I recall headlines of years' past that declared Exxon-Mobile's profits
were soaring on oil's high prices, and today's headlines of dwindling
profits brings a sigh...There's a growing movement for
institutions to divest from oil and fossil fuels that is taking off across
universities (e.g., Stanford), major religious denominations (e.g. Church of
England), and other investment funds centered mostly on moral grounds, such as
pollution and climate change.However, there's also an argument
that fossil fuels are increasingly risky investments. Because oil is dominated
by OPEC's cartel that can grossly influence price and supply, OPEC member
nations (largely run by royals and despots) have been out to knock
America's booming, but expensive-to-produce oil industry out of the market.
Because American oil producers can't compete on cost, their moves have
been largely successful. Coal is increasingly being edged out by
cheaper and more competitive alternatives -- from natural gas to renewables.
Additionally, both state and federal pollution regulations make it difficult to
burn without demands for expensive clean up. In short, both moral
and economic reasons make fossil fuels a risky investment.