Oil Giants Ponder the End of Oil

May 30, 2016

A development that might have seemed like science fiction just a few years ago is rapidly entering mainstream thinking.

Of course, if the Financial Times had been reading this blog, they might have been quicker off the mark.

Financial Times:

The annual meetings of some of the world’s largest oil companies this week were like therapy sessions for an industry that is suffering from existential angst. The international objective of holding the increase in global temperatures to “well below” 2C, agreed at the Paris climate talks last year, implies the obsolescence of all fossil fuel production within the next few decades. The oil companies have not yet reconciled themselves to quite what this means.

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One option for escaping those limits is for the big oil companies themselves to take part in the energy transition. Total, which has the most ambitious plans for diversification, has set a goal of having 20 per cent of its assets in low-carbon energy by 2035.

But decades of unsuccessful ventures into alternative energy — such as BP’s Beyond Petroleum initiative — suggest that is a long shot. Disruption in other industries, from computers to taxis, has generally been led by new entrants, not incumbents.

Instead of railing against climate policies, or paying them lip-service while quietly defying them with investment decisions, the oil companies will serve their investors and society better if they accept the limits they face, and embrace a future of long-term decline.

Even more astounding is this piece from Canadian Broadcasting.  Renewable transition now “realistic” – “not even controversial”.

CBC:

Canada’s status as an “energy superpower” is under threat because the global dominance of fossil fuels could wane faster than previously believed, according to a draft report from a federal government think-tank obtained by CBC News.

“It is increasingly plausible to foresee a future in which cheap renewable electricity becomes the world’s primary power source and fossil fuels are relegated to a minority status,” reads the conclusion of the 32-page document, produced by Policy Horizons Canada.

The little-known government organization provides medium-term policy advice to the federal bureaucracy, specializing in forecasts that peer a decade or two into the future.

The document was obtained by CBC News under an access to information request and shared with two experts — one in Alberta, one in British Columbia — who study the energy industry.

Both experts described its forecasts for global energy markets as more or less in line with what a growing number of analysts believe.

“It’s absolutely not pie in the sky,” said Michal Moore from the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy. “These folks are being realistic — they may not be popular, but they’re being realistic.”

Marty Reed, CEO of Evok Innovations — a Vancouver-based cleantech fund created through a $100-million partnership with Cenovus and Suncor — had a similar take after reading the draft report.

“You could nit-pick a couple of items,” he said. “But at a high level, I would say the vast, vast majority of what they wrote is not even controversial, it’s very well accepted.”

At the core of the report’s forecasts is a growing number of indicators that suggest growth in the world’s demand for electricity — particularly renewable-based electricity — will outpace other energy types, while the costs of its production and storage fall faster than previously believed.

The demand is expected to be driven largely by the emerging and rapidly urbanizing middle class in developing countries.

Wind and solar systems have the advantage of being “highly scalable and distributable,” the report states, making them appealing for communities of virtually any size, with or without an existing electrical grid.

 

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6 Responses to “Oil Giants Ponder the End of Oil”

  1. Sir Charles Says:

    More than overdue. According to the latest analysis by Carbon Brief we have only five years left before the 1.5C carbon budget is blown.

  2. Sir Charles Says:

    Well, the stone age didn’t end because we were running out of stones…

  3. renewableguy Says:

    I had no idea this had happened.

    http://cleantechnica.com/2016/02/10/tesla-dominates-large-luxury-car-market-in-us-updated-figures/

    #1 Tesla Dominates Large Luxury Car Market In US (Updated Figures)

    In Q4, we increased global deliveries over 76% year on year as Model S market share gains continued in every geographic region. In the U.S., just over three years after entering the market, Model S took share from all incumbent manufacturers to become the number one selling comparably priced four-door sedan. In fact, Model S was the only vehicle in its class with growing sales last year. Even on our competitors’ home turf and in countries without government incentives to purchase electric vehicles, Model S is winning. For example, in Switzerland, Model S outsold the Mercedes Benz S-Class, the BMW 7- Series, the Porsche Panamera and the Audi A-8 combined for the full year, and also outsold the Mercedes Benz E-Class. In Germany in Q4, Model S outsold the Porsche Panamera. Finally, across all of Europe last year Model S outsold the Audi A8 and A7 combined and the BMW 7-Series and 6-Series combined.


  4. Elon Musk must be doing something right because he is generating hate from little anthony and the resident trolls at the conspiracy theorist version of troll central better known as Watts Up with that?
    Musk has been the recipient of a lot of vile and conspiracy theory comments from the dwellers of the wingnut alternate reality (#ct_war).

    Anthony may soon be regretting messing with one of us.

    Chapter ONE:
    #SSwutz hits an iceberg
    https://archive.is/GKLij#selection-1703.0-1781.57

    Chapter TWO:
    #FTFuture June 22


  5. […] GD Meg recently had a chance to speak with Peter Sinclair for The Green Divas Radio Show about this topic and the Dark Snow Project. Listen to this podcast featuring Peter Sinclair and then read this excellent and encouraging post, which he originally wrote for his blog Climate Denial Crock of the Week. […]


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