Big Oil Pleads for Energy Evolution, Not Revolution

No one should be surprised that Big Oil talks the talk on the need to address the climate crisis while not bothering to actually walk the walk.  At an industry conference this week in London, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries showed their true colors by dismissing clean energy alternatives in favor of ramped up investment in dirty fossil fuels. 

As reported by Reuters, "the oil industry has shifted its message to a more climate-friendly approach, but argued that for now oil and gas were the ways to meet the world's energy needs."

Here are a few soundbites from the conference:

  • "There is no getting away from fossil fuels." -- Nigerian Oil Minister Rilwanu Lukman
  • "If we do not [invest in conventional fuels], we will have a devastating oil crisis in the next five to 10 years...that will threaten economic stability and prosperity." -- John Hess, CEO of Hess Corp
  • "I believe that in the realm of alternatives, it's dangerous to promise too much too soon.  So we're talking about an evolution -- not a revolution in the energy mix." -- Tony Hayward, CEO of BP

Keeping with the script, the International Energy Agency (IEA) echoed the oil titans' warnings of the dangers of too little investment in fossil fuels, while also offering tepid support for the need to spend on alternative energy supplies.

I think we should look at this as a teaching moment, or maybe more of a "Costanza" moment.  That's George Costanza, the character on the sitcom "Seinfeld", who enjoyed success in life by simply doing the opposite of whatever his normal inclination might be. 

So, the lesson here is that whatever Big Oil suggests we do to address our energy needs, let's do the exact opposite and see where that gets us.  Heck, we certainly won't be worse off by breaking our addiction to oil with clean energy that won't cook the planet.