So says the Independent (though not quite in those words). The Indie is probably the most climate-sensitive newspaper in the UK. And $400M is pretty big. But rather than bash LR, or Exxon (disclaimer: I have in the past benefited from the sale of Exxon shares, and may in the future), I’ll inquire *why* LR has ended up with so much dosh, and what this means.

And of course the obvious reason is that as far as the shareholders are concerned, his tenure at the head of Exxon has been a massive success, financially. The greenies can whinge all they like but as long as this continues, Exxon is pretty well immune. And not because they can buy off the opposition, but just because more people than not like money.

Incidentally, although Exxon is rather tarred with the opposition-to-GW brush, its position nowadays seems to be to say nothing at all on the subject, rather than to oppose (try searching for global warming, or climate change, on exxon.com). That doesn’t mean they aren’t funding people behind the scenes, I suppose.

And to muse on, somewhat changing the subject, I come to the idea that many nice ideas – local coops (ha! I shop at a local organic coop), affordable houses (I live in what was a council house, score -1), alternatives to capitalism in general – are all very well, but unless they can survive competition with capitalism they are doomed after a brief period. You could (if you wanted to, and had enough money) set up an eco-firendly oil company to compete with Exxon. But if its core business is taking oil out of the ground, and selling it to people who want to burn it, where’s the margin?

Comments

  1. #1 outeast
    2006/06/02

    try searching for global warmikng

    Well, I’m not sure a search for ‘warmikng’ would produce many results anywhere:)

    [Oops. Corrected... -W]

  2. #2 quasar9
    2006/06/02

    “You could (if you wanted to, and had enough money) set up an eco-firendly oil company to compete with Exxon. But if its core business is taking oil out of the ground, and selling it to people who want to burn it, where’s the margin?”

    I think you’ve hit on the crux of the matter. Cut throat capitalism, where you extract oil from the ground for minimum cost, causing environmental damage, paying local workers a pittance and no safety record or insurance, and ship oil in single hull tankers, which then leak out into the sea … and so on. The extreme Capitalism of 19/20thC.

    Exxon Valdez disaster comes to mind just to mention one.

    Or ‘responsible’ Capitalism (higly regulated & legislated) which needs to cause environmental impact at source, pays workers decent wages with adequate health & safety, and insurance, which uses modern tankers on sea & land, but which is still very profitable thank you very much. BP & Esso each post record profits of £13billion last month.

    But they’ve gone a little over the top with their green ads

    SEE: Beyond Petroleum or Beyond Provity
    http://www.cdfe.org/driessen.htm

    to see how green (or not) BPs credentials are. Laters … Q

  3. #3 Mark Claessen
    2006/06/02

    I guess part of LR’s “success” is managing not to pay out on the compensation for the Alaska oilspill they owe, instead litigating until the claimants, often literally, lose the will to live.

    I bet he sleeps like an angel, though. It makes me wish there were really somewhere like hell.

  4. #4 Lubos Motl
    2006/06/07

    I find these huge amounts of money to retiring people kind of unnatural, with all my respect to Raymond’s successes and contributions.

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