Gem of the day

Thought leadership from the energy sector: it's the stuff dream gems are made of. Now we're treated to a new initiative from our friendly folks over at Chevron (via Casper ter Kuile, who is always first to know about these kinds of things). "Energyville", part of their ongoing greenwash tour-de-force campaign "Will you join us?" is just as mindnumbing as it sounds. It's an interactive game that lets you plan the energy sources for a "typical city" in 2015.

There's a never-ending supply of critiques that could be made of this nauseating effort. Oh Economist Intelligence Unit, what were you thinking? Why are you manufacturing toys for corporations that want to superficially enhance their "green profiles"? But ignoring the game itself, let's take a minute and look at the fine-print provided upfront on the homescreen.

First of all, the sheer number of caveats outlined are enough to show that making this game at all was a waste of time. If you want to see a live game, watch a broadcast of the House Energy & Commerce Committee on CSPAN. Anyway, witness:
  • "...the game does not take into account the time and investment needed to replace existing energy infrastructure with your choices." Not to mention this barrier: the hopelessly distorted global debate over energy issues that has been driven by deliberate and proactive miscommunication from companies like Chevron.
  • "Global forces and technological developments may change current and future assumptions." May change? Please.
But this is truly the damning one:
  • "The game simulates aspects of reality, but does not serve as a perfect model of the real world."
Since when do we have any perfect models of "the real world"? It's impossible. It's not even a desirable goal, given the rate at which our world as we know is transforming. The fact that this is even placed as a caveat is a striking example of just how deluded we've become over what we know about the world we live in. And I'm talking about our societies and economies systematically, not just the vortex of the energy sector.

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