November 15th, 2009
02:48 AM GMT
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Singapore – The dirty secret of events such as the APEC CEO Summit is that they are usually scripted, bloodless affairs where any "news" is typically of the tightly choreographed variety.

Exxon Mobil’s Tillerson: Can science predict what will happen with climate change?
Exxon Mobil’s Tillerson: Can science predict what will happen with climate change?

So it was a welcome relief that the last session, devoted to the theme "The Shape of Things to Come," bucked that trend. The always provocative Kishore Mahbubani, author of "The New Asian Hemisphere," asked the panelists to speculate on an improbable version of the future.

Rex W. Tillerson, chairman and CEO of the Exxon Mobil Corp., talked at length about the harsh realities of creating and deploying new technologies for the world's growing hunger for energy. For his implausible vision of the future, he offered the following.

"Today, climate change issues so dominates energy policy… the implausible future may be climate change effects don't turn out the way we thought they would, that the climate models simply aren’t competent enough to predict the future.

"Perhaps the Earth has naturally occurring forces that bring it back into equilibrium, and the consequences don’t manifest themselves.

"Or alternatively, perhaps, none of the things we do to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions make any difference, that there are other factors in the climate system that are going to force a change to a warming planet regardless of what we do, which means the glaciers are still going to melt, sea levels are still going to rise, weather patterns are still going to shift."

That prompted a strong reaction from U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

"I cannot accept the notion or find it implausible that we as human beings have no control over our destiny and that global warming is a natural phenomenon … or that it will suddenly reverse itself," he said.

"I find it implausible and I think unacceptable that we as human beings should simply do nothing about it or have no ability to control our destiny."

Perhaps Stephen Roach, chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, summed up an unlikely future best: "The most improbable scenario that I could ever imagine... is what we've been through over the last year," he said.

"If you told anyone what we were about to go through the past year, they would have told you you're nuts.

"So we have lived through an improbable year and we must learn the lessons of this extraordinarily difficult period so that we never, ever have to go through it again."

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soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. wang worroir

    Global warming is just like evolution. A giant myth cretaed by hippies to give them money for their drugs.

    November 15, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  2. C Curnow

    For U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to say that global warming is NOT a natural phenomenon ranks of the highest arrogance since the world has been hotter in Medieval times (crops in Greenland – grapes near Hadrian' s wall pre 1350 when there was no industry. We are just out of the Little Ice age and of course the Earth is warming, thank goodness. the Minoan, Egyptian and Roman periods were all times of warmth and more than now. Global warming has passed from being science and it is now a religion with no evidence needed to support spurious claims.

    November 15, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  3. Allan Jeffreys

    Wang is correct the earth is flat.

    November 16, 2009 at 5:35 am |
  4. vinod bangkok

    at no time in the earth history were there 6 billion people and so many cars whizzing around. So if the earth was warmer before our present time it will become warmer than that – give it another couple of decades.

    besides what is the harm in finding alternative energy which at least create less co2 and other pollution and are sustainable sources.

    for the energy inustries it is a very difficult task so it is also the responsibility of each individual to use less energy for the good of all.

    November 16, 2009 at 6:30 am |
  5. gogo

    the problem is, that no one is able to say if we have global warming or global cooling. half of scientists say we have just now warming the other half say we have cooling . Now we have some protocols, plans to reduce emisions ( wich is not followed anyway and never will) and we want countries like India and China to stop their development a stay in stone age forever. it is funny, but very expensive funny.

    November 16, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  6. Nan McConnochie

    Relief that our leaders are still not convinced that creating a punishing philosophy on the world Carbon Trading etc is entirely a good idea. It isn't so why don't they rethink and give us all a break.

    We want a world that cares for each other and respects the right for people to choose how they live on it.

    I like my diesel Punto, hate paying road user charges, and have driven 42000 k's since I bought it in Feb. Seen some country!!

    And I haven't thought about the ozone hole, but have about whether I've got a fish on the line. Get a life world.

    November 17, 2009 at 5:16 am |
  7. Jan

    Gogo: did you read that on FOX-news? In reality 97% of climate scientists agree that a climate catastrophy is unavoidable if we don't reduce GHG-emissions as soon as possible.

    The few scientists that claim there's no climate change are typically retired crackpots, only a few are bona fide scientists (typically geologists or meteorogists, and very few are climatologists of any standing.

    November 19, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  8. Jason Wang

    Talking about fainess, the carbon emmission should be set equally for each nation based on its population, Resume your responsibiloty, America, before blaming on China or India

    November 23, 2009 at 1:36 am |
  9. Leona Karella

    Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions, or in the distribution of weather around the average conditions (i.e., more or fewer extreme weather events). Climate change is caused by factors that include oceanic processes (such as oceanic circulation), biotic processes, variations in solar radiation received by Earth, plate tectonics and volcanic eruptions, and human-induced alterations of the natural world.^

    Have a good day
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    April 29, 2013 at 1:30 am |
  10. Jarred Winick

    Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions, or in the distribution of weather around the average conditions (i.e., more or fewer extreme weather events). Climate change is caused by factors that include oceanic processes (such as oceanic circulation), biotic processes, variations in solar radiation received by Earth, plate tectonics and volcanic eruptions, and human-induced alterations of the natural world.;

    View the most recent content on our personal blog page
    <http://www.caramoan.ph

    April 29, 2013 at 6:22 am |

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