industries.

This is increasingly looking not like a problem that can be solved but a predicament that may at best be mitigated on the margins. One of the most significant dilemmas, however, appears to be the ‘solutions’ that are being bandied about also appear to be the ones that will simply make the situation worse: increasing technology and complexities in the form of ‘renewables’.

The evidence is accumulating quickly that ‘renewables’ (which aren’t really because they require lots of non-renewable, finite resources in perpetuity) are neither ‘green’, nor ‘clean’, nor ‘sustainable’. They require the fossil fuel platform at every level of their production, maintenance, and after-life disposal, and depend upon a variety of rare-earth minerals whose procurement wreak havoc on the environment. The entire ‘renewable’ narrative is appearing more and more like a sham meant primarily to market products and support business as usual than do anything about reducing our ecological destruction and carbon footprint (and keep in mind that our current debt/credit-based monetary/economic/financial systems are all predicated on growth in perpetuity — they will most certainly collapse without it).

If we are not discussing significant degrowth, however (and we’re not because there’s no money to be made from it and the primary motivation of the ruling class, who control the mainstream narratives, is the control/expansion of the wealth-generating systems that provide their revenue streams), then it would seem we are just creating stories to sell more stuff and people tend to accept them readily because they reduce cognitive dissonance — we recognise we live on a finite planet and infinite growth is not possible (except through extreme magical, Cargo Cult-like thinking) but want to also believe that we can continue to live in our energy- and resource-intensive lifestyles uninterrupted and without significant sacrifice.

Basically, the snake oil salesmen of the world are, as they often (always?) do, leveraging our fear over a crisis (or crises) to enrich themselves mightily. We are being led to follow a path that actually exacerbates the predicament of overshoot rather than reduces the harm caused by us blowing past the biophysical limits imposed by a finite planet.

Sad on so many levels.

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Steve Bull (

A guy trying to make sense of a complex and seemingly insane world. Spend my days pondering our various predicaments while practising local food production...