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Royal Dutch Shell Acknowledges Reality February 2, 2008

Posted by davidzweig in Energy.

The CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, Jeroen van der Veer recently published an open letter describing the world’s energy situation. Coming from a major oil company, such candor would have been unthinkable a few years back.

…the world’s current [energy] predicament limits our room to maneuver. We are experiencing a step-change in the growth rate of energy demand due to rising population and economic development. After 2015, easily accessible supplies of oil and gas probably will no longer keep up with demand.

He believes that nuclear and tar sands are part of the solution–an assumption with which the Academy vehemently disagrees–but his call for planned international cooperation, rather than a zero-sum, winner-take-all scramble for energy resources, is wise and refreshing.

van der Veer even goes so far as to say that in a hundred years, oil will be a very small portion of the world’s energy solution.

It is impossible to deal with the energy situation without affecting the climate change equation, either positively or negatively. In this context the isolation of the United States, as the only industrialized nation not to have signed the Kyoto Accords, becomes all the more perplexing. this week, ExxonMobil announced for the second year an all-time record annual profit for a corporation — some $40.6 billion. Through the greenish smoke of PR, it remains clear that Exxon is using precious little of this windfall to plan for the sort of future upon which we all depend.

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