The AP reported today that Shell Oil Company president John Hofmeister publicly denounced U.S. leaders for not piecing together a strategy to combat global warming. He believes the debate over the science of climate change is over and says, "It's a waste of time to debate it. Policymakers have a responsibility to address it. The nation needs public policy. We'll adjust."

He projects that conventional oil and gas resources won't sustain the nation's energy needs and that the future will include fuel from oil shale, gasified coal, biofuels, wind, the sun, hydrogen and conservation.

As we all know, the Bush administration and most Republican politicians have resisted mandatory emissions limits curbing greenhouse gases, but the Democrats are going to feel a bit uneasy at Hofmeister's statements, too. He actually went so far as to suggest that the American government act now and use policy to keep gas prices high to force market and behavioral changes facilitating the growth of a "culture of conservation."

Democrat or Republican, I'm not sure how many publicly elected officials would be willing to advocate a reduction or removal of federal subsidies on petroleum or any other type of legislation that would keep gas prices high.

Hofmeister didn't overlook the American public either as he posited the nation as living in a culture of excess in relation to the rest of the world. He said that the U.S. represents 8 percent of the global population using 25 percent of the earth's energy supply which is not a "sustainable formula," noting that the rest of the world wants its "fair share."

There'll be a lot of speculation as to whether this was a genuine call for action, or a carefully crafted marketing ploy. I'm not certain it matters. The president of the 3rd largest oil company in the world just made a firm public statement advocating policy change that would lead to greater investment in the research and development of renewable energy.

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[Source: Associated Press via MSNBC]


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