Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) stands apart from other major oil companies as pressure continues to be ratcheted by prosecutors and activist investors alike to force climate reforms — arguing that other companies’ cowering can lead to new market gains. The oil producer’s CEO also pushed back against claims that environmental activists have a “moral” cause.
Chevron CEO John Watson was quick to defend the energy industry at a Wall Street Journal breakfast meeting this week, noting that without the industry’s products and innovations, commerce itself would practically collapse.
“We are in a noble industry … Every aspect of the standard of living that we enjoy today and the standard of living that we have improved over the last 150 years is due to fossil fuels … the attempts by some to vilify our industry is really troubling,” Watson noted.
The Chevron chief also countered the popularly-presumed “morality” of climate change activists by noting that new environmental regulation costs are placed on the backs of lower income people.
“The ‘morality’ is that 50 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and to artificially increase costs on the average American, to artificially increase costs on an American business so it moves … where is that ‘morality’?”
The Journal reports that Royal Dutch Shell, BP and ExxonMobil have each adopted some form of carbon offset scheme that eventually is passed down to the consumer.
“We believe absolutely that climate change is real. Not all oil companies do that,” Shell CEO Ben van Beurden admitted to investors.
Chevron has resisted similar measures.
Irving-based ExxonMobil continues to face down similar pressures from multiple fronts this week as investors met to vote on requiring the company to implement new climate change policies, hire a climate expert and provide more detailed reports on its fracking activities. Investors in attendance voted down all climate measures by large margins, yet an activist could still gain a board seat in the future after a proxy access measure passed, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Environmentalist responses to the defeat were predictable on Twitter Wednesday.
— Senator Liz Krueger (@LizKrueger) May 25, 2016
Instead of virtue-signaling hires and carbon offset plans, Chevron brass contends that the best method to fight climate change is to shift reliance to fossil fuels running on more advanced technologies. Watson specifically hopes that the market begins to move away from coal toward natural gas, where the company could expect to see considerable gains in market share.
The company is skeptical of multinational agreements like the one struck in December 2015 in Paris.
“You can sign agreements in Paris … But when you sign agreements and create the impression that it’s going to be implemented when no one’s identified the trillions of dollars that it’s going to cost, it’s just not clear that’s going to deliver,” Watson added to the Journal.
Chevron has also bucked trends with respect to standard business operations after recently announcing plans to triple oil production in west Texas by 2020. A previous Breitbart Texas report noted that the company will shift upstream assets from other locations to focus on the Texas and eastern New Mexico fields. Thanks to recent innovations, Chevron expects to produce 350,000 barrels daily in the Permian Basin alone.
Logan Churchwell is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. You can follow him on Twitter @LCChurchwell.