During the 19th century, following the age of sail, the British Navy made the decision to stick with the energy source of the future: coal. They saw little value in oil. Britain had lots of coal; digging it up provided lots of low wage jobs and lots of corporate wealth. Why not stick to the tried and true? (Even when it was obviously outdated.)
On January 29, 2015, the U.S. Senate joined the House of Representatives in giving a foreign corporation mostly tax free rein and mostly liability free rein plus right of eminent domain (the ability for foreigners to deprive U.S. citizens of their private property) to build the latest odious pipeline across America. (This could also be seen as “free reign” since a foreign power has been granted king-like powers over citizens of what used to be an independent republic.)
U.S. lawmakers (in return one images for campaign contributions from the oil industry) sees oil as the energy source of the future. These available-for-rent politicians will prove as prescient as the British Navy coal advocates of a century ago.
A hundred years from now, in the unlikely event that any publications remain following the environmental heat collapse that takes down civilization, observers will look back on this date. They will be mildly amused (in an ironic way) that seemingly rational, intelligent people bet the future on oil rather than on renewable energy.
That amusement, however, will be tempered by the bitterness they will feel towards us for having destroyed all that was good and beautiful about our planet. They will mark January 29 as Black Thursday, the day when an anti-American cell of sleepers awoke long enough to cast a vote unmatched in scope by any other terrorist act.
<For our 22nd century readers this is what the now extinct aspen forest looked like in the Pecos Wilderness, New Mexico in July 2010)