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Economics - Oct 15

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Dow CEO: "Energy and the Chemical Industry: The Future Arrived Sooner Than We Expected"
(84KB PDF)
Andrew N. Liveris, Dow Chairman & CEO
...Today I am going to cover two items:

Number one, a realistic appraisal of the world’s use of energy both now and in the future;

Number two, how we in the chemical industry have a major role to play in shaping a future ... where higher growth is compatible with responsible stewardship of the planet.

First, the subject of energy, starting with the observation, obvious but often overlooked, that energy powers civilization … it heats and cools our homes, runs our ships, trains, planes and automobiles, our computers, telephones, refrigerators, our hospitals, and of course, our great manufacturing plants. At the end of the day, we cannot avoid the simple fact that energy is the indispensable element of modern civilization.

...we have zero chance of denying economic prosperity to the world, but I think we have a fair chance of getting the best of both worlds ... prosperity and environmental stewardship, but it’s going to require a global consensus on the use of energy that we do not have at the moment ... in fact, that we are nowhere close to having.

Let me briefly describe what that consensus must involve.
(25 Sept 2006)
Mr. Liveris delivered this talk as the keynote address for the European Petrochemical Association 40th Annual Meeting in Monte Carlo, Monaco. More news and speeches from Dow.

Comments from submitter Jason Bradford:

Some of this is really good, but he starts with a faulty premise so the actions are likely to cause more trouble than good:
To be a successful, thriving industry, we need economic growth ... throughout the globe

... we need a healthy environment ... we need a stable and secure political climate and we need the trust of our customers and our communities.

It is impossible to maintain economic growth given the energy constraints ahead, and the economic growth process is the major cause of a sick environment and climate change.

Do we want our children to keep growing past the age of 18 or so? Of course not. It is unhealthy to grow forever. As a people and a planet we are unhealthy because we are pushing beyond natural limits to growth.

The trouble is that it is against the law for corporations not to seek opportunities for economic growth. Hence a dilemma: Does a corporation stop its own growth, break the law and get outcompeted by those willing to continue striving for growth, or does a corporation work to change the law and have all agree that we need to reduce consumption and shrink the economy?

I don't see any corporation trying to do either right now. They all appear believe in the silly notion that economic growth is compatible with environmental stewardship and can occur during an energy transition away from fossil fuels-whether forced by nature or chosen.


Dupont’s Sustainability Commitment

Joel Makower, two steps forward (blog)
Dupont today announced that it is joining the growing ranks of old-line industrial companies embracing sustainability as a core business strategy. At an event in Washington, D.C., Dupont's chairman and CEO, Chad Holliday, set forth the company's "2015 Sustainability Goals," including its plans to derive $6 billion or more in new revenues from sustainability-minded products.

This isn't Dupont's first foray into the sustainability world. Indeed, it is the 204-year-old company's third wave of environmental commitments since 1998. But today's announcement seems to represent the completion of a decade-long transformation the company has undergone -- from an environmental pariah to a sustainability leader. Dupont still carries some baggage from its days as a pure-play chemical company, but increasingly it is moving toward cleaner technologies in pursuit of new business opportunities.

...[Among the goals] grow annual revenue by $2 billion or more from products that create energy efficiency or reduce greenhouse gas emissions; double annual revenues to $8 billion from sales of non-depletable resources...
(11 Oct 2006)
News summary and links (Grist)


Germany's Merkel calls competition key to power prices

MarketWatch (Dow Jones)

BERLIN (MarketWatch) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday sufficient competition in the energy sector is a key to keeping power prices under control.

"The question of competition is also for me a key question," she told reporters after the government's second energy summit in Berlin. "And that's why (in a country) with few suppliers, we have to make even more sure that power prices develop in a way that eventually no monopolistic structures fix them but that we inject as much competition as possible into these structures."

Such a goal can be reached with various mechanisms, Merkel said, without elaborating.

Government officials and industry representatives met Monday to talk about energy efficiency and international energy policy. Comments from government officials following the summit suggest that conflicting views about the scheduled nuclear phase-out and a possible tighter price control haven't been bridged.

... The meeting between Merkel's government and executives from the electricity and renewable energy sectors, industry experts and larger industrial companies is the second summit this year aimed at working out a long-term energy strategy for Germany.

Merkel said that the government would present a detailed energy strategy for the years through to 2020 by the end of next year. The government aims to double Germany's energy productivity by 2020 from the level reached in 1990.
(9 Oct 2006)

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