An Inconsistency On the Left

Russ Steele

I was reading KQED’s Climate Watch this evening,  which is my go-to-place to keep track of what the environmental wackos are doing to wreck the California economy.  KQED does a great job of tracking them down and reporting on their activities. Their latest report is on “the voice of the ocean,” Jean-Michel Cousteau.

Jean-Michel Cousteau is the son of legendary ocean explorer, Jacques Cousteau, and chairman of Ocean Futures Society, a non-profit dedicated to exploring, protecting and educating the world about our oceans. He was vocal in condemning BP’s Gulf oil spill and has frequently highlighted the link between climate change and the state of our oceans and coastline.

A native of France, he now calls Santa Barbara home and describes California’s response to climate change – its AB32 Global Warming Solutions Act and proposed cap and trade system – as a step in the right direction. But he also explained why we need to do a lot more.

“It’s an issue of understanding and changing our ways,” he said. “Creating new ways of serving our needs and taking care of the environment at the same time.”

He’s talking specifically about renewable energy and points out that algae are propelling US Navy ships and commercial airplanes. He emphasizes the advances being made in solar and wind energy and even cites a hotel in Bora Bora that is using temperature differences in the ocean depths to power its air conditioning system. All this without petroleum and its hefty environmental impact.

Surprisingly, despite his dives to examine the BP oil spill devastation in the Gulf of Mexico, Cousteau still had good things to say about Big Oil; pointing out that oil companies like Shell, Total and BP are investing in renewable energy.

And than I remembered this from a couple of days ago at Market Watch:

BP added its name Wednesday to the list of companies exiting the solar power industry. Read about BP’s decision.

It’s a startling about-face for a company that 11 years ago staked its future on its ability to profitably pursue renewable energy. For then-CEO John Browne, the decision was obvious. The era of cheap hydrocarbons was coming to a close and it was high time to address global climate change.

Leading the charge, Browne gave BP a greener logo and launched its “Beyond Petroleum” campaign, pushing into solar, wind and biofuels.

But BP’s (US:BP) commitment to the cause could also be seen as more of a public relations gimmick than a serious investment. While spending millions of dollars going green, it spent billions more on its traditional oil and gas business.

Meanwhile, the promise of solar power soured for BP. Once touted as the industry of the future, it has since become the industry of China, whose factories have flooded the market with cheap solar panels. Competitors steamrolled by China accuse it of commoditizing the industry. Others claim it is flat-out dumping solar panels in other countries to amass market share. Whatever the case, China appears to be winning this one.

I guess someone should tell “the voice of the ocean” that BP is no longer investing in renewable solar energy.  Maybe not, tell him that BP’s entry into renewable energy may have been a head fake just to keep the environmentalist off their backs.


About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

2 Responses to An Inconsistency On the Left

  1. sean2829 says:

    BP is the poster child for green washing. Their “beyond petroleum” campaign earned them cudos in the press and green credibility but PRIOR to the gulf spill they had a series of environmental and market screw ups. In Alaska, there had never been a spill on the north slope until BP stopped running “pigs” to clean out soil in the pipes. BP also had a major refinery fire because of antiquated facilities that were not operated properly. And the they tried to corner the gas market to drive prices higher. All this in the 6 years prior to the gulf spill. Ironically, the oil company with the best safety and environmental in the last 20 years is Exxon. I don’t know who has the greater scandal, BP or the media with its blinders.

  2. Please expalin what “renewable” solar energy is. LOL to Jacque.

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