ConocoPhillips, the third largest American oil company, and Peabody Energy, the world’s largest coal company, both announced tremendous second-quarter profits today:
— Oil giant ConocoPhillips said Wednesday that record crude prices helped its second-quarter profit dwarf year-ago results, when the company incurred a $4.5 billion charge related to its former assets in Venezuela. The Houston-based company said net income rose to $5.44 billion, or $3.50 a share, for the April-June period, from $301 million, or 18 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue increased to $71.4 billion from $47.4 billion a year ago. On average, Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected earnings per share of $3.40.
— Peabody Energy today reported that second quarter income from continuing operations rose 143 percent to a record $242.6 million versus the prior year, with related earnings per share of $0.89. Revenues for the quarter were also a record at $1.53 billion on 59.8 million tons sold. EBITDA grew 65 percent over last year to a new mark of $446.6 million.
These profits are coming at a terrible price to our future. Much of ConocoPhilips’ earnings came from their Canadian tar sands Syncrude project, which is an “ecological disaster.” In the words of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Peabody Energy’s vision for “America’s Energy Future,” with U.S. coal consumption doubling by 2025, “ignores the nightmarish damages that would be caused to our air, water and climate.”
“CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual,” said esteemed NASA climate scientist Jim Hansen this June, twenty years after first he testified before Congress on the threat of global warming. “In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature. Conviction of ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal CEOs will be no consolation, if we pass on a runaway climate to our children.”