Race to Hell

Campbell or Camp to everybody, was already seated at our usual table, reading something on his smart phone which he quickly pocketed as soon he spotted me. We have long ago agreed that phone or screen devices do not drink or talk of their own accord and are therefore not invited to our Thirsty Thursday chin wag over a couple of pints.

I’ve just read an article in my Swiss paper that I was eager to discuss with my cohort and lost no time while the subject was still fresh in my mind.

“Here is today’s tagline,” I said. “By, by Climate Control, Hello more Oil and Gas explorations.”

“Oh, that’s profound. What brings this on.”

‘I’ve just read a report which claims that the forced US exploration pace will be responsible for up to a 120 billion tones of added carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of about 1000 coal fired generating plants. A new report, underwritten by 17 American Climate-Control and Environmental Protection Agencies, points out that the US will be responsible for 60% of all worldwide fossil fuel exploration by 2030. This alone will make the goal of UN guidelines with regards to emissions impossible to achieve and all those theoretical targets redundant.”

“Wow, that is rather depressing news.”

“It gets better,” I said. “Nearly 90% of these additional extractions are the result of fracking and 60% of the emissions come from the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico as well as the Appalachian Basin in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The oil and gas industry is expanding at the fastest on a worldwide level and thanks to fracking produces today more oil and gas than either Saudi Arabia and Russia.”

“Is that thanks to the Trump administrations deregulations as well as their release of public lands, even nature reserves, for exploration and extraction?” Camp asked.

“Yes and it also has to do with the current low price of gasoline. According to this report 74% of the American car market are SUV’s and pick-up trucks and some car manufacturers like GM and Ford are considering reducing or scrapping altogether the manufacture of smaller cars.”

“I’m just happy to be carless and able to walk or take the bus everywhere,” Camp said.

“Not everybody lives within a kilometre of where they work. Modern life without the car is like a river without water, like a cart without a horse.”


Rosie was in charge of the bar today and she brought us over a couple of refills early, practically forcing us to down our pints before they went stale.

“Do you own a car Rosie?” Camp asked, just being curious.

“No, I can’t afford a car. It’s either shelter and food or a car and more debts and payments, so I walk or take the bus.”

“I’m with you,” Camp replied, scrambling out of the hole he was about to dig himself into.

“What we need are less cars and better public transport.”

This seemed like a good time to change the subject. “What do you think about a second Brexit vote? Some Critics see that as a breakdown and failure of British Democracy.”

“That’s absurd,” Camp shook his head adamantly. “It is totally legitimate to vote again, now that everybody knows what the deal entails. “

“The British parliament says it has a mandate from the people to leave the EU and that is what they are going to do.”

“Well, they can also tell the people that they now know what kind of problems this process would create. There are new facts and issues on the table nobody thought about before. The parliament can say that maybe it’s time to have another discussion and/or vote. A lawyer can ask his client several times if he still wants to go through with the same deal they agreed on two years ago. The client has every right to say that the playing field has changed or the cost is now too high and he can adjust or cancel the whole agreement before it’s implemented. It’s done everyday in the real world.”

“Did you read the latest Oxfam report that states that billionaires’ fortunes increased by 12% or $ 2.8 billion a day last year while the 4 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity got proportionally poorer.”  I said.

“Tell me something I don’t know,” Camp said, taking a healthy swig from his cool brew. “Private wealth outperforms the public good once again, proof of how governments are underfunding public services like health and education, fuelling public anger across the globe.”

“You two guys ready for a revolution?” Rosie asked.

“Well, eh… I guess so,” Camp stuttered

“Alright then, turn around and watch the red moon rise over Gambier Island,” she said with a wink towards me.


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