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Just Transition — Part Five: Seeking a Green Transition

Read time: 12 mins
Maersk drilling rig being towed

Scotland has declared a “climate emergency”, intensifying debates over the future of the North Sea oil and gas industry. Five years on from a ‘catastrophic’ downturn, Chris Silver explores the impact of changing employment conditions in a sector experiencing unprecedented levels of industrial tension.

Thurso-based Mark Boyd is not your average offshore worker, not least because when he’s not out on a vessel working as a hydrographic surveyor, he spends most of his time maintaining his position as Scotland’s professional surfing champion.

‘All Rhetoric and No Action’: Oil Giants Spent $1 Billion on Climate Lobbying and Ads Since Paris Pact, Says Report

Read time: 7 mins
climate policy grades for five major oil companies

A new report by a British think tank estimates that since the 2015 Paris Agreement, the world’s five largest listed oil and gas companies spent more than $1 billion lobbying to prevent climate change regulations while also running public relations campaigns aimed at maintaining public support for climate action.

Combined, the companies spend roughly $200 million a year pushing to delay or alter climate and energy rules, particularly in the U.S. — while spending $195 million a year “on branding campaigns that suggest they support an ambitious climate agenda,” according to InfluenceMap, a UK-based non-profit that researches how corporations influence climate policy.

Oil Majors Looking to Use Renewable Energy Schemes to 'Own the Customer' in Rural Africa

Read time: 5 mins
Workers construct a solar array in Malawi

By Sara Stefanini for Climate Home News

Armed with solar panels, lanterns and mini grids, European energy giants hope to capture the data of hundreds of millions of new, increasingly wealthy customers in rural Africa.

The first step is to set up tiny renewable generators independent of main power grids, often sold on pay-as-you-go schemes like mobile phones.

Once that basic energy supply is established – to charge phones, home lighting and other small appliances – it’s expected to fuel demand for a slew of new products and services, such as internet access, mobile banking, water pumps, mills, fridges, home batteries and cooking stoves. The reams of data on how these new customers use and pay for their energy will help companies decide their next moves.

Big Oil Faces Criminal Lawsuit Over Patagonian Fracking Waste

Read time: 4 mins

A major indigenous group in Argentina has filed a criminal complaint against BP subsidiary Pan American Energy for illegally dumping toxic fracking waste in the “sensitive Patagonian environment”.

According to Greenpeace analysis, the “hazardous waste” contains high levels of hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and radioactive elements that pose reproduction and inhalation risks.

Mapped: Cambridge Analytica’s Ties to the Fossil Fuel Industry

Read time: 3 mins
Network map

Revelations continue to emerge about Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy that has found itself embroiled in a scandal around data privacy and electoral manipulation.

Three whistleblowers have gone public in the Guardian and Observer to outline how Cambridge Analytica used Facebook data to influence the outcomes of the US presidential election and Brexit referendum.

DeSmog UK has previously mapped how the company ties to climate science denial through its Brexit and Trump connections. Now, Nafeez Ahmed over at Motherboard has outlined how Cambridge Analytica has ties to the fossil fuel industry.

Greenwash Database: Tracking Big Oil in Small Communities

Read time: 7 mins
Hopscotch

Over the past two years, major oil companies in the UK have sponsored over 100 community activities, educational awards, and local events, DeSmog UK can reveal.

This allows the firms to greenwash their image and cheaply purchase a social license to operate within the communities.

DeSmog UK’s new database, launched today, tracks fossil fuel companies’ involvement in local communities through funding and sponsorship. It includes local level and educational sponsorship deals from five of the most prominent fossil fuel companies operating in the UK: BP, Shell, Exxon, Total, and Chevron.

Comment: Oil Majors That Keep Investing in New Oil Projects Have Their Heads in the Sand

Read time: 5 mins
oil plant in Europe

The oil industry has a history of successfully adapting to significant changes, the nationalisation of oil production in oil rich countries being a prime example. Yet oil majors seem to be willfully blind to the momentous shift afoot.

Following the trend of rising oil prices, oil giant’s investments in new oil projects increased in 2017. This is despite their rhetoric on climate change and — disproportionately small — investments in low-carbon technologies.

But demand for oil will increasingly be under pressure from the emergence of different transportation services and technologies, such as automated, electric and more fuel-efficient vehicles; new government policies to regulate air pollution; pressures on end markets, such as plastics; and slowing energy demand in China.

Oil and Gas Climate Initiative

The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI)

Background

The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) is a coalition of major oil and gas companies created to promote a climate-friendly image for some of the world’s largest polluters.

Read time: 8 mins

Mapped: How Fracking Lobbyists From the UK and America Have Infiltrated Parliament

Read time: 10 mins

Fracking companies are donating hundreds of thousands of pounds to a select group of UK MPs and Lords, parliamentary data reveals.

The contributions give the shale gas industry privileged access to lawmakers, and allows companies to promote their interests inside parliament.

Companies directly involved in the shale gas industry donated around £130,000 in funds or benefits in kind to the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Unconventional Oil and Gas in 2016, registry data shows.

Many of these companies are currently in the early stages of exploring for shale gas in the UK. Others are large US and multinational companies heavily involved in America’s fracking boom, which may be eyeing up UK investment opportunities if the conditions are right.

DeSmog UK has mapped the key connections between donors to the APPG, and Britain and America’s corporate fracking interests.

Big Oil Called out for Greenwashing, Issues Essentially the Same Pre-COP Climate Pledge as Last Year

Read time: 5 mins
pipelines

Big oil today outlined how it plans to do its bit to help curb warming to two degrees. The announcement comes on the same day the Paris Agreement formally comes into force.

Predictably, there remains a considerable gap between the companies’ commitments and the Paris Agreement’s goals.

Analysts say that to curb warming to two degrees, companies will have to leave around a third of oil reserves in the ground. So is that the revolutionary decision the companies today announced?

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