Graph of the Day: R and D Spending in the Energy Sector – and Chevron’s Irony Deficiency

February 8, 2011

If anyone thinks the Oil industry is working to discover the solution to our energy problems, this graph should set them straight.

The American Energy Innovation Council is the source of the Graph, and has posted a polished video about the problem.

More from The Washington Post:

“..when the president says he’s committed to green energy, that’s fine. But the U.S. isn’t giving alternative energy companies the green light. We’re giving off something more like a ruddish-yellow light, as if to say: Go ahead if you’d like, but proceed at your own caution.

Ask Eric Spiegel, CEO of Siemens USA, who told me his company is held back by the United States’ reluctance to pass a carbon tax or make permanent the solar tax credit. “If you don’t do anything on carbon and you don’t have renewable energy standards or investment tax credit, every utility company would go out tomorrow and build coal,” he said.

Ask J. Bryan Ashley, chief marketing officer at Suniva, a celebrated solar cell manufacturer out of Georgia, who told me his company exports 80 percent of its products partly because there’s so little demand for solar at home. “More people would manufacture [solar products] here if demand was here,” Ashley told me. “We need a renewable energy standard to create a market in the United States. If demand is overseas, then I’ll move factories to other parts of the world. That’s just good business.”

Joshua Freed, director of Third Way’s clean-energy program, e-mails to say that however bad innovation may be in the private sector as a whole, it’s even worse in the energy sector:

In the U.S., the private sector barely invests in any energy research. Where U.S. industries, as a whole, spend an average of 2.6%of their revenue on R&D, the energy industry invests a paltry 0.23% of revenue on any kind of research — clean or conventional. This includes funding for expensive research into conventional fuels, such as ultra-deep water drilling and new oil refining techniques.

This stands in stark contrast with the hyper-competitive pharmaceutical industry, where new drugs supplant old ones every year. Pharmaceutical companies spend 19% of revenues, or about $39 billion each year on R&D. Even the American automakers still invest $17.5 billion in R&D.

The crux of the problem is illustrated ironically by the ad that popped up on the Washington Post page where this news item originated.

About these ads

8 Responses to “Graph of the Day: R and D Spending in the Energy Sector – and Chevron’s Irony Deficiency”

  1. climatesight Says:

    Well done, Peter. Those are two very striking images!


  2. [...] towards working on clean energy solutions — just look at the graph below. The chart, which Climate Crocks reminds us of today, shows just how little the energy sector spends on research and development compared to other [...]


  3. [...] towards working on clean energy solutions — just look at the graph below. The chart, which Climate Crocks reminds us of today, shows just how little the energy sector spends on research and development compared to other [...]

  4. | KoHoSo.us Says:

    [...] indifference.  The best overview is at Climate Denial Crock of the Week in a post titled, “Graph of the Day: R and D Spending in the Energy Sector – and Chevron’s Irony Deficiency.”  The American Energy Innovation Council where one can read its full report titled, [...]


  5. [...] invest in all of the needed clean energy research and development. American industries, as a whole, spend 2.6% of their revenue on research and development. In energy, that is only 0.23% for both clean and [...]


  6. [...] in all of the needed clean energy research and development. American industries, as a whole, spend 2.6% of their revenue on research and development. In energy, that is only 0.23% for both clean and [...]


  7. […] indifference.  The best overview is at Climate Denial Crock of the Week in a post titled, “Graph of the Day: R and D Spending in the Energy Sector – and Chevron’s Irony Deficiency.”  The American Energy Innovation Council where one can read its full report titled, […]


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