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Energy Companies Ready to Deal with Climate Change

Washington Post. Top executives at many of the US’ largest energy companies have accepted the scientific consensus about climate change and see federal regulation to cut greenhouse gas emissions as inevitable.

The companies have been hiring new lobbyists who they hope can help fashion a national approach that would avert a patchwork of state plans now in the works. They are also working to change some company practices in anticipation of the regulation.

...It’s Shell’s belief that we have to deal with greenhouse gases. From a Shell point of view, the debate is over. When 90-plus percent of the world’s leading figures believe that greenhouse gases have impacted the climate of the Earth, who is Shell to say to say, let’s debate the science?

...We can’t have 50 state policies on greenhouse gas emissions. We believe, Shell believes, we need a national approach to greenhouse gas management and how that would work across our industries, not only the gas and oil industry.

John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co.

Hofmeister and other top energy company leaders back a proposal that would cap greenhouse gas emissions and allow firms to trade their quotas. Paul M. Anderson, Duke Energy’s chairman and a member of the president’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, favors a tax on emissions of carbon dioxide.

Exxon Mobil Corp., the highest-profile corporate skeptic about global warming, said in September that it was considering ending its funding of a think tank that has sought to cast doubts on climate change. And on Nov. 2, the company announced that it will contribute more than $1.25 million to a European Union study on how to store carbon dioxide in natural gas fields in the Norwegian North Sea, Algeria and Germany.

“If we had our druthers, we’d already have carbon legislation passed,” said John L. Stowell, Duke Energy’s vice president for environmental policy. “Our viewpoint is that it’s going to happen. There’s scientific evidence of climate change. We’d like to know what legislation will be put together so that, when we figure out how to increase our load, we know exactly what to expect.”

Next week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether the federal government is obligated to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant; its decision could force the government to come up with guidelines.

(A hat-tip to Rafael!)

Comments

Jay Lemieux

Hydrogen is comes from fossil fuel. Which means it has to be extracted, processed and delivered at 3 times the cost of gas since it takes 3 times more fossil fuel to get the equivalent hydrogen from it.
This means 3 times more CO2 from processing fossil fuel.
We need to concentrate on solar energy which is as cheap as natural gas for electricity generation. See nanosolar.
Also we have to put emphasis on electric cars such as the 400 BHP pick up, 200 mile range, 10 minute fillup developed by phoenix motors.
http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/4201003.html

pizmo

Hydrogen is comes from fossil fuel.

No, it can come from fossil fuel. It doesn't need to.

Which means it has to be extracted, processed and delivered at 3 times the cost of gas since it takes 3 times more fossil fuel to get the equivalent hydrogen from it.
This means 3 times more CO2 from processing fossil fuel.

Specious reasoning unsupported by facts.

HighDroGen

Jay Lemieux needs a chemistry lesson me thinks.

Fossil fuels are a variety of Hydro-carbons. These are usually large molecules made of H and C bond together. It is true that you can extract the H and have a bunch of leftover C. That does not mean breaking up hydro-carbons is the only way to create H.

Hydrogen is only a form of energy storage as a previous comment mentioned.

wintermane

Yes I know EXACTLY how it works. The oil companies have always done a very siple thing. They make the fuel and then tack on a profit. Its simple and it works even when fuel prices jump around like crazy.

But its realy designed for lower fuel cost rates then currently exist.

But they sure arnt gona turn away the profits now as theyare all investing in hundreds of pojects most of wich wil fail. what is 100b a year profits industry wide when the next platform they might have to buld may cost 25 billion each? Or they may have to sink 40-50 billion into coal to liquids or god forbid they may have to BUILD an entire nuke imdustry just to provide the fuel they sell?

They are quite litteraly staring trillions in future investments right in the face and are amn glad they have a buffer for now. They sure as hell wont have it for long.

pizmo

But they sure arnt gona turn away the profits now as theyare all investing in hundreds of pojects most of wich wil fail.

Reinvestment isn't tracking increased profitability.

They are quite litteraly staring trillions in future investments right in the face and are amn glad they have a buffer for now.

So the $400 million given to the departing CEO of XOM was a "buffer"?

q

"TXU Corp. is planning to spend $10 billion to build 11 new coal-fired power plants, which would more than double the company's carbon dioxide emissions, from 55 million tons to 133 million tons a year. That increase in emissions is more than the total carbon dioxide pollution emitted in all of Maryland or by 10 million Cadillac Escalade sport-utility vehicles."

Let me see if I understand this. I am supposed to pay extra $5K for a green car, such as Toyota Prius. Then I am supposed to spend say $30Kish for solar panels and wind turbines to generate green electricity. Altogether I am supposed to spend close to $50K over the next couple of decades to reduce my own CO2 emissions.

Meanwhile these fellas are going to spend $10B to generate vast amounts of CO2 and supply electricity to the factories that make SUVs that will generate yet more CO2.

Is anyone still wondering why green doesn't sell?!?!? Really what is the point? Few measly watts from very expensive solar panels have no chance against MWs from these massive coal plants. We'll get global warming anyhow. This is like Borg, "Resistance is futile"

Geeez

andrichrose

I think that the problems with the actions of the energy companys are complex and date back to the time when certainly here in europe most energy production was in the state sector. Here in italy we have the probably the highest energy costs in the whole of europe , for example the cost of heating our house last year in the coldest four months of the year was around 500 us dollers per month, yet there is no actions taken by the state to encourage saving , ie correct insulation etc.
this year I have embarked on a series of works on the house to improve its performance, changed the roof and fitted 8 cm of natural cork insulation, fitted solar panels to heat the domestic hot water , and recently changed the gas heating system over to a condenser type of boiler, last year I changed all the windows over to double glazed units . This all costs money but should deacrease our carbon footprint considerably in the future years. However I seem to be in the minority certainly in ths part of the world, most houses having little or no insulation, and indeed new houses being built with only 2 cms of expanded polysterene in the roof!
In Italy we survive in winter on imported gas from russia ,and indeed last year it nearly ran out over a long cold period , causing near panic on the part of the govenment. Yet still there are no incentives to change policy, and to encourage people to save , low energy bulbs are kept under the counter in the local electrical shops etc, not on display.
I think the problem lies with consumpion , in our capitalist societys this is deemed to be good ,providing income for the share holders.
Ask anyone here what are the major shares held in their own pension portfollios and the answer will almost certainly be energy and oil company stocks
the reason is obvious these stocks provide strong and sustained growth over a long period, large companys also invest their employees funds into these stocks,
and at the top of the scale so do govenments . Any reduction in consumption is a probable headache for these adminstrations , pension plans not performing, pushing more realiance onto the state to provide for people in their old age, in many european countries the state pension systems are very close to collapse anyway.
Governments need to be seen to be to be doing something about the dreadful state we have got ourself into , yet when the shouting and chest beating is all over they just slip back into their old ways, for example witness Mr blairs performance a month or so ago after the realease of the stern report into the economic damage that climate will inflict on the world, since then nothing has been heard or done, and now they want to spend some 32 billion pounds on a new nuclear deterant for the UK, if this money was spent over the next twenty years investing in new tech to reduce the UKs carbon footprint that would be progress.
So I am afraid we are stuck with it . there is a saying " you are what you eat" and this is true with governance , " we are who we elect" until this sort of short term , and purly economic thinking can be removed from governmental levels we are finished, and to think that at one time we thought that nuclear weapons was going to be the end of us all!

SJC

There is money to be made in energy and that is the driving force. Coal is cheap and as a source fuel allows power plant owners to make money hand over fist. That is why W and Company have 86ed all the coal plant upgrades that Clinton and Gore worked on.

wintermane

Of course reinvestment isnt trackingl. For one thing alot oinf nevestors are nervous and simply want MONEY nd alot of energy companies are nervous and are building lquid assets to buy into whatever winds up working.

As for the big arse returment... very likely the contrsct stated a certain percent of profits or some such and as such hes one damn happy rich dude.

one4gaia

As an advocate for biodiesel,vege oil / compression engines / gassified systems since 1987, I have been involved in this issue by understanding the mentality of the user. Whether the desire for production is supply driven, or demand driven, is an issue for the capitalist with deep pockets - to fill - although more spontaneous results occur from the shallow pockets that change pop out of with the faith for a better tomorrow. Self sustainability, and de-centralized energy production model Autonomy, and Anarchy . But I'm not so sure that the result is so unBEARable or full of BULLshit. somewhere in the middle the grass is greener for both to Co-exist. When modelling energy pyramids along side pyramids of Biotic consumers of energy we can see both opportunity and valiant efforts with the least of which the failures, but knowing one's position has made all the difference (some famous poet). Just wantewd to enter into a dead conversation.

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