The American Petroleum Institute (API) successfully lobbied for an end to the 40-year ban on exporting U.S.-produced crude oil in part by making a geopolitical argument: Iran and Russia have the ability to export their oil, so why not unleash America?
wall street journal
A document published by the Public Relations Society of America, discovered by DeSmog, reveals that from the onset of its public relations campaign, the oil industry courted mainstream media reporters to help it sell the idea of lifting the ban on crude oil exports to the American public and policymakers.
Calling its campaign the “Miracle of American Oil,” the successful PR effort to push for Congress and the White House to lift the oil exports ban was spearheaded by Continental Resources, a company known as the “King of the Bakken” shale oil basin and founded by Harold Hamm. Hamm served as energy advisor to 2012 Republican Party presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
One of the most recent ads, titled “Crude Oil Exports and National Security” on YouTube, starts off with ominous music and asks, “Who loves the ban on U.S. crude oil exports?” The answer, says API, is “Iran and Russia, not exactly our best friends.”
Not mentioned: both countries currently maintain business ties with API's dues-paying members.
With some analysts predicting the global price of oil to see another drop, many oil majors have deployed their parachutes and jumped from the hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) projects rapidly nose-diving across the world.
As The Wall Street Journal recently reported, the unconvetional shale oil and gas boom is still predominantly U.S.-centric, likely to remain so for years to come.
“Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC have packed up nearly all of their hydraulic fracturing wildcatting in Europe, Russia and China,” wrote The Wall Street Journal.
“Chevron halted its last European fracking operations in February when it pulled out of Romania. Shell said it is cutting world-wide shale spending by 30% in places including Turkey, Ukraine and Argentina. Exxon has pulled out of Poland and Hungary, and its German fracking operations are on hold.”
Though the fracking boom has taken off in the U.S. like no other place on Earth, the U.S. actually possesses less than 10 percent of the world’s estimated shale reserves, according to The Journal.
Despite this resource allotment discrepency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently revealed that only four countries in the world have produced fracked oil or gas at a commercial-scale: the United States, Canada, China and Argentina.
Image Credit: U.S. Energy Information Administration
Richard Lindzen, an MIT professor and longtime climate contrarian, turned to the Wall Street Journal to rehash a series of oft-disproved claims that deny the growing and now unequivocal evidence of climate change, all in defense of a fellow “skeptic” whose ties to fossil fuels have called into question the impartiality of his science.
Lindzen's arguments are a greatest-hits of climate denial, repeatedly and effectively disproved for years. He uses these easily dismissed arguments to defend what's left of the academic integrity of Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon against questions raised by members of Congress, who heard testimony from Soon without disclosure that he was being paid by fossil-fuel interests.
Lindzen's writing contained multiple errors or omissions. He:
• Ignored the accuracy of climate models over the long term
• Confused the impact of the sun on observed warming, long studied and long ago disregarded
• Dismissed multiple lines of evidence by claiming clouds would offset warming
• Glossed over the egregious breach of ethics in Soon's lack of disclosure of over $1 million in funding from fossil fuel interests
• Mischaracterized as threatening an attempt to identify improper industry influence on studies and Congressional testimony
As of September 2014, 181 institutions and local governments as well as 656 individual investors representing more than $50 billion in assets had pledged to join the growing fossil fuel divestment movement, which seeks to take investments away from the oil, gas and coal companies that are cooking our atmosphere and reinvest that money in the development of a low-carbon economy.
This has, understandably, caused quite a bit of alarm amongst the fossil fuel set.
Enter Daniel Fischel, chairman and president of economic consulting firm Compass Lexecon, who recently published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal called “The Feel-Good Folly of Fossil-Fuel Divestment” in which he discussed the findings of a forthcoming report that “indicates that fossil-fuel divestment could significantly harm an investment portfolio.”
Fischel goes out of his way to appear to have the interests of the poor universities called on to divest at heart: “Every bit of economic and quantitative evidence available to us today shows that the only entities punished under a fossil-fuel divestment regime are the schools actually doing the divesting,” he concludes.
You had to get past the WSJ’s paywall and then read to the bottom of the piece before you got to the most salient point: “The report discussed in this op-ed, ‘Fossil Fuel Divestment: A Costly and Ineffective Investment Strategy,’ was financed by the Independent Petroleum Association of America.”
This is a guest post by Climate Nexus.
Bjorn Lomborg’s latest op-ed in the Wall Street Journal resurrects repeatedly demolished distortions of fact to downplay the real and increasingly documented threats of climate change. His trademark tactic is to acknowledge that climate change is real and human-caused, only to then dismiss the solutions—reducing emissions and promoting clean energy now—as unnecessary or infeasible.
Fortunately, his longstanding fight against climate action is failing to persuade the public, as an overwhelming majority of Americans understand that climate change is a serious threat and that we’re already feeling the impacts. More to the point they support action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially through continued expansion of clean energy and new rules for coal-fired power plants.
Mr. Lomborg has relied on similar distortions for his arguments many times before, even drawing censure from the Danish government for his “perversion of the scientific method.”
After the release of Lomborg’s “deeply flawed” book The Skeptical Environmentalist, the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science remarked that Lomborg’s work was a testament to the “vulnerability of the scientific process…to outright misrepresentation and distortion.” One researcher decided to fact check Lomborg’s claims, and had so much material that Yale published it as a book: The Lomborg Deception. In the book, Lomborg’s many sloppy citations and misleading myths are thoroughly debunked, but that hasn’t stopped him from repeating the same general arguments in years since.
When it comes to climate, he insists over and over: Don’t worry, be deceived.
This is a guest post by Climate Nexus.
A recent opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal by Rupert Darwall paints efforts to address climate change through international policy as doomed from the start, ignores recent progress and dismisses mounting public support for action.
As countries negotiate in Lima, Peru, this week, long-time climate change skeptic Rupert Darwall seizes the moment to rehash tired critiques of past international efforts on climate.
In fact, the U.S.-China deal will deliver real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the costs of climate impacts clearly outweigh the costs of climate change mitigation and initial national pledges to the Green Climate Fund are meant to spur additional, substantial private sector investment.
Outgoing Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) chairman Phil Bryant — Mississippi's Republican Governor — started his farewell address with a college football joke at IOGCC's recent annual conference in Columbus, Ohio.
“As you know, I love SEC football. Number one in the nation Mississippi State, number three in the nation Ole Miss, got a lot of energy behind those two teams,” Bryant said in opening his October 21 speech. “I try to go to a lot of ball games. It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it and somebody's gotta be there.”
Seconds later, things got more serious, as Bryant spoke to an audience of oil and gas industry executives and lobbyists, as well as state-level regulators.
At the industry-sponsored convening, which I attended on behalf of DeSmogBlog, it was hard to tell the difference between industry lobbyists and regulators. The more money pledged by corporations, the more lobbyists invited into IOGCC's meeting.
Perhaps this is why Bryant framed his presentation around “where we are headed as an industry,” even though officially a statesman and not an industrialist, before turning to his more stern remarks.
“I know it's a mixed blessing, but if you look at some of the pumps in Mississippi, gasoline is about $2.68 and people are amazed that it's below $3 per gallon,” he said.
“And it's a good thing for industry, it's a good thing for truckers, it's a good thing for those who move goods and services and products across the waters and across the lands and we're excited about where that's headed.”
Bryant then discussed the flip side of the “mixed blessing” coin.
“Of course the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale has a little problem with that, so as with most things in life, it's a give and take,” Bryant stated. “It's very good at one point and it's helping a lot of people, but on the other side there's a part of me that goes, 'Darn! I hate that oil's dropping, I hate that it's going down.' I don't say that out-loud, but just to those in this room.”
Tuscaloosa Marine Shale's “little problem” reflects a big problem the oil and gas industry faces — particularly smaller operators involved with hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) — going forward.
That is, fracking is expensive and relies on a high global price of oil. A plummeting price of oil could portend the plummetting of many smaller oil and gas companies, particularly those of the sort operating in the Tuscaloosa Marine.
Earlier this month Hunter Harrison, the CEO of Canadian Pacific told the Globe and Mail that he thought regulators have “overreacted” to the oil-by-rail disaster in Lac-Megantic that killed 47 people.
“Lac-Mégantic happened, in my view, because of one person’s behaviour, if I read the file right,” Harrison said.
As detailed by DeSmogBlog, he didn’t read the file right. The accident was directly related to lack of regulation and the railroads putting profits before safety.
Harrison’s choice of words echoed those of American Petroleum Institute CEO Jack Gerard commenting on the new proposed oil-by-rail regulations when he stated: “Overreacting creates more challenges than safety.”
Yea, that’s right, according to Big Oil and Big Rail, the biggest threat to the 25 million people living in the bomb train blast zones is the overreaction of regulators.