Big Energy Corporations Exploit Developing Nations

by Vins

Big Energy corporations that sell oil, coal, and natural gases are targeting developing countries as their future customers. Wealthy countries such as the United States are turning to renewable energy sources, so the fossil fuel industries are seeking to sell their energy sources to developing countries.

Most of the developing countries to be targeted are in Asia where many people live in poverty and are in desperate need of energy sources. Big Energy is using this as an excuse to continue selling fossil fuels that have been taking a devastating toll on the world’s climate and environment. These companies include Exxon, British Petroleum, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, and the coal industry as well. They argue that supplying poverty-ridden countries with fossil fuels is the right, humane thing to do.

The Energy Information Administration estimates that from 2010 to 2040, the carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use will increase by 46%. This means an increase from 31.2 billion metric tons to 45.5 billion metric tons. 94% of the harmful emissions will rise from the developing countries, but the fossil fuels are produced and sold from already developed countries such as North America. If this continues the result will be nothing short of apocalyptic.

In 2013 The Economist published an article stating that the big energy corporations were expecting oil sales to rise in the future, but the demand would mainly be outside of the United States. The International Energy Agency agreed that oil sales will rise into the future, and British Petroleum estimated that developing economies would increase their demand for oil from 90m barrels a day to 104m barrels a day by the year 2030. Exxon estimated 113m barrels a day by 2040.

Big Energy has not only been predicting an increased demand, but is taking advantage of developing countries’ needs for energy. These corporations are trading inevitable climate and environmental devastation for private profit.


Michael Klare, “Let Them Eat Carbon: Like Big Tobacco, Big Energy Targets Developing World for Future Profits, TomDispatch, May 27, 2014,,_what%27s_big_energy_smoking.

Student Researcher: Samuel Lemley (Sonoma State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Paul Draper (Sonoma State University)

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