Last October, reporter Hiroko Tabuchi tweeted that she’d “been thinking a lot about fossil fuels and white supremacy recently,” noting that nearly every oil industry official she’d encountered as a reporter was white and male. ExxonMobil complained the tweet was a “baseless claim alleging industry links to white supremacy,” and Tabuchi later deleted it. But according to University of Notre Dame historian Darren Douchuk, Tabuchi’s tweet reflected something real.
In May, 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amphan, a category 5 (highest level) Super Cyclonic Storm, hit eastern India and Bangladesh, leaving death and destruction in its wake. During this same period, India also had to face locust attacks and ensuing crop damage, much like other countries in Africa and the Middle East. Then came the monsoons and ensuing flooding that displaced millions in South Asia. In fact, a third of Bangladesh was under water this monsoon. But while the global pandemic was unexpected, such climate-related disasters are not uncommon in the Global South.