Frequent commenter Gary Tulie from the UK joins me in musing why the subject of clean energy is so politically divisive in the U.S. He offers the following:
I think it must only be in America that there is such an entrenched degree of animosity between the two camps. In Europe, it is not unusual for major traditional energy companies to also invest substantially in wind farms and other renewable energy opportunities. Why is this?
Mostly I would say it is because European energy companies are more technology-neutral in their approach and looking to be involved in whichever energy plays are good for their balance sheets regardless of any ideological preference or position.
As a secondary reason, European energy companies are responding to the expectations and demands of the marketplace where being involved in green technologies is good for the company’s image and standing in the community.
Finally, there are regulatory demands from the European Union for energy companies to reduce their carbon intensity and price signals however flawed driving them in this direction through their compulsory involvement in the carbon markets.
Excellent points, Gary. Thank you. And you’re absolutely right that, shamefully, we in the U.S. have not applied the social economic pressure that you have over there.
Here is another point to be considered: litigation, which, as you may know is absolutely huge, a veritable way of life, here in the U.S. I expect we’re getting close to the point in time when you’ll begin to see class-action law suits of biblical proportion aimed at reparations for the destruction done to human health and the natural environment by the obscenely wealthy purveyors of fossil fuels.
And what’s the first step to diffuse such litigation? Deny that there’s a problem.
The tobacco companies set the stage for this, artfully denying that smoking caused cancer – a position to which they held tenaciously for decades on end. I do not expect the fossil fuel industry to do anything at all with respect to dealing with the dangers of their wares – simply because they’ll be denying that such dangers exist – that is, of course, until this position becomes as untenable as denying the link between smoking and cancer.
Thanks again for your insights.