Utilities are expected to make investments that are prudent and in the public interest; in return, they get to recover those costs plus a profit. All the utility investments, operating costs, and profits get pooled together and are reflected in customer utility bills. Expenditures that aren’t “prudent” and “in the public interest” (two key terms in the industry) don’t get to be recovered. But many utilities have found a way to get around guidelines and force customers to finance fossil fuel infrastructure, lobbying, and power plants that aren’t even built yet. Read more >
August 31, 2018 12:42 PM EDT
A decade after pledging to end its support for climate science deniers, ExxonMobil gave $1.5 million last year to 11 think tanks and lobby groups that reject established climate science and openly oppose the oil and gas giant’s professed climate policy preferences, according to the company’s annual charitable giving report released this week.
July 31, 2018 9:15 AM EDT
ExxonMobil executives just had another opportunity to convince skeptics that their support for a carbon tax is genuine. Yes, the company has consistently paid lip service to a carbon tax since 2009. And yes, it is a founding member of the Climate Leadership Council—which supports a $40 per ton carbon tax—and it recently endorsed Americans for Carbon Dividends, a new bipartisan lobby group promoting a carbon tax that would return revenues to taxpayers. But more telling is the fact that the oil giant has never publicly supported a carbon tax bill and consistently funds members of Congress who oppose a carbon tax. How does that square with the company’s avowed position? It doesn’t. Read more >
March 22, 2018 2:09 PM EDT
In front of a standing room only courtroom audience, the case of The People of California vs. B.P. P.L.C. et al. took an important step forward yesterday. In this case, the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, CA, are aiming to hold five major fossil fuel companies responsible for climate damages, particularly with respect to sea level rise. So how did the big oil company defendants present their version of climate science? And how did it compare to the scientific consensus? Together with my UCS colleague Deborah Moore, Western States Senior Campaign Manager, I was lucky enough to get a seat in the courtroom. Here are four of our takeaways from the day: Read more >
October 23, 2015 2:35 PM EDT
Methane, the second largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide, is a short-lived but extremely powerful greenhouse gas. This is why the Obama administration is moving to curb methane emissions from the largest source of U.S. methane emissions—the oil and gas sector. In August, the EPA proposed methane emission standards for new and modified oil and gas drilling wells. Although this rule is an important and much needed first step, more must be done, including establishing similar standards for existing oil wells, and comprehensively addressing all of the sector’s unnecessary emissions.