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Is ExxonMobil Starting to Take the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement Seriously?

Posted By Lowell F. on October 14th, 2014

Is ExxonMobil starting to worry about the fossil fuel divestment movement?  Based on this article, it certainly looks that way.

Exxon Mobil is wielding its public relations might against the fossil-fuel divestment movement, signaling that climate-change activists have struck a nerve at the world’s biggest publicly traded oil and gas company.

Exxon Mobil’s blog, titled “Perspectives,” posted a lengthy attack Friday about the divestment movement, which urges universities, churches, pension funds, and other big institutional investors to dump their shares of oil and coal companies as part of the fight against global warming.

But the blog post calls the movement “out of step with reality,” saying it’s at odds with the need for poor nations to gain better access to energy, as well as the need for fossil fuels to meet global energy demand for decades to come.

So far, the climate advocates’ progress at getting a growing number of institutions to shed holdings in fossil fuel companies remains pretty small compared with the scale of the industry they’re battling.

But, the article adds, while the fossil fuel divestment movement may be small now, it’s growing fast. As a result, the fossil fuel divestment movement clearly has ExxonMobil nervous, and there’s one clear piece of evidence to prove that’s the case: ExxonMobil’s attacking it. Because, let’s face it, that’s what the fossil fuel industry does when it sees a threat – relentlessly attacks, just as it’s done with clean energy and climate science in recent years. The problem for the fossil fuel industry, though, is that no matter how much money they spend attacking their demons, the reality – plummeting costs and rapidly improving technology for solar and wind, mountains of scientific evidence on climate change driven by fossil fuel combustion – isn’t going away.

All of which means the harsh reality for ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies is that, while they certainly are big and powerful today, that situation could change in a hurry. And if the fossil fuel folks don’t believe that, all they have to do is look at the land line telephone companies of the 1970s in the era of cell phones and Skype, or the traditional journalism business model in the internet age, then figure out if that could be them.  While they’re pondering this question, they might also consider whether in 10-20 years, will they be: a) kicking themselves for fighting the inexorable shift towards clean energy; or b) patting themselves on the back for joining it? At least at the moment, it looks like they’re foolishly, stubbornly sticking with option “a”.

Posted in Fossil Fuels, Oil
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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (10/14/14)

Posted By Lowell F. on October 14th, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (10/14/14).

  1. Bloomberg reports, “At a windy mountain pass on the edge of the Mojave DesertNorth America’s most potent collection of batteries used for storing unused power is humming its way toward an electricity revolution.”
  2. According to The Guardian, “Onshore wind is cheaper than coal, gas or nuclear energy when the costs of ‘external’ factors like air quality, human toxicity and climate change are taken into account, according to an EU analysis.”
  3. The New York Times reports: “The Pentagon on Monday released a report asserting decisively that climate change poses an immediate threat to national security, with increased risks from terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages. It also predicted rising demand for military disaster responses as extreme weather creates more global humanitarian crises.”
  4. The Guardian describes how, “over the last few years the coal industry has been trying to hijack the issue of energy poverty by telling the world that the only way the poorest nations can pull themselves out of poverty is by purchasing lots of their product.” The article notes that this is a “deeply cynical campaign to get more coal burned at a time when world leaders need to be working out how to do the opposite to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.”
  5. CBS News writes: “Does having your own solar power installation sound appealing? It apparently does to a growing number of American businesses and homeowners who are investing in what many tout as a cleaner and less expensive source of electricity. And that trend of buying into solar power is also growing internationally.”
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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (10/13/14)

Posted By Lowell F. on October 13th, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (10/13/14).

  1. NPR reports, “an investigation by Houston Public Media and the Houston Chronicle shows Texas highways have become the nation’s deadliest amid a fracking boom.”
  2. According to Midwest Energy News, “Commercial enterprises, homeowners and nonprofits lined up in great numbers to take advantage of a Minnesota program designed to spur the domestic manufacture of solar panels and increase adoption of photovoltaic (PV) solar through aggressive incentives.”
  3. Bloomberg reports, “Renewable energy will satisfy much of Africa’s expanding power needs by 2040 as the continent unlocks vast hydropower resources, the International Energy Agency said.”
  4. Renewable Energy World highlights “5 Breweries Embracing Renewable Energy.”
  5. Bloomberg reports, “Scotland [Friday] gave the go-ahead to four sea-based wind farms with a potential 2.3 gigawatts capacity, enough for 1.4 million homes, the Scottish government said in a statement.”
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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (10/10/14)

Posted By Lowell F. on October 10th, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (10/10/14).

  1. Greentech Media writes about “Utility and Consumer Data: A New Source of Power in the Energy Internet of Things.”
  2. Mother Jones asks: “Walmart Is the Biggest Corporate Solar User. Why Are Its Owners Funding Groups That Oppose Solar?”
  3. InsideClimate News reports on a new study which shows that shifting to a low-carbon economy “could free up $1.8 trillion,” in part “by avoiding the high operating costs of using fossil fuels—coal and natural gas—to generate power.”
  4. Joe Romm of Climate Progress writes about “The Vast Benefits of Energy Efficiency,” and how a “New York Times Op-Ed Confuses the Facts.”
  5. RenewEconomy reports, “The surprise decision by China to impose tariffs on coal imports from Australia has raised the prospect of tit-for-tat action that could impact on the multi-billion solar industry in Australia.”
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Five Energy Stories Worth Reading Today (10/9/14)

Posted By Lowell F. on October 9th, 2014

Here are five recommended reads for today (10/9/14).

  1. NRDC’s Switchboard blog writes: “Offshore wind power isn’t usually associated with lower-cost energy, at least not in the public imagination. But it turns out that installing 54 gigawatts of offshore wind power off America’s coasts can cut the cost of electricity in the U.S. by an astounding $7.68 billion a year. That’s right: $7.68 billion annually.”
  2. Bloomberg reports on “The Keystone Killer the Enviros Didn’t See Coming.”
  3. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The Lego man won’t be filling up at the Shell station much longer.”
  4. The New York Times reports: “Many Texans have long held the oil and gas industry as dear to their hearts as a prairie range full of feeding cattle. Now suddenly that love is being tested here in a local election, where a grass-roots campaign against gas producers has pushed the industry into a corner.”
  5. According to The Desert Sun: “As policymakers have pushed California to transition to renewable energy, a potentially serious obstacle has emerged: The state’s major electric utilities don’t have comprehensive plans for taking advantage of the solar panels that residents across the Coachella Valley and the rest of the state are putting on their rooftops.”
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