Recently some commentators have revealed something about the way their brain functions in singing the praises of new fossil fuels.

We shouldn’t be surprised that oil companies are excited about oil, though the Sunday Star Times seems to think it warrants front page coverage.  I wonder if "tennis players say tennis is great!” would make similar headlines? 

Lately the head of the Government’s “green taskforce” Phil O’Reilly managed to write an article all about how fab oil, gas, coal and Norway are and not mention even once a little problem called climate change.  Labour’s Shane Jones seems to be singing from a similarly oily song-sheet as the National Government when he says his iwi cousins on the East Cape are naïve for opposing deep sea oil drilling in their ancestral waters. Ngati Porou and Te Whanau a Apanui chiefs gave him what-for but my point is, are these cases of genuine cognitive dissonance?  Are the brains of these captains of industry and state fully functioning? Are these men (and women such as other Norwayophile Fran O'Sullivan) living in a dangerous state of denial?

If one accepts the scientific orthodoxy that human-induced climate change is happening, that its consequences are universally negative, and that it is caused by the release of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, and that fossil fuels are one of the major drivers, then how can one get excited about oil gas and coal?

The trick perhaps is this. That part of the brain that knows climate change is real and bad for everyone and everything needs to shut-up for a minute while I think about the nice economic benefits that fossil fuels will bring to a few people for a short time before climate chaos reorders existence in a cruel and unpleasant manner.

It’s not unlike getting excited about new developments in nuclear weapons technology by forgetting what nuclear weapons do to people.

So next time you hear someone waxing lyrical about how wonderful fossil fuels are just remember half their brain isn’t working.