Saturday, January 14, 2017

From Bad To Worse


Oil's dark secret  --  Government-owned firms control most of the world's oil reserves.

Name the biggest oil company in the world. ExxonMobil? British Petroleum? Royal Dutch Shell? In fact, the 13 largest energy companies on Earth, measured by the reserves they control, are now owned and operated by governments. Saudi Aramco, Gazprom (Russia), China National Petroleum Corp., National Iranian Oil Co., Petróleos de Venezuela, Petrobras (Brazil) and Petronas (Malaysia) are all larger than ExxonMobil, the largest of the multinationals. Collectively, multinational oil companies produce just 10% of the world's oil and gas reserves. State-owned companies now control more than 75% of all crude oil production....
Another country has joined this club,

With a Major Offshore Discovery, Guyana Is Poised to Become a Top Energy Producer

What this all means is that it is going to be very difficult to get the cooperation of these countries for the fight against global warming because their national economies have all become largely dependent on their oil profits.  The drop in the price of oil over the last year or so has produced severe economic problems for some of these countries, for example, Russia, and as a result they are even less interested in curtailing their oil production for any reason at all.

The state owned oil companies present an essentially insurmountable obstacle in the way of fighting climate change.  But things are about to get worse.  For eight years we had a President engaged in that fighting, but now not only will we have a President opposed to it, we will have a Secretary of State intimately involved for years with all those state run oil companies while leading the largest non-state oil company, ExxonMobil.

The Secretary of State designate, Rex Tillerson, has no diplomatic experience, but lots of experience with oil companies.  And one of his biggest deals while at ExxonMobil was for the development of oil fields in Russia, a huge development.  And sanctions imposed by Obama over Russia's seizure of Crimea stopped that deal cold.  But Trump would be in a good position to change that producing a significant benefit for ExxonMobil and Russia.

Did Putin help elect Trump to restore $500 billion Exxon oil deal killed by sanctions

Follow the money: Will Trump repay Putin by ending Russian sanctions and killing the Paris climate deal?
And if Trump and Tillerson work together to kill the Paris climate deal, the last best chance to save Americans from catastrophic climate change—and a ridiculously good deal for the U.S.— that will look like they are putting Putin’s interests and Exxon’s profits above America’s national interest and the health and well-being of our children. It bears repeating that ExxonMobil’s future is inextricably tied to their stalled oil deal with Putin — and their future drilling plans would benefit from continued global warming and melting of polar ice.
Fortunately there are enough people working to solve the problem of climate change with the development of alternate energy sources.  So when it becomes so obvious that we have a problem that not even the oil companies will be unable to ignore it, we will have the means to generate the power we need to keep our lives going.

I believe something will happen, someday but possibly in the near future, showing the threat beyond any more discussion.  As I said a year ago, we might need a Pearl Harbor to get a war against global warming started.  It might be sea level inundating Miami and New Orleans.  There is actually plenty of evidence right now but it is confusing.  The Arctic is melting from record heat but this has driven cold weather south, in particular, into the United States.  So record heat is occurring where there aren't any people, and record cold where there are a lot of people.   The extremes of weather go both ways, hotter here, colder there, wetter here, drier there.  This has made it hard for ordinary people to get a handle on it despite the fact that the planet is clearly getting warmer.

So we will have to get our Pearl Harbor before any real action on climate change is going to happen.