Update: Since I was free and easy with the smacks on the Houston Chronicle yesterday, it’s only right to mention that the Chron’s editorial on this topic is bang on. You can read it here.
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Ah yes… the lovely sounds of spring. There are birds a-chirpin’, bees a-buzzin’, blossoms a-burstin’, and the biannual bonus display: Big Oil a-squirmin’.
Executives from San Ramon’s Chevron Corp. and four other major oil companies defended their record profits Tuesday before a hostile Congress, led by Democrats who criticized the oil giants for doing little to cut gas prices or invest in renewable energy.
It would be funny, if it were… well… funny. (Though it is slightly amusing that the Democrats weren’t chirping this song while campaigning in Texas).
We’ve been here, done this.
Too bad nobody kept the t-shirt, because it looks as if the stars may have again aligned this year. The combination of a presidential election and cumulative record oil company profits may very well take us down the treacherous but familiar road of windfall profits taxes and pulled incentives.
We never learn… and with the ever-tighter focus on renewable energy and a green economy, there’s an added layer of complexity.
While some folks evidently understand that getting oil out of the ground requires rather more than a spoon, an unfortunate percentage of the population still seems to think crude can just be scooped from puddles. The reasons behind our untenable choices — exploration and drilling in currently protected areas vs our lethally symbiotic relationship with external providers — just aren’t well-understood.
“But Polimom, what about green energy?”
Why… Yes!! There is a third possibility, and it’s definitely the direction we need to go… but there’s a problem (my emphasis):
“Why is Exxon Mobil resisting the renewable revolution?” he asked.
Simon responded that Exxon Mobil had pledged $100 million to Stanford University for a project to study renewable energy and climate change. But he said until renewable sources become more economically competitive, the company will focus on its core oil business.
Right there is the key to understanding the entire equation.
You think $3.287 is high? Sorry, but even factoring in the difficult-to-assess geopolitical and environmental costs, it’s not high enough. Current gas prices (and everything else related) are still lower than current technology can deliver for renewable sources.
The best thing that could happen, strangely enough, is for prices to go higher yet. Until we cross above the point where the cost of renewable energy is less than non-renewable, we’re stuck… and no amount of election year grandstanding will get us out of the spring mud.