The "Oil" Viral Email

We received it today from a friend who doesn’t normally send out messages with headings like this:

Fw: [Fwd: Fwd: Fw: Oil [Not a Joke)]]

Right-wing viral emails seem to have a lot of things in common. The four levels of “FW” is one clue, and the HUGE type in the main body is another. And why do they always carry a rude enticement like “not a joke” or “true!”?

Unlike most emails like this, it includes a linked reference: a news release from the US Geological Survey about a newly discovered oil field in the northern plains. The email screams “503 billion barrels”, while the linked reference says, “an estimated 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil.” Big difference.

The email rant then claims there are 2 trillion barrels under the Rocky Mountains (but no proof of this is offered), and goes on to complain that (paraphrasing), “those damned environmentalists are keeping us from tapping all that oil, and if you don’t raise hell about it to your congressman, then you have no right to complain about the high price of gas.”

Of course, this is all bullshit in so many ways. At current consumption rates, what we’re talking about in the plains is eight and one-half months worth of oil. And the claim of 2 trillion barrels under the Rockies is too ridiculous to even consider, otherwise every oil industry shill would be screaming to high heaven about it, but this is too over the top even for them.

But let’s consider, just for the sake of argument, what if this were true? What if there really were trillions of barrels of oil under the American West?

Just because it’s there is no reason to burn it. You [the author(s) of the “oil” email] propose that we lay waste to some of the most scenic, picturesque and beloved lands on this continent, and for what? To keep burning oil like there’s no tomorrow, and in the process guaranteeing that there’s no tomorrow.

No matter how much or how little oil we have left, we have to phase it out… we have to quit burning it. Burning oil (and coal, etc.) is sending our planet dangerously close to a climate catastrophe. We must reduce the amount of energy we need; and we must develop sustainable sources.

If you want to thrive in the energy business, let me suggest a way to tweak your business model. The REAL “Saudi Arabia” of energy in the USA is indeed in the plains and deserts, but it comes in the form of wind and sunshine. The effort you propose to exploit oil would be better spent on harnessing the wind and the sun.

Yes, there are challenges and hurdles (transportation and storage, mainly), but aren’t we Americans supposed to be the ones who proudly conquer challenges and hurdles? What ever happened to our reputation as the resourceful innovators? Surely we can figure this out. Are we going to let China or Spain show us how to run our country on sustainable energy? Whatever happened to American leadership?

We’re Americans, dammit! Let’s show the world how it’s done.

Oh, and like they say in all the viral emails, forward this to everyone in your address book, or your grandchildren may end up with a very hot and stormy world.

3 thoughts on “The "Oil" Viral Email

  1. Thank you for the clarification. You guys know your stuff. I was wondering why my beloved cousin was sending me this information (since he is an avid right-winger I should have realized and taken the time to study the subject. Peace and love to you both.

  2. Hey Obby,

    Am so glad you tackled this one for the benefit of everyone. It is confusing to read and frustrating too. You took it apart really well. Thanks! I will pass it on.

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