While the White House really, really wants you believe that they have their boot on the neck of BP, it turns out that a key Administration official had his head inserted somewhere else just three short years ago. Do you think NOBEL LAUREATE (and Secretary of Energy) Steven Chu still thinks BP is going to help save the world?
This is one of the ironies of the disaster in the Gulf. From all available evidence, BP is as committed as anyone to the “comprehensive energy reform” agenda of the White House. No doubt this reflects both political realism and market opportunism on their part, but BP’s 2009 “Road Map for America’s Energy Future” could have been written by John Kerry. Higher energy prices, cap and trade? Bring it on, says BP.
And this isn’t a recent shift on BP’s part. Here’s embattled BP Chairman Tony Hayward back in June 2007:
From BP’s perspective, the evidence that climate change is happening, and that it is manmade, is mounting all the time. As the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has found, the evidence is almost overwhelming. We could wait until the science is 100% certain, but BP believes that, as an energy company, it has a duty to act pre-emptively. When you balance the likely impacts of not taking action against the real opportunities that exist to take action, it is difficult to believe that humanity will not move towards a solution to climate change…
We need to ensure that the costs of emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are included in the price we pay for everything – whether it be a television, a train journey, or switching on a light – all should reflect the cost of emissions in their price.
This can be achieved through a Cap and Trade system, taxation, or regulation.
So it makes perfect sense that back in 2007 Steven Chu and UC Berkeley would be more than happy to accept a $500 million investment from BP to form the Energy BioSciences Institute. The relationship between Chu and BP was so cozy in fact that Chu subsequently brought on BP’s Chief Scientist Steve Koonin as an undersecretary at the Department of Energy.
My guess is that this history – and these relationships – played a part in the Administration’s initial confusion over whether BP was a “partner” in the effort to resolve the Gulf spill. Because for many within the Administration BP had been one of the good guys.
This also explains why BP has been so willing to prostrate themselves in front of their Democratic overlords in Congress and the White House. Here they thought they were trusted partners in saving the world from impending climate disaster. It turns out that their allies in the Obama Administration might soon be the only thing saving BP from the anger of a raging public…and insolvency.