Slippery Business: Inside Big Oil’s Little Hint that It’s Picking Romney to Win.
by Steve Levine (Foreign Policy) …Three years ago, we saw a very different Rex Tillerson. In January 2009, the ExxonMobil CEO was so worried about the Obama juggernaut that he engineered a wholesale change in the company’s public policy. He abandoned his predecessor’s confrontational climate policy, declaredExxonMobil a believer in global warming, and said the company favored a tax on carbon as the best way to reduce emissions. Tillerson’s latest remarks seem to repudiate that switch.
…(M)any industry players sincerely believe that adaptation is the answer to global warming. (You know, if Kansas gets too hot, you just pick up the entire population of 3 million people and shift them to, say, Colorado.) Many industry hands regard it as foolhardy and even futile to attempt to scale back fossil fuel consumption enough to contain the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-Industrial Revolution levels, which is the goal of climate scientists.
Tillerson also seems to find industry traction with his suggestion that, instead of focusing interminably on global warming, it would be far more humanitarian to provide fossil fuels to huge populations currently lacking electricity or cooking food over dung-lit fires. “When you are able to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, that has to be the first global objective,” Donald Lindsey, chief investment officer at George Washington University, told me. “Maybe that’s the message. If you look at the extent of global problems, poverty is an immediate need that has to be solved, but isn’t something that can be addressed by continuing to attack the industry.”
…But a new North American oil boom, underpinned by a technological breakthrough in fracking, has appeared to fundamentally improve the industry’s outlook.
According to Coll, these happier days have presented the industry with a new political risk — “resistance to fracking and evidence that global warming is getting worse.” In this scenario, Tillerson needs to beat down environmentalists if ExxonMobil is to succeed. READ MORE