Our Best Argument Against Fossil Fuels? The Monopolies They Create
Underneath every fossil fuel source is a government-granted license to extract gas, oil, or coal. Every license is owned by a top-400 billionaire family business aggressively defending its hold on that license. Every single fossil fuel absolutely requires government intervention in the markets to ensure that those wealthiest of families control access to the mines and wells that produce the fossil fuels we burn.
Every one of them is a part of a monopoly structure that most of us have zero access to. Each monopoly requires exclusive access (there can only be one cook in the kitchen) so that the owner of the license can extract maximum rents. Once that access is granted, the money only piles up. And that money can be used to buy politicians at will.
Ralph Nader was right when he said:
The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door. That’s the only difference.
To understand how fervently our politicians defend these extraction monopolies one only needs to look at the insanity going on in North Carolina as reported by Ezra Dyer at Car and Driver Magazine on July 7th of this year:
Politicians have to run on some kind of platform, and Ben Moss — my incoming state House representative here in North Carolina’s District 52 — decided that his animating principle is Being Mad at Electricity. To prove his animosity toward this invisible menace, he’s sponsoring House Bill 1049, which would allocate $50,000 to destroy free public car chargers. It contains some other enlightened ideas, but that’s the main theme: We’ve simply got to do something about these free public chargers, even if it costs us $50,000! Those things cost tens of cents per hour, when they’re being used. [bold emphasis mine]
That is just one example of how some of those vacant Republicans defend monopolies. “What do you mean, Scott?”, you might ask. Well, here’s the difference. An electric car is agnostic as to the inputs. Anything that can move electrons can charge an electric car.