The Guardian published new data this month that shows just how far in the wrong direction Shell and other oil companies plan to go over the next decade. The top 50 oil and gas companies are set to increase their production by 8 percent between 2018 and 2030.
From the United States to Kenya to Australia, one of the fundamental demands of the four million youth and elders who joined the global #ClimateStrike last Friday was to keep oil, gas, and coal in the ground.
Global Energy Monitor released a new report this month that unpacks the results of its survey of proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals around the world. As CNN summed it up, the results show a massive LNG buildout on a “collision course” with global climate goals.
Following a wave of youth-led protests, rising citizen concern, and mounting climate destruction, several governments have recently declared a “climate emergency” or proposed new goals for reducing pollution. However, many of these same governments – Canada, the UK, and Ireland being prime examples – are acting at cross-purposes to their commitments.
This week, both Shell and BP claimed that their plans are aligned with the Paris Agreement, while diverting attention away from what really counts towards meeting it: reducing actual carbon emissions.
“When I use Google Maps, it gives me several options, but I usually take the one it highlights without thinking too much about it. Do energy and climate road maps work the same way?,” asked Liam Denning in a recent column for Bloomberg. In the text that follows, Denning lays out why more than 60 prominent business leaders, investors, and climate scientists sent a letter to the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) earlier this month.
As we head into annual meeting season, oil majors are under pressure to respond to investors skeptical of their future profitability under climate constraints, or what the Financial Times terms the industry’s “existential crisis.” That pressure ratcheted up last week when Norway’s government moved to divest the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund from upstream exploration and production companies.
“[T]he market cannot solve climate change by itself. Muscular government action is needed,” writes The Economist in a February cover issue. The cutting edge of climate policy lies in active government intervention to manage the decline of fossil fuels and ramp up renewable energy.
So far, 2019 has brought a major win against the expansion of fossil gas infrastructure in Europe, as well as a major wake-up call to the climate threat – and deep inequity – of the unprecedented ongoing expansion of U.S. oil and gas production.
Twenty-three years ago, Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni Nine were executed by the Nigerian government, with the complicity of Shell. Their fight reminds us of the price so many have paid and continue to pay for defending their land and livelihoods from oil and gas pollution.