Lee Raymond ran ExxonMobil back in the days not so long ago when it was raking $25 billion a year and, purely by coincidence, adamantly denying the reality of climate change. Now Raymond has taken his $400 million retirement and moved on. Interesting, even Raymond doesn't believe in "clean coal."
Discussing a new study by the National Petroleum Council, he adds that the "Holy Grail" of "clean coal," the idea of sequestering the carbon emissions and injecting them deep into the earth, is impractical.
On this point he's quite convincing, I think, and vividly descriptive:
But what is viewed of course as kind of the Holy Grail on coal-fired power plants is carbon sequestration. And people are correct in the sense that the oil industry, for a long time, has been carrying on a form of a carbon sequestration project because we've been injecting CO2 as a secondary recovery technique in oil reservoirs for a long time. But to go from that, quickly, to massive carbon sequestration for a power plant is a whole different animal. The technology, I think most of the people who worked on it would conclude that the technology is probably there to do it, but it has never been demonstrated at scale.
Secondly, if you think about that very long it will require a regulatory framework that does not exist today. And how that could be put together in this country given that you're going to get into state jurisdictions and all the other issues that we get into in this country, in a short period of time, is very, very unlikely. Now, even if you do that, if you think about it very long, A, one gigawatt coal-fired power plant, to get rid of all the CO2, I think is it 50,000 barrels a day, 150,000 barrels a day of supercritical CO2 will have to be injected into the ground. To get to your point, if you tried to inject all the supercritical CO2 that came from all the coal-fired power plants you end up moving more and liquids than the oil and gas industry moves today, just for CO2. So it is a huge, huge undertaking. And, again, people -- this gets into a lot of the infrastructure issues, people just assume that that can happen. You can't assume that's going to happen. And the cost is going to be very, very significant.
Hmmm -- "clean coal" even in the description of an ally appears to be another one of those Bush administration fantasy, like WMDs, "asperational" emission limits, and Harriet Myers, Supreme Court judge.
However, Raymond damages his credibility by continuing to scoff at the scientific consensus on climate change. False Wall Streeet prophet Jim Glassman, co-author of the classically wrong-headed "Dow 36,000" from seven years ago asked him:
Jim Glassman: Let me interject a question, I think Exxon Mobil has probably spent more money on studying climate change than any other company. Have you changed your mind about climate change over the last five years?
Lee Raymond: Well, I don't work for them any more, so I don't know what they're saying. But my own personal view is I guess the way I would describe it Jim, and Jim's just baiting me here, the only thing I would say is the only consensus I know of is that there's not a consensus.
Note the assumption: research from outside the corporation is meaningless...