Glasgow Not THE ANSWER, but Ramps Up Challenges for Fossil Fuels

November 14, 2021

Key quote at 2:23 above if you’re pressed.

Policy actions like those agreed to in last week’s COP meeting in Glasgow generally aren’t going to, by themselves, upend a powerful, existing global order, but we all know that re-organization is happening, and Glasgow has been an accelerant.
The other part of the equation is how economic and technological players will now internalize even more the overriding economic imperative – to move off of fossil fuels.
It is clearer than ever that oil, gas and coal are heading toward history’s ash heap, how many investors are going to continue to throw money down that rat hole?

Antonia Juhasz on Twitter:

While falling far short of what is necessary, it’s difficult to exaggerate how fundamental a transformation #COP26 was from previous COPs in the manner in which fossil fuels were confronted by governments in and outside of formal negotiations. 

A joint commitment by nearly 40 countries & institutions to end public finance for oil, gas, and coal projects overseas; The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, launched by 12 countries and regions, the first diplomatic initiative to phase-out fossil fuel production; the methane pledge; 

Where the Paris Climate Accord & all previous agreements assiduously eschewed the words “oil,””coal,””natural gas”or”fossil fuels” to intentionally avoid naming & targeting the production of these primary causes of the #ClimateCrisis

The final #COP26 text specifically names “coal” and calls upon governments to “phase-down” “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies recognizing the need for support towards a just transition.” 

While “phase-down” & “inefficient” are heavily watered down text, governments and industry will be hard-pressed to prove fossil fuel subsidies are “efficient” at this stage in the climate crisis given proven economic efficiency gains of a rapid just transition to renewables. 

And as fossil fuels rapidly become stranded assets which financiers, governments and the public refuse to be burdened with, especially in light of the ruling against Shell in the Hague and the @IEA conclusion that there can be no new investments in fossil fuel production. 

And remind me about that ruling in The Hague?


Climate lawyers are preparing to take on more fossil-fuel companies after a Dutch court ordered Royal Dutch Shell Plc to cut its emissions faster than planned, on the grounds that the oil giant is violating human rights by contributing to global warming. It was a turning point for climate court cases, which boomed after the Paris Agreement on global warming was reached in 2015. Initially, many cases challenged governments’ plans, but litigators are increasingly targeting companies.

1. What was the Shell verdict?

A Dutch court ruled on May 26 that Shell should slash its greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030 compared with 2019 levels, forcing the company to make some hard choices. The oil giant expects to appeal. While the ruling puts pressure on Shell, it’s hard to compare the target with its existing pledge to cut the intensity of its greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2030, but from 2016 levels. Intensity is a measure of energy needed to produce one unit of something; in Shell’s case the cuts were expressed as grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per megajoule. Such pledges are questioned by nonprofits like Carbon Tracker because even if emissions per unit of energy fall, a large production increase could result in higher overall emissions.


5 Responses to “Glasgow Not THE ANSWER, but Ramps Up Challenges for Fossil Fuels”

  1. Keith McClary Says:

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  2. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    One of the inserts into my Texas Gas Service bill* was an offer for a $100 rebate on a new gas-powered clothes dryer. How very generous of them.

    [I deliberately overpaid my gas bill last March and have maintained a credit balance since, but it’s being eaten away every month primarily by an $18.37 “customer charge”. I am so looking forward to replacing my gas stove top when the the induction-top I want is back in stock.]

  3. J4Zonian Says:

    There are moments in human experience when an adjustment has to be made, usually deflating the aggrandizing narcissism of the dominant group. Realization that we aren’t literally the center of the universe with the science of Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus, Brahe, et al; the longer series of realizations that we were older than the Bible said, not endowed one week with everything we have, but creating it a little at a time over thousands of millennia; realization of what industrial humanity is capable of in the second Thirty Years War, 1914-1945—stages in the industrialization of murder.

    Manna energy
    We’re faced now with the immediate dire necessity of further (or re-) adjusting our grandiosity to recognize that we’re in a community of beings, not the ones in charge of a now-industrialized farm planet. We need to stop identifying with destruction-as-means like coal (and even more fundamentally, nukes) and begin to get our energy and materials from run-of-river production, things that we can tap into without destroying them. We need to live on interest, not capital. Wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, tidal, maybe wave energy… aren’t just the only system that can prevent catastrophic heating but the only system that can help teach humanity how to live harmoniously again.

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