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  •  To be fair, and just my humble opinion... (16+ / 0-)

    blaming the oil companies for the crisis comes across like a cocaine addict blaming their dealer for them beating up their spouse while high, right before going to buy some more coke.

    The oil companies exist because we, as a species, keep buying their products.  It'd be lovely if we could lay all of our problems on some little group of individuals, but the climate problem is one massive collective f'-up, one which we need to solve collectively.

    •  You make a valid point, we all share the blame, (8+ / 0-)

      but that does not let the fossil fuel industry off the hook in any way. It is they who are funding the mega bucks campaign designed to purposely mislead us into believing that the science is wrong and that it is perfectly alright for us to continue burning their products as fast as they can supply them.

      Just give me some truth. John Lennon--- OWS------Too Big To Fail

      by burnt out on Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 06:21:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not that simple, though. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ChristineM

        Industries are no more monolithic than individuals.  Wikipedia has a good (albeit brief) summary of how various businesses have interacted with climate denial and support over the years.  

        As far as the oil industry goes, in the late 1990s, all of the supermajors were onboard with the "Global Climate Coalition", a denier group.  However, one by one, most of them dropped out, leaving Exxon Mobil and a few others left; the group disbanded.  Several of the companies that dropped out early ended up joining a group that spreads global warming awareness instead.  I know that both BP and Shell take a "global warming is real, we're the cause, and it's a problem" stance, although BP's stance is stronger.

        The two biggest entities in the oil industry pushing global warming denial right now are Exxon and Koch.  Exxon, a couple years ago, finally softened their stance a bit into a "yeah, it could be happening, and yeah, we could be responsible, but people are overplaying it" attitude.  Koch is as hardcore as ever (no shock there...).  The biggest private group running global warming denial is the Heartland institute - strangely, the leaked funding documents showed no oil or coal companies on the list (although the Koch's "charitable" foundation was, so that's indirect money).  There were a number of drug and tobacco companies (Heartland also pushes anti-healthcare-regulation and pro-tobacco agendas), as well as Microsoft, for some reason.  Also, Heartland gets money from other conservative foundations, who probably have some oil industry backing.  Exxon gave Heartland money every year until 2005.  And there's one anonymous donor who's given the institute 20% of their annual budget; it'd be very interesting to know who that is.

        As far as the oil industry is concerned, the name of the game isn't what it costs you, but what it costs you relative to your competitors.  So some of the oil companies supporting things like cap and trade, solar, offshore wind farms, etc may well be doing it for their own self interests - because some of them own carbon sequestration projects, solar companies, and build offshore wind turbines, respectively.  Also some are more invested in lower-carbon fuels like natural gas than others.  So even if they have to take a hit, if their competitors take a bigger hit, they win.

        The risk to an industry is in how quickly they can be phased out versus how quickly their business model can shift.  I think most oil companies feel pretty sure (with good reason) that there's going to have a market for a quite a while.  It's going to take bloody forever to replace the world's car fleet with EVs - decades.  Meanwhile, the world car market is expanding by leaps and bounds as the third world industrializes.  Decades equals more than enough time to react to other emerging energy markets that interact with their skillsets (drilling (geo), offshore construction (wind), chemical production/processing (solar, biofuels), etc) if they feel they need to

        Coal is in a trickier situation.  The entire coal industry could realistically be phased out in a decade if there was a strong enough carbon price put in place and all other power generation options remained on the table.  That has to be a pretty terrifying prospect - how do you react that quickly?  And if you're invested in coal power plants whose finances were expected to pay off over 30-40 years, you know that's going to be a big hit.  If you own coal mines, you better hope coal-based synfuels make up the slack.  Etc.  It's going to be a lot harder for the coal industry to adapt.

        Just my two krónur.  :)

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