ExxonMobil faces losing its lobby privileges at the European parliament after the company failed to show up for the first hearing into climate change denial. ExxonMobil would become only the second multinational – after Monsanto – to lose access to MEPs, parliamentary meetings and digital resources if it loses a high-level vote expected by the end of April. The oil giant publicly supports the Paris agreement but has drawn the ire of scientists, academics and environmentalists, who accuse it of peddling climate misinformation. The ban request is being submitted by the Green MEP Molly Scott Cato. She said: “This is the company that denied the science, despite knowing the damage their oil exploitation was causing; which funded campaigns to block action on climate and now refuses to face up to its environmental crimes by attending today’s hearing. We cannot allow the lobbyists from such corporations free access to the corridors of the European parliament. We must remove their badges immediately.” ExxonMobil told organisers that it was prevented from participating in the hearing by “ongoing climate change-related litigation in the US”.
Guardian 22nd March 2019 read more »
The largest five stock market listed oil and gas companies spend nearly $200m (£153m) a year lobbying to delay, control or block policies to tackle climate change, according to a new report. Chevron, BP and ExxonMobil were the main companies leading the field in direct lobbying to push against a climate policy to tackle global warming, the report said. Increasingly they are using social media to successfully push their agenda to weaken and oppose any meaningful legislation to tackle global warming. In the run-up to the US midterm elections last year $2m was spent on targeted Facebook and Instagram ads by global oil giants and their industry bodies, promoting the benefits of increased fossil fuel production, according to the report published on Friday by InfluenceMap. Separately, BP donated $13m to a campaign, also supported by Chevron, that successfully stopped a carbon tax in Washington state – $1m of which was spent on social media ads, the research shows.
Guardian 22nd March 2019 read more »
When will have your FFF epiphany? The fossil fuel-free investment movement is gaining momentum, as evidenced by the recent decision of the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund effectively to blacklist most hydrocarbon energy producers (though it recently backtracked slightly to say it would still allow investments in integrated energy groups that are moving in the right direction). I have my doubts about this divestment movement. I worry, first, about its effectiveness. The record of divestment in the tobacco industry, for instance, is not glorious and simply turned the whole sector into a bunch of value-orientated income stocks. I also worry that if we dump western listed businesses, then more opaque, state-owned institutions – probably owned by Russians, Chinese or Middle Eastern entities – will pick up the slack. Nevertheless, it is hard to argue with the logic that if we are to hit our carbon neutral targets, about 60 to 80 per cent of all the coal, oil and gas reserves of publicly listed companies will have to remain in the ground, according to Carbon Tracker, a think-tank. Institutional fund managers who need to think long term are waking up to the risks and are increasingly demanding action. Some of this is being articulated via environmental, social and governance (ESG) funds and especially ESG exchange traded funds (ETFs). As readers will know, I am a big fan of ETFs – I’ve even written a book on the subject, The Ultimate ETF Guidebook, published last week.
FT 22nd March 2019 read more »