Oil's Deep State

Oil's Deep State

How the Petroleum Industry Undermines Democracy and Stops Action on Global Warming -- in Alberta, and in Ottawa

Book - 2017
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Why have democratic governments failed to take serious steps to reduce carbon emissions despite dire warnings and compelling evidence of the profound and growing threat posed by global warming?

Most of the writing on global warming is by scientists, academics, environmentalists, and journalists. Kevin Taft, a former leader of the opposition in Alberta, brings a fresh perspective through the insight he gained as an elected politician who had an insider's eyewitness view of the role of the oil industry. His answer, in brief: The oil industry has captured key democratic institutions in both Alberta and Ottawa.

Taft begins his book with a perceptive observer's account of a recent court casein Ottawa which laid bare the tactics and techniques of the industry, its insiders and lobbyists. He casts dramatic new light on exactly how corporate lobbyists, politicians, bureaucrats, universities, and other organizations are working together to pursue the oil industry's agenda.

He offers a brisk tour of the recent work of scholars who have developed the concepts of the deep state and institutional capture to understand how one rich industry can override the public interest.

Taft views global warming and weakened democracy as two symptoms of the same problem -- the loss of democratic institutions to corporate influence and control. He sees citizen engagement and direct action by the public as the only response that can unravel big oil's deep state.

Publisher: Toronto : James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Publishers, [2017]
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781459409972
Branch Call Number: 338.27282 TAF
Characteristics: 256 pages


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SCL_Justin Feb 25, 2019

This book does an excellent job illustrating how terrible oil companies and the fossil fuel economy are for not just the environment but also for democracy. Taft shows how spreading money outside the confines of a well-regulated business is a way of breaking down the boundaries between the industry and the different institutions that are meant to serve the public as opposed to stockholders. The book is filled with many examples of how both Canada and Alberta have failed in their duty to meaningfully protect our environment and democracy from bad actors. Possibly even more interestingly it also has examples of times in history when governments have actually done their jobs to stand up to industry at the cost of some companies' profits for the benefit of the public. This is a must-read book for anyone who wonders why Alberta's politics are the way they are.

May 31, 2018

Mr.Taft is best when he outlines how the deep oil industry influences Alberta politics, governments and universities. He is weaker when he veers into U.S. politics - these side bars add little to the "deep state influences Alberta and Canadian politics" theme.
Taft is passionate about climate change. For him the science is settled but he should not call people like me who disagree with him "Climate Change Deniers". I won't get into a climate debate here.
If you agree with Mr. Taft and think pipeline expansion is an environmental not an economic issue this book is for you. I disagree with that but I agree 100% when he says: "The autonomy of our democratic institutions must be strengthened by reducing the influence of private interests . . . "

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