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Working on the solid nonviolent principle that we should transform our enemies, PN brings you a slightly tongue-in-cheek column dedicated to getting to know our "enemies" better.
Love your enemy - everyone can change: "Beyond Petroleum"
Well darlings, the object of our desire this month is not a person, it's a concept. Oooh. An advertising concept. Aaaaah. It is - wait for it - “Beyond Petroleum”.
We've all seen it on billboards, we've seen it in magazines. It's the ever so post postmodern advertising solution that BP is using to convince us all that, oh no, they don't do oil any more. Oil is ever so last century darling. What use would the company formerly known as “Anglo Iranian” have for fossil fuels? It's all renewables for them from now on. Oh yes. So what if for decades they have been profiting from war, if for decades the destruction of the environment has been their bread and butter. They say they give a lot back. And now they're all behind renewables. Jolly Good On You BP! Hurrah for beyond petroleum!
The dirty business
But behind this facade of a cheap cliche', an advertising slogan thought up by execs high on coke, or Oxbridge graduates eager to please their fat cat bosses, lies the reality of fossil fuel extraction. Oil is a dirty business. Climate chaos is here to stay thanks to these men with their obsession for long-chain polymers.
A million species face extinction by 2050; 150,000 people die each year directly from the effects of climate change. So isn't it grand that one of the main offenders has woken up to the sick reality of our fossil fuel addiction. Isn't is grand that the folk who have been feeding our habit for decades and aiming to get more and more of us hooked, have finally found a way of moving “beyond petroleum”?
Well, it would be. But - folks - it just ain't true. Look at the West Papua LNG developments, proceeding apace - tell the people living there by the mangrove swamps, whose lives are ruined by the pipeline, that BP is moving Beyond all that...
Well folks, don't be depressed. As an ambition, it's a fine one. Beyond Petroleum. Let's all move beyond it. And for those of us who are so impressed by BP's championing of the postpetroleum world that we just have to go and thank them - their address is below...
BP plc, International Headquarters, 1 St James's Square, London SW1Y 4PD (020 7496 4000).
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