Yes, yes I did. I spent an hour of my life yesterday talking with the CEO of the American Petroleum Institute along with a few other bloggers and newspaper folk. TreeHugger, Maria Energia, the Oil Drum, the Wal Street Journal...it was a good turn out.
But for what? So that we can hear that API is unconcerned about peak oil and global warming, but that they welcome new innovations with open arms. (As long as the U.S. government doesn't actually do anything to limit use of petro-products.)
When I asked Red Cavaney what future he saw for a "petroleum institute" in a warming world with limited reserves, he seemed a little overly confident. Apparently, those details will work themselves out. "Every one of our major [member] companies is one of the principals in the DOE program on fuel cells, almost all of our companies ... have announced partnerships either in the biodiesel field or in the cellulosic area."
Some token research here and there in technology that is likely decades away? Great, I'm very excited.
I'm not saying that he wasn't a nice guy. But, frankly, his lack of concern is what concerns me. Are oil companies really so well off, so safe, that they don't see global warming legislation as a threat? If they can just keep friendly politicians in the important committees, then they can just continue practicing their 'voluntary' efforts to reduce pollution and keep smoking the good stuff.
The biggest issue they face, it seems, is public perception. Will people stop investing because they're embarrassed to have Exxon in their portfolio? Even if the government doesn't do anything to limit use...is it possible that people will actually limit their own use?!
API has to make it appear that they are concerned and active in the fight to save the world. So they let the bloggers talk to their CEO and put commercials on TV about the gifts petroleum has given us. I don't care how clean you make your diesel, in the end, your desired byproduct is warming the Earth.
In my perfect world, the American Petroleum Insitute wouldn't exist. I enjoyed our perfectly civil conversation, but all it did was make me a little bit more afraid of you. Good luck with the petroleum, I see a different future, and the world is increasingly more with me than with you.
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