The White House unveiled its blueprint for a “BioEconomy” yesterday in an effort to define its plans for the economy. The report detailed the remarkable advances in biological research and the emergence of a biotech industry. It held out promises for medical advances, improved agriculture, and novel industrial processes. More controversial, however, was its claim that fossil fuels are on the way out and biofuels will be taking their place. A lot of people don’t agree with that assessment.
Obama Administration officials were ducking for cover as the videotape of a 2010 regional EPA conference revealed the comments of regional administrator Al Amendiaz (above) that the best means of enforcement against oil companies might be to follow the Roman method against the Turks and “crucify” a few of them. Senator James Inhofe called it a “war on energy” and numerous critics said it laid bare the EPA’s hostile attitude toward conventional fuels. The Daily Caller also revealed that Amendiaz had benefitted from $540 in federal grants during his academic career at Southern Methodist University. A tough issue for an election year.
Chesapeake Energy’s troubles continued to mount as Standard & Poor’s downgraded the companies bond to BB. The board of directors publicly ended the policy that had allowed CEO Aubrey McClendon to take personal loans of $1 billion against his 2.5% interest in the company’s wells. But commentators noted that the troubles may go beyond the CEO and three shareholder lawsuits have been filed.
First quarter reports showed mixed results among the nation’s oil giants. Exxon Mobil’s profits were off 11 percent. Occidental and Shell posted gains and Chevron raised its dividend, but Conoco lagged Wall Street’s predictions. Despite the decline in profits, however, Exxon raised its dividend 21 percent to 57 cents, making it the world’s largest dividend.
Finally, the International Energy Agency in London issued an alarming report warning that world temperatures could rise 6 degrees Celsius by 2050 if something isn’t done to reduce carbon emissions. The IEA said clean technology is being deployed in only a few markets and called for a global level playing field, saying that remedying the situation will be a $5 trillion investment. All this has prompted a pair of Canadian researchers to investigate the psychology of how people react to the dire jeremiads of global warming.