The Business Times

Can big oil go green and win?

Published Fri, Dec 11, 2015 · 09:50 PM
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IN the past few weeks and months, global warming has been on the world stage, perhaps more than any other time in recent memory. Droughts in California, flooding in India and deadly bushfires in Australia have all graced headlines of late and global climate change is without doubt partly to blame. In Paris, world leaders convened for the United Nations conference on climate change in an almost desperate attempt to stem the flow of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. Going green is on the agenda.

But through it all, the oil companies keep pumping, the pipelines keep flowing, the cars keep driving and the gas keeps guzzling. Despite warnings from nearly every major scientific body plus countless presidents, prime ministers, kings and congresses about the inherent dangers of burning fossil fuels and the threat it poses to the planet, the oil companies won't stop. And nor will their profits.

Naturally, this has led to complacency on the "environmental responsibility" front on the part of these energy companies - Exxon has spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the last decade on green energy and environmental research. And while that may seem like a colossal amount, it is dwarfed when you discover that the sum's but a minuscule fraction of the hundreds of billions in overall profits that Exxon walks away with each year. Because why bother with the future of humanity when your present is full of cash? Why save the planet when you're already on top of the world?

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