Hype and hypocrisy of climate attacks on Exxon

By |2016-06-20T14:22:37+00:00June 20th, 2016|CFACT Insights|17 Comments
hybridIf you drove a CO2-belching, climate-ravaging automobile anywhere today — or even rode in one — shame on you! And if you may imagine that purchasing that coal-fueled, electrically charged plug-in is going to get you off the guilt hook, forget about that too.

On the other hand, you probably have lots of others to share the blame with.

Yes, other planet-haters like ExxonMobil for example.

Otherwise, you better bicycle to work, bike your kids to school, bike biketo get the groceries, and bike your dog to the vet . . . as I’m sure New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and his family do.

Remember him? He’s one of the guys heading criminal actions targeting Exxon and their cabal of sympathizers and collaborators with violating laws against nature.

Be warned. That big gas guzzling heap you’re driving could get you in an even bigger heap of legal trouble. Yeah, you along with all others who ever travel anywhere in fossil-fueled airplanes or ships. If you’re even thinking about taking any overseas business trips  — or God forbid, frivolous vacations — beyond American shores, please give this careful thought.

Will you truly be able to live with your conscience?

WalkerInstead, consider rowing or sailing your way over those troubled waters, just as I’m quite certain Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Earl Walker does when he travels back and forth from mainland political haunts to his Caribbean residence. If not, why would the former EPA attorney have the temerity to file a RICO suit originally reserved for mafia figures against ExxonMobil and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington, DC, think tank?

Their alleged crime was to knowingly hide warnings by Al Gore and the UN that your SUV will ravage coastal populations with rising sea levels and first-ever hurricanes.

Sure, they’ll probably try to confuse us with trick questions: Like why, apart from natural 1998 and 2015 El Nino spikes, satellites haven’t recorded any statistically significant global warming for nearly two decades; why sea levels have been rising at a constant rate of 7 inches per century without acceleration; and why no category 3-5 hurricanes have struck the U.S. coast since October 2005 — a record lull since 1900.

But don’t trust your lyin’ eyes; continue to be assured that the science is settled. Global warming is an imminent threat, we’re causing it, and ExxonMobil, the evil profiteering culprit, should have told us.

Instead, they callously continued to produce oil and gas without informing investors and the public of dire climate change consequences.

No group is more outraged about ExxonMobil’s audacity to rockefeller_brothers“perpetrate fraud” by knowingly selling a harmful product than the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF).

Thanks to vast fortunes passed on to them by Standard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller and his brother, William, they have lots of money to finance lots of other anti-fossil vigilante programs. Big recipients include League of Conservation Voters and Sierra Club Foundation opposition efforts against the Keystone pipeline and tar sands in general.

John D. and William must be relieved to finally have their family shame redeemed.

BillMckAs reported in my May 2 column, RBF hosted a secret January 2016 meeting with about a dozen influential anti-fossil fuel activists to refine strategies that “establish in public’s mind that Exxon is a corrupt institution that has pushed humanity (and all creation) toward climate chaos and grave harm.” The Rockefeller Family Fund (RFF) offered to help fund the campaign through Bill McKibben’s aggressive 350.org website.

Soon afterwards, New York Attorney General Schneiderman headlined a press conference of 16 state attorneys general announcing intentions to prosecute organizations who were “committing fraud” by “knowingly deceiving” the public about the threat of manmade climate change and launched his RICO actions.

Actually realizing that his prospects for RICO convictions are as remote as polar bear extinctions, Schneiderman is pursuing better climate justice opportunities. This involves applying very broad terms of a New York “Martin Act.”

Enacted in 1921 to prosecute stock-sale boiler room operations, it enables an attorney general to bring charges without probable cause that any investor was actually harmed.

Schneiderman’s creative approach allows him to search ExxonMobil’s files for any unrevealed knowledge about suspected climate risks from 1977 to present.

This includes all information regarding how any related research was used in business projections, how it was described to investors and the public, and all communications on the topic with outside groups.

Yet while fully crediting Schneiderman, fellow attorneys general, the Rockefellers, and other climate crusaders for saving the planet from fossil-fired Armageddon, perhaps we might also cut ExxonMobil some slack for not giving the matter full attention.

After all, they’ve been pretty busy keeping our economy fueled, our lights on, our homes comfortable, our planes airborne, and our engines running.

NOTE:  This article first appeared at  http://www.newsmax.com/LarryBell/attorney-general-attorneys-general-Martin-Act-N-Y-/2016/06/20/id/734670/#ixzz4C8h5A5eM


  1. cshorey June 20, 2016 at 3:47 PM

    Larry missed the real issue which is if Exxon knew the risks and chose to hide them from the public and investors. And meanwhile, as we follow the money, we look to the bankruptcy proceedings for Peabody, and in the list of who they still owe money to (Willie Soon, James Taylor, Richard Linzen all listed) comes the CFACT organization. What did Peabody pay you guys for? I do wonder how much Larry Bell has been paid off by fossil fuel interests. What percent of your income Larry?

    • Dano2 June 20, 2016 at 7:14 PM

      Beat me to it.



    • Frederick Colbourne June 21, 2016 at 4:11 AM

      Well I suppose the professors you mention and CFACT know more about the material foundations of our civilization than the general public.

      You ask, “What did Peabody pay you guys for?”

      The wrong question. What did and still do American consumers pay Peabody and other fossil fuel companies for?

      The American way of life. That’ s what.

      If you ever decide that such a way of life is not for you there are alternatives. Properties in rural areas are cheap. All you need is ten acres, a horse and buggy and a cow.

      For 40 years I have lived and worked as an infrastructure economist in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America and have seen what sort of lifestyle you can get on a low energy budget. You can travel and see for yourself that 10 acres, a horse and a cow in America would be luxury living compared to what a couple of billion humans have.

      And they now live as most of our ancestors lived before fossil fuels made us all relatively rich. It’s also why most came to America in the first place.

      I presume that Willie Soon, James Taylor, Richard Linzen and CFACT are all working as hard as they do to educate people.

      In effect, they are doing the job that our schools seem not to have done very well: to teach, in addition to the three Rs, how our modern civilization came into being, what is its material basis, so that the public understands the true value of what we have and the terrible price we and our children will pay if we allow modern Luddite fanatics to cast it all away.

      But I suppose that if one were super rich, an economy with mass unemployment would suit just fine as it suits the elites of most of African and Asian countries.

      • cshorey June 21, 2016 at 12:26 PM

        Why did the American people stop paying Peabody and let them go bankrupt? More efficient and less polluting forms of energy. The “American way of life” can be fueled by many types of energy, and choosing less polluting types can also be our “way of life”. It will make a better “way of life” for those in the future for sure. And May is now officially the warmest May every recorded, but hey, at least it’s the first month since October that didn’t break previous records by over 1 deg C.

        • Frederick Colbourne June 21, 2016 at 12:33 PM

          Yes, natural gas and oil, both of which are cleaner than coal.

          • cshorey June 21, 2016 at 12:39 PM

            Exactly, but then OPEC has kept prices incredibly low, thus driving to extinction many of the small natural gas and oil operations that cropped up here in the U.S. Now we need to focus on R&D for other non-carbon based fuel sources for the energy to drive our “way of life”.

            • Frederick Colbourne June 21, 2016 at 12:52 PM

              Not at all. The loss of the smaller producers has cut production by only about 10% and the industry has become more profitable now that petroleum prices have risen.

              The only feasible non-carbon-based fuels are fissionable materials in nuclear reactors.

              • cshorey June 21, 2016 at 5:47 PM

                Folks at NREL say you’re completely off about the “only feasible non-carbon-based fuels are fissionable . . .” Apparently not true at all, and the world’s economy has just been measured growing while it’s carbon output did not. We are divorcing the two and thus we can look forward to non-carbon fuel sources becoming more and more viable and practical, especially when economic externalities, such as the effects of climate change, are internalized into the system.
                And meanwhile, university departments which rely on funding from fossil fuel industries are loosing said funds, and the students are starting to shy away from petroleum. I’ve been around long enough to have seen the boom and bust cycles in petroleum, but I fear these are leaning more and more to bust as the negative externalities come on line.

                • Frederick Colbourne June 22, 2016 at 1:21 AM

                  An economic factor in the slowdown in emissions is the slowdown in GDP growth. A technical factor is the increased power generation from natural gas and oil, which both have bigger percentages of hydrogen relative to coal.

                  You say, ” We are divorcing the two and thus we can look forward to non-carbon fuel sources becoming more and more viable and practical, especially when economic externalities, such as the effects of climate change, are internalized into the system.”

                  Those governments that have sunk the most subsidies into wind and sun are now realizing the economic, financial and political folly of their policies, Germany and Denmark in particular. The UK power sector is on the brink of disaster.

                  I propose that you study some power engineering to understand why wind and power cannot replace fossil fuels and nuclear. It’s not rocket science, and it’s better to ground your expectations in the real world than in the promises of politicians and their spin doctors.

                  Finally, economic externalities do not make wind and solar more viable. In general, to cover negative externalities, a society has to tax an activity. Adding the tax to the price of the activity makes it less viable relative to any competing activity.

                  So the effect of taxing carbon is to make fossil fuels less viable, not to make wind and solar more viable.

                  More generally, government intervention to promote renewables has driven up energy consumer prices. This has the effect of slowing both economic growth and emissions and increasing both unemployment and poverty.

                  These adverse social effects of “Green” policies are externalities too: reduction in the social benefits from cheap energy from fossil fuels.

                  Examine the cost-benefit studies for yourself. You will find that their promoters omit most of the benefits of carbon-based fuels. (They also exaggerate the disbenefits, but I don’t need to rely on that to make my case.)

                  Christiana Figueres, recently retired executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said February 3, 2015 during a press conference in Brussels.

                  “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution….This will not happen overnight and it will not happen at a single conference on climate change…It is a process, because of the depth of the transformation…”

                  Ms Figueres also both praised the Chinese model and disparaged the democratic model, specifically capitalism and the US.

                  The issues are not merely technical, financial and economic. Since energy is the life-blood of modern economies, massive intervention by government will disrupt all capitalist economies.

                  To support anti-carbon policies, you really need to ask yourself: do you trust politicians and bureaucrats more than business people to run the US or any modern economy?

                  I have lived and worked as an economist for 45 years in more than 15 countries, and I prefer democracy and capitalism.

                  I do so, not because I believe that either democracy or capitalism are especially good systems, but because all other systems are so bad.

                  I would go further and say that only countries with democracy and capitalism have proven records of providing high standards of health and well-being to most of their citizens.

                  And most of the people who enjoy highest standards of health and welfare do so because of cheap fossil fuels. Some day fission and fusion fuels may replace fossil fuels but never renewables. The reason is simple: the energy density of renewables is too low.

                  • cshorey June 22, 2016 at 12:40 PM
                    • Frederick Colbourne June 24, 2016 at 12:00 AM

                      Treating non-cash social costs in the same way as cash subsidies is not acceptable.

                      To do a proper cost-benefit analysis, the social costs cannot be treated in isolation from the social benefits. Social costs have to be compared with social benefits.

                      And as I mentioned previously, for most people worldwide who enjoy improved health and welfare compared with their ancestors, the source of those benefits is cheap energy, mostly from fossil fuels.

                      I have worked with academic economists of several countries and have found some to be aware of lessons from economic history that apply to ongoing industrialization and urbanization.

                      A lot depends on experience. Unfortunately, the study you cited has a major flaw. It applies microeconomic logic to, not merely an economic sector, but to the energy sector, which pervades whole economies.

                      The fact is that in doing an economic analysis, one could use the BTU or other physical unit as the numeraire instead of the dollar.

                      I once worked with economists who were developing a Leontief-style input-output model for for Egypt. Their predictions for the prices of petroleum were completely wrong, essentially because they failed to take into account the implications that economic theory that money is an illusion. (In fact one of the professors resigned in protest from the partnership.)

                      On a microeconomic level (including subsidies) the money illusion can usually be ignored. But because the BTU could be the numeraire for a modern economy, what can and does happen is that a scarcity or surplus of BTUs affects the value of money relative to goods and physical assets.

                      Which was what caused money to depreciate in value during the oil crisis of the 1970’s, perceived as runaway inflation.

                      We don’t need to keep learning this lesson. Any government policy that seeks to make radical changes in our energy mix should be regarded as being a potential threat to national economic stability and growth and indirectly a financial threat through adverse impacts on employment.

                      Unfortunately, most heads of governments in Europe and North America have virtually no knowledge of how their economic systems work, which probably explains the bizarre policies for restricting fossil fuels before viable alternatives are developed.

                      As the West cripples its own economies, Asian countries are continuing to pay only lip-service to this neo-Luddism, while continuing to develop as best they can their own energy and industrial sectors.

                • Cass Moret July 15, 2016 at 3:03 PM

                  “…look forward to non-carbon fuel sources becoming more and more viable…” I don’t know what non-carbon fuel sources you have in mind but I’m fairly familiar with one – photovoltaics. I suggest you check out an MIT free online course on the subject, especially the lectures on economics. After more than 40 years and billions of dollars spent on research, PV costs have declined to still more than $1/W (peak DC). That’s $1,000/kW!! Compare that with the cost of grid power. At the present rate, it MAY decline by a factor of ten to a mere $100/kW in another 40 years. And 80 years after that $1/kW. Still an order of magnitude left to go. And these declines will be due to as yet unidentified technologies.

                  • cshorey July 15, 2016 at 3:10 PM

                    You forgot to include market externalities and subsidies.

                    • Cass Moret July 15, 2016 at 5:04 PM

                      First, the numbers are cost of production, not price to the customer. Second, the historical numbers are not mine. They were taken from a slide in the MIT course which in turn quotes a study done by staff at the Lawrence Livermore Nat’l. Lab. The sarcastic future projections are indeed mine and intended to show the futility of relying on PV without, as you put it, externalities and subsidies. Some of us have the quaint notion that government should not distort the market, although it’s extensively practiced from sugar to steel to health care. Yes, government could reduce the price to the consumer to any desired level from zero up. But the government can do little to influence cost. If the price is not sufficient to cover the cost, you and I will subsidize the producers with our tax dollars. That may be fine for you, but not for me.

  2. Frederick Colbourne June 21, 2016 at 2:44 AM

    Has everyone forgotten what came before automobiles?

    Horses, not bicycles were the basis for hauling goods and people. My grandfather worked as a tram driver in Toronto, a tram drawn by horses. I have seen with my own eyes in central Toronto garbage wagons drawn by Percherons and Clydesdales (draft horses). And I remember the flies, flies everywhere.

    And the insoluble problems were: the need for horse barns and the disposal of horse manure. And flies by the billion.

    Today, without the automobile, Toronto would need at least a million horses for its three million people.

    The USA would need at least 100 million horses, and land to feed and stable them.

    Exxon and its sister companies have made our cities clean and healthy.

    • cshorey June 21, 2016 at 5:50 PM

      Exxon and its sister companies have pushed to keep funding of non-carbon based energy sources down, and funded places like the Heartland institute which lie about climate science in order to fool people into thinking the possible effects over the next century will be mild at worst. That is socially irresponsible in the long run, even if they have had a social benefit over the last century. You can’t argue that a single source of fuel for the energy to run our economy that has worked for a certain set of people for a limited amount of time, is somehow automatically the best source of energy for everyone for all time?

      • Frederick Colbourne June 22, 2016 at 2:49 AM

        You mention the “long term” and “the best source of energy for everyone for all time”.

        Better to ask why consumers and producers should be constrained by government from making a market in forms of energy they prefer.

        Why should government subsidize certain forms of energy and tax others, directly or indirectly? After all, the EPA administrator has admitted in testimony before the Senate that new EPA regulations will have no measurable effect on climate. Other pre-existing regulations cover noxious emissions and particulate matter.

        Why CO2? The Administrator stated that the US must show leadership. What a price the American people must pay!

        And what leadership? Already in Africa, China is filling the gap in financing coal-fired power plants left by the US EXIM Bank, which is restricted from doing so.

        You say, “…lie about climate science in order to fool people into thinking the possible effects over the next century will be mild at worst.”

        Read the Stern Review, the “orthodox” approach to assessing the future social impacts of climate change, specifically the inter-generational trade-offs.

        People now alive are assumed to make sacrifices today for the sake of future generations. But look more closely and you will see that Lord Stern’s future generations are projected to be much richer than people alive today who would be sacrificing their own health and well being.

        Now on a personal level nobody will object if you scrimp and save so that your children will be richer than you. But since when does the government acquire the power to force me and my family to scrimp and save so that your descendants will have a better life than we have now?

        The issue is this:how much executive intervention into the economy is a president allowed under the Clean Air Act? Congress delegated authority to define a new pollutant not on the initial list, which is how CO2 became a pollutant.

        This colorless, odorless gas that we breathe in at 400 ppm and breathe out at 40,000 ppm, unless you are in a submarine when you will breathe 2000 to 3000 ppm. The gas essential for all life on Earth that approaches starvation level at about 250 ppm.

        The EPA has admitted that its regulations will have no measurable effect on climate. So where are the externalities (disbenefits) from carbon combustion?

        Do the disbenefits outweigh the benefits? Travel would soon convince most people that the health and welfare benefits of coal far outweigh the dis-benefits. So much more so for oil. And natural gas is a real winner with four molecules of hydrogen for every molecule of carbon, water vapor is the main byproduct of combustion.

        My advice would be to engage in independent study of all these issues and to rely less on the media and on climate activists.

Comments are closed.