American Petroleum Institute Economist: Efforts To Divest From Fossil Fuels ‘Disgust’ Him


A prominent economist for the petroleum industry spoke in Wisconsin Tuesday, belittling critics of oil and other fossil fuels.

The U.S. petroleum industry appears to be riding high right now, with the growth of fracking for oil and natural gas and an oil boom in North Dakota.

American Petroleum Institute Chief Economist John Felmy still isn’t happy with opponents of the industry, who focus on things like air and water pollution, and global warming from the burning of fossil fuels. Felmy showed the Milwaukee Rotary Club a photo of climate change critic Bill McKibben.

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“This is his 15 minutes of fame, getting arrested in D.C.,” Felmy said. “You know, this is the guy who is also leading the charge on divesting from fossil fuel companies, which truly disgusts me: trying to get universities to divest.”

Felmy also says wealthy academics who support universities dumping their oil stocks disgust him, and that fracking critics are misinformed, uninformed or liars.

Madeleine Parra of the Citizens Climate Lobby in Madison isn’t deterred by the oil industry’s name calling. Parra says burning oil helps fuel climate change. “We can’t help but be concerned,” she said, “as we see fossil fuel use getting expanding at a time when it’s become quite plain that for our current good and our future good, we need to be cutting back on our fossil fuel use.”

Parra argues the price of fossil fuels doesn’t accurately reflect their cost to society and the environment. She says if true market forces were at play, the expansion of oil drilling might slow and more renewable energy would be developed.