When the economic value of fossil fuels became zero

For those who built fortunes on the black gold, it was clear the grand gusher of global oil revenues would soon dwindle to a trickle. Royal families in Middle Eastern countries feared they could no longer contain the mullahs who depended on generous subsidies. Countries formerly fat with hydrocarbon reserves and fossil profits were finding themselves devoid of leverage and now functionally irrelevant. Terrorist organizations funded with oil- and gas-based largesse were frantically looking elsewhere for support. Now that the oil lanes in the Middle East and the gas lines in Eastern Europe no longer needed protection, the U.S. military was about to lose its day job.

At Wall Street, it was a day for the history books. After the closing bell, traders staggered onto the street reeling, breathlessly recounting the drama. They used terms such as “apocalyptic,” “total madness,” and “meltdown.” Pension, insurance and mutual fund managers crashed communications lines as they scrambled to protect their remaining fossil fuel investments from evisceration. Environmental organizations, church groups, progressive colleges and green mutual funds that had already divested themselves from fossil fuel companies watched amused from the sidelines, savoring the sweetness of vindication, trying hard not to shout “I told you so” from the rooftops.

And, of course, there were losers and winners: Oil, gas and coal companies and countries that had long relied on exporting fossil fuels faced a crisis of epic proportions, but for fossil fuel importers it was party time. The Great Global Reset Button had been pushed. The Fossil King was dead. It was a newly-ordered world now.

— Excerpted from Beyond Fire and Primal Source