Big Oil’s Big Lies

Burning gas from Deepwater Horizon oil spill 2010-05-16Antonia  Juhasz calls foul on BP and other oil giants’ claims to be supporting alternative energy, at Rolling Stone:

Since the Gulf oil disaster in 2010, BP has spent hundreds of millions of ad dollars to cleanse its image as a dirty-energy giant. In the company’s latest TV ad, wind turbines whirl in the sun as a voiceover touts the number of American jobs created by BP and promises, “We’re working to fuel America for generations to come.” There’s just one problem: BP’s commitment to wind energy is virtually nonexistent.

In April, BP announced that it is selling off its entire $3.1 billion U.S. wind energy business – including 16 farms spread across nine states – as “part of a continuing effort to become a more focused oil and gas company,” according to a company spokesperson. Indeed, though it famously rebranded itself “Beyond Petroleum” in 2000, BP also exited the solar energy business back in 2011. Today, its alternative energy investments are limited to biofuels and a lone wind farm in the Netherlands.

And BP is far from alone. You wouldn’t know it from their advertising, but the world’s major oil companies have either entirely divested from alternative energy or significantly reduced their investments in favor of doubling down on ever-more risky and destructive sources of oil and natural gas.

Not that those commitments to alternatives were ever particularly grand. Using very generous estimates, BP holds the oil industry record for the highest percentage of expenditures committed to alternatives, with just 6 percent of its overall expenditures in 2011, right before it started selling off its solar operations. Chevron and Shell run a distant second with highs of 2.5 percent; none of the others have ever even cracked 1 percent.

“The bottom line is that oil companies only invested a drop in the bucket [in alternatives] even in the ‘heyday’ of the early 1980s,” says Douglas Cogan, vice president of investment firm MSCI ESG Research. “Most of the largest [oil company] investors have dropped out in recent years, following the precedent that Exxon set 30 years ago.”…

[continues at Rolling Stone]

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  • emperorreagan

    BP had a solar place near where I worked now – it was one of the places on the short list of where I’d like to work after grad school, after going on tours of it. Of course, by the time I was looking for a job, BP was already winding down its solar operations and not hiring new scientists & engineers.

    Now their former facility is an empty lot and warehouse up for lease – they bulldozed most of it.

    • Anarchy Pony

      The profit motive, always delivering the best results for society and the environment.

      • emperorreagan

        When you can’t extort enough tax breaks…it’s time to turn it into a real estate investment!

  • CosmicAmazing

    Well what do you expect? Wind and Solar are NOT real alternatives to oil. The real alternatives are hidden away, and these oil companies know it. Why invest in something that’s already obsolete? It doesn’t make much business sense. The goal, as it always has been, is to exploit all the oil they can, until they can’t. Then they release the real alternative energies. You know, the ones us crazy “conspiracy theorists” talk about. :)

    • Elenchus

      What are the ‘real’ alternative energies? Every ounce of energy on this planet originated from the sun (an argument could perhaps be made for uranium but that’s just stardust). All other fuels are just inefficient storage of the suns perfectly clean and abundant energy. The earth absorbs more energy from the sun in 1 hour than the world uses in a year. If there is a problem with solar it’s that it too abundant and can’t be owned and sold for billions in profits by corporations.

      • CosmicAmazing

        I couldn’t agree more.. Well… If you believe energy is what the current definition says it is, which isn’t correct.
        Solar is by far the most obvious abundant energy source. However, another source exists that dwarfs solar energy and that source is not recognized by most of mainstream science, yet. Even though its been proven theoretically and experimentally.
        I once posted information here about a solar panel technology which can convert solar energy into electricity at an efficiency of 700%. Developed by Los Alamos National Labs, it uses quantum electron multiplication. For every one photon that hits the panel seven electrons are energized and sent into the circuit. And guess what… It’s now used by the DOD and is currently being weaponized to make lasers more powerful than you could imagine. Nothing good ever comes from these breakthrough technologies. They’re always gobbled up by the machine and made into something evil. :(

        • Elenchus

          hmmm. I just googled quantum electron multiplication and the results just looked like a bunch of words I don’t understand smashed together. I’ll never be a physicist but it sounds amazingly interesting. Now excuse me, I’ll just be over here drawing pictures of dolphins with frickn’ lasers on their heads.

        • Sergio Poalsky

          Could you provide the source for this 700% efficient technology? Would disprove all of thermodynamics

          • CosmicAmazing

            It does not disprove thermodynamics. The extra source of energy is provided by the quantum vacuum. Nobel prizes have been awarded for linking the connection between virtual energy states and observable energy states. A connection which proves that real observable (usable) energy can be extracted from the quantum vacuum. Physics knows this, but it hasn’t made it into electrical engineering yet. Hence the reason we still need to consume energy to produce useful work.

            Anyways, here are some sources:

            Victor Klimov in Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico has constructed a solar cell which can absorb the light of a specific wave length in such a way, that one photon can energize more than one electron. As soon as the electron absorbs a photon, it disappears for a very short moment into the quantum field. Being in the virtual state the electron can borrow energy from the vacuum and thereafter appears again in our reality. Now the electron can energize up to 7 other electrons. This leads to a theoretical coefficient of performance (COP) of 700%. A COP = 200% can be readily achieved and it has been. The experiment has also been replicated successfully by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden Colorado. [Herb Brody, "Solar Power - Seriously Souped Up." New Scientist, May 27, 2006, p 45].

            Richard D. Schaller, Vladimir M. Agranovich and Victor I. Klimov; “High-efficiency carrier multiplication through direct photogeneration of multi-excitons via virtual single-exciton states.” Nature Physics Vol. 1, 2005, pp. 189-194.

            Richard D. Schaller, Melissa A. Petruska, and Victor I. Klimov; “Effect of electronic structure on carrier multiplication efficiency: Comparative study of PbSe and CdSe nanocrystals”; Appl. Phys. Lett. Vol. 87, 2005, 253102.

            Richard D. Schaller, Milan Sykora, Jeffrey M. Pietryga, and Victor I. Klimov, “Seven Excitons at a Cost of One: Redefining the Limits for Conversion Efficiency of Photons into Charge Carriers,” Nano Lett. Vol. 6, 2006, p. 424.

            Victor I. Klimov, “Spectral and Dynamical Properties of Multiexcitons in Semiconductor Nanocrystals,” Annual Review of Physical Chemistry, Vol. 58, No. 1, 2007, p. 635.

            M. C. Hanna, A. J. Nozik. “Solar conversion efficiency of photovoltaic and photoelectrolysis cells with carrier multiplication absorbers,” Journal of Applied Physics, vol. 100, No. 7, 2006, p. 07450.

            Sung Jin Kim, Won Jin Kim, Yudhisthira Sahoo, Alexander N. Cartwright, Paras N. Prasad, “Multiple exciton generation and electrical extraction from a PbSe quantum dot photoconductor,” Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 92, No. 3, 2008, p. 031107.

            Alberto Franceschetti, Yong Zhang, “Multiexciton Absorption and Multiple Exciton Generation in CdSe Quantum Dots,” Physical Review Letters, Vol. 100, No. 13, 2008, p. 136805.

            Hsiang-Yu Chen, Michael K. F. Lo, Guanwen Yang, Harold G. Monbouquette, Yang Yang, “Nanoparticle-assisted high photoconductive gain in composites of polymer and fullerene,” Nature Nanotechnology, Vol. 3 (9), 2008, p. 543.

            M.C. Beard, R.J. Ellingson, “Multiple exciton generation in semiconductor nanocrystals: Toward efficient solar energy conversion,” Laser & Photonics Review, Vol. 2, No. 5, 2008, p. 377.

            “Now Victor Klimov and colleagues at the Alamos National Laboratory have designed nanocrystals with cores and shells made from different semiconductor materials in such a way that electrons and holes are physically isolated from each other. The scientists said in such engineered nanocrystals, only one exciton per nanocrystal is required for optical amplification. That, they said, opens the door to practical use in laser applications.” [“Scientists Create New Type of Nanocrystal,” PHYSORG.COM, Nanotechnology, May 24, 2007.

            http://phys.org/news99237487.h

          • Elenchus
          • CosmicAmazing

            Thanks for the link Elenchus! Some great info there!

            It just so happens that I work in this field, specifically laser-based interferometry systems. I’ve know about quantum energy systems for a while now. Been preaching about them on disinfo from time to time. Some of our customers use them in satellites and other various space-based systems. The military uses them in some of their surveillance tech also. (I can elaborate on this.) I’m glad your mind was blown, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

          • CosmicAmazing

            When and if my comment is “approved” by a moderator, many sources will appear.

          • Matt Staggs

            I’m looking under our pending queue right now and I don’t see anything waiting for approval. Sometimes when there are hyperlinks in a post Disqus flags things for moderation. It cuts down on the spammers.

          • CosmicAmazing

            Ahh I see.. I just saw that it said “waiting for approval by a moderator” or something to that respect. It posted about 5 min ago though. :)

        • Rhoid Rager

          Here’s a physicist’s blog that’s worth reading.
          This particular entry deals with how we don’t have enough alternative energy sources to make up for oil.

          http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2012/02/the-alternative-energy-matrix/

          A net decline of energy use per capita isn’t a bad thing at all, though. I think it will lead to a lot more sensible living and socializing.

    • saint_al

      “…the real alternative energies.” Such as the anti-grav booster aboard Apollo 11? JK.
      I have some gentle disagreement. Energy’s future will be a grab bag of assorted technologies. The actual creation of power sources tends to exist outside of Big Oil (thankfully!). Germany is a study in itself, where solar panels, in some areas, are more common than not. China has nearly perfected photovoltaic paint- apply a couple of leads & your painted object makes energy.
      Wind absolutely requires a quick way to repair turbines when they jam or break a blade. You can’t fix one without reaching it first.
      BP is selling its wind division… so what. It was all greenwashing anyway.

    • Andrew

      There have been several breakthroughs in solar technology over the last couple of years, and the costs have been dropping.

  • BuzzCoastin

    wanna stop this
    stop driving cars
    WHAT? YOU CAN’T?!
    well, then sit back an enjoy the ride

  • BuzzCoastin

    just because Big Oil hasn’t invested in clean energy
    doesn’t mean nothing is being done
    30% of US energy comes from renewable sources right now
    in less than 10 years it will be 75%
    Uncle Homey & Big Corps are already all over this
    once the last drop of oil is out
    they’ll already be fully oil free

    • http://disinfo.com/ Majestic

      Hey Buzz, where’d you get that stat about 30% of US energy coming from renewable sources?

      • BuzzCoastin

        that number could be high
        but it’s changing rapidly

        why did Uncle Homey locate his NSA data storage in Utah?
        solar powered servers
        Uncle Homey’s military is the whirled’s largest user of
        fossil fuels and renewable sources of energy

        Walmart, Campbell Soup, Google and a host of others are
        using renewable energy & energy conservation technology

  • jnana

    bp wouldn’t bother selling their wind farms unless they knew it cant be profitable and there is little actual future in it. its not simply because they are evil(although they are), because if they can make future profits through wind energy, they surely would.

  • Ittabena

    BP lied? We better write this date down. I am shocked! Alert the media!

    Greg Palast has been on these guys like trailer trash on Velveeta for decades now. Why would we expect the leopard to change his spots now?