Posts tagged with: Fossil fuel

The recent decline in oil prices is a boon for consumers but a bust for oil companies. Collectively, profits of the four supermajors – Royal Dutch Shell PLC; Exxon Mobil Corp.; Chevron Corp.; and BP PLC – have plummeted 70 percent in the first nine months of 2015, according to the Wall Street Journal. Despite a “precipitous drop in profits this year,” the supermajors increased stock dividends 10 percent over 2014, disbursing approximately $28 billion to shareholders.

For the time being, that’s good news for investors unless the shareholders happen to be among the universities and religious members of the fossil-fuel divestment crowd. This group includes the always headline-grabbing college and university activists (10.9 percent), philanthropic foundations (31 percent) and faith-based organizations (25 percent). These figures are culled from the National Association of Scholars’ “Inside Divestment: The Illiberal Movement to Turn a Generation Against Fossil Fuels,” which was released this week. NAS is a New York City-based nonprofit dedicated to “the promotion and preservation of high academic standards in teaching and scholarship.” From the NAS Executive Summary:

The idea of fossil fuel divestment grew out of a college student campaign at Swarthmore College., the main organization supporting divestment, emerged at Middlebury College. At least one student-run organization, the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network, supports divestment campaigns. But much of the organizational and intellectual framework comes from professional environmental activists and environmentalist organizations that train college students and put them forward as the face of the movement.


Blog author: bwalker
Monday, August 17, 2015

Is Poland’s new hyper-Catholic government on a collision course with the pope?
John L. Allen, Jr., Crux

In his recent encyclical letter Laudato Si’, Francis called for strong limits on the consumption of fossil fuels. Yet Law and Justice has vowed to toughen Poland’s stance on climate issues to protect its economy, which relies on coal for about 90 percent of its electricity. A party official in charge of energy policy recently said, “The strategy we’re planning rejects the dogma of de-carbonization.”

United Church of Canada Sells Fossil Fuel Holdings, Commits $6 Million to Alternative Energy to Save Creation
Vincent Funaro, The Christian Post

The Episcopal Church’s position echoes that of Francis who released an encyclical dealing with climate change back June. It dealt with how climate change is affecting God’s creation and was supported by over 300 Evangelical leaders.

Obama Clean Power Plan praised
Insight News

“Cities alone cannot meet the climate challenge. Action at the national scale is necessary,” said Ed Murray, mayor of Seattle. “As Pope Francis wrote in his encyclical on climate change, ‘the climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all.’ I am pleased that this administration, through this action, is taking these words to heart.”

Combating climate change can co-exist with oil, gas industry
Mella McEwan, Midland Reporter-Telegram

“The ‘shale renaissance’ has occurred in spite of actions of this administration,” said Ben Shepperd, president of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association. “This is evidenced by the fact that oil and gas production has risen dramatically on private lands during the last seven years. Meanwhile, production from federal lands has decreased during the same time period.”


Blog author: bwalker
Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Do the Pope and I live on the same planet?
Steven W. Mosher, New York Post

It is perhaps no coincidence that Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, a radical environmentalist who had a part in drafting the encyclical, is a member of the Club of Rome. Schellnhuber was apparently selected for this role by Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, the head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Experts Debunk The Coal Industry’s “Energy Poverty” Argument Against The Pope’s Climate Action
Denise Robbins, Media Matters

Fossil fuel advocates are criticizing Pope Francis’ recent climate encyclical, claiming his call to phase out fossil fuels will harm the poor by preventing access to electricity and keeping them in “energy poverty.” But fossil fuels are not economically viable in most of the communities that suffer from a lack of electricity, and on-the-ground experts have explained that distributed renewable energy sources are often a more effective way to lift the world’s impoverished — who will be most affected by the adverse impacts of climate change — out of energy poverty.

Pope Francis’s Climate Warmup Act
Barbie Latza Nadeau, The Daily Beast

With new allies like Naomi Klein and a tour of his Latin home turf, the pope is clearly getting ready to face off with Republican deniers and Big Oil during his U.S. visit in September.

Science and Religion Collaborate; Pope’s Encyclical Asserts Imperative Need to Halt Climate Change
Felix Balthasar, NewsMaine

Nonetheless, it is important to comprehend that Pope Francis intends to raise public awareness about the forthcoming perils in case the indispensible precautions are not taken now; it very effectively goes beyond religion and addresses the entire global population to adopt ‘changes in lifestyle, production and consumption’.


Screen-Shot-2014-12-16-at-4.09.38-PMIt could be argued that Exxon is actually an energy company, but it’s still an energy company that knows where its bread is buttered. Oil and gas is the winning game for this company, not solar.

Thus wrote Jeff Siegel this week on the Energy & Capital website. Siegel was referring to Exxon Mobil Corporation’s thumping of shareholder resolutions by As You Sow, the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility and other religious groups intended to push ExxonMobil into naming an environmental scientist to the board and issue a report on the environmental impact of the company’s hyraulic-fracturing operations. Another study to be pitched on the growing pile of fracking reports issued regularly by industry and regulators?

Siegel is as clearheaded a liberal writer as I’ve come across on these matters. He writes:

Again, I don’t see the benefit here for shareholders.

Those who oppose fracking have plenty of this data, anyway. So to mandate such a report seems like a waste of time, particularly if the report indicates no negative side effects. You think anyone who opposes fracking would believe anything included in that report?


Photo credit: Western Catholic Reporter

Fr. Michael Crosby | Photo credit: Western Catholic Reporter

Shareholder resolutions intended to force Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. to adopt greenhouse gas reduction goals and name environmental experts (i.e. any scientist who believes human activity causes climate change) to their respective board of directors were defeated last week. Not only were they defeated, they were crushed. Chevron shareholders mustered only 9 percent support for GHG reductions and 20 percent for the environmentalist board member. Eighty percent of ExxonMobil shareholders rejected the additional board member, and only 10 percent voted for reducing GHG emissions.

Naturally, such progressive outlets as The Guardian sympathetically reported the proposals by touting the highly anticipated climate-change encyclical of Pope Francis, which is epected later this month. Of course, few outside the Vatican know exactly what the Pope will say in the document, but the Guardian goes so far as to draw a connection between the ExxonMobil and Chevron resolutions and the Pope. Readers are led to conclude that shareholders (As You Sow, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment, among others) introducing the shareholder resolutions represent all Catholics. (more…)

Every year on Earth Day events are held around the globe to demonstrate support for environmental protection. You aren’t likely to see any celebrations of fossil fuels, though, despite all the ways they have improved the environment for human life and flourishing. As Alex Epstein says, maybe we should reflect more on how fossil fuels has made our environment cleaner and healthier.

(Via: AEI Ideas)

EarthDayEarth Day has arrived once again, and all those nasty predictions about the environment made since the inaugural event in 1970 have yet to pass. In fact, many of the threats themselves have passed entirely. The population bomb never exploded, the Earth didn’t experience another Ice Age and we’ve managed to avoid a Malthusian dystopia. In fact, we’re doing quite well, thank you very much. Mother Earth is cleaner while, at the same time, the planet’s population living in poverty has been halved within the past two decades.

Try telling that to Home Box Office’s Real Time host Bill Maher, who calls arguments from climate-change skeptics “Zombie Lies.” The man who grants himself absolution for his own carbon footprint because he drives an electric vehicle, delivered an epic rant against Republicans, the Koch brothers and the oil industry this past week on his program’s “New Rules” segment. Republican politicians and aspirants, reasons Maher, are only skeptical regarding climate change because they’re bought-and-paid for by donations from the fossil-fuel industry.

Maher, of course, is free to believe (or, infamously, not to believe when it comes to matters requiring religious faith) anything he wishes, but a certain logical consistency is lacking. While he berates the oil and gas industries and Republican politicians, and smugly drives a rechargeable electric vehicle (apparently, one assumes, recharged from an energy source derived from fossil fuels), the clip linked above stops just prior to Maher announcing personal appearances in cities far away from Los Angeles, Calif. (more…)