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Mike Barnhill


Dear Editor:

Time Magazine's recent article on "Can the oil-and-gas industry survive the climate-change fall-out?" may explain why President Trump left the Paris Climate Summit.

The Netherlands oil giant, Royal Dutch Shell, is the country's biggest business. As oil flirts with the prospect of decline, Shell is diversifying by expanding its plastics business and diversifying into electrical power. Some firms such as America's ExxonMobil, are positioning themselves to squeeze the last lucrative years from the oil economy while attempting to convince shareholders that they will be able to sell all their oil.

Shell's decision to reduce its reliance on oil is not born out of benevolence. It's reacting to market forces. A 2019 McKinsey report predicts that declining gas consumption in the transport sector, because of factors like fuel efficiency and electrification, could lead oil demand to begin decreasing by the early 2030s.

Executives at Shell, and the oil industry in general, knew decades ago that burning fossil fuels would cause the planet to warm. Once climate control became a global issue, Shell knew it would need to change. The facts of gradual warming of the planet have been know for decades by those most responsible for it. Yet President Trump continues to disavow these "real facts" versus his claims of "fake news." Why is this?

Shell faces scrutiny as a Netherlands-based country, where you're more able to get hit by a bicycle than a car. In Amsterdam, 40,000 people took to the streets last spring to demand action on climate change. While U.S. firms like ExxonMobil contend with a relatively conservative political environment in Texas.

Could President Trump be convinced with very large political party donations to ignore these global warnings? Especially from a Republican-dominated state, whose state leaders are responsible for steady jobs and income improvement. It's been said, "That oil is King in Texas." Might this claim be responsible for Trump's inaction to global warming?

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