Debunk This by Matt Palumbo

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is taking a break from spreading economically illiterate content to spread misleading information about climate.

AOC recently voiced her support of comments from Elizabeth Warren putting the blame on corporations, not individuals, for rising CO2 emissions. When Warren was asked by CNN’s Chris Cuomo during a recent presidential town hall whether or not the government should be in the business of telling people what kind of light-bulbs they should purchase, she replied “This is exactly what the fossil fuel industry hopes we’re all talking about…They want to be able to stir up a lot of controversy around your light-bulbs, around your straws, and around your cheeseburgers.”

Advertisement

AOC responded with an attempt to bolster Warren’s argument. “She’s right,” she began. “We all want to, and can, do our part with climate change and environmental justice. But know that just 3 industries are responsible for 71% of carbon emissions. And if you’re concerned about money in politics, the fossil fuel industry is a key source of political corruption.”

Another popular variant of this claim(which is really just a rephrasing of it) is that the 100 largest corporations are responsible for 71% of carbon emissions, and they’re sourced from a 2017 Carbon Disclosure Project report. The Project is tracking emissions by company from 1988-2015.

There’s an obvious logical flaw in Warren and AOC putting the blame on corporations rather than consumers –  who do they think those polluting companies are producing goods for? Corporations are only selling items that there’s a demand for. If people stopped buying their products, they wouldn’t be polluting to make them. As one person observed, it’s as if Warren and AOC want gas for their cars – but want the local gas station to stop selling gas.

After diving into the Carbon Disclosure Project report, it becomes evident that our corporate polluters are no where near as much a problem as government polluters.  Of the top five biggest polluters, four are government-run/state owned companies (with Exxon Mobil taking fifth place).  Of the top fifty polluters (which account for 63.7% of global CO2 emissions), 26 are state owned enterprises.

China Coal tops the list, responsible for 14.3% of all CO2 emissions on the entire planet. Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Aramco is responsible for 4.5%, Russia’s Gazprom 3.9%, and the National Iranian Oil Company 2.3%. Exxon Mobil is the largest private polluter, responsible for 2% of the world’s emissions.

Warren and AOC can rail against oil and gas companies all they want, but the demand for energy isn’t going away anytime soon. Ironically, both oppose nuclear power, which is (quite counter-intuitively) the safest way to produce energy (with a death rate of 0.07 per terawatt hour produced, compared to 18.43 in the oil industry, and 24.62 in the coal industry). But more to the point, nuclear power doesn’t produce carbon emissions. What’s for them to oppose?

Advertisement

The duo also opposes fracking, which is one of the main reasons that U.S. CO2 emissions fell 14% from 2005 to 2017.

Do they actually care about the climate as they claim, or is the issue just a Trojan horse to increase the role of government in our lives?

AOC’s former Chief of Staff already admitted as much – and I’d take his word for it.