Climate change activists decry Chevron CEO Watson’s statements in an interview by AP for shirking responsibility for climate change:
AP: Do fossil fuel producers bear the responsibility for curbing greenhouse gas emissions?
WATSON: We have the responsibility to deliver our energy in an environmentally sound fashion. The greatest advancements in living standards in recorded history have taken place in the modern hydrocarbon era. I don’t think that’s coincidental. Our leaders have to make a decision. Do they want that to continue or do they have a better solution for us? So it’s not my call.
I tend to agree with Watson. It really ISN’T the responsibility of the oil companies to do something about climate change. Their job is to maximize shareholder return by exploring and selling petroleum products to retail customers. What makes us think that Chevron or the other oil companies are going to take steps that will erode their business?
It’s a silly thought.
It is the responsibility of all of us, and our political leaders eventually, to find scalable and effective alternative energy sources. In the same interview Watson also states that the only other scalable energy source is nuclear. That may be the case right now, but it will change, as pressure to find other sources increases. It’s a copout to just say nothing else is scalable. Oil wasn’t scalable either when it was first found. Governments subsidized oil heavily in the early years, just like they subsidize wind and solar now.
Many years ago, when the tobacco companies were still a strong in the U.S., and smoking ads were still allowed, it wasn’t the tobacco companies that curbed smoking in our country. Their job was to produce and sell tobacco. It was the public, it was public education and health awareness that curbed smoking. If somebody had told us then that smoking would not be allowed in any public building or work place anymore, we would not have believed it. But it happened, because it was healthy and good.
Curbing the use of fossil fuel will also happen, and it won’t be initiated by the oil companies. Get used to that.
Chevron is not shirking responsibility for climate change. It’s not responsible for it. It’s just that its product has many problems, including generation of greenhouse gases as it gets burned, but last and not least, that there is only a limited amount of it on earth. Despite Watson’s statements that oil will be around for generations, it is going to run out, we just don’t know exactly how soon.
It is we, the people, that are responsible.