Shelling out for NERC?
The question was asked about this new collaboration between Shell and Nerc. Good or bad?
Shelling out for NERC? Comments from a couple of the Economics WG members.
From Clive Menzies.
It’s not an area I’ve researched in depth but Shell has a pretty appalling environmental track record.
The positive spin is to ensure the environmental impact of extraction is minimised by virtue of all the government research made available to the company (for free?).
The cynical (realistic?) view is that it will allow Shell to claim that it is doing its bit do avert climate change and being environmentally responsible; oil companies have postured to conform to and profit from the green agenda (Beyond Petroleum). This view is reinforced by the revocation of Shell’s offshore leases near Alaska leading to a drop in profits. They need to redouble efforts to “green themselves” and become rehabilitated (more profitable); it is a strategic imperative.
The Nerc/Shell tie up has prompted hostile responses from Greenpeace and others:
Collusion (and the revolving door) between GM companies and regulators established a pattern repeated in banking and financial services and many other industries, reinforced by trade agreements such as TTIP and TPP.
This collaboration between academia and industry is hailed by some as enlightened industrial policy but it smacks of yet more collusion. To the likes of Adam Smith and observers like me, it is a recipe for collusion among shared financial interests.
“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices”.
Science, business and politics don’t mix well as evidenced by the climate change debate. Science should be insulated to conduct truly independent research for the public good, absent financial incentives to produce particular outcomes. Wholesale privatisation of universities has torpedoed that notion. It all comes down to our flawed economic system which creates the incentives for selfish, destructive behaviour.
Education and research is a public good and should be publicly funded without fear or favour. Corporations should be kept as far away as possible.
From Greg Wilkinson
There will be some in Shell who really want to clean up their act with best available environmental data. While others will put the knowledge to cut costs and maximise returns, disguise damage done and/or pre-empt regulation. That contradiction goes to the heart of a capitalist economy designed to profit FROM not FOR the people.
Reminds me of a village in pre-independence Algeria where a new school was built as part of de Gaulle’s plan to win hearts and minds. When I saw it, just after independence in 1962, water and electricity feeds to new changing room had been rearranged to torture prisoners. The CO of the neighbouring military post, whose wife came out to teach in the school, must have sat down to dinner with the officer whose job it was to extract intelligence on FLN.
Thus… the wolf and the lamb shall feed together.
From Science Unstained: Update on NERC’s oil and gas centre