04-27-07 by Simpson
ExxonMobil is an oil company and Chief Executive Rex Tillerson sees no reason to broaden his horizon to include investing in alternate energy. "I don’t have a lot of technology to add to moonshine," he says of ethanol.
Fortune magazine writer Geoff Colvin examines the oil giant’s philiosophy and notes that the most profitable company in history eschews any pressure to embrace the environmental movement. Colvin writes, "At Exxon it’s all about petroleum."
Tillerson apparently is aware of the expectation to conform to new — and I’d say sensible — standards of behavior, but he doesn’t care. Colvin describes the situation this way:
"Rex Tillerson is way out of line, and he knows it. ‘They want us to join the parade,’ he says, referring to assorted environmentalists, scientists, politicians, investors and others who’ve been lambasting him and the company he heads, ExxonMobil. He knows what they’re saying about him, and he repeats it: ‘Get in line. You’re outta line right now – get in line.’
Today fossil fuels provide 90 percent of the world’s energy. A consensus of climate change models figures that will be down to 70 or 80 percent by 2100.
Exxon crunches the numbers only as far out as 2030 and is betting that oil and gas will account for 81 percent of global energy demand by then. It’s counting on providing a substantial portion of that.
Here’s the bottom line, and a huge one at that with ExxonMobil racking up $39.5 billion in profits last year: They are saying, we know how to pump oil and make barrels of money better than anybody else and that’s what we’re going to do for our shareholders.
That’s Exxon’s story and they’re sticking to it.
But there may be a slight crack in their corporate armor. At an energy conference in FebruaryTillerson actually acknowledged that climate change is a reality. He said, "We know our climate is changing, the average temperature of earth is rising, and greenhouse-gas emissions are increasing."
The next step is for Tillerson to understand his responsibility to do something about it now. True, he is unlikely to be around in 2100, but what about his children and grandchildren?