Everywhere there are signs of political momentum on climate change.
There is no doubt that an Obama White House has reinvigorated the debate on energy and climate and the international push for an agreement in Copenhagen this December. The Democrats are calling for a different energy path and even Gordon Brown is now talking green. After years of stalemate on the issue, slowly and surely change is happening.
But tell that to Big Oil, who after years of greenwashing their operations and touting their green credentials are going back to what they do best: drilling for oil and gas. They are dumping their renewable businesses faster than you would drop a hot lump of coal.
Shell is freezing its investments in wind, solar and hydrogen power, and focusing its alternative energy efforts on biofuels. BP, is following suit. In the words of the New York Times, yesterday, BP,” a company that has spent nine years saying it was moving ‘beyond petroleum,’ has been getting back to petroleum since 2007, paring back its renewable program. And American oil companies, which all along have been more skeptical of alternative energy than their European counterparts, are studiously ignoring the new messages coming from Washington.”
So despite Washington’s and London newfound green enthusiasm, the oil industry is betting on oil for the foreseeable future, even though they know the climate can’t take much more carbon dioxide. In its long-term forecast, Exxon says that by 2050, hydrocarbons — including oil, gas, and coal — will account for 80 percent of the world’s energy supplies, about the same as today.
Both BP and Shell are moving back into the Canadian tar sands, prompting criticism that they are “recarbonizing”, just at a time that they should be disinvesting out of oil and gas.
“In my view, nothing has really changed,” Rex W. Tillerson, the chief executive of Exxon Mobil, said after the election of President Obama.
Well T-Rex Tillerson, the climate is changing, and that is the simple thing that you do not seem to understand.