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View Diary: Would Oil Company Owned Alternative Energy Save Planet? (31 comments)

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  •  Miles - Big Oil is invested in oil reserves (0+ / 0-)

    and they aren't going to leave them in the ground. Are taxpayers going to buy all the reserves of Chevron at market prices? In addition, Big Oil has no expertise in alternatives. Even some of the oil companies, including BP, who have alternative efforts bring no expertise to alternative energy whatsoever.

    I have been a solar investor since 1988 and my experience with big oil is that they are run by people who really understand the oil and gas business but don't want to be in the alternative energy sector at all. Those who do have an effort in solar and wind think if them as PR activities, not a real business. In addition, back to my former point the US based big, public oil companies are small players on a worldwide basis.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 01:56:25 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Again, a good point (0+ / 0-)

      Those investments in oil reserves of course have value, and we're going to have to take that value away if the planet is to survive.  Because if they can extract and realize that value, it's game over.  Right?  Right.

      So the question is, what is the economic strategy that motivates them to cooperate with the taking (by law) of the value of their investments?

      Well, giving them a stake in the alternative energy market is about the only thing that is big enough and close enough to what they already do to serve as a substitute.

      It may not be big enough, which is why there is a measure of magical thinking.  They need to think that global warming is real enough that it might harm them.  But they also need another source of profits.  

      But your familiarity with the oil industry is instructive and sounds like the world I know too.   Specifically, you describe the way oil people have thought until recently.

      But if you ask me which is more likely to succeed..... an alternative energy economy DEFEATS big oil, or allow itself to be CO-OPTED by big oil?

      I have to say I find the "defeat them" strategy to be implausible.    Elites, of which those companies are a part, will need to see a world in which they remain elites.  Our plutocracy is too entrenched to imagine that Bill McKibben will be director of either a government department or a corporation selling solar panels.    

      A carbon tax won't be imposed from the streets.  It will be agreed upon between industry and a bipartisan Congressional consensus.... for the benefit of existing players.

      That is my pessimistic assessment of how the planet will be saved....

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