Oh the irony. What if “fossil fuels” were driving the climate debate, but on the Warmie side?
Fossil fuels is a misnomer, there is no collective fossil industry, just a bunch of massive multi-conglomerates competing. And the biggest competition for oil and gas comes from coal. Gas wins two ways: not only do “carbon schemes” help gas and oil compete, but the more windmills there are, the more gas we need to cope with the intermittency.
William Kay joins some interesting dots. Rex Tillerson, he argues, is a dark knight, painted as the enemy of climate deals yet pushing Exxon belatedly into the BP and Shell mould as another giant gas company that lobbies for carbon credits. The war waged on skeptics for their “fossil fuel” funding was a red herring to distract from the real direction of the lobbying.
Let’s cut to the chase. The coal lobby and the natural gas lobby are dueling over the captain’s share of the U.S. electricity-generating market. As The Donald would say, “The stakes are yuge.” Americans spend almost $400 billion a year on electricity.
Recent figures have natural gas fueling 34% of this market and coal 31%. Percentages fluctuate monthly. Twenty-sixteen was the year natural gas surpassed coal. When the climate caper gained traction, in the late 1980s, coal enjoyed a near-60% market share, while natural gas held only 10%. With this in mind, one plotter around Trump’s table looms ominous.
As the pitchmen from the 250,000-member Texans for Natural Gas, or from Europe’s GasNaturally meta-coalition, never tire of telling us, gas-generated electricity emits about half the carbon dioxide per watt than does coal-generated electricity. Wielding this fact, BP and Shell emerged, by the early 1990s, as the most effective and deep-pocketed climate crusaders. Until Tillerson, ExxonMobil was the major Big Oil climate holdout.
Gas needs to be recognised as a “climate industry”:
Natural gas is the Climate Industrial Complex’s dark horse. The Climate Change Business Journal does not even recognize natural gas, per se, as a climate industry. The authors discuss only the gas industry’s efforts at reducing fugitive methane emissions and at carbon capture and storage. To purists, the $1.5-trillion-a-year Climate Industrial Complex consists only of the makers and mongers of solar panels, wind turbines, electric cars, bio-fuels, etc. There is no room in their inn for a “fossil fuel” industry whose existence predates the climate campaign.
As I said in 2009 The Exxon “Blame-Game” is a Distracting Side Show. But then I was talking about how big government outspends big oil to push the global warming theme. I still think banks and governments are bigger drivers than gas and oil, but it is tantalizing to wonder if fossil fuels had a hand in creating the anti-fossil fuels agitprop.
Back to 2017 and Tillerson is Secretary of State. Hm.