Exxon Digs In

Scoffing at renewable energy technologies, Exxon puts its research dollars into extracting hydrogen from petroleum, not from water, while funding global warming skeptics.

Published: 15-Jun-2005

xxon Mobil Corp.'s laboratories here, there isn't a solar panel or windmill in sight. About the closest Exxon's scientists get to "renewable" energy is perfecting an oil that Exxon could sell to companies operating wind turbines.

Oil giants such as BP PLC and Royal Dutch/Shell Group are trumpeting a better-safe-than-sorry approach to global warming. They accept a growing scientific consensus that fossil fuels are a main contributor to the problem and endorse the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which caps emissions from developed nations that have ratified it. BP and Shell also have begun to invest in alternatives to fossil fuels. [Lee R. Raymond]

Not Exxon. Openly and unapologetically, the world's No. 1 oil company disputes the notion that fossil fuels are the main cause of global warming. Along with the Bush administration, Exxon opposes the Kyoto accord and the very idea of capping global-warming emissions. Congress is debating an energy bill that may be amended to include a cap, but the administration and Exxon say the costs would be huge and the benefits uncertain. Exxon also contributes money to think tanks and other groups that agree with its stance.

Exxon publicly predicts that solar and wind energy will continue to provide less than 1% of the world's energy supply in 2025, a subject that others shy away from. Even if fossil fuels are the chief global-warming culprit, Exxon argues, the sensible response is to figure out how to burn them more efficiently.

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China and India are among the world's fastest growing economies whose GHG emissions are outpacing their national incomes. Photo of boy working in light bulb factory courtesy of Fayetteville State University.

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