Challenged by Carbon: The Oil Industry and Climate Change

Challenged by Carbon: The Oil Industry and Climate Change

by Bryan Lovell
     
 

ISBN-10: 0521197015

ISBN-13: 9780521197014

Pub. Date: 11/30/2009

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Faced with compelling new evidence from the rocks that lie at the heart of its business, the petroleum industry is no longer able to ignore the consequences of climate change brought on by consumption of its products. Yet, across the globe, we will continue to need to burn fossil fuels as we manage the transition to a low-carbon economy.

As a geologist, oil man,

Overview

Faced with compelling new evidence from the rocks that lie at the heart of its business, the petroleum industry is no longer able to ignore the consequences of climate change brought on by consumption of its products. Yet, across the globe, we will continue to need to burn fossil fuels as we manage the transition to a low-carbon economy.

As a geologist, oil man, academic and erstwhile politician, Bryan Lovell is uniquely well placed to describe the tensions accompanying the gradual greening of the petroleum industry over the last decade. He describes how, given the right lead from government, the oil industry could play a crucial role in stablising emissions through the capture and underground storage of large volumes of carbon dioxide.

Lovell challenges entrenched prejudice on both sides of the debate between the environmentalists and the oil industry, giving a glimpse of oil barons as prospective environmental saviours rather than traditional stage villains. Ultimately, he assigns major responsibility to us as consumers and to our elected governments, highlighting the need for decisive leadership and urgent action to establish an international framework of policy and regulation.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521197014
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
11/30/2009
Pages:
232
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

Preface xi

1 Geologists on the road to Kyoto 1

1.1 Scepticism and scholarship 1

1.2 Geologists, the oil industry and climate change 8

1.3 The oil man, the environmentalist and Kyoto 11

2 A crucial message from 55 million years ago 20

2.1 Bad news for Homo sapiens from the 55 Ma warming event 20

2.2 What caused the 55 Ma event? 28

2.3 Alarm for Big Oil from a trusted source 37

3 An Atlantic divide in Big Oil 42

3.1 A rift develops 42

3.2 BP and ExxonMobil debate: a closing of the gap? 45

4 What is the oil industry supposed to do? 67

4.1 The choice of strategy 67

4.2 The constraints imposed by people 71

4.3 The constraints imposed by rocks 74

4.4 Responding to the constraints 80

4.5 What is the value of virtue? 88

5 The size of the problem and the scale of the answer 91

5.1 The Princeton wedges 91

5.2 Social science drives the Princeton wedges 102

5.3 A share of Princeton wedges for the oil folk 109

6 Safe storage: from villain to hero 118

6.1 Accepting blemishes 118

6.2 Taking responsibility 118

6.3 Oil reservoirs to the rescue? 123

6.4 Widespread underground storage 129

6.5 Coal power with carbon capture and storage 137

6.6 Enhancing the economics 141

7 Taking it a decade at a time 151

7.1 Government regulation determines the oil industry's choices 151

7.2 Longer perspectives across an oilfield 161

7.3 Shorter perspectives across a ballot box 162

7.4 The character of an industry 167

7.5 Choice and conviction 169

8 The proof in the puddingstone 172

8.1 A personal coda 172

8.2 Routes and rocks 172

8.3 Evidence from offshore 174

8.4 Oil meets academia 181

8.5 Socrates, carbon andhorses for courses 188

8.6 Closing the circle 194

References 197

Index 207

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