Hilarious: Exxon Concludes Climate Policies Will Have Minimal Impact

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

An activist shareholder push to force Exxon to include climate risks in their company reports has spectacularly backfired: Exxon has demonstrated that there is no threat to their business, for the foreseeable future.

Exxon Studies Climate Policies and Sees ‘Little Risk’ to Bottom Line


WASHINGTON — In one sign of the pressures that companies face to understand the business risks of stricter climate-change policies, one of the world’s biggest energy companies on Friday offered its thoughts on how it would fare in a low-carbon world.

Exxon Mobil’s shareholders — concerned that the company’s main businesses, oil and natural gas, may be imperiled — had demanded last year that the company give a more detailed accounting of the consequences of global policies aimed at curbing emissions of earth-warming gases. Those policies include the goal of the Paris climate agreement to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

Exxon’s conclusion: Even aggressive climate policies pose “little risk” to its investments. It stressed that it expected healthy demand for its products for decades to come, regardless of how strongly countries move to cut emissions.

Exxon’s vast fossil fuel reserves “face little risk” of being left in the ground, the company said. Less than 5 percent of its reserves would be affected under a 2-degree scenario, the company estimated. Under that scenario, Exxon sees the world’s oil consumption dropping only slowly in the next two decades or so, and sees demand for natural gas rising slightly.

Some climate campaigners were unimpressed with Exxon’s climate analysis. “The range of risks that Exxon faces if climate action is taken is far deeper than what’s being presented here,” said Adam Scott, a senior adviser at Oil Change International, an energy research and advocacy group.

ExxonMobil’s own analysis assumes the world will continue to burn through oil and gas to drive its profits, keeping us on a path toward global temperatures rising well above the 2 degree Celsius threshold,” said Kathy Mulvey, climate accountability manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/climate/exxon-global-warming.html

Exxon’s climate report is available here.

Poor greens – they thought they had won a significant PR victory when they pushed Exxon to produce a report detailing the impact climate policies would have on Exxon’s business. Instead, they’re now grappling with an unexpected dose of public honesty, a clear headed assessment that all their efforts will be utterly inconsequential to the long term business prospects of a Big Oil company.

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February 2, 2018 7:44 pm

When I throw the chicken bones I see a future with many more people using much more energy and even with significant technology breakthroughs, the future will be using more fossil fuels than we currently use….

Reply to  Steve
February 3, 2018 11:01 am

Steve: Your right. Even if renewables growth increases spectacularly percentage-wise, the overall increase in total energy demand means that fossil fuel production will have to grow as well. Due to the difference in the share of energy optput between fossil fuels and renewables, the absolute amount of fossil fuel increase will outstrip renewables increases. If I grow $800 dollars at 2% per year I get a $16 dollar increase. If I grow $5 at 20% per year, I get a $1 dollar increase. $16 is larger than $1. I think this is what these people don’t seem to understand, so I made the explanation as simple as possible. Even a warmist can now grasp it. (I hope). With fossil fuels, you’re starting from a HUGE base. With renewables, you’re starting from a tiny base that produces out a pathetically small amount of (unreliable and expensive) energy.

Reply to  Trebla
February 3, 2018 12:30 pm

All physical components of renewable-energy technology should be produced from power generated by hamsters on hand-carved, wooden running wheels, using wood spindles as gears and vines as belts to transmit the required forces of production. Components should then be transported via horse-drawn wagons, loaded and unloaded by humans with their bare hands, assembled with hand tools, located, leveled, and secured on the grounds of their respective sites with shovels,wheelbarrows, vine ropes, and roller logs.
All future maintenance also should follow the same protocols. Otherwise, it’s gonna take fossil fuels to deal with making the technology and maintaining the technology, and that would be defeating the purpose, right?
Now this might mean that a lot of people would have to die off, because this manner of working could only accommodate a mere fraction of the current Earth’s still-growing human population. But that would be okay, because mass death would be acceptable collateral damage to “improve the world”.
Too asinine?

Reply to  Trebla
February 3, 2018 1:18 pm

Your statement implies we will see crude oil and condensate prices rise steadily above inflation (we can’t produce crude oil and condensate at today’s prices for very long, will need higher prices to justify developing and producing the lower quality or harsh location fields we have left). The question in my mind is how efficiency and replacement by new technologies compete in 10-20-30 years. I suspect the higher prices the oil industry demands will lead to much more use of electric vehicles, plug in hybrids, and also smaller and lighter vehicles.

Kristi Silber
Reply to  Trebla
February 3, 2018 8:10 pm

Your assessment doesn’t account for improvements in efficiency, changing technologies, use patterns, world markets, cost of extraction, etc. Even large industries can go into decline – look at coal.
7% and growing is not pathetically small. Better technology is lowering costs. Funny that Trump focused on solar panels for his tariffs when we have no real panel industry to begin with. Makes ya wonder.

Reply to  Trebla
February 4, 2018 1:05 am

Kristi, solar and wind suffer from intermittency, can’t follow the load. To compensate for this deficiency it’s possible to run hydro as a large energy storage device, but that has a limit. Otherwise it’s necesary to keep coal and nuclear running and use gas turbines to ramp up and down to follow the load. This is feasible and works well until wind and solar take around 20% of the market, at which point the only solution is to go to demand management, or raise consumer prices to offset the system inefficiencies caused by renewables.
There is sufficient grid performance data to show that solar and wind aren’t ready for prime time. We read a lot of baloney, including garbage published in “peer reviewed journals”. I also see lobbying by corporations engaged in solar and wind, sone of it is dishonest. And of course there’s a large crowd which seems into reality denial. They are usually into enviromental causes and have never studied engineering, therefore a lot of what goes on in energy goes over their heads. These deniers are like a religious cult, worshipping Chinese made solar panels. Warning: I have family working in the solar industry.

Reply to  Trebla
February 4, 2018 12:58 pm

PSP Investments, Canada, June 19, 2017
Re: Pension investments in renewable energy.
Follow the money?
Also at:
Fast Search
Form 8-K, June 19, 2017
Fast Search box enter > 0001561660 > select Form 8-K > p.5

Reply to  Trebla
February 4, 2018 1:38 pm
Reply to  Trebla
February 5, 2018 8:11 pm

“This is feasible and works well until wind and solar take around 20% of the market, at which point the only solution is to go to demand management”
Who thinks the push for smart meters (1) is a trick, or “conspiracy” if you will (2) to then reprogram the meters to do demand management?
(1) as in smartphones, these are real networked computers with firmware update via the net
(2) conspiracies don’t exist, not in Hollywood not in Soviet Union not in the FBI

Reply to  Steve
February 3, 2018 1:11 pm

It depends on how one defines the future. The world is running out of oil at a fast pace, therefore one has to understand the business to realize everything isn’t that rosy, if we define the future to be several decades from now.

Peter Wilson
Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 3, 2018 4:32 pm

“The world is running out of oil at a fast pace”
You haven’t read much on the subject, then? Plenty of links on this page to disillusion you.

Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 4, 2018 12:55 am

Peter, I’ve been in the oil business for over 4 decades. Most links about oil go to amateur websites. I read the Exxon reports. Feel free to read my comments here. You’ll learn something you may find useful.

Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 5, 2018 3:07 am

It depends on how one defines “running out of oil” and “a fast pace,”
Even if “peak oil” occurs this year, we won’t run out of oil at a fast pace… Or even a slow pace.
The volume of recoverable oil in the Earth’s crust may be finite, but it’s YUGE.

Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 5, 2018 3:12 am
Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 5, 2018 7:10 am

“The world is running out of oil at a fast pace”
The science says otherwise.

Joel Snider
Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 5, 2018 12:11 pm

‘I’ve been in the oil business for over 4 decades’
Let me guess: public relations?

Reply to  Steve
February 4, 2018 4:03 am

“Funny that Trump focused on solar panels for his tariffs when we have no real panel industry to begin with. Makes ya wonder.”
How is it funny? The point of tariffs is generally to balance the playing field between externally and internally produced goods. It is simply uneconomical to produce US solar panels compared to China, as several startup companies found out when this whole solar boom started.
Increasing the cost of Chinese panels may make it possible for US companies to get back in the game. Or not. It might also just be a way to recoup some of the solar-tax-credit losses that the US incurred.

Kristi Silber
Reply to  kcrucible
February 4, 2018 5:26 pm

I’ve been reading about this lately. Apparently we wouldn’t be able to compete even with the tariff, the prices in other nations are so low. Where America makes its money is in the support systems and installation, and with high tariffs solar becomes more costly to install. It could end up actually costing America jobs.
Personally, I think we should be investing in R&D. Big global market!
In the past, tariff wars have not been good for the economy. What looks good now can backfire.
fernandoleanme – I don’t advocate mindless growth of renewables. I know there are problems, as there are with all energy sources. I think there is room for their growth, though, and renewables can be used to supplement other energy sources, particularly at peak times. Diversifying our energy base is a good idea for more reasons than CO2 emissions. It doesn’t seem likely the coal industry will make a great comeback. Grid issues can be resolved or avoided through good siting. …That’s just my ignorant impression, though – sounds like you know far more than I about the topic, and your comments have been interesting.

Reply to  kcrucible
February 4, 2018 8:53 pm

What is “diversity”?
Diversity of technologies? of producers? of supply chains?
Diversity is not inherently a good thing. Many small producers can be more costly and less reliable than a few big ones.
Introducing a production that varies with the unpredictable weather (wind speed, clouds) is not a good thing, it’s inherently worst than not have that dependency on weather and unpredictability (who can make even a vague forecast of winds next month?).
“Renewable” is a codename for weather-dependent. It’s inherently a bad characteristic. It means greater exposure to random failures. (It also means great stress for the rest of the system that needs to follow these variations.)
(On some context, “renewable” means uses very few resources extracted from the ground per unit of energy. But then nuclear fission is the only technology available that provides a good approximation of “renewable”.)
Diversity like many layers of “defense” is not a good idea of that’s diversity of unpredictable, unreliable sources and many layers of costly, complicated but practically useless defense layers. You don’t make good computer security by adding trivially defeated “protections”, you don’t make energy supply more reliable by adding more extremely unreliable production units.

Reply to  kcrucible
February 5, 2018 7:11 am

Theoretically, everything can be made in the US, if we make it foreign products expensive enough.
Great for the owners of a handful of companies.
A real bad deal for US consumers.

Reply to  kcrucible
February 5, 2018 7:13 am

Diversity means putting the hand of government so that people or technologies that don’t have what it takes to compete on their own, are put at the front of the pack where they can fail spectacularly.

February 2, 2018 7:54 pm

Well, if I am still around ten years from now (unlikely, I would be 97 years old) I think I would see a lot of electric cars on the used car lots, unsold because of the cost of new batteries. And I think the global warming craze would be burnt out resulting in a return to comfortable sized automobiles. There is a market for them. Note the market for rebuilt cars from the 60s and 70s.

Reply to  texasjimbrock
February 2, 2018 11:38 pm

Go for 100 Jim.

Reply to  Solsten
February 3, 2018 8:04 am

He’ll never be able to make ten more years; None of us will …
Watch “Guy McPherson – Human Extinction within 10 years” on YouTube

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Solsten
February 3, 2018 8:56 am


Reply to  Solsten
February 3, 2018 11:39 am

“Marv February 3, 2018 at 8:04 am
He’ll never be able to make ten more years; None of us will …
Watch “Guy McPherson – Human Extinction within 10 years” on YouTube”

Earth’s current population is approximately 7.6 billion.
Extinct in 10 years means more than 760 million people dead per year. More, since estimated population increase during 2018 will be around 84 million.
That’s 844 million people who would have to die during 2018.
2,312,328 million people per day during 2018.
96,347 people per hour.
1,606 per minute.
Surely, someone would have noticed.

B. Caswell
Reply to  Solsten
February 3, 2018 12:46 pm

My great uncle just hit 108, don’t sell yourself short and aim too low. He actually is now the oldest person in Canada, and he is still sharp as ever.

Reply to  Solsten
February 4, 2018 5:20 am

That would be called a “Griff”, a prediction with no hope of ever being right.

Reply to  texasjimbrock
February 3, 2018 12:30 am

Over the past decade there has been a return to comfortable sized vehicles, they’re called trucks. Half of US vehicle sales today are pick-up trucks.

Ian W
Reply to  Klem
February 3, 2018 3:44 am

Yes SUVs and trucks with small sedans now being dropped from the inventory in the USA. In Europe that will be difficult as the parking areas are set up for small vehicles but even there small SUVs are gaining in popularity.

Reply to  Klem
February 3, 2018 5:16 am

Canadian sales of light trucks rose by 8.7 per cent year-over-year to reach almost 1.4 million vehicles. Conversely, passenger car sales slipped by 3.4 per cent last year to come in at 639,823.
Light trucks accounted for 68 per cent of the market, an all-time record.

Reply to  Klem
February 3, 2018 1:20 pm

I believe the age of pickup trucks in the USA will slowly come to an end as gasoline prices rise steadily.

Reply to  Klem
February 5, 2018 7:14 am

I wonder if you will ever tire of being wrong?

Alan D McIntire
Reply to  texasjimbrock
February 3, 2018 5:12 am

According to the latest SSA tables,
you’ve got an 11.2% chance of making it as a male- Not that unlikely.

Hot under the collar
Reply to  Alan D McIntire
February 3, 2018 12:36 pm

Not according to ‘The End is Nigh’ within 10 years nutjob Guy McPerson above, I’m surprised the Guardian and BBC don’t use him as a climate change expert in their debates.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  texasjimbrock
February 3, 2018 7:47 am

texasjim, you are far too clear-headed and engaged to leave this “mortal coil” in 10 years. Good on you! I’m in my 80th, but I renewed my passport for another ten years and don’t think about or count years. Cheers, Gary

Reply to  texasjimbrock
February 4, 2018 2:24 am

Fernado 50 years and you are flat out wrong.Plenty of oil and gas.

Kenneth Donnelly
Reply to  texasjimbrock
February 8, 2018 12:45 pm

The problem Texas Jim is yes likely in 10 or 20 years you will be dead as will many of the other certain posters, many others who will still be here will be the ones who can marvel at how clever or silly your thoughts are and how clever or silly the current and prior administration policies – and the rest of the world who are all in the Paris accord – were! So perhaps their views, the ones to actually be impacted are a tad more relevant! PS, I am only 20 years behind you! or if Marv is right “what out worry” slightly changing Alfred E Neuman phrase!
As to the hilarious title yes it is, expecting Exxon to have spoken to climate change voluntarily earlier, something they understood years ago, or to say anything other than they have said now is hilarious! The initial actions to divest shares of companies heavily involved in apartheid supportive South Africa were also hilarious, until they weren’t! No one realistically should assume fossil fuels will be eliminated, in fact the cleaner ones will predominate as Exxon acknowledges, but while Renewables scale-up will be slow it will also happen. Hopefully, soon enough.

February 2, 2018 8:00 pm

You can make them believe, you can tax them, you can ridicule them, and you can threaten them but you can’t stop using fossil fuels yourself. Can you?

Jeff L
Reply to  markl
February 2, 2018 8:09 pm

CAGW is the ultimate is in leftist passive aggressive warfare. Their thought process : ” Everyone else must change their evil ways, but I am different and special so I do not have to change my ways, but I must insist that other do”

Reply to  Jeff L
February 3, 2018 9:45 am

Leftist thought process = ERROR; CONFLICTING INPUT TERMS

Kristi Silber
Reply to  Jeff L
February 3, 2018 8:17 pm

Yep, they’re just full of smug superiority, aren’t they? You would never stoop to that, passing judgment on others.

Reply to  Jeff L
February 5, 2018 7:16 am

Passing judgement on others.
It’s something everybody does, every single day of their lives.
It’s called living in the real world.
It really is funny about how judgmental leftists are always offended when someone makes a negative judgement regarding them.

Kristi Silber
Reply to  Jeff L
February 6, 2018 10:58 pm

MarkW – I would never pass judgment that way on any group. Not like he did and so many others do. I’m a liberal but I reject some liberal ideals and admire many conservative ones. My best friend is a staunch conservative and “skeptic.”
But I should just ignore it, it’s pointless to discuss it. Some of the comments are mindboggling.

Jeff L
February 2, 2018 8:05 pm

1) The greenies wouldn’t consider for a second they may be wrong & Exxon is actually right
2) No one but no one is going to fall on their sword … but they may hope their competition does … and of course the net result is emissions aren’t going to slow, just as Exxon says. Again, hard dose of reality for the greenies. Ouch!

Reply to  Jeff L
February 3, 2018 6:33 am

….Okay…..Assuming that CO2 emissions don’t slow but instead increase at approximately the rate that population increases, do you expect global average temperature to increase appreciably, measurably?
….Or, instead, do you reckon we may be moving into a cooling phase of the eternal infernal climate cycle which will require greater use of energy to keep our homes and other buildings heated to the comfort to which so many of us have become accustomed? The data can be fudged and manipulated. GCMs can be diddled around in the manner of garbage in/garbage out. To (poorly) paraphrase something that Ursala LeGuinn once wrote, “Reality is what it is and there is only one version of reality. Each truth is what it is. Each truth is a part of the whole truth. The sum of all truths is equal to the one reality.” …..And we just don’t have the option of making it be otherwise.

Reply to  thomasjk
February 3, 2018 11:05 am

Thomasjk: Re one truth. Did a certain D. Trump read that script?

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Jeff L
February 3, 2018 7:57 am

Considerable snow in southern Morocco two days ago must be causing some green nightmares. If this is just the beginning, they may develop a need for fossil fuel heating.

Extreme Hiatus
February 2, 2018 8:08 pm

“Poor greens – they thought they had won a significant PR victory when they pushed Exxon to produce a report detailing the impact climate policies would have on Exxon’s business.”
This is exactly what is going to happen to the Dems et al who are now demanding that the ‘controversial’ memo be substantiated with more details. But much worse, for them.

Reply to  Extreme Hiatus
February 3, 2018 6:10 am

Right, EH. The way to substantiate the memo is to release all the documents the committee has and also, especially, the four FISA applications. Will the Democrats join in the demand for the FISA applications?

T port
Reply to  Gil
February 3, 2018 8:29 pm

Also release Trump tax returns, visitor lists, etc. transparency is good.

Jeff L
February 2, 2018 8:10 pm

Long live the Tiger !

Reply to  Jeff L
February 3, 2018 6:14 am

It should be a Lion, to be more accurate.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  David
February 3, 2018 8:15 am

Kellogg would have preferred that certainly.

February 2, 2018 8:10 pm

Such a sad day that Climate Scientists and Geographers in their minds live in the 13th century. So bewildering they must feel. So frightening they must dread. So unintelligible they are doomed.
Such a sad day.

Reply to  JBom
February 3, 2018 6:24 am

JBom, please be aware that Geography is where it’s at.

February 2, 2018 8:29 pm

Union of Concerned Scientists

It’s probably one of those organizations whose main purpose is its own continuation. They will take membership fees from anyone, including Kenji Watts (canine). I would hasten to note that the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is nowhere nearly as corrupt as some supposed charities. Most organizations similar to the UCS are victims of Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy. link The ‘professionals’ push out the original people who originally started the organization because they really cared. The ‘professionals’ care mostly about their own remuneration. Anything they do to advance the goals of the organization is a tool to ensure that their pay cheques continue to flow.
Such supposedly benevolent organizations become dangerous to our freedom. They have to campaign for something so they campaign for more laws and regulations, no matter how perverse and stupid. MADD appears to be Exhibit A. Climate science is Example B.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  commieBob
February 2, 2018 9:30 pm

UCS is a Socialist – Marxist entity.
In other words, the UCS is an eff’in joke on the People in a Democracy.
The UCS is a Communist-inspired joke on the West. (And that is not a joke statement.)

Reply to  commieBob
February 3, 2018 12:43 am

The UN, Sierra Club, et al have said UP-FRONT that the AGW Agenda is part of their effort to bring down modern capitalist society. We are in a war to maintain our prosperous way of life and avoid the Venezuela effect.
People who try to push the AGW fallacy are basically COLLABORATORS in this totalitarian one-world left-wing-fascist agenda, using every bit of misinformation and deception and fabrication and data twisting they can manage.
Only they know why they do it, and what they seek to gain. They will never tell you.
Others seem to want to be APPEASERS and to be polite to these traitors to modern society, and to lick the boots of those who wish to destroy our future.
Thank goodness Trump has slowed the socialist progress in the USA.
And thank goodness Exxon has decided they have had enough of this tom-foolery.

Reply to  AndyG55
February 4, 2018 12:58 am

Everyone, I suggest not replying to AndyG55, and suggest also that the moderators should take a careful interest in these posts.
You cannot help wondering as you read them whether we are dealing with a kind of trolling – the exaggeration into paranoid absurdity of skeptical viewpoints, with the aim of discrediting the site.
Global warming is not a danger to civilisation, its terrible science, it reminds one of Lysenkoism.
But the idea is not part of a UN plot by shadowy forces to gain world power, and I don’t expect that AndyG thinks for a moment that it is.
(AndyG55 is now in permanent moderation, which means any comment he want posted has to get Moderator approval first) MOD

Reply to  AndyG55
February 4, 2018 11:36 am

michel February 4, 2018 at 12:58 am
… But the idea is not part of a UN plot by shadowy forces to gain world power, …

There’s evidence to support Andy when he said:

The UN, Sierra Club, et al have said UP-FRONT that the AGW Agenda is part of their effort to bring down modern capitalist society.

We have it from the horse’s mouth.

This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution. WUWT</a

Was he trolling or sincere? You can’t tell.

Reply to  AndyG55
February 4, 2018 7:55 pm

What did he say that put him in perminant moderation?

Reply to  AndyG55
February 5, 2018 7:20 am

I agree, while a bit over the top, I don’t see anything in that post that warrants permanent moderation.
Certainly the nonsense posted by AGWers is equally over the top, in the other direction.
(It was in another thread, where he poured on the personal attacks, I got tired of snipping him and several people complained about him, he had been warned before to stop attacking the person https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/02/02/do-it-yourself-temperature-reconstruction/ ) MOD

J Mac
February 2, 2018 9:12 pm

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Roger Knights
Reply to  J Mac
February 2, 2018 10:57 pm

Or make you freek.

J Mac
Reply to  Roger Knights
February 2, 2018 11:10 pm

That’s called ‘enlightenment’….

Joel O’Bryan
February 2, 2018 9:23 pm

“Exxon has demonstrated that there is no threat to their business, for the foreseeable future…”

That’s reality.
And Thanks be God, my Chevy Silverado is safe for the future.
The ignorant Left and their Climate bed-wetters think that with a few IPCC reports, a complicit NASA/GISS temp record adjusted by idiot-Leftists, and other Leftist shenanigans on climate, that the folks will willingly give up their SUVs and P/Us, and inexpensive home heating…. they are wrong. They will be defeated wrong in fact at the polls in Democracy.
Which of course is why the Left wants to impose a totalitarian control state on the US and destroy democracy.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
February 2, 2018 11:42 pm

Climate bed-wetters. Good one!

February 2, 2018 9:32 pm

One reason that fossil fuels aren’t going away anytime soon (a reason that hasn’t as much to do with the actual burning of said fuels) is there really are no good substitutes for plastics. What would modern technology be without plastics? Before plastics, people used whale baleen and tortoise shell when they needed a material that was strong, durable and flexible. So many of the same enviro-nutters who would blow a gusset if someone talked about killing a whale or a sea turtle want to see a world without fossil fuel use. So even if they don’t get burned (to generate power, heat, light, etc) fossil fuels will be needed for a long time to create inexpensive materials that spared various species of marine mammal and reptile from being hunted to extinction.

Reply to  Schrecken
February 2, 2018 9:49 pm

Sorry to disagree, everything in oil can be made from coal (Fischer–Tropsch). Can also be made from air, but takes a lot of energy.
Look at the products currently being made from coal or natural gas: Sasol.com

Reply to  jim
February 2, 2018 11:36 pm

Plastics are just various long chain polymer hydrocarbons. They can be made from anything with carbon and hydrogen ion it. Limestone and water for example, but energy would be very high. Organic material of any sort is usable. Prior to petroleum coal was a useful feedstock and before that wood and other plant derived materials. Think of linoleum instead of vinyl flooring for example.
In fact before plastics, wood itself was the ”cheap material”. Wooden knows, wooden mouldings..a huge industry existed around using wood for various small parts.
Plastic became ubiquitous because it was cheap and easy to mould in vast quantities.
But it represents a tiny fraction of the oil market. Even if oil were priced out of the energy market, plastic would still be relatively cheap.
‘Peak oil’ will be a century ahead of ‘peak plastic’ as defined by economic drivers.

Reply to  jim
February 3, 2018 4:45 pm

Leo – I’m going to have to disagree. Plastic feedstocks are a coproduct of a refinery, and represent less than 5% of a refinery’s production. To a refinery they represent a byproduct that cannot be sold as fuel and are pushed to the market at best market rates. Therefore the economics of plastics depend very much on the fuels market.
Eliminating the fuels market essentially eliminates the feedstocks the plastics industry depends upon.
You may argue that refinery production could be modified to produce 100% plastic feedstocks. Theoretically possible, but will require massive investments in cracking and reforming technology to reshape the 95% of molecules in a barrel of oil that cannot be used as plastics feedstocks. This will be difficult to justify in a market that is shrinking by 95%. (And we can’t just throw away the molecules we can’t use.)
I would also expect that the price of crude would (eventually) rise considerably (after current producers cannibalize their existing investments). The petroleum industry is a volume business, and it takes large volumes to drive costs down. Reducing volume 95% puts most potential investments off-limits – think deep water and oil sands.
Coal suffers an even greater problem as a plastics feedstock. Early plastics production from coal was based on coal tars derived from coke production; again a byproduct that was available at giveaway prices. Coal, lacking hydrogen, requires a source of hydrogen to create plastics feedstocks. Investment in hydrogen capacity and the operating costs alone would drive up the cost of plastics. And like crude oil, if the coal mining market had to depend on the plastics industry alone there simply wouldn’t be enough volume to justify its existence.
Natural gas liquids (NGL’s) are also a source of plastics feedstocks, but NGL’s are at best a few percent of total production from ‘wet’ gas fields. Again, absent a large market for natural gas NGL’s will not be available for plastics production, and alone could not justify the investment in drilling and production.
So while technically plastics can be made from anything that has carbon and hydrogen, plastics will not be ‘relatively cheap’ in a world without a large hydrocarbon fuels market – or energy that is almost too cheap to meter. (When people tell me electric cars can eliminate the oil industry I laugh and ask them where the plastics used to build the car will come from. This always elicits blank stares.)

R. Shearer
Reply to  jim
February 3, 2018 6:01 pm

Detengineer, ethane and natural gas liquids are major feeds for olefin production. They never make it to a refinery. Jim and Leo are correct. Coal and even natural gas (methane) can be used to make virtually any organic molecule.

Reply to  Schrecken
February 3, 2018 4:27 am


February 2, 2018 10:10 pm

I think this fight will resemble the McGregor / Mayweather fight. For the lead up and the first minute or so everyone thinks it will be a good match up, but once the hype passes the superior fighter remains extremely composed and very deliberately dismantles their opponent.

Go Home
February 2, 2018 10:31 pm

My statement for Exxon would have read something like this.
“The humans on our planet survive quite nicely primarily due to fossil fuels and to doubt this is very naïve. Until another energy source or technology comes along, and it will in time, the humans on this planet will need to continue to use fossil fuels to make life habitable. To deny use of this abundant and cheap energy source is to doom many on this earth to die or to live a miserable life. The world’s population continues to increase and the need for cheap energy to sustain this growth is undeniable.”

Reply to  Go Home
February 3, 2018 1:38 pm

It’s not that abundant. And it will be more expensive in the future.

Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 5, 2018 7:21 am

It’s very abundant.
So will everything else.

Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 5, 2018 10:41 pm

That’s what Paul Ehrlich said way back when he debated Julian Simon and he lost a bunch on money on that.
I don’t know what “oil industry” you’ve been in, and in what function, for four decades (coconut oil?) but your knowledge of the petroleum industry’s future are lacking, at best.
And “renewables” will not get more that 5-10% of total electrical production in this century.

February 2, 2018 11:21 pm

Is there a Union of Unconcerned Scientists that normal scientists can join?

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
February 3, 2018 1:45 am

Yes Phil, there used to be… but everyone was too unconcerned to join (:-))

James Schrumpf
Reply to  1saveenergy
February 3, 2018 7:56 am

Perhaps the organization name should have been “The Union of Flippant Scientists.” The annual convention could feature crabs and barbecue with beer trucks. Josh would be hired to provide humorous drawings of the most-ridiculed “scientific” releases of the year. Steven and Nick would be honorary members and welcome to speak at every convention. Of course, Anthony would be guest of honor, along with all the WUWH mods and regular contributors.

F. Leghorn
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
February 3, 2018 10:02 am

They could join my “Procrastinators Club” whenever I get around to starting it.

RobertBobbert GDQ
Reply to  F. Leghorn
February 3, 2018 6:48 pm

Foggy…I was about to sign up for that non existent club but something came up and I will go away and find a way to not get around to doing that too!…Ooh…1.45pm here down under…time for late lunch at Mums…do all those important things when I get back.

February 2, 2018 11:23 pm

Well risking boring the pants off you all yet again, of course Exxon knew! Knew that climate change was largely bunk, that methods being proposed to eliminate CO2 emissions were largely virtue signalling bunk, and that even if all electricity were generated from nuclear power, that wouldn’t dent the oil market* – only the gas market**. Oil companies have teams of engineers and scientists who, in an extraordinarily counter cultural way, are actually employed to discover the truth. What is encouraging is that Exxon have actually come out and admitted it.
* The world still needs its off-grid transport.
**And if the gas is cheap enough and oil prices high enough, synthetic diesel and gasoline is possible.

February 3, 2018 12:15 am

There is actually a job at the Union of Concerned Scientists with the title of “climate accountability manager”?? How exactly is she holding climate “accountable”? And for what?
It is possible that technology will be developed that will negate the need for fossil fuels or be able to produce energy at a low enough price that oil, etc. becomes unprofitable. At this time, there is no strong evidence of such technology existing in the near future or in eighty-two years. People can hope and dream, but there are no guarantees.
I was supposed to have a hoverboard three years ago, and a flying car eighteen years ago. Still waiting.

Reply to  AllyKat
February 3, 2018 11:45 am

I would think technology advances could very well change the balance in favor of renewables. Sometimes we get stuck in the mentality that things aren’t going to change. This is always a mistake.
Also, it’s possible that climate alarmists are right after all, and that climate change could accelerate. In that case, politically induced change is quite possible. Now, fossil fuels have every advantage accept for CO2 emissions; and now, people in the U.S. aren’t particularly worried about carbon. If this changes, then the cost advantage of fossil fuels could disappear, and renewables would be more attractive.
So, if I were Exxon I would be a little more worried. Politics and cost advantages can change very quickly.

Russ R.
Reply to  scraft1
February 3, 2018 12:21 pm

Technological advances are driven by advances in data storage and data processing. This allows us to improve efficiencies in other systems, through advances in control systems, by better control using microprocessor technology. It does not put more wind in the sky, more sunshine on the ground, or more oil and gas in the ground. Wind and solar are very low energy density and no technology will change that. They also require additional grid work to connect the distributed supply to the grid. As long as the politics don’t change, the cost advantage of fossil fuels will not disappear. And if the politics change and the public starts getting the bill for high cost energy, the politics will change back.

Reply to  scraft1
February 3, 2018 1:47 pm

Long term, say beyond 2040, Exxon does have to worry because it won’t be able to access crude oil and gas to develop. In the medium term, say from 2020 to 2040, it won’t have to worry because it’s very efficient. This means weaker companies will get out or get bought. For example, I would say companies like Repsol, EOG, and BHP will divest their oil production organizations and fields, focus on natural gas, and try to optimize their refineries. Some will go a bit into biofuel manufacture, but that’s a low return business, anybody can do it. We are already seeing the switch to gas, this is why we see companies use “oil equivalents”. They also use “liquids” because some of this volume will be biofuels. You got to be in the business to understand how these oil companies massage numbers, and I can see why people tend to get confused.

Reply to  scraft1
February 5, 2018 7:23 am

The problem with renewables is intermittency.
No degree of technological improvement will solve that.
There is no chance the so called climate scientists are right.
A simple reading of the proxies is sufficient to prove that. Over geological time, there is no correlation between CO2 levels and temperature.
Beyond that, the very small warming over the last 100 years is also proof that CO2 is at best a bit player when it comes to climate.

Reply to  scraft1
February 5, 2018 7:24 am

We have been 10 years from running out of oil for the last 50 years.

M Courtney
February 3, 2018 12:19 am

ExxonMobil’s own analysis assumes the world will continue to burn through oil and gas to drive its profits

Why would anyone expect that to change?
•Do they expect warming to increase? The effect of CO2 rises diminishes exponentially – mainstream science.
•Do they expect greater regulation than Paris? That seems like the strongest they can get. The US already ducked out. Squeeze China and India and they will too.
•Do they expect renewables to replace demand for oil and gas? That requires a sudden step-change in technology and building a whole new infrastructure. Possible but highly unlikely.
What else do they expect to change? And why?

Reply to  M Courtney
February 3, 2018 1:20 am

“What else do they expect to change? And why?”
The UN et al has clearly stated it is a pathway to one-world governance.. POWER. !!

Reply to  M Courtney
February 3, 2018 1:49 pm

We are running out of places to explore for new oil fields. That’s a change factor many seem to ignore. We are doing better with natural gas, but it won’t last forever.

M Courtney
Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 3, 2018 3:39 pm

But that is already factored in to the share price. It has nothing to do with climate or climate policies.

Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 4, 2018 12:49 am

Courtney, the question asked was “why would anyone expect that to change”? It seems to me the seriousness of the situation hasn’t sunk in: exploration results are poor and aren’t likely to improve. Exxon seems to be doing well in Guyana deep water, but those type of discoveries require high oil prices, don’t do very well at $60.
I don’t know about you, but I buy stocks using at most a 5 to 10 year window. In the past I’ve worked as a short term consultant for what appeared to be mutual funds (I say appear to be because I work through an outfit that sets up videoconferences, and these guys and gals I run into seem to work for shops which advice mutual funds). My impression is that these guys are pretty dumb, are more into power point and excel, and don’t grasp or care for nuances. Morgan Stanley is an outfit I can assure you guys is as dumb as a cement brick when it comes to the oil industry.
Thus I’m not sure there’s any large holders who really have a very sophisticated pricing scheme for oil companies which look forward 20 years. They seem to focus short term, biased by the futures markets. By the way, I do own oil stocks.

Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 5, 2018 7:25 am

There are still lots of places to explore and drill for oil.
With the current low prices, it just doesn’t make sense to develop them.

February 3, 2018 12:24 am

One keeps being driven to the same conclusion all the time, from a lot of different directions: no-one really believes it.
The Chinese don’t, NYC etc in their bond prospectuses clearly don’t. The oil companies don’t. The activists even, they don’t either, because they consistently refuse to advocate measures which would really lower emissions. They won’t advocate China should reduce, which would be an essential component of any global reduction. But they won’t even advocate that the US reduce its car industry, which would be required for the US to significantly lower its on emissions as a country – not that it would do anything much to lower global emissions, but there you go.
What is so utterly bizarre is that at the same time as they claim to believe that continued emissions are disastrous, and refuse to advocate any measures which will be effective in lowering them, they also treat anyone who doesn’t sing from the disaster hymn sheet as a pariah.
Its completely weird. Here we have a bunch of people demanding that everyone publicly testify to believing in something that, on the evidence, they themselves don’t believe.

Reply to  michel
February 3, 2018 1:57 pm

I suspect the Chinese do realize the planet is running out of crude oil, and are positioning to control the world to take care of number one. They seem to be very smart. Meanwhile the USA has wasted huge sums in the Middle East, is in debt, and it ignores the way it is being undermined by factions ranging from the Russians, Yihadists, the Castro dictatorship and its Venezuelan satrapy, and its internal conflicts, which won’t allow it to even control its borders.

Russ R.
Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 3, 2018 5:32 pm

The Chinese are so smart they have raised their standard of living to 1/7 that of the United States. Just because they have recovered from being 100% ignorant of free markets to only being 50% ignorant, does not make them smart. It makes them less stupid.

Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 4, 2018 12:35 am

Russ, the Chinese are smart. They are coming out of communism gradually, and they are running an imperial foreign policy which will take them to control the world in 100 years. The USA, on the other hand, has an irrational foreign policy, gets involved in wars it can’t really win, puts too much focus on pleasing Netanyahu and the Israel lobby, doesn’t know how to defend its borders (it’s ludicrous to see it spends 10 billion on a giant aircraft carrier and it can’t budget $10 billion to build a respectable border defense system). I really dislike the idea of a world controlled by a ruthless Chinese elite, but if the USA doesn’t get its act together, that’s where the world is headed.

Russ R.
Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 4, 2018 9:59 am

Communism is a dead end political system, unless they can force other countries to accept it. It has the distinction of failing every time it is tried, and the Chinese have not found the “secret” to making it work this time. The only parts of their economy that are thriving are the parts that have been allowed to use free market principles, to enhance competition. But the government continues to exert control over the economy, and in the long run they are doomed, because of that. They also face a demographic population problem, with their one child policy, that will severely restrict their ability to maintain growth in their economy. They have grown because of a favorable policy in manufacturing, and favorable demographics in their workforce. They will start facing headwinds in both areas. Being ruthless is beneficial over the short term, but creates enemies over the long term. Unless they change their method of governing they are destined for the same fate as the Soviet Union. They have a great example on their doorstep. North Korea and South Korea. They are still too much like North Korea to become a global threat. A government that takes too much wealth never releases the capability of it’s people to produce the wealth that is possible. There are many reasons the Chinese still suffer under the yoke of Communism. As long as that is the case, they will never achieve their potential.

Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 5, 2018 7:26 am

Why am I not surprised to find that our peak oiler is also an anti-semite and a worshiper of the communist Chinese?

Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 5, 2018 7:27 am

As to those wars we can’t win. All of them were won, until the “progressives” got in power and surrendered.

Kristi Silber
Reply to  michel
February 3, 2018 9:58 pm

For a few years China’s emissions were decreasing. They are spending $360 billion on renewables by 2020. There’s no reason to advocate to China.
Reduce the car industry? There are many politically more feasible ways to advocate lowering emissions – reinstating the energy policies of the last administration, for example.
Global emissions can’t be reduced? The Paris Climate Agreement is a GLOBAL cooperative effort, and the absence of the United States is glaring. With global cooperative effort it is possible to at least slow the rate of increase in emissions. It is through America’s cooperation in this effort that we should take responsibility for our contribution to emissions. It’s shameful that we are almost alone among the world’s nations in refusing to do so despite being the second biggest emitter of CO2 in the world. America must not care if the rest of the world sees us as selfish, which is quite accurate.
“What is so utterly bizarre is that at the same time as they claim to believe that continued emissions are disastrous, and refuse to advocate any measures which will be effective in lowering them, they also treat anyone who doesn’t sing from the disaster hymn sheet as a pariah.
“Its completely weird. Here we have a bunch of people demanding that everyone publicly testify to believing in something that, on the evidence, they themselves don’t believe.”
Continued emissions are inevitable.
“Disastrous” is meaningless, undefined. No one is expecting the apocalypse. Disastrous to whom? What if it’s only disastrous to those living near sea level – would it be OK then? Or disastrous to the oceanic food web in the Arctic, how about then?
Refuse to advocate? Who and what are you talking about? If you are talking about scientists, there are many very good reasons for staying completely out of the political arena, especially in sensitive cases like this.
Why do you think people don’t believe what they say they do? That seems utterly bizarre to me.

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 4, 2018 1:07 am

I gave reasons for thinking people do not believe what they claim to. If they really believed it was important to reduce US emissions, they would advocate measures which would do that. But they do not. If they believed it was important to reduce global emissions, they would be most upset that China as the largest emitter is not reducing, but is increasing. If NYC and the other cities believed climate change was a real threat, they would have mentioned it in their bond prospectuses. Paris, if people really believed it, would have called for large total reductions.
I think it has become a tribal identity issue. No-one wants to stop using oil or electricity, or stop shopping, and so on. But what they are doing is treat the issue of public proclamations of belief as a litmus test for whether one is of their tribe.
For instance, attack the hockey stick, point out that it was a case of faking the PCA statistics, and you will encounter a flood of hate. But people do not actually believe that the Mann PCA was correct. They are not even interested. The Hockey Stick serves the only purpose it now has, its a way of separating sheep from goats.
This is primarily about tribalism. Its about testifying to belief to show one is of the right tribe. Its not about policy, and it even has little to do with one’s real beliefs.

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 4, 2018 9:23 am

There is no such thing as “renewables”, period.
China is building coal power plants.
You are just repeating propaganda.

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 4, 2018 9:38 am

“point out that it was a case of faking the PCA statistics”
Because PCA is sciency and they DO NOT DO sciency. They don’t get it. It’s too complicated, but then it’s “science” so you have to accept it. Like when the teacher (or priest) speaks: it’s true by definition.
Even vaccine advocates often don’t understand the studies they are using. I just ran into one who couldn’t explain confidence interval and see that a study (apparently) showed that some vaccines were preventing autism (which also escaped the attention of the resident vaccine propagandist at Forbes, who wrote that the study showed vaccines had “no link” with autism).
They also don’t care that one author of a study showing no link between vaccines and autism is on the run: he is a crook, but only a financial crook. He is still a trustworthy scientist.
I think “science education” in schools has destroyed many generations. They are into the religion of science.

Kristi Silber
Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 4, 2018 5:41 pm

Michel –
Are you sure the statistical problem in Mann was a case of “faking the PCA statistics” and not an error? How do you know?
You call it a tribal identity issue.
For me it’s a matter of grave national importance when a large part of the population loses confidence in our scientific institutions, and it is directly linked to industrial propaganda. Until skeptics understand that they will continue to be victims. Are you all unaware of the proof, or don’t you care?

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 4, 2018 7:24 pm

Kristi Silber

For me it’s a matter of grave national importance when a large part of the population loses confidence in our scientific institutions, and it is directly linked to industrial propaganda. Until skeptics understand that they will continue to be victims. Are you all unaware of the proof, or don’t you care?

Well, there is no “proof” at all, merely “claims of coincidences” which require “immediate solutions”to be forced on innocents BY the government that sponsors the “research” with hundreds of billions of dollars to “find” the very “solutions” that are guaranteed to cause millions of deaths every year for hundreds of years, and harm 6 billions more people. Further, you cannot establish a link between CO2 levels and global average temperatures at any point between 3000 BC and 2018, OTHER than the single period between 1975 and 1998.
Now, loss of Arctic sea ice is claimed to be a proof of global warming. But you cannot show how a 1/4 of one degree increase in global average temperatures since 1970 caused the loss of sea ice, nor can you show why Antarctic sea ice increased between 1992 and 2016 – reaching an all-time high in 2014 with an anomaly greater than the entire area of Greenland.
Nor can you show that an increase of CO2 between 1935 and 2018 caused both a decrease in global average temperature from 1935 to 1975, and an increase in global average temperature from 1975 to 1998, but no change in temperature from 1998 to 2016. Odd that: CO2 was increasing the entire period. However, there was an increase in global average temperature greater than 1975-2018 between 1650 and 1975 – when no substantial increase in CO2 happened at all! Previous historical global average temperatures were associated – at rates equal to today’s increases and decreases – with no change in CO2.
All of this hysteria just to reduce the “chance” of reducing a very beneficial increase in temperatures that “might” occur.
Yes – That propaganda pushed BY the climate research community to benefit the climate research community?
Yes, “that propaganda” IS funded by the governments that will benefit by the trillions of revenue in new taxes and new controls of energy?
Yes, “that propaganda” that will create trillions of carbon futures trading and carbon futures options?
By the way, please so what funding to skeptics you believe IS funded by the oil companies. I’d be interested in knowing. Compared to, of course, the billions each year demanded by the CAGW beneficiaries.

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 4, 2018 8:36 pm

“and it is directly linked to industrial propaganda”
Just like the Trump-Russia mutual interest hypothesis (Russia wanted Trump to win, Trump helps Russia prosper, or something), the Big Oil-(anti-alarmism|skepticism of climate science|rejection of CO2 drives climate hypothesis) interest link is asserted without any evidence.
Why would Big Oil want people to not scare CO2? This is a serious question.
Who feels guilt over car use? Who stopped using a car? Who switched to electric car? To bus?
How do the avoidance of car harm Big Oil? This is a serious question. Is the bus more efficient? When? Where? Can more busses be even more efficient? This is very intricate question with many parameters.
How many workers are required for the complete production of electric cars? How much oil do they use?
What is the effect of “energy efficiency”? What replaces inefficient processes? What happens to the inefficient machines?
At the end of day, has any oil use been replaced, and by what?

Kristi Silber
Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 4, 2018 9:53 pm

s-t: “Because PCA is sciency and they DO NOT DO sciency. They don’t get it.”
Who is “they”?
Leaving the science to scientists is better than abusing science, playing around with it as if one knew what one was doing, or making accusations about someone else’s work without knowing why they did what they did. It takes more than Excel and a data set to do science.
“Whether or not a talking point is scientifically or even logically defensible is immaterial. If it has misinformed or confused an appreciable number of observers, it has served its purpose in manufacturing doubt or confusion.”*
I like the science and often read the original literature. Relying on the media or blogs alone will only lead to confusion and misunderstanding, and create needless antipathy. Summaries of the science for laymen are plentiful and interesting, including things like how data are gathered and why they are adjusted, and how climate models are created and tested. Have you all explored this material? If you are going to argue that climate science is wrong, shouldn’t you know as much as possible how it’s done?
* Michael Mann

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 4, 2018 10:10 pm

Yes. I have read the original papers. (To the point where I recognize their original references by lead author and date).
No, the conclusions and evidence you claim are not there.

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 4, 2018 10:00 pm

What the hell is a “scientist”? Who is and who is not a scientist?
What is the possible justification for claiming the computer code of a tax payer funded numerical analysis is copyrighted?
I am not leaving up the recommandation of vaccines to my doctor. Do you?

Kristi Silber
Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 4, 2018 10:12 pm

Evidence for Exxon propaganda
See Appendix B and C, for example; the first example in C outlines a propaganda campaign.
“Unless “climate change” becomes a non-issue, meaning that the Kyoto proposal is defeated and there are no further initialives to thwart the threat of global change, there may be no moment when we can declare victory for our efforts.”
1998 API Global Climate Science Communications Action Plan
I’ve seen another original memos about a different propaganda campaign, along the same lines.
[??? .mod]

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 4, 2018 11:00 pm

“Evidence for Exxon propaganda”
1) WHERE is the propaganda part?
2) When wasn’t Exxon 100% honest in its reporting?
3) How is that in the best interest of any oil producer that people are not afraid of CO2?

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 5, 2018 7:28 am

That a large part of the population is losing faith in science is due entirely to the politicization of science by you AGWers.

Kristi Silber
Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 5, 2018 3:19 pm

RACookPE1978: “Yes. I have read the original papers. (To the point where I recognize their original references by lead author and date).”
“The original papers” – makes it sound like there’s a defined group of them. If you recognize the names often, it seems to me you might not be getting much variety, but maybe that says more about my memory for names than your reading history. How do you choose what to read? Just curious.
s-t: Who is a scientist? Someone with training and experience in conducting theoretical or experimental science at the level of publication and peer review. Almost always has at least a Masters in a scientific field, but with adequate experience others might also be seen as qualified scientists. To be a scientist, one must have thorough knowledge not only of the state of the field, but of scientific methods. My area is ecology, and statistics are absolutely necessary to its study; I cringe seeing statistics poorly applied by non-scientists who want to show how wrong the scientists are. Or using data to demonstrate a point in one post, then in another claiming the same data are fraudulently altered and meaningless.
If you can’t see how API’s campaign was propagandist in the way it was organized and launched, and the message that it sent, you are not seeing the issue clearly. It was not a campaign to sell a product or elect someone. It wasn’t even to advocate a particular idea, but to spread doubt. The goal of the API was to eliminate a threat: policy to mitigate climate change. The means was through convincing the public and legislators (primarily on the right) that the science wasn’t adequate to justify action. They didn’t have to show that some other idea was better, all they had to do was spread distrust. When the science got hard to reject, it was necessary to say that the scientists are wrong. When it got hard to show them to be wrong scientifically, what’s left? Question their integrity. Suggest the data are weak, spotty, inadequate and manipulated, and the models are tweaked to show what scientists want. Hint that it’s all part of a global Marxist conspiracy to redistribute America’s wealth, or destroy America’s economy, or help the left dominate the right, or whatever….the important point is not that it’s true, but that just the suggestion that the (perceived) enemy is doing wrong is enough to sow disbelief of the science.
It’s probably true that many contrarians are ostracized in their departments if they advocate publicly. Some of the 97% have suffered harassment as a result. And I’m sure many are sick and tired of reading the same publications and arguments that have been addressed and refuted being used over and over to convince the public, with the implication or accusation that they have been ignored by the scientific community.
MarkW: “That a large part of the population is losing faith in science is due entirely to the politicization of science by you AGWers.”
Really? Entirely?
What do you mean by the politicization of science – the process and profession, or the results and the way they are used by the populace? In any case it seems clear that propaganda was aimed at the Right and was pitched with other conservative ideas; I imagine that contributed to climate change becoming such a partisan issue. Environment was partisan before this, but not so much.
The conduct of science is affected by politics, true. Funding is not reliable. Under some administrations science was/is censured. For example, climate reports under George W were altered by someone with no science background just before release in order to change their message. Nowadays, in some areas of state and federal gov’t it is not permitted to write

Kristi Silber
Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 5, 2018 3:31 pm

Ach! Posted without finishing my sentence! “Nowadays, in some areas of state and federal gov’t it is not permitted to write…”
phrases like “climate change” or refer to change in sea level in their press releases. The issue’s legitimacy is being denied at the top of gov’t, so it must be denied throughout – at least superficially.

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 5, 2018 7:55 pm

“They didn’t have to show that some other idea was better, all they had to do was spread distrust.”
It’s how it work in science. You don’t need to provide alternative facts.
“Question their integrity.”
Which tax payer funded “scientist” refused to release source code of the treemomether because “copyright”, again?

Reply to  michel
February 4, 2018 4:17 am

“But they won’t even advocate that the US reduce its car industry, ”
Actually, Califorinia greens are demanding a halt to the internal combustion engine. It’s a shell game, since the MANUFACTURE of the car now represents a huge energy investment instead of in usage, but there ya go. But at least in California’s case, they can argue that it will reduce air pollution in their cities (leave all that nasty pollution in other places and import the result.)

February 3, 2018 1:48 am

What is so utterly bizarre is that at the same time as they claim to believe that continued emissions are disastrous, and refuse to advocate any measures which will be effective in lowering them, they also treat anyone who doesn’t sing from the disaster hymn sheet as a pariah.
Its completely weird. Here we have a bunch of people demanding that everyone publicly testify to believing in something that, on the evidence, they themselves don’t believe.

You are a political virgin and I claim my free condom!
What you haven’t taken into account is the totally shameless arrogance and contempt with which the political class treat the electorate.
Of course to anyone who stops to think, it is completely illogical. But no one does stop to think. State education is designed to remove the need to think by telling you where its at. All you have to do is learn it by rote and you get a degree in being a smartass. These parasites keep on getting elected. That shows te propaganda machine with all its double think is working. That is why what peole think about climate change is all that matters, not climate change itself;

DC Cowboy
Reply to  Leo Smith
February 3, 2018 3:57 am

When we sing from the hymn sheet, is it a Gregorian Chant?

Ed Zuiderwijk
February 3, 2018 1:53 am

‘Climate accountability manager’? Whatever could that be?

February 3, 2018 3:06 am

What the hell does it have to with the UCS anyway?
If they don’t want to invest in oil shares, fine. Other investors are perfectly capable of making up their own minds without their assistance.

February 3, 2018 3:16 am

Clearly they used the wrong ‘models ‘ , for if you pick the right one you can get any result you ‘need’.

February 3, 2018 3:24 am

What’s a ‘climate accountability manager’? Someone who makes the climate accountable? For what? For Raining? The weather? Sarc.

February 3, 2018 3:51 am

Probably correct-
Just in the US-
“America has built the equivalent of 10 Keystone pipelines since 2010 …”

DC Cowboy
February 3, 2018 3:59 am

The Activists are upset because what they really wanted was for Exxon to publish the risk analysis they would write for it, not that Exxon would create its own.

February 3, 2018 4:04 am

Doesn’t anyone else think this is BAD? Now the greenies can use this as evidence when they push regulations, “Look, Exxon themselves say these policies won’t hurt their business, so why not pass it.”

Reply to  Kurly
February 3, 2018 6:36 am

It won’t hurt Exxon, but it will still hurt the rest of us.

February 3, 2018 4:41 am

Americans need their cars and their cars need gasoline. The government can make gasoline more expensive (just look at California) which will discourage travel for pleasure, but for most people there is no alternative to using a privately owned gasoline powered vehicle for work, shopping, child care, and so on. When people are forced to pay more for a non-optional commodity, then they have to cut costs elsewhere. More money being spent at the gas pumps means less money for food, clothing, shelter. Money leaves the local economy in the form of increased fuel taxes, and nothing replaces it.

Reply to  MishaBurnett
February 3, 2018 2:02 pm

They’ll buy smaller vehicles. Some will car pool or use public transport. Some will move closer to work. It would be dumb to drive a gas hog SUV if gasoline costs $6 per gallon

Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 3, 2018 2:58 pm

All of which are options open to the wealthy, but often not available to the working class. Raising fuel cost has a disproportionate impact on the poor.

Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 3, 2018 7:13 pm

On the other hand, real people in other countries(you know, the ones that are not the USA), who are not “dumb”, pay way more than that already and they are happy to drive these hogs. Others buy smaller vehicles or even choose to use high pollution diesel engines to keep the cost down.

Kristi Silber
Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 3, 2018 10:04 pm

Ride bikes.

Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 4, 2018 12:27 am

JMarkW, i live in europe, and i dont know anybody who is happy paying 80 euros to fill up. Europeans drive smaller vehicles than Americans for two reasons: 1. They are much more expensive. 2. Large vehicles are a bitch to park.

Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 4, 2018 5:46 am

In addition to the extremely high tax on gasoline (>100% tax) (1) and very high tax on diesel fuel (2)(3), France also has:
– one time penalty when buying a big car (4), and a subsidy when buying a small car)
– a tax every year based on the “fiscal power” of the car which I believe is now its real power rating, but was not when it was created
(1) then there is VAT on the price including that tax, as if high taxation added “value”!
(2) but significantly lower than on gasoline, which makes that that high level of taxation a “subsidy” in cloud-cuckoo land of modern economics “science”!!
(3) the difference in taxation was a transparently protectionist measure to help French car makers sell small diesel cars
(4) a transparently protectionist measure to hurt German car makers – created by allegedly pro-European Union politicians!!!

Reply to  fernandoleanme
February 5, 2018 7:31 am

Nobody is happy, yet they keep voting for the politicians who put those insane taxes on gas and diesel.
Cognitive dissonance at it’s finest.

John Garrett
February 3, 2018 4:42 am

For those of you who own shares, this is a very important reminder of why it’s EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to VOTE your proxies.
VOTE your shares !!!!

Bruce Cobb
February 3, 2018 5:59 am

Since “Climate Change” isn’t working out so well as a boogieman, they have to create a new one based on the old one – “Climate Change Policies”. But those policies, even though some have gotten a toe-hold, are doomed to fail since they aren’t based on reality, but rather, Greenie Fantasies and bald-faced lies.

February 3, 2018 6:00 am

I do not find the estimate of Exxon about the exhaustion of oil and gas reserves. BP has estimated that the known oil reserves will be exhausted at the present consumption rate by 2066 and the gas reserves by 2068: https://knoema.com/smsfgud/bp-world-reserves-of-fossil-fuels
It looks like that Exxon relies on the new investments and therefore they are not worried about this issue. Maybe they are right. The famous Roman club (the club of the wisest men of the Earth) did a forecast in 1972 that the world will run out of oil in 1992 and gas by 1993.
Dr. Antero Ollila

Bob Irelan
Reply to  aveollila
February 3, 2018 8:57 am

“BP dutifully acknowledges the abundance of factors that could easily alter these projections” It would appear that methane clathrates aren’t even considered in the “natural gas” estimates.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  aveollila
February 3, 2018 9:03 am

Known reserves is an economic concept, not a geological concept. They are the amount that can be recovered economically with current technology if no new fields are opened up. A forty year margin as estimated by BP, is about all one would ever see as it would not be economic to explore beyond that horizon.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
February 3, 2018 10:05 am

Walter, I think you are right.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
February 3, 2018 2:05 pm

Walter, we are lucky we are getting old and won’t have to shovel mud in Eastern Siberia to get the last drops.

Kristi Silber
Reply to  aveollila
February 3, 2018 10:11 pm

“It looks like that Exxon relies on the new investments”
Or opening the Arctic to drilling?

Bruce Cobb
February 3, 2018 6:34 am

Now, how about so-called green/renewable energies, especially wind and solar include the very real risks their shareholders face when those energy systems become recognized as the expensive boondoggles they are, and fail catastrophically. Because of our concern for the shareholders of course.

February 3, 2018 6:42 am

How can you be worried about demand for oil when those same Greens cited in the article get right into their SUV’s, go to the airport and fly to a climate conference. It’s retarded how much effort gets spent on this.

February 3, 2018 6:48 am

With respect to their oil business, except for the impact of electric cars, any attempts to reduce CO2 emissions will not affect that business. We don’t use any significant amount of oil to produce electricity. As for oil – there wil always be a need for lots of jet fuel, diesel fuel for trains and semi tractors, oil to produce lubricants and plastics, etc. Gas burning cars are not going to get dumped
into the junkyard just because electric cars have taken over all auto production, which they will.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  arthur4563
February 3, 2018 7:45 am

EVs still have a long ways to go before they can even challenge ICEs, let alone “take over” production. Maybe in 50 years, and who knows what else might come along in the meantime.

James Schrumpf
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
February 3, 2018 7:59 am

Hard to imagine EVs taking over in the American South. How do you run air conditioning on a typical EV battery pack? How long would it last?

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
February 3, 2018 10:19 am

Maybe they will have an optional thermal refrigerator (such as Einstein’s) running on oil?

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
February 3, 2018 12:00 pm

They aren’t so hot (see what I did there?) in cold weather either. -38C yesterday with the wind chill. Takes a lot of juice to keep up with that!

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
February 3, 2018 8:32 pm

“s-t February 3, 2018 at 10:19 am”
Don’t know about an oil powered fridge but my family had natural gas powered fridge and it worked very well.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  arthur4563
February 3, 2018 9:09 am

“electric cars have taken over all auto production, which they will.”
Bet they won’t. BEVs are the technology of the past. My great-grandmother owned an electric car at the time of WWI. So did Mrs. Henry Ford. At that time, BEVs were a third of the cars on the road.
BEVs are like vinyl sound recordings and mechanical watches, Nostalgia technology for a very limited coterie.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
February 3, 2018 10:17 am

La Jamais contente was the first car to reach 100 km/h, and it was battery-electric.
And that was in 1899.
How much progress in energy storage since?

Reply to  arthur4563
February 3, 2018 2:07 pm

Electric cars won’t sell very well in Pakistan.

Kristi Silber
Reply to  arthur4563
February 3, 2018 10:13 pm

Natural gas is used in electricity production.

David Hoopman
February 3, 2018 7:40 am

Solely for purposes of discussion, let’s assume the activists are on the level. If we grant them that much, we also see that their demands are unintentionally revealing; i.e., they aren’t asking for disclosure of harm to investors resulting from climate change, but rather disclosure of damage to investors resulting from climate change POLICIES voluntarily adopted by the activists’ political allies. In other words, if ExxonMobil shareholders are harmed, it will be done by deliberate policy choices and the activists are making it absolutely clear that they understand this.

Reply to  David Hoopman
February 3, 2018 11:43 am

I still don’t understand why any publicly traded corporation should be forced to evaluate the consequence of future hypothetical legislation.

Kristi Silber
Reply to  s-t
February 3, 2018 6:29 pm

You can’t understand why those who own it have a right to know the potential financial fallout of a threat?

Reply to  s-t
February 3, 2018 6:37 pm

“An activist shareholder push to force Exxon to include climate risks in their company reports has spectacularly backfired: Exxon has demonstrated that there is no threat to their business, for the foreseeable future.”
Kristi, did you even read the post?

Reply to  s-t
February 3, 2018 7:10 pm

It isn’t a probabilistic risk assessment.
It’s an empty discussion based on hypothetical.
What happens if the “Church of no round objects” takes over, makes it a state religion and declares that round objects are dirty?

Kristi Silber
Reply to  David Hoopman
February 3, 2018 6:44 pm

I don’t understand why you say activists are making it clear they know this – isn’t that a given? Of course there would be costs, but the idea is that they are spread out over the populace and over time, and that the present costs far outweigh future costs.
While those in vulnerable areas of Europe are preparing for sea level rise, our administration repeals the policy that our infrastructure be able to withstand flooding (where vulnerable). All preparation for the future is being sacrificed to maximize the illusion of present wealth, like a facade with no building behind it.

Kristi Silber
Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 3, 2018 10:16 pm

I meant our newly-built infrastructure.

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 4, 2018 5:02 am

Very few areas in Europe outside the Netherlands are exposed to SLR.
On French coasts, the WWII bunkers, all of these built on high ground, way above high tide and not on the shore, are getting wet, because sea is eating up land. A few small towns in France are literally slowly falling in the Atlantic, house after house.

Bob Burban
February 3, 2018 7:49 am

It’s a cold winter in the north of the US thus far. This should be reflected in heating bills but there’s little mention in the MSM.

February 3, 2018 8:09 am

Put a TIGER in your tank!

Charles Lyon
February 3, 2018 8:32 am

“efforts will be utterly inconsequential to the long term business prospects of a Big Oil company.” The Paris Accord will also be inconsequential to the climate, even in the unlikely event it is fully implemented through the end of the century and results in fossil fuels being left in the ground. As WUWT readers know, the high end of the range of estimates of the climate impact would be under about 0.2 degrees C (equivalent to going about 10 miles further from the equator, according to Lomborg 2015 and others). A very strong case can be made a more realistic estimate would be a small fraction of that.

February 3, 2018 9:08 am

The Age of Symbolism continues. We need to hurry up with the AI and robot ages to let them conduct the useless debates for us and let humans move on to other exploration.

February 3, 2018 9:27 am

I know it’s capitalism, but should mutual funds influence policy using shares and force this kind of “reporting”?
This one looks a lot like tax payer funded speech (through owning shares).
Who will stand up against mandated reporting?

Reply to  s-t
February 3, 2018 2:12 pm

I was an oil and gas consultant until recently. I can whip up a report like exxon’s if I get company data and a $700,000 budget. Companies lacking the staff can hire an old hand like me, or a consulting outfit, and produce the report. And most of them will wipe their behinds with these type of green demands. This business has much tougher problems than California pansies demanding we do a bit of paperwork.

February 3, 2018 10:31 am

We assume oil companies are special. But they are analogous to Middle Ages woodchoppers. Tax them, criminalize them, whatever, but they know they aren’t the cause of demand for firewood, they only supply fuel to those demanding it, and bizarre political efforts to make their supply job more difficult only results in the price to their customers going higher and them making more money for the extra work. Happy woodcutters those oil companies be, no matter that some city dwellers aren’t happy with the smokey air, but are happy their hearths are warm.

Mr Bliss
February 3, 2018 10:54 am

“You wanted the truth!”

CD in Wisconsin
February 3, 2018 11:19 am

Link below is to the nationwide U.S. map of pipelines. I wish McKibben, Greenpeace, et al good luck trying to get rid of them all. ExxonMobil probably owns a fair percentage of them, but undoubtedly not all.

Russ R.
February 3, 2018 11:26 am

Exxon doesn’t have to worry about global warming policies. They have to compete against others in the same industries that are suppliers of similar products, or products that can be used as replacements for their product line.
The demand for such products is not in dispute, although the “shareholders” that demanded this study imply that it is. The fact that Exxon produces a report like this plays into the false narrative that “green energy” is inevitable and will replace oil, gas, and coal in the near future. There is just no scenario that is based in reality that justifies that narrative. The current “renewables” are not going to displace hydro-carbons. They are doomed to fail, and will remain a niche market for virtue signalling to those who “care but don’t think”. And Exxon has confirmed that common sense position through this study, instead of drafting a politically correct CYA report, that was so common over the past decade or so.
If taxation or regulations occur, they will be passed on to the consumers. It is unlikely that will make other energy sources more competitive, because of the proven superiority of oil and gas to provide low cost energy to the consumers of those products. Exxon knows this. The consumers of Exxon’s products know this.
The only thing in dispute is whether consumers will allow green politicians to take more of our income, through energy taxes, and if we will continue to support those green politicians at the ballot box. Blue States support more taxes on energy, and Red States don’t. Urban areas are more supportive of energy taxes, than suburban and rural areas. And I am not opposed to that. Freedom means putting up with the majority position. As long as you are free to vote, free to voice your opinion, and free to move to somewhere else that better reflects your values, then we still have “government of the people”. That is why global government should never have the capacity to tax and regulate. The ability to leave, moderates bureaucratic desire to take wealth earned by the public and use it to consolidate their power. When you can’t leave you are forced to comply or become an outlaw.

Reply to  Russ R.
February 3, 2018 2:19 pm

USA democrats can try their luck running on a platform with higher energy taxes, windmill subsidies, lower tariffs for Chinese solar panels, a wide open border to allow millions of Mexicans and Central Americans to enter freely and become dish washers and construction workers, campus censorship to silence anybody who isn’t a commie, and endless hostility with Russia while at the same reducing the defense budget and demand the USMC be 50% females.

Kristi Silber
Reply to  Russ R.
February 3, 2018 6:23 pm

‘The current “renewables” are not going to displace hydro-carbons. They are doomed to fail, and will remain a niche market for virtue signalling to those who “care but don’t think”.’
How easy it is to make assumptions about the future and judgments about people. Many on the left do it too, but they think the right neither thinks nor cares. I think you’re both wrong.

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 3, 2018 6:40 pm

First Kristi YOU have to show that they are wrong otherwise you have nothing to show to them or anyone else.

Russ R.
Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 4, 2018 10:29 am

Try producing windmills and solar cells out of the energy they produce. Try mining the raw materials that are required to produce, transport components, connect, and maintain those products by using only the energy they produce. They are available only because we have access to “low-cost” energy to make them in the first place, and because we subsidize the production, and operation of them. If we stopped doing that, they could not compete. They exist because some people are afraid of rising CO2 levels, and have forced the bill for their irrational fear, on the public at large.
Our emissions of CO2 have an insignificant impact on global temperatures. Water vapor is the primary greenhouse gas, and has a much greater impact on temperatures. Our contributions are not driving the small variations we see in the climate. We know those variations have occurred in the past, and there is nothing unusual about the present climate.
That is what the comparison of temperature records and CO2 levels show. That is why the AGW scientists will not debate that fact publicly. They will lose and they know it. They prefer the politics of ad hominem, and appeal to authority, over the Scientific Method.
There is only so long you can get away with that, before the public catches on.

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 5, 2018 7:36 am

The left cares so much for poor people, that they do everything in their power to create as many as possible.
The right on the other hand doesn’t care about people, they just go on promoting policies that make everyone better off.

Reply to  Russ R.
February 4, 2018 4:52 am

“Urban areas are more supportive of energy taxes, than suburban and rural areas”
Not really. Not so much.
This is funny. Donald Trump doesn’t write the scripts, but he pushes other to be themselves, when they are, it ain’t pretty.
When the federal taxes are lowered, the “left” is angry; the allegedly leftists living in high taxes states say it’s bad. Why? Simply because they wouldn’t be able to deduce from their taxable income the (quite high) local taxes.
High local taxes and a high level of “free” local services are not a necessity: other states have much lower taxes (and still have roads, etc.). So at the end of the day:
– either they claim high taxes are a burden that are imposed on them, not a democratic choice (and the party that raises their local taxes is tyrannical)
– or they claim it’s their choice, and they cannot claim a deduction on their income, just like there is no iPhone X income deduction (“hey, the new iPhone I am practically forced to buy really reduced the money I can freely spent!”)
The left seems happy with high taxes as long as they can deduct them from the income and then get lower fed taxes! This doesn’t go well with the mantra of “solidarity” and “generosity” of the left…
This is a stunning revelation and one of the things I can now rub in their face if they claim again the right is selfish.

Kristi Silber
February 3, 2018 6:17 pm

“Poor greens – they thought they had won a significant PR victory when they pushed Exxon to produce a report detailing the impact climate policies would have on Exxon’s business. Instead, they’re now grappling with an unexpected dose of public honesty, a clear headed assessment that all their efforts will be utterly inconsequential to the long term business prospects of a Big Oil company.”
Does he not read the articles he quotes? It was shareholders, not greens who demanded the report.
If anything, this is a huge win for those pushing for energy policy reform since the message is that it will not have a negative economic impact, at least on Exxon. No one is out to destroy FF companies, people just want them to be responsible, past present and future.. What a bizarre idea that greens would be disappointed by this. I don’t understand.

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 3, 2018 7:05 pm

Who are these shareholders? Are they normal persons with a personal economic interest?
Or do they represent “unions” and towns?

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 5, 2018 7:36 am

For some reason, poor Kristi thinks that shareholders who voted for this nonsense, and greens are two entirely different groups.

February 3, 2018 6:46 pm

Kristi complains,
“Does he not read the articles he quotes? It was shareholders, not greens who demanded the report.”
He he, you didn’t read the secondary link, here is a hint:
“An activist shareholder push to force Exxon to include climate risks in their company reports has spectacularly backfired: Exxon has demonstrated that there is no threat to their business, for the foreseeable future.”
It was Envirnomentalists who pushed it last year.

tom s
February 4, 2018 7:43 am

I’m doing all I can do to help raise that temp to 2C above some arbitrary mean but it ain’t easy!

Roy W. Spencer
February 4, 2018 12:19 pm

Fernandoleanme, there is no need promoting your Malthusian views of the world running out of petroleum. The EIA says we have enough to last to 2050, history says we will keep finding more, and even if you are right no one will remember your forecast. The important thing is that, we will run out sloooowly, and prices will indeed rise, as you say. The continuous demand for energy will ensure that replacements are found…even if that means people have to accept nuclear to keep the lights on. People debating this stuff today only impacts near-term political pressures to provide subsidies to industries that can’t survive on their own, which is an inefficient use of or wealth.

Joel Snider
February 5, 2018 12:09 pm

You just wonder how much money was utterly wasted in this effort.
And Pelosi calls the Trump tax-cut chicken-feed.
I’m sure she blows my entire annual gross income every day before breakfast.

Mike Rossander
February 5, 2018 4:25 pm

If you really believe that Exxon’s analysis was wrong, then put your money where your mouth is and short their stock.
Odd that Adam Scott of Oil Change International doesn’t actually do that.

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