The Poor Behavior of ExxonMobil, ARCO and Chevron

From here:

I am not surprised by their lobbying, but I submit it is not ok for corporations to quell claims of global warming, especially when their product is a prime contributor to this global problem. Corporations ought to be responsible enough to not purposefully spread misinformation and/or suppress true information in order to manipulate the market in their favor, especially considering the potential consequences in this case. I find it irresponsible and perhaps bordering on fraud (IANAL, maybe it is free speech and there’s nothing to do. I don’t have to like it).

From the same source:

This example is exactly the kind of thing that can undermine people’s faith in the free market to mitigate problems like climate change on its own. And it seems like a bad-faith business move to buy competitors for the sole purpose of putting them under.

It’s perhaps not the best-written article (it doesn’t say when these companies bought the solar patents, for example). And the oil companies’ actions may not make much of a difference either way. But it still strikes me as poor behavior. I wish I could feel like they were on my side instead of trying to put one over on everyone.

Chill out. It’s just bidness, nothing personal. The free market will find a solution to the problem of unrestricted free market fucking everything and everyone over for shortest of terms benefits.

Its their planet. We just live here.

At the basic level it IS just business. Assets and liabilities, risk mitigation, forecasting, and watching that bottom line. That is how money is made.

If you are a major widget manufacturer and technology is developed that might cut into the profit of your business, and you have the ability to purchase the new technology and put it on the shelf and remove it from the market, that’s what you do to protect your bottom line. This is what they have done with the solar patents you speak of. In the future when these patents can be used to benefit the energy companies the technology will be developed to add to the bottom line.

The global warming lobbying is just a stalling tactic that will be used until the energy companies find a way to make money off the new situation. The energy companies, (they don’t call themselves oil companies anymore) will position themselves to be the saviors of the planet just about the time that oil gets too rare or expensive to pull out of the ground.

Whatever the new source of energy becomes in the 22nd or 23rd century, you can bet your bippy that the same business entities will be in charge of it and making bank. Exxon Energy will control the power. I am kind of surprised they haven’t changed their name to Exxon Energy yet.

Didn’t anybody here major in business? Neither did I.

It’s just like in the Godfather II when Abe Vigoda (Tessio) is about to be taken out and shot:

It’s just business.

The worst of it is that they engage in that evil offshoring!

What it all boils down to for me is that if human beings manage to extinct ourselves on this planet (with oil and gas companies in bed with governments and global warming and overpopulation and AIDS and all that happy crappy), then we deserve it.

I was using the phrase ironically. The thing is, it’s *not *just business when it fucks the entire planet for the sake of a few thousand blokes’ pocketbook. Just as it would not be “just business” is some pharma company was sitting on the cure for cancer just because palliative medicine makes more Porsches. We’re not talking about making your VCR crap out a day after the warranty is over here. That’s just [del]fuckery[/del]business. This is personal.
Doesn’t get more personal than putting my life at risk, both through global warming AND conflict over fucking oil.

  • Catch-22, Joseph Heller

Cite that they are spreading misinformation or suppressing true information?

Well, lets start with bad faith, as in even using religion to spread misinformation:
http://climateprogress.org/2010/06/19/the-oily-operators-behind-the-religious-climate-change-disinformation-front-group-cornwall-alliance/

As for non religious disinformation, there are many examples:
http://climateprogress.org/2010/07/20/exxonmobil-funds-global-warming-deniers/

I strongly suggest that you leave this be, T2BC. He is deliberately obtuse, and any cite you provide which connects the dots from “supports and utilizes the services of the purveyors of so-called ‘doubt’” to “spreads misinformation/suppresses true information” will be ignored and/or nitpicked to a fare-thee-well.

Besides which, he’s really not worth your time and effort.

ETA: Not worth yours, either, GIGOBuster.

Well, who said that I was posting just to convince him?

My posts are not only for the deniers, but also for the people who are learning about the stuff. With no evidence or cites supporting the “spreads misinformation/suppresses true information” bit, most people on the fence or lurkers would think that the evidence or citations do not exist and then doubt, precisely the reason why they are posting for, remains in the air.

Also it is important to tell others how in recent days one can expect that paid misinformation efforts are/were coming to social media like internet forums, just a heads up to others and not to the dumb or Machiavellian deniers.

The statement that you quote about oil companies buying up solar companies and then killing them is perhaps written to imply that oil companies are buying up solar companies (and their patents!) for the purpose of stifling development of the technology, which seems very alarmist and poorly researched. (I understand it was not your statement.)

As an example, the list includes ARCO, which has been a subsidiary of BP since the year 2000. There was a company called “ARCO Solar” in the 1980s that was a subsidiary of ARCO. They had annual sales of up to $40 million (in the 1980s for solar panels, that sounds pretty big!), and the company had invested $200 million in R&D. They sold it to Siemens of Germany in 1989.

http://www.nytimes.com/1989/08/03/business/arco-to-sell-siemens-its-solar-energy-unit.html

That hardly sounds like they killed it. Put it into more interested hands, if anything.

That took me one Google search to find.

If the other companies closed down solar units, it was almost certainly for business reasons peculiar to the company in question, not for some evil Monty Burns-esque plan to prevent the growth of solar power.

Coincidentally, it appears Siemens eventually sold that solar unit to BP, where it is now part of BP Solar, which is a very large player in the solar industry. Why? Because corporations are not entirely stupid. They know solar is a growing field, and they know that money will be made, and they want to be part of that.

Also, if oil companies were trying to get a stranglehold on the solar industry through controlling patents, they did a piss-poor job of it as annual installtions of solar panels range in the order of multiple gigawatts, and are growing rapidly.

I am no blind fan of corporations, but all of those solar panels are not going to be installed by hippies on communes for a few bags of weed. Those panels are being installed by, yep, big corporations.

Chevron, to take another corporation that you named, has invested in a company called Solazyme, which is a very promising player in the infant biofuels industry. They did not buy anything near a controlling interest (in other words, they are not trying to shelve Solazyme’s IP), and look to be working to help Solazyme’s research. I would imagine that other oil companies are doing the same thing. Solazyme’s technologiy is already proven as technologically feasible (for example, they are producing 150,000 gallons of fuel for the U.S. Navy this year, after 20,000 gallons last year), it is simply a question of scaling production up economically.

Solar power in the past did not fail to take off because oil companies were smothering the technology. It was because solar power was still too expensive on a relative basis. Although it is not quite down to grid parity, with government subsidies and with the benefits solar power supplies, the difference is close enough that solar power is now a huge and rapidly growing business.

I would say that I agree with the subject of the article, it is under “Greenwashing”

IMHO what BP and other energy companies are doing regarding solar panels is not offering much to solar development, but mostly as an effort to appear more green that what they are really, and to be ready if governments begin to finally put real pressure on changing the ways that we use energy.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=BP_and_Greenwashing

I can see however that BP is less responsible nowadays for the support of the denial sources and think tanks than other oil companies.

*Millions in the original cite, but I saw elsewhere that it is billions.

Do not discourage GIGO! IF he isn’t on the spot with cites, facts, and proofs, then I’m gonna have to do it, and he does it as well if not better. Which leaves me time to cruise the interwebs looking for pictures of bare naked ladies.

Some creep comes out with the usual crap about a global warming hoax, I’m tempted to dive in, but why bother? If anybody asks, I’m just waiting for GIGO. So to speak.

A much better source that the triplepundit is here:

Fair enough. Just a friendly warning to to get too invested in persuading someone who’s demonstrated that he enjoys tweaking noses, and is not persuadable on the subject at hand.

Just to be clear, I am not trying to defend oil companies or commenting either way on lobbying or greenwashing or global-warming denial or who is funding what. I am only trying to give context to the statements about solar power.

$700 million in three months (although that is given for wind and solar, I have no idea what the breakdown is) means BP Solar would be among the biggest stand-alone solar panel manufacturers in the world if it was not a subsidiary of BP. Yes, compared to the revenues from its existing mature oil business (which is what, more than 100 years old?), it is only 2%. But compared to the major independent solar panel manufacturers, that is huge. Frankly, I didn’t realize BP Solar was THAT big.

It takes time to build up manufacturing capacity, supplier relationships, distribution networks, etc. BP is not going to walk away from their existing oil business in the near future, and even if they somehow instantaneously increased their solar manufacturing capacity by a factor of 50, they wouldn’t be able to cram $35 billion worth of solar panels down the market’s throat in a quarter at present.

Also, it seems kind of pointless to compare the relative size of the revenues as if that has some sort of significance beyond saying one is a much bigger number than the other.

The oil sold is a consumable, the panels are a capital good. In other words, the oil sold is (or soon will be) consumed, to be replaced by oil sold in the current quarter, and so on. (And they do that kind of volume because there is an established market for that product with that kind of demand).

The panels sold will be producing energy for years, with more panels added every quarter. So the impact of that $700 million in sales is larger than it might seem. Finally, I have no idea how the multi-year energy output of the $700 million panels sold relates to the energy value of $73 billion of oil. That would be an interesting question to answer.

Closing the Maryland plant seems to be mentioned as a sign of a lack of commitment to solar, but the fact is PV solar panels can usually be produced much more cheaply in China and other countries than in the U.S. So I would imagine BP Solar either replaced that plant with one in China or another country, or else outsourced manufacturing to a Chinese company.

I have no interest in defending BP or oil companies in general. My only point is that I don’t think BP can be faulted on this particular score. They seem to be taking the solar business very seriously. Sure they are making sure they are ready for the future…but that is a perfectly good motivation to be in any business. That’s what good companies do.

These cites do not support the OP’s claim. You have drunk the kool-aid (and gone back for seconds, and gotten an IV drip of the stuff), so of course you think that anything that’s not 100% with the party line on AGW is “spreading misinformation.” But that’s just not so. The OP could support his claim only by showing that anything that’s not 100% pro-AGW is “misinformation,” which is of course complete hogwash.

I’ll keep siding with the science. You idiots that are all about the politics can keep posting cite after cite to politically funded and motivated organizations that have reached the answer you want and agree with your manufactured consensus. Doesn’t bother me. I’ll let the science resolve itself before taking a position.

Gigo’s the one who’s not persuadable. I approach AGW just like I do any other scientific topic–I evaluate claims on both sides and become comfortable with one sice or the other once the science resolves itself. Gigo doesn’t care about science, he cares only about politics.