OIL COMPANIES' ALTERNATIVE ENERGY RHETORIC
In addition to BP's "Beyond petroleum" slogan, there's Chevron's "Finding newer, cleaner ways to power the world," Shell's "Let's pass energy on to the next generation" and ExxonMobil's "Taking on the world's toughest energy challenges."
But no matter how much these companies say they want to find more environmentally sensitive, renewable sources of energy, their basic strategy is still to make as much money as possible by sticking more holes in the ground in search of more fossil fuel.
THEIR BIOFUEL INVESTMENT
The oil industry's involvement in biofuels is best characterized as a fallback plan in case the world's governments implement aggressive climate policies or OPEC and other oil-rich nations--where state-owned oil companies reign supreme--further restrict foreign access to oil.
WHY WE CAN'T DEPEND ON OIL COMPANIES TO DEVELOP NEW TECHNOLOGY
Big Oil is fundamentally mismatched to the project of developing alternative fuels. The corporate culture and core competence of oil companies favor large, centralized investments; these conglomerates are skilled at building massive structures and investing enormous amounts of capital in pursuit of oil.
WHY THERE ISN'T ENOUGH INVESTMENT IN NEW TECHNOLOGY
If the major energy companies don't embrace alternative energy, where will the hundreds of billions of dollars come from to develop and launch renewable fuels? The venture capital community is investing heavily in biofuel technology, but those sums are still tiny compared with what's needed--and compared with the resources available to oil companies. The large food-processing companies that have played a central role in the expansion of the ethanol fuel industry haven't stepped up to the plate, either.