40 Responses to March 8 News: ExxonMobil CEO Praises Carbon Tax, Disses Renewables, Calls Enviros ‘Obtuse’ For Anti-Keystone Effort
Rex Tillerson, Exxon Mobil’s CEO, recently spoke with Charlie Rose. The two covered a number of topics, from Tillerson’s less than generous opinion of the Keystone XL protests, to a carbon tax versus cap-and-trade, to his pessimistic view of renewable energy’s chances of displacing fossil fuels anytime soon. [Businessweek]
Why have environmental groups made Keystone such a priority?
There’s a segment of the environmental groups that’s very concerned about the burning of fossil fuels. In a sort of obtuse way, they took a view that if they could prevent the transport of crude oil from Canada to the U.S., then that would throw an obstacle in the way of future developments. I think they probably misjudged Canada’s resolve.
Where do you stand on a carbon tax?
At some point policymakers will get around to dealing with additional policies around climate in ways to incentivize certain behaviors. There are different models, one of which is cap-and-trade, which Europe has been trying now with not a lot of success. If you’re going to undertake a policy with those characteristics, a carbon tax is much more straightforward. It’s much simpler to administer, and it doesn’t leave itself open to as much gaming.
How much longer do you think we’ll be burning fossil fuels?
When coal came into the picture, it took about 50 or 60 years to displace timber. Then crude oil was found, and it took 60, 70 years, and then natural gas. So it takes 100 years or more for some new breakthrough in energy to become the dominant source. Most people have difficulty coming to grips with the sheer enormity of energy consumption. If we look at our energy outlook, at things like renewable wind, solar, biofuels, we have those sources over the next 30 years growing 700 to 800 percent. But in the year 2040, they’ll supply just 1 percent.
The failure to accurately predict Snowquester’s effects in the I-95 corridor offers lessons in communicating risk and uncertainty, which can be applied to both weather and climate forecasting. [Climate Central]
Legislation requiring that schools teach “both the strengths and weaknesses of” climate change science has died in the Kansas state legislature. [Slate]
As the nor’easter that dumped 2 feet of snow on areas of the inland Mid-Atlantic on Wednesday moves slowly out to sea, the National Weather Service is predicting moderate to major coastal flooding along the New England coast. [Climate Central]
As the coal industry declines, many of its retirees are left with crippling ailments after years of working in the mines, and many of the union benefits they’ve built up over decades are now at risk of vanishing. [WaPo]
According to an update to the U.S. Drought Monitor, drought expanded in Florida and West Texas, where several weeks of low rainfall have allowed already dry conditions to intensify. [Climate Central]
Energy poverty has left more than 1 billion people in developing countries without access to adequate healthcare. Staff are often forced to treat emergencies in the dark, and often go without vaccine storage or sterilization. [The Guardian]
National carbon cap-and-trade measures will play a bigger role in climate-change efforts as the importance of offset mechanisms started by the United Nations wanes, the head of an emissions trading lobby said. [Bloomberg]