Re: Alternatives. Like?
"To counter the point about renewables. The Super Majors (that's BP, Shell, Exxon, Conoco Phillips, Chevron and Total) are the biggest investors in alternative energy. They have been for years as well!"
The "Super Majors", eh? Erasing for a moment an image of John Major in a tight-fitting grey suit leaping over tall buildings, these are precisely the organisations who not only lobby aggressively against any major spending on the alternatives (that isn't funnelled to them, that is), but also those who would have everyone believe that there is no such thing as climate change and that dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere on an epic scale just makes the sun more shiny but equally as harmless as the one on the Teletubbies. Now that people don't buy that (apart from the conspiracy theory idiots), the rhetoric from the likes of Exxon and pals is that "there may be a problem, but we have to be part of the solution, blah, blah, keep the oil and gas flowing".
And so the easily corruptible politicians won't loosen the purse strings, except on behalf of the almost equally aggressive nuclear lobby, eager to buy into the "one stop shop" story that the "Super Majors" are selling. Meanwhile, the "Super Majors" aren't so "super" if you happen to live in Nigeria and are not part of the ruling class, but that's another story. Still, if you can get cheap enough petrol to fill up your Ford or your Vauxhall and whine about the price, we can't expect the average Britard to think further than the perimeter of the petrol station forecourt.
It's true that various oil companies have access to technologies that could be interesting from a renewables perspective: offshore windfarms obviously get to benefit from offshore engineering expertise that has been accumulating during the oil exploration era of the last forty years. But when there's a choice between pumping more oil, making happy noises about carbon capture, raking in the cash, and then raking in more cash as the cost of exploration increases still further and some consideration is given to bringing alternatives online, or instead actually thinking long-term, it's doubtful that any oil company (or any publicly traded entity) is going to take the most sustainable approach and deliver low-cost, ultra-long-term energy solutions.
@scotchbonnet: "In the US, there is the oil shale formation in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah which holds estimated reserves at a volume sufficient to sustain America at 2005 use levels all by itself for 150 years."
Hilarious! After Alberta has been scraped off the map, the idea is to keep moving south, is it? Looking for ever more marginal oil-like resources. Such "discoveries" are mere fodder for dithering politicians to put off making hard choices about spending real money on decent alternatives.
Your average Britard pundit will joke about nuclear fusion being ten years away forever, but relatively little has been spent working out the practical aspects, and I imagine that a bunch of lobbyists are, as I write this, banging on someone's door demanding that ITER and related projects be closed down and the money spent on carbon sequestration or some other bottom-wiping exercise. In short, society has to place a range of bets on solutions, some longer than others, but that doesn't mean (as the oil company rhetoric would suggest) that you scrap the more unconventional bets after five minutes and return to the status quo.