Let's build a better post-COVID future than fossil fuel consolidation | TheHill

Let's build a better post-COVID future than fossil fuel consolidation | TheHill

2020 has been a grim year for the fossil fuel industry: First a Russia-Saudi price war, then a worldwide collapse in demand due to the COVID pandemic that even briefly took the price of crude into negative territory. The industry has slashed tens of thousands of jobs, while trying to muscle its way into the federal government’s economic rescue packages. So what does the future hold? If history is any guide, one path is clear: the biggest companies will get even bigger, a scenario with disastrous consequences for addressing the climate catastrophe. We must create a more livable alternative. We can start by banning fracking. While COVID has wreaked havoc on virtually every sector of the economy, the fossil fuel industry was in trouble even before the pandemic hit. Wall Street investors financed the fracking boom based on a fairy tale that oil prices would remain high, and demand would grow in perpetuity. For a short while it seemed to work; investors saw record profits in the oil and gas industry, with a massive expansion of pipelines, gas power plants, petrochemical refining and export facilities. But the fracking industry misled investors at every step of the way, exaggerating the returns they expected to generate, and even flipping fracking leases over and over again. Their day of reckoning hit with sudden fury. While the gas industry had already created a glut, the combination of that oversupply and declining demand brought the crisis that took prices into the negative: Too much oil, nowhere to store it ...
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