Articles by Josh Dorner
After Nerdi Gras (Netroots Nation), I took a couple days off to dry-out and trotted over to Houston to visit my parents. It came as no surprise that Houston is booming due to the skyrocketing price of oil. But I also learned a few surprising things that gave me hope that brighter days are ahead for the rest of us well. Because if Houston can get it right, who can't?
Everyone is acutely aware that the price of oil is surging and gas prices break a new record almost daily. Less well-reported -- yet completely unsurprising -- is that the paychecks of Big Oil CEOs are also reaching new heights, according to a report by Equilar, as reported by MSN Money.
Median S&P 500 CEO compensation: $9.9 million. Big Oil CEO pay range: $15-$21.7 million (!)
Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, raked in an astonishing $21.7 million and is sitting on nearly $78 million of unvested stock options. (Though this is chump change compared to the obscene $500 million golden parachute his predecessor, Lee Raymond, received upon retirement. That is of course also the same amount ExxonMobil will have to pay in punitive damages for the ExxonValdez disaster, thanks to a recent wrongheaded Supreme Court decision.)
David O'Reilly, CEO of Chevron, made $15.7 million and is sitting on $26.3 million in unvested options.
James Mulva of ConocoPhillips made $15 million and has a whopping $234 million in options.
On tar sands, oil shale, the like, and global warming:
"If we use unconventional fossil fuels then there's no hope."
On the Bush-McCain plan for offshore oil drilling:
"It's just a crazy thing to do."
-- Dr. James Hansen, speaking at a National Press Club luncheon, which honored him and commemorated the 20th anniversary of the landmark 1988 Senate hearing on global warming.
Alberta's tar sands got yet another huge black eye this week when as many as 500 ducks died after simply landing on a giant pond full of highly toxic oil sands tailings. Only five were said to have survived their toxic plunge. A member of a Canadian environmental watchdog group described the water found in the ponds as follows:
Drinking a glass of water from a tailings pond would be like drinking a diluted glass of oil or gasoline.
Whether the bitumen is cooked in situ while still underground or scraped off, carted away, and processed elsewhere -- either process requiring both huge amounts of energy and water -- millions of tons of global warming pollution are produced and nearly unfathomable amounts of toxic wastewater and tailings are left behind. Indeed, it is estimated that producing one barrel of oil from tar sands requires between 2 and 4.5 barrels of water. Last year alone, the Alberta tar sands industry was permitted water withdrawals totaling a staggering 119.5 billion gallons.