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Author: scdII Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 2247  
Subject: Re: Oil & gas companies CAN be green Date: 11/1/2000 6:20 PM
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Okay... okay... :0) I'll grant you that BP may be more responsible than some other oil companies. I even heard Carol Browner, head of the EPA, compliment BP-Amoco for going the extra mile to reduce greenhouse gas emissions years ahead of the (albeit weak) schedule set forth by the Kyoto agreement.

HOWEVER, when you compliment a corporation for investing in alternative energy sources (or giving to charity, or funding any other kind of program) IMHO you simply have to consider that investment within the context of the company's expenditures in other (especially contradictory) areas. In the case of BP and solar energy, the company spent $45 million to buy the solar panel manufacturer Solarex. But, just a week earlier, BP spent $26.5 BILLION to purchase Arco gas. BP will invest over a BILLION dollars this year exploring for oil IN ALASKA ALONE. In total, the amount that BP is currently putting into solar energy equals about 1/10 of one percent of its overall budget.

"Of course," one might argue, "BP-Amoco is an oil and gas company." This is precisely my point. If BP were truly committed to making the transition to becomming an alternative energy company or at least a more balanced, cleaner energy company, don't you think they'd put up MAYBE one percent of their resources toward that end?

Further, I am bothered by the circular reasoning inherent in rewarding BP both for buying a company that makes solar panels and for equipping its stations with said panels. The money BP spends on solarizing its gas stations (which, by the way, hardly contribute a dram to global warming -- it's the CARS filling up with BP gas that do that!) goes right back into the BP coffers.

So, to my way of thinking, if one really feels the need to invest in the oil and gas industry, BP might be an okay choice. But it's kind of like investing in GM (a nasty polluter if ever there was one) because they might one day make electric cars. You can make the argument -- and you might even eventually be proven right -- that these are companies who are at least headed in the right direction. But I, personally, am more than a little skeptical and would like to see them make MUCH bigger strides before I'm willing to stand behind them.

Mostly thinking out loud,
Susan
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