OPINION: Short-term corporate strategy toward California green law bound to have long-term consequences

Dispatched from the SSC Team

Cognitive dissonance is the uncomfortable feeling experienced when the human brain tries to hold two contradictory views simultaneously.

That is probably the feeling inside the brains of the corporate executives, the massive PR teams, and the lobbyists at Tesoro and Valero Energy right now. Environmental Leader reported that Tesoro and Valero have spent more than $1.5 million lobbying California lawmakers in an effort to overturn California’s AB-32. AB-32 is the law seeking to cap greenhouse gas emissions in the state beginning in 2012. The best part: the San Antonio-based companies don’t even do business in California!

We know these folks are smart enough to know that global climate change is not a joke or a data miscalculation or a conspiracy.

So, really, how can they know the truth about climate change (even though they probably won’t admit it publicly) and still be fighting so hard to overturn the California law? Because they must make their quarterly and annual earning projections. The overarching corporate logic is that continual positive growth will lead to long-term success, right? Wrong. Not for oil companies.

It actually leads to another issue of dissonance for these folks.

If they know that a) climate change is real and peak oil has been tapped then they also know that  b) eventually all economies will be forced to “green” as temperatures rise and fossil-based energy sources disappear. So, if they keep fighting for business as usual in the short term and not preparing themselves for the eventual greening of the energy business, they won’t be doing any business at all in the future.

So, essentially, by fighting AB-32, they are actually putting themselves out of business anyway. It really is a lose-lose situation.

Our advice to them is: hop on the Green Express now before the train leaves the station without you.