Big Oil: only radical incrementalism will do

The time to transition Big Oil out of the oil and gas business is now. To ensure both a rapid and efficient transformation to clean energy, the transistion needs to be voluntarily, rapid, and start immediately.

But somehow, I doubt that’s going to happen.  

Why?

Well, at the risk of depression, just read the Organization of Petroleum Countries mission statement and tell me whose interest we have to be worried about?

OPEC’s mission: “ensure the stabilization of oil markets in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry.

A new study finds 6.5% of global GDP goes to subsidizing dirty fossil fuels. Click To Tweet

A fair return on capital to investors? Steady income to producers? That’s a bit rich (literally and figuratively) considering OPEC member countries’ product receives over $5.3 trillion in subsidies annually and has untold economic advantage through millions spent on lobbyists and outright corruption.

Radicalized incrementalism

Big Oil is no friend of anyone except Big Oil.

It’s for this very reason I have advocated the nationalization of Big Oil on several occasions.  If Big Oil can’t change, and they certainly don’t seem to want to, we have to forceable buy them with public money. And we should do it at a discount to current market prices, given all the damage they’ve done and all the subsidies they’ve received.

Nationalize using the price of stocks today

Ok, maybe we can spare any pension fund still foolish enough to have fossil fuels in their portfolios. Many of our retirees are already having a tough enough time of it, so to these pension funds we can paid out full market value (though fund holders may want to fire the managers for not seeing the writing on the very large wall in front of them).

The rest of the investors? Let’s just call it natural selection by investment, they can take the hit as well.

After we control the companies, we chop them up with the ruthless determination of a Green Gordon Gekko. We retire the most damaging parts (RIP) while preserving those bits which can help in the transition to a 100% clean energy future. Think research and development.

Oil workers get a second chance

Public owners would appoint new management able and willing to make the transition to clean energy.  

Any workers that lose their jobs would get a year’s salary and training to work in clean energy. This is something Bernie Sanders suggested, but he went five years. I do feel bad for oil patch workers, but not that bad. They can read the news as well as you or I. They too can take a hit.

The corporate boards of directors of the new companies would include, as per the new Business Roundtable missive, broad representation from all stakeholders, not just shareholders.

Once clean, we can sell the companies back to the public at a premium.

Times up: Its radical or nothing

Is nationalization a solution?

Maybe, maybe not.

But the kids #ClimateStriking fear into the heart of Big Oil are right, and we owe them nothing less than pursuing ideas that might give them a more livable future.

******

Wherefore OPEC?

If we get rid of Big Oil what about OPEC? Maybe we can ‘remission’ it with something like this:

Organization in Pursuit of Environmental CommonsenseOPEC’s mission is to ensure a rapid and smooth transition to 100% clean energy sources, preserving only that part of oil production required for non-energy chemical and plastic production. Profits from these sales are invested in natural alternatives to plastics and chemicals in all industries.

Got a better name or mission, let me know!

Related  on The Sustainable Century

The Climate Strikers are comming: watch out Big Oil

How to fix Climate Change: Nationalize Big Oil

Investing in BIG OIL? Be Sustainable & Get OUT NOW!

Want to learn how to get Big Oil and other nasty out of your investment portfolio? Check out my book Invest Like You Give a Damn.

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