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Seeking a Green Transition: North Sea Communities Struggle to Recover from Oil Price Crash

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.

Comment: World Celebrates as Exxon Joins Oil's Biggest Greenwash Group

Read time: 5 mins

The news this week that Big Oil behemoths Exxon and Chevron are to to join the “Oil & Gas Climate Initiative” was met with much celebration.

Announcing their membership, the OGCI made the bold claim that: “With these additions, OGCI members now represent around 30 percent of global oil and gas production and supply close to 20 percent of global primary energy consumption … making its members’ collaborative effort in support of the Paris Agreement, a significant global action.

But while there was some rejoicing that US companies had joined a supposedly progressive oil group that had come together to promote low carbon investment, others remembered to heed Business Green’s Michael Holder’s query as recently as 2017: “The OGCI: Oil industry gamechanger or pro-gas greenwash?”

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.

Have Oil Majors Changed Their Tune on Climate Change?

Read time: 6 mins
Oil rig by wind turbines

This is the biggest challenge as we have at the moment as a company,” Ben van Beurden, chief executive of oil giant Shell, said recently. “The fact that societal acceptance of the energy system as we have it is just disappearing.”

Speaking at the annual CERAWeek energy conference in Houston on March 9, van Beurden described the growing tensions between his industry, which has created our fossil fuel dependent energy system, and the public, which is demanding a switch to clean energy: “I do think trust has been eroded to the point where it starts to become a serious issue for our long-term future.”

The world’s largest oil companies are increasingly faced with public pressure to do something about their impact on climate change. And increasingly we’re seeing their chief executives responding. The question is though, how much is for real and what's just greenwash?

Oil Majors Told to Adapt or Die

Read time: 4 mins

As profits and prices plummet, the oil conglomerates – some of the world’s biggest companies – have been warned they must change their ways or face extinction, writes Kieran Cooke at Climate News Network.

At best, big oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and BP face a period of gentle decline, but will ultimately survive.

At worst, if they do not adapt and change direction, “what remains of their existence will be nasty, brutish and short”.

The Paris Agreement: Have Oil Companies Got The Memo?

Read time: 4 mins

By David Powell, associate director, environment, at the New Economics Foundation (NEF). This article has been cross-posted from NEF.

If you’re the boss of BP, Chevron or Shell, how worried are you right now? 

171 governments put pen to paper last week, formally signing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The New York event was an encouraging, albeit largely symbolic, confirmation of December’s commitment to limit temperature rises to two degrees or lower.

The world has spoken; the science is clear; the likes of Mark Carney continue to warn about the economic risk of drilling like there’s no tomorrow. Paris provokes a very simple acid test: most of the world’s known reserves of oil, coal and gas will have to be kept in the ground – and you can forget prospecting for more.

There’s only one problem: oil companies don’t seem to have noticed.

What’s Fuelling The Media’s Climate Coverage?

Read time: 4 mins

You might have noticed the age old barrier separating advertising and editorial in your news weakening recently.

The Guardian’s Rugby World Cup coverage is sponsored by Heineken, The Telegraph’s is brought to you by Dove Men Care.

We’ve also seen the rise of something called native advertising, where brands work with media organisations directly to produce content. Hailed by some as the saviour of the media industry, Interactive Advertising Bureau report that in the US it will generate $21 billion in ad spending by 2018.

Oil and Gas Industry Publicly Supports Climate Action While Secretly Subverting Process, New Analysis Shows

Read time: 4 mins

A new report recently released by InfluenceMap shows a number of oil and gas companies publicly throwing their support behind climate initiatives are simultaneously obstructing those same efforts through lobbying activities.

The report, Big Oil and the Obstruction of Climate Regulations, comes on the heels of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, a list of climate measures released by the CEOs of 10 major oil and gas companies including BP, Shell, Statoil and Total.

According to InfluenceMap the initiative is an attempt by leading energy companies to “improve their image in the face of longstanding criticism of their business practices ahead of UN COP 21 climate talks in Paris.”

The big European companies behind the OGCI…will come under ever greater scrutiny, as the distance between the companies’ professed positions and the realities of the lobbying actions of their trade bodies grows ever starker,” InfluenceMap stated in a press release.

What Happened to Obama's 'Planet in Peril' Rhetoric?

Read time: 8 mins

We know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime: two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century,” the newly elected president Barack Obama said in 2008 during his victory speech in Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois. 

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there,” he told the assembled public. “I promise you, we as a people will get there.”

Obama was in his own inimitable style promising to meet the challenge of climate change – while acknowledging that the resistance of the oil monopolies dominating the American energy market would be fierce.

Seismic Testing for Oil Reserves a Threat to Arctic Marine Life, Study Warns

Read time: 4 mins

Seismic airguns are being fired underwater off the east coast of Greenland to find new oil reserves in the Arctic Ocean. But this activity “could seriously injure” whales and other marine life, warns a new report conducted by Marine Conservation Research and commissioned by Greenpeace Nordic.

The oil industry is increasingly looking towards the region, as oil and gas reserves become more accessible as climate change causes large areas of Arctic sea ice to melt.

Global oil companies including BP, Chevron and Shell all own drilling rights in the Greenland Sea and are the likely customers for the data gathered by the Norwegian geophysical company conducting the seismic testing, TGS-Nopec.

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