Two Thirds of Oil Industry Execs Think We Should Have Limits on Carbon Emissions

oil barrels photo

photo: ezioman via flickr

For the average TreeHugger reader I would be willing to bet that oil company executives don't rate too highly in terms of perceived environmental awareness. That may not be true, but it doesn't mean that people who've made their fortune in fossil fuels don't think about cleaner sources of energy and limits on carbon emissions.

AP is reporting on the results of a survey of the chief financial officers of 100 US oil and gas exploration and production companies. The results are worth pondering:Will renewable energy gain a larger share of US electric generation in the next five years?
90% believed renewable energy usage would continue to increase in the US, with 20% believing that percentage would double. For those not up on the stats, the EIA lists renewable energy as amounting to slightly over 7% of total US energy demand...but nearly 3% of that is hydro-electric and less than 1% wind and solar power.

If those one-in-five are correct then renewable energy is set to beat out nuclear power in the US by 2013—though even in that case, renewable energy has a long way to go before it supplants fossil fuels.

Have we hit peak oil?
The CFOs surveyed were pretty much evenly split on the issue of peak oil: 48% said that we are either past a global peak in oil production or will reach that point within several years; 52% believed that production rates can continue to increase.

(Though I don't have access to the survey itself, I can't believe it asked those executives who thought oil production could still expand if they were just saying that for the benefit of the public or their company... )

The original article indicates that six months ago those responses might have been slightly different, with more people thinking that peak might be imminent or past, but given that demand has dropped due to global economic conditions, some execs are probably hedging their bets on how much longer oil supplies may be able to last.

Should there be controls on carbon emissions?
63% believe that carbon dioxide emissions should be limited in some way, with one-third of these people preferring that states rather than the federal government regulate these emissions. 37% of respondents believed that "self-regulation" was the best way to deal with greenhouse gases.

Considering that the effects of rising carbon emissions will effect more states than just the one emitting them, I'm not sure how you can argue that in state-by-state regulation is better than a tough national standard, but at least nearly two thirds of oil execs now believe that there is something to this increasing carbon emissions causing global warming thing.

Or they might just see the writing on the wall, that some form of carbon regulation is coming, and figure the best thing is to play along and influence the form it takes, rather than remain opposed and get something they don't like.

via: Yahoo News/AP
Peak Oil, Renewable Energy, Carbon Emissions
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