National Petroleum Council

US Government Knew Climate Risks in 1970s, National Petroleum Council Documents Show

Read time: 10 mins
President Ronald Reagan meets with National Petroleum Council in 1983

By Kaitlin Sullivan, Climate Liability News. Crossposted from Climate Liability News.

A series of newly discovered documents clarify the extent to which the U.S. government, its advisory committees and the fossil fuel industry have understood for decades the impact carbon dioxide emissions would have on the planet.

The documents obtained by Climate Liability News show how much the National Petroleum Council (NPC), an oil and natural gas advisory committee to the Secretary of Energy, knew about climate change as far back as the 1970s. A series of reports illuminate the findings of government-contracted research that outlined the dangers associated with increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Energy Department Hires a Top Cheerleader for Petrochemical Hub Before Issuing Report Favoring It

Read time: 9 mins
Brian Anderson

Near the end of 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) hired the leading promoter within academia of a massive and multi-faceted petrochemical complex proposed for West Virginia. A month later, the agency issued a report favoring the construction of such a complex.

On November 9, the Energy Department’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) named as its new director former West Virginia University Professor Brian Anderson.

NETL, which spearheads federal energy-related research and development (R&D) efforts, is currently deciding whether to grant $1.9 billion in R&D money toward building out the proposed petrochemical complex, known as the Appalachian Storage Hub. 

Industry-Stacked Energy Department Committee: Shale Running Dry, Let's Exploit the Arctic

Read time: 4 mins

A report assembled by an industry-centric US Department of Energy committee recommends the nation start exploiting the Arctic due to oil and gas shale basins running dry. 

In the just-submitted report, first obtained by the Associated Press, the DOE's National Petroleum Council — many members of which are oil and gas industry executives — concludes that oil and gas obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) will not last beyond the next decade or so, thus the time is ripe to raid the fragile Arctic to feed our fossil fuel addiction. 

The NPC just launched a website and executive summary of the report: Arctic Potential: Realizing the Promise of U.S. Oil and Gas Resources.

Confirming the thesis presented by the Post Carbon Institute in its two reports, “Drill Baby, Drill” and “Drilling Deeper,” the National Petroleum Council believes the shale boom does not have much more than a decade remaining.

The NPC report appears to largely gloss over the role of further fossil fuel dependence on climate change, or the potentially catastrophic consequences of an oil spill in the Arctic.

The first mention of climate change appears to refer to “concern about the future of the culture of the Arctic peoples and the environment in the face of changing climate and increased human activity,” but doesn't mention the role of fossil fuels in driving those changes. Instead, the report immediately pivots to focus on “increasing interest in the Arctic for tourist potential, and reductions in summer ice provide an increasing opportunity for marine traffic.”

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, a National Petroleum Council member, chimed in on the study in an interview with the Associated Press.  

“There will come a time when all the resources that are supplying the world's economies today are going to go in decline,” remarked Tillerson. “This is will [sic] be what's needed next. If we start today it'll take 20, 30, 40 years for those to come on.”

The National Petroleum Council also deployed the energy poverty argument, utilized most recently by coal giant Peabody Energy in its “Advanced Energy For Life” public relations campaign, to make its case for Arctic drilling as a replacement for fracking.

“But global demand for oil, which affects prices of gasoline, diesel and other fuels everywhere, is expected to rise steadily in the coming decades — even as alternative energy use blossoms — because hundreds of millions of people are rising from poverty in developing regions and buying more cars, shipping more goods, and flying in airplanes more often,” reads the report. “In order to meet that demand and keep prices from soaring, new sources of oil must be developed, the council argues.”

Viva Vivoleum

Read time: 1 min

Well known culture jammers, the Yes Men, who practice what they call 'identity correction' by posing as representatives of well-known corporations and organizations and making outrageous comments on their behalf, pulled off their latest installation of genius at the Oil and Gas Exposition 2007 in Calgary.

Posing as members of the National Petroleum Council, they unveiled Vivoleum, an oil product derived from dead victims of global warming disasters.

We don't have any video from the event yet, but here's a photo slideshow we found on Flickr.  

Exxon Veteran Raymond the "Jack Abramoff" of Climate Concern

Read time: 1 min
In response to the news that the Bush Administration has tapped former ExxonMobil Lee Raymond to head up a panel to plot America's energy futureone critic said:  “It's like putting Jack Abramoff in charge of fighting corruption.”

Bush Taps Former Exxon CEO to Chart U.S. Energy Future

Read time: 1 min
The Bush administration has appointed former ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond and the National Petroleum Council to chart America's energy future. Raymond, chair of the NPC, is to provide the administration with policy recommendations for the long-term direction of the nation's energy policy. Raymond was granted the power to handpick the study's leadership.
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