June 3, 2015 6:25 pm
The head of Chevron, one of the largest US oil companies, has attacked his European counterparts for backing a global carbon pricing system that he says consumers will never back.
Laying bare the rift between US and European fossil fuel producers over how to deal with rising pressure to tackle climate change, John Watson, chief executive, said that putting a price on carbon emissions was unworkable.
“It’s not a policy that is going to be effective because customers want affordable energy. They want low energy prices, not high energy prices,” he told an Opec seminar in Vienna on Wednesday.
“I don’t think that putting a price on carbon is necessarily the answer. I’ve never had a customer come to me and ask to pay a higher price for oil, gas or other products.”
Six of Europe’s largest oil and gas companies, including Royal Dutch Shell and BP, wrote to the UN last week to ask it to let them help governments devise a global carbon pricing plan to combat global warming.
“We did not sign that letter and we don’t intend to,” said Mr Watson, suggesting that Europe would be better off if it sped up shale gas development, which some countries have shunned, and stopped closing down nuclear power plants.
The European companies have been keen to step up their involvement in the climate change debate ahead of a UN meeting in Paris in December to seal an international global warming agreement.
But Chevron and ExxonMobil, the two largest US oil producers, have both declined to join efforts to forge a common industry stance on climate change.
Mr Watson said that he understood concerns about climate change and Chevron had taken many steps to address them.
“I am not aware of a company that has done more to address greenhouse gas emissions than my company,” he said.
“We are the largest renewables producer among the major oil companies. We have 50 per cent of the largest carbon storage project in the world.
“For policy makers to have as the premise for their strategy to combat greenhouse gas emissions raising the cost of energy worldwide for the people who can least afford it is, I think, not a policy that is going to be effective because customers want affordable energy.”
In a swipe at countries such as Germany which have decided to shut down nuclear power plants, he added: “If we are serious about climate change, nuclear power would be on the agenda. We wouldn’t be shutting down nuclear plants around the world.”
Chevron chief lashes out at European oil groups on climate change - FT.com
There does indeed seem to be a 'split' developing:
BP boss widens transatlantic rift in energy industry over climate change | Business | The Guardian
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Futures Forum: From the 'fossil-fuel age' to an international carbon tax