Photo credit Unhindered by Talent
And here is this week’s Green numbers:
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Photo credit NASA Goddard Photo and Video
Is the massive environment, health and safety (EHS) risks, which fossil fuel companies represent, starting to hurt their businesses?
Reading this morning about the Deepwater Horizon explosion and the continuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico I note that BP’s market value has fallen from ?122bn last week to ?102.5bn today – a loss of almost ?20bn in a week (or just over 16% of its value).
What has to be really worrying for BP investors is that
Things must be pretty grim at present in BP’s plush London HQ but it is not like BP have an exceptionally poor record by fossil fuel producers standards. For example:
And this EHS risk is not limited to oil and gas companies. On the contrary:
Massey Energy, the owner of the Upper Big Branch coal mine which exploded four weeks ago, killing 29 miners, has a terrible record of environmental and health and safety abuses. In fact, so bad are they that the FBI announced recently that they would be investigating Massey for the possible bribery of federal officials overseeing mining industry regulation and for potential criminal negligence.
Massey’s main competitors in the US are little better –
With the rapidly increasing number of environmental lawsuits taking place companies like the above are going to be spending more and more of their time in the courts with the consequent losses in time, productivity and reputation which that entails.
When you couple that with the growing interest in environmental issues being taken by the SEC, the EPA and investors and suddenly the business case for being an ethical, non-polluting business seems all the stronger.
After all, as many people noted on Twitter in the last few days, spills of air from wind farms or sun from solar plants are not going to have the devastating environmental consequences we have witnessed in the last decades as a result of our addiction to fossil fuels.
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Someone I know and respect made a bit of a boo boo last week and I called him on it. In response to the announcement of BP’s “Giant oil find” in the Gulf of Mexico, he Tweeted:
Giant oil reserver [sic] in the Gulf, most rushing to drill it except the US. Wouldn’t that be ready made jobs and revenue?
To which I replied:
Wouldn’t it be ready-made pollution (CO2)? Ethics of celebrating jobs & revenue based on planetary destruction?
People seem to be all too ready to forget about the fact that climate change doesn’t stop to consider whether there is a recession. It doesn’t say, “oh, there’s a down-turn and you want to pump a few extra million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere? No problem, you should have said, go right ahead”
At least in the case of the BP find, according to this Wall Street Journal analysis, recovery rates may be as low as 5-15% (150-450m barrels of oil) – still a lot of CO2 but significantly less oil than the headlines were suggesting.
e.on UK, is the energy company which owns the infamous Kingsnorth power station. Kingsnorth is one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the UK and alone is responsible for roughly 7.3m tonnes of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere per annum. e.on UK has launched Talking Energy, a channel on YouTube to foster an online dialogue about energy.
However, as you would expect, the company stresses energy sources which will benefit e.on and its shareholders in the short-term, as opposed to trying to benefit the planet (and thus the company and its shareholders) in the long term. In the video above you see Jeremy Nicholson, lobbyist and Director of the Intensive Energy Users Group – “a single-issue lobby group which campaigns for secure industrial energy supplies at internationally competitive prices”. Jeremy throws out the old lie about the need for baseload power for the electricity grid as a reason to keep investing in carbon polluting energy sources.
renewables like wind, solar and biomass will provide enough energy to meet baseload capacity and future energy demands. Nuclear and coal plants are too expensive, he added.
“I think baseload capacity is going to become an anachronism,” he said. “Baseload capacity really used to only mean in an economic dispatch, which you dispatch first, what would be the cheapest thing to do. Well, ultimately wind’s going to be the cheapest thing to do, so you’ll dispatch that first.”
Now if the chairman of the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission believes that renewables can provide enough power to meet baseload and future energy demands, I’m going to take his word over e.on’s and their lobbyist’s.
e.on, some questions for you:
Seriously people, the correct order is planet first, then people, then profit.