Exxon-Mobil

It’s Companies, Not Countries That Are Contributing Most to Climate Change

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — If you’ve ever flown across an ocean and looked out the window from 39,000 feet, it’s easy to think about how incredibly vast this planet is, and wonder how one species among thousands could possibly change the meteorological course of something this big. Then, you think about how there is almost no place remotely close to civilization that you can’t get to in two days or less, thanks almost entirely to fossil fuels. Then you think of the hundreds, if not thousands of other airplanes in the air at this same moment, and the millions of cars and trucks on the roads every single moment as they have been for a century or more.

We’re taking this flight of fancy to prepare you for another fact that’s going to be difficult to believe. If you think the intensity of six or seven billion humans generating enough air pollution to irreversibly change the climate is a bit hard to swallow, you’ll need a glass of water to go with this one.

According to the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Carbon Majors Report, the world’s top 100 fossil fuel companies are responsible for 71% of all the emissions produced by humans on Planet Earth.

The numbers come from the Carbon Disclosure Project’s database, which began collecting data, primarily at the country level in 1988, when the UN IPCC was first created in recognition of the potential severity of the problem.

House Passes Bill to All-But-Eliminate Shareholder Resolutions

(3BL Media/Justmeans — As the Trump administration continues along its circus parade route, unleashing one spectacular display of self-destructive grandiosity after another, Republicans in Congress are using the distraction to try and sneak through some very damaging legislation, gift-wrapped offerings, in the form of additional game-rigging, to their wealthy patrons.

If you’ve heard about this at all, you’ve probably heard about the festering attempt in the Senate to ram through an “anything-but-Obamacare” health bill, without any hearing whatsoever. But there is another bill, aimed at eviscerating Dodd-Frank.

Dodd-Frank was a response to the the shameful feeding frenzy that led to the 2008 financial crisis in which thousands lost their homes. That bill did not pass however, until it was sufficiently weakened by Republicans to the point where it would not avoid another crisis.  The crisis came about after the repeal of Glass-Steagall which worked effectively for decades after the 1929 crash. (Oh, how quickly we forget!)

We're talking about just one particularly egregious aspect of this bill just passed by the House of Representatives, called the Financial Choice Act, that rides alongside calls to scrap the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or  revoking the authority for the FDIC to take over a failing firm. This particular element appears intended to specifically target attempts by shareholders to rein in the behavior of companies regarding issues that said shareholders consider important.

At issue are shareholder resolutions, which were established by SEC rules, that allow shareholders to weigh in on issues of concern, which often hold management accountable on ethical issues. While not legally binding, the resolutions do carry weight since the same majority that passed the resolution could choose to vote out any board members that chose to ignore it.

Big Oil Companies Turn Their Sights to Offshore Wind

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Despite what we might expect to see soon, in the form of furious efforts on the part of a handful of politicians to reverse the inevitable, the tide has already turned against the century-old dominance of fossil fuels. Perhaps there is no better proof of this than the fact that a number of major oil and gas companies are now making significant investments in renewable energy.

As recently reported in the Wall Street Journal, a consortium led by Royal Dutch Shell won a bid to build and run a portion of what is expected to be the world’s largest offshore wind project. The massive Borssele wind project will be located in the North Sea off the Netherlands coast. The Shell portion alone will produce enough electricity to power a million homes at a rate of $56.95 per megawatt hour.

This compares favorably with even the cheapest forms of conventional energy generation. According to the most recent Lazard report on the Levelized Cost of Energy, only the very cheapest natural gas combined cycle plants, which produced power in the range of $48-78 could compete with this. The Borssele installation, in fact, falls at the upper end of the price scale for wind, which currently runs between $32-62, with offshore installations at the upper end.

The cost factor, certainly did not go unnoticed. Dorine Bosman, the manager developing Shell’s wind business said, “Right now the offshore wind project is competitive with any power source.”

Until recently, Shell had shown little interest in offshore wind, but changed direction rather abruptly, earlier this year with the formation of a “New Energies Unit.”

The plunging renewable prices seem to be pulling in everything around them, much as a sinkhole draws in houses, cars, and trees.

The projects themselves are engineering marvels with building-sized towers driven into sea beds, anchoring propellers with wingspans longer than the largest Airbus.

Unsurprisingly, it’s the European energy companies that are primarily at the forefront of this. Norway’s Statoil ASA already has three wind farms in the Baltic Sea, and is currently developing a floating wind farm off the east coast of Scotland. Since 2010, Statoil has invested $2.1 billion in offshore wind.

Denmark’s state-owned Dong Energy AS, which partnered with Statoil as part of the renowned Kalundborg Symbiosis, has sold off a large portion of its fossil-fuels business and is now the biggest player in the offshore wind market with 29% of global capacity. One reason wind is doing so well is that once a wind farm is built, prices stay essentially the same. Not so with oil or gas fields.

Major Shareholder Resolutions on Climate Presented This Week to Chevron and Exxon

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - This week, a couple of important shareholder resolutions will be brought forward in the annual meetings of energy giants Exxon-Mobil and Chevron.

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