The Real Reason for Climate Change Denial: Oil Cos. Would lose 60% of their Value

HSBC estimates that if the world adopted the policies necessary to keep global warming to only 2 degrees C. (3.6 degrees F.), oil companies would abruptly lose 60% of their value, as Hilde øvrebekk Lewis points out.

Likewise, if the true cost of climate change and the inevitability of the need to move quickly to renewables were publicly recognized, countries like Norway might be plunged into crisis as long as their conservative governments had no plans to deal with the problem.

Daryl Hannah made similar points in a Young Turks interview last summer:

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17 Responses

  1. ¿Can you calculate Sixty PerCent of
    First quarter Profit?

    We are living with unmitigated Greed.

    Stop The Oil Wars!

    • thanks for featuring cenk, at times. cable co. dropped ‘current’ after sale. miss him.

  2. And “Oil” is not even the end-user … people have long-since become accustomed to their cars and other conveyances that their investments ($ and emotional) would give the nations extreme withdrawal symptoms. There are the car companies, tire manufacturers, service stations, convenience stores, road maintenance workers, hotels/motels, and who knows how many more businesses that depend upon oil as a commodity in its various refinements. Buses, light rail, bicycles, and other mass transit options are all but ignored as other crises (like the prices of gasoline) obscure!

  3. Norway is led by a socialist party, actually (Arbeiderpartiet), and Norway’s sovereign wealth fund holds $684 billion, which is larger than their GDP and worth about 12 years of oil revenue. So they are in a fairly good position.

    In any economic transaction, both sides gain something. So the sellers would lose their oil revenues, but the buyers would lose the usefulness of the oil (the difference between the maximum price they would accept and the price they actually pay). I think the buyers’ loss is the big thing.

    The world should rush to replace coal with nuclear power as coal is now the largest emitter of CO2. Oil can wait a few years more – its production has been largely flat since 2005 and the pressure of relative scarcity is giving alternatives a real chance. The amount of electric bikes in China is staggering, as an example, and battery technology is improving. A really good battery would actually remove most of transportation fossil use, as long as the electricity is not from fossil sources.

    • On this issue, the socialist government is being conservative.

      Recent studies show that wind and solar are superior to nuclear plants in allowing a country quickly to reduce CO2 emissions. The former are very expensive, provoke a lot of opposition, and take a long time to build.

      • When you take the amount of fossil fuels necessary to dig up uranium, refine it to usable quantities, add in the cost to make concrete and steel to build a nuclear power plant. Without even factoring in the inability to get rid of the waste not the tremendous possibilities of the waste being spread, nuclear plants are not even close to economically feasible. If it weren’t the the enormous government subsidies and blind stupidity of scientiest, that crap would never have ever even been used for power generation.

        • @Juan: In the very short term, of course it is faster to slap some solar cells onto your roof than to build a nuclear power plant. But longer term, the speed is determined by the cost, as a country is likely to have limited funds to devote each year. So it all, in the end, comes down to the controversy of the cost of new nuclear power.

          History proves that nuclear power is very fast to scale, once you get the ball rolling. Belgium got from 0 to 65% of electricity production in 12 years. Sweden to 50% in the same time frame. France from below 10% to 70% in 10 years. So far, wind and solar has not been close to such expansion rates. And you can’t say it’s been for lack of trying.

          Germany, for instance, has devoted enormous resources but has little to show for it, and its roadmap is much, much slower, relies on self-imposed energy poverty, hard-to-do management of intermittent power and is in general not very likely to succeed.

        • @evil is evil: Please look up the life cycle analyses for different power sources. The fossil fuel use for uranium extraction is negligible and the material use is lower than for wind and solar. You can start here:
          link to

  4. Earth is past point where emission reductions can stop slide to full blown runaway global warming. This is on time scale of a snap of the fingers geologically speaking now..
    Calculating cost comparison is impossible if you value life.
    Speed of this Extinction event is extreme with Earth temperature in Arctic leading the advance and Earth’s overall land temps getting really increasing fast once runaway catches up to Arctic anomaly well within this century..
    There won’t be any hiding from this. And people will ask what were people who lived then thinking not to act to save Earth..

    • Wow what a depressing outlook on the world you have, you speak like a frightened teenager. Get older and wiser before its too late.

  5. If oil companies were run responsibly, they would be leaders in the renewable energy field, and their continued existence would be ensured.

    But they are not run in anything like a responsible manner.

    The only motive in play in the oil business, is the short term profit motive. Basic greed. Make the most money this quarter, and this year.

    The oil business is being burned down, by the people running it, who don’t care any more about the corporation they run, than they do about the planet they are destroying.

    One way or another, due to the incompetent, greed based, destructive management of the oil companies now, they will be out of business soon enough.

    Nothing can stop the march of renewable energy.

  6. I think one reason for federal ‘proppping up’ of the oil companies might be that the ‘real economy’ here has gotten so bad that retail sales of all energy products (gasoline, propane, heating oil etc) have reached levels not seen since 1997! Likewise, China electricity production has been plummeting, pointing to big economic problems there too.
    link to

    • Correct, no matter how the left loves to place China on a pedestal, China is never far away from its next revolution. A few years of economic downturn is all that it would need for a new ‘Mao’ to appear, China is full of revolutionaries and their goobermint knows it.

  7. hey, sorry for being off topic, just wanted to follow up on your(Juan’s) reply to my comment on ‘threat of White Supremacists’ post from the 4th.(comments for that are closed, i guess) While the context SHOULD be clear, and certainly is for those familiar with ‘patriot’ euphamism(not to mention the plain ole ‘militia groups’), I don’t think it would be clear to a general public that may not follow the issue, or even much in the way of news at all.(ie my extended facebook family) To be fair, the rather large Thornton clan and it’s offshoots may not be your target audience. ;)

    Anyway, since I’m here and should probably say something more relevant… in addition to fact that nuclear plants “are very expensive, provoke a lot of opposition, and take a long time to build,” they’re entirely too centralised for my taste.(natural monopolies) I favor the idea of an ‘electranet’ which al gore invented. :D

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