Don't Worry, the Oil Industry Will Save Us

At a December 2 "wonky event" on the "future of energy policy" sponsored by Third Way, there was a remarkably "wide range of groups represented around the table," writes Kate Sheppard. In addition to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and several people with "close ties to the next administration," there were representatives from "renewable energy companies and industry groups, fossil-fuels industries, labor groups, big green groups, think tanks, and local government agencies." American Petroleum Institute president Jack Gerard argued, "As we make this transition to a ... more clean energy future, we hope people remember the important role of the basic fuels like oil and gas. ... We're significant players in terms of the innovation." Reid challenged Gerard's "innovation" claim -- "perhaps having heard that ExxonMobil ... only spent 1 percent of its massive 2007 profits on renewable energy," speculates Sheppard. Gerard countered, "British Petroleum is one of the key players in the solar sector, Chevron and others are big into wind, ExxonMobil spent a lot of time on battery development for electric cars."