Thursday, November 29, 2007

How Important Is Global Warming?

In a speech to the London Business School on March 28, 2006, entitled "The Opportunity for Private Citizens to Effect Positive Change in an Increasingly Interdependent World," Bill Clinton discussed Global Warming. In that address, the former President of the United States asserted: "[Global Warming] is the only existential threat that, those of you who are students here, your generation faces. It could literally undermine your ability to raise your children and grandchildren." He went on to say "And yet it is a phenomenal opportunity."

The problem with energy and the global warming trend is caused by several factors, but primarily these three:

We're burning too much coal, using too much oil, and deforesting too much of our planet. Of these three, though, over 65% of the damage is caused by the burning of coal, oil and gas. In other words, the way we're powering our world is impacting our very future existence upon it.

However, the odds are rather low that anything is going to change dramatically until the Earth burps on the Human inhabitants pumping out all of the precious black gold from its Geothermal inner layers. Upon what fact can I base this opinion?

Fact: over 50% of the world's richest companies are OIL & GAS companies.

It's true. Look at this list from Forbes, published in March '07:

Rank Company Country Industry Sales Profit

#1 ExxonMobil United States Oil & Gas $335.09 $39.50
#2 Royal Dutch Shell Netherlands Oil & Gas $318.85 $25.44
#3 BP United Kingdom Oil & Gas $265.91 $22.29
#4 Citigroup United States Banking $146.56 $21.54
#5 Bank of America United States Banking $116.57 $21.13
#6 General Electric United States Conglom. $163.39 $20.83
#7 Pfizer United States Drug/Bio. $ 48.37 $19.34
#8 Chevron United States Oil & Gas $195.34 $17.14
#9 HSBC Holdings United Kingdom Banking $121.51 $16.63
#10 PetroChina China Oil & Gas $ 68.43 $16.53
#11 ConocoPhillips United States Oil & Gas $167.58 $15.55
#12 Total France Oil & Gas $175.05 $15.53

(Numbers are in billions of dollars)

If you think the numbers change when you sort on Total Sales, oil and gas still rank 6 out of 12, or 50% of the list. That's a lot of revenue and a ton of profit for those six companies.

Source: Forbes list of 2,000 richest companies, top (03/07)

What's my point? Of the wealthiest companies in the world, black gold (oil & gas) is producing more wealth than almost all of the other companies combined. They are that rich.

Chart at left source: Forbes list of 2,000 richest companies, top (03/07)

And that's the problem with global warming. See, we COULD produce a car that runs on solar and air, IF we put our research dollars behind these technologies. Forget bio diesel, ethanol, which drive up the cost of corn and thus food cost. Forget hydrogen, even, which I've been saying is the answer for over 10 years. We need cars that run on compressed AIR - our greatest resource next to water.

And, we need these vehicles now. Upon looking at the rate of pollution and warming, Al Gore did a pretty good job of explaining the problem in "An Inconvenient Truth" with the following chart compiled by the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research of the UK Meteorological Office:

The clean air acts like the Kyoto Treaty and other government agency efforts to reduce pollution to 1990 standards is not enough to reduce the impact upon the environment. As you can see here, 1990 is still too high, and may still lead to a global warming or ice age. The world is filled with many, many people. All of these people driving cars might get the oil companies excited, but at some point the amount of global warming just might cause the skin of our earth to shift. The thin crust we all live upon is not that thick compared to the Earth's core. Polar caps HAVE melted before in the Earth's past and shifted the landscape.

Why aren't the oil companies worried? Actually, they seem quite concerned. In visiting each of the energy company websites, I found that most of them are mentioning sustainable energy, renewable energy, and Global Warming. Chevron has an action plan to address Global Warming that includes (1) reducing emission of greenhouse gases and energy efficiency, (2) investing in R & D and technology, (3) pursuing business opportunities in driving alternative energy revenue, and (4) supporting flexible and economically sound policies and mechanisms that protect the environment. It all sounds good on the surface, such as agreeing to lowering levels to 1990; however, I think we need to be MORE dramatic than 1990. We need 1890 emission levels if we are to start reversing the damage! Many of their initiatives, underneath the surface, didn't seem to me to be aggressively addressing the problem. Reading about carbon sequestration didn't convince me that we could lower greenhouse levels substantively through that program.

Considering these companies ARE investing in new technology in record amounts (BP claims to have invested in alternative energy more than any other company in their current commercials that airing on CNBC), clearly they know alternatives exist, except that these companies often buy alternative energy companies to shut down threats to their own existence. But what can they do to stop their pursuit of wealth? At this point, the markets are driven by REVENUES, PROFITS, and HITTING ESTIMATED NUMBERS. As a CEO of a corporation, if you miss your numbers, your stock gets hammered. As CEO, when your stock drops, your job is on the line. So, the very system is working to fuel the oil thirst that haunts our fragile planet's future existence.

Considering that momentum, what can we do?

First, start speaking up. That's why I wrote this post. I care about green companies. But, more than that, I want to see a car fueled by AIR hit the market in a serious way. Pictured, at right, is an air car by MDI. So, it IS possible. Air, as a fuel, souldn't cost much of anything and combining the solar cell technology with an air engine could enable the world to support Chinese and Indian automobiles, which are only rising in demand in our global future.

If you're developing technology around air, solar, or hydrogen, and wish to include me in your initiatives, please share what you're developing. Perhaps we can start a group at Plaxo to facilitate this discussion further. You may also contact for further help on the matter.

Second, start investigating what is happening with air and solar. I keep thinking of the lyrics to the song that go "All I need is the air that I breathe yes to love you" and believe air and sunshine is the answer. Call me a tree-hugger if it makes you happy, but it just makes the most sense to me. We have the technological know-how to develop these technologies to be produced en-masse and develop a more sustainable planet. We're just NOT getting these developments fast enough because of the financial factors driving the greed of the world's wealthiest companies. We need to push our government, these companies, and other influences to act now and get the infrastructure developed to support a shift in how we power our planet.

Last, make an effort to reduce your own oil dependency. Drive less. Lower your commute. Get rid of the gas guzzler and buy a vehicle more economical - or better yet - a hybrid. We've got to start moving more in the direction of sustainable living. A pdf file by the EPA helps describe these steps in further detail.

I'm involved with an organization called Global Footprint. The focus of the group is how humans can grow sensibly and sustain healthy living within the footprint of the Earth.

Again, in looking at what's happening around the world, start to think about AIR and SOLAR vehicles. Ultimately, we need to arrive at a solution allowing sustainable economic and human population growth within our global footprint. The opportunity is here now. We must not delay.

This article is written by Scott Andrews, Founder of AspireNow. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.

You may republish this article only AS A COMPLETE WHOLE with ENTIRE LINKS and copyright messages attached. All rights reserved. More valuable than a tank of gas: To read more articles like this, subscribe to the A-Blog.

1 comment:


Today global warming news is very danger news for earth life. Now this global warming issues takes big picture for this world. Now we are aware about this issue.

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