Leftist Oil Contradictions
The main cause of the big decline in Exxon Mobil's profits, and profits of other oil companies, is of course the big decline in the price of oil from the elevated levels of the first half of 2008.
One related point that could be here is the fact that when oil prices were at extremely high levels, one of the most popular leftist explanation of this blamed it on "greed" from oil companies (I discussed the other popular leftist explanation, speculation, here). I take it then that leftists would now say that oil companies are no longer "greedy"....
On the other hand, given the leftist concern about "global warming" caused by use of oil and other fossil fuels, and given the fact that higher prices discourage consumption , shouldn't the left now argue that "greed is good" and that the big problem right now is insufficiently greedy oil companies?
The answer is that they should if they want to be logically coherent in their arguments that high fuel prices are caused by oil company greed and that fuel consumption needs to be curbed for the sake of the environment. But as they don't argue that, the conclusion is instead that they are logically incoherent.