"Again and again we've seen popular movements rise up to fight climate change. We all get fired up and we start to recycle and we start to bicycle and we work like crazy to elect politicians who promise to build an economy based on green jobs and to pass comprehensive energy reform. And we invest our hopes in big environmental summits in Rio or Copenhagen. Again and again, over the past two and a half decades, we have mobilized to make individual changes and demand systemic ones. And again and again this movement has somehow lost momentum. Petered out.
"Why is that? It's not because deep down in our collective unconscious we really have some sort of death wish. The problem is that our profound desire to protect life on Earth is a direct threat to Exxon and Shell's desire to remain the most profitable companies in, as Bill (McKibben) puts it, 'the history of money'. Their stock price is based on always having in reserve as much as they have in production. And that means the very thing we must do to meet the climate challenge, stop digging, is the very thing they cannot contemplate without the staring in the face of their own demise.
"And by the way, it's not just corporations. Entire countries, the ones that heavily depend upon oil revenues, end up waging a wholesale war on truth -- attacking scientists and environmental groups -- simply because the truth challenges their economic paradigm. Faced with such a serious threat to their bottom line, these forces fight like they mean it. Every time the climate movement has gotten its act together, the fossil fuel interests have sent powerful lies into the culture and bankrolled their endless repetition--that climate change is a hoax, that climate action will destroy the economy, that you have to choose between good jobs and a healthy planet. They've bought our politicians and blanketed our airwaves. They have attacked our movement from all sides. They have defamed us, infiltrated us, and tried to buy us off. In short, they have behaved as if they're at war, because they are. We really do want an end to their business model. Not because we hate them, but because our survival depends on it. It depends on keeping 80 percent of their proven reserves in the ground.
"It's our side that's been kidding itself. For a long time the environmental movement behaved as if climate change was the one cause that didn't have an enemy. That it was just a matter of getting the information out or finding the right technical fix and then everyone would realize that we're all in this together. But here's the thing: We do have an enemy. We have a few of them actually. The good news is we know exactly who they are. And as of right now, we're going after them precisely where it hurts them most. Remember this moment. This is when we got serious."