Big Oil Had a Bad Month
Hey Hot Cakes,
We're back! Today the season 3 finale of the podcast is out too so make sure to check that out wherever you get your pods. Now on to the newsletter!
Big Oil Had a Bad Month (Which Means We Had a Good One)
By Amy Westervelt
On the heels of the first negative report the International Energy Agency (IEA) has ever put out about fossil fuels, the Oil Majors had a really bad month...which made it a great month for us! In today's podcast episode—the Season 3 finale—we get into most of that news, but we already have some updates.
First, Follow This, the same shareholder activist group that pushed Chevron to account for its product emissions when it's talking about emissions, showed up at the Shell shareholder meeting too. They put forth a resolution that basically said Shell's climate plan still doesn't go far enough, that the company has to start tracking and reducing carbon emissions and winding down fossil fuel development. That proposal got over 30 percent support. Which doesn’t mean it passed, but is *much* closer to passing than previous proposals along these lines have gotten. (They put forth roughly the same one last year and got 14 percent of the vote, for example.) And because it’s over 20 percent, the board has to seriously consider the proposal and report back to shareholders next year, which is a pretty big deal.
And then there's the additional Exxon news. When we taped this episode, shareholder ballots were still being tallied; since then the count has finished and activist investor group Engine No. 1 has actually picked up *three* out of Exxon's 12 board seats. They ran on a promise of pushing the company away from fossil fuels and toward climate action, so again, a big deal. Possibly an even bigger deal? Shareholder resolutions that were passed at the meeting. One requires the company to disclose how their lobbying spend lines up with the Paris Climate Agreement—it passed by 55.6 percent of the vote. Another compels Exxon to freaking lobby for climate policy, and it got 64%. Forcing the company that invented lobbying against climate action to lobby for climate policy? Beautiful, no notes. You can catch up on the rest of the news—from the court case Shell lost at The Hague to the slap in the face Black Rock delivered to BP—in the episode!
This is the last podcast episode for a while, we're taking some time off over the summer, but the newsletter will continue and we'll keep you posted on the podcast's return. Thank you all for your continued support, it's so appreciated!
- The little engine that could, and the oil giant that couldn't, by By Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Jennifer Hiller for Reuters
- No new oil, gas or coal development if world is to reach net zero by 2050, says world energy body, by Fiona Harvey for The Guardian
- Rebel shareholders with percent of the vote, by Steven Mufson for The Washington Post
- Shell Loses Climate Case That May Set Precedent for Big Oil, by Diederik Baazil, Hugo Miller, and Laura Hurst for Bloomberg Green
- BlackRock goes against BP board in climate resolution vote, by Ron Bousso and Simon Jessop for Reuters
Week in Greentrolling: Chevron Has No Friends
By Mary Annaïse Heglar
Whenever the greenwashing fails, you can count on the oil majors to resort to woke-washing. They’re diverse! They support women! They believe Black Lives Matter! Whatever. This week, they tried it with the onset of PRIDE month, and….it did not go pretty.
I’m on a Twitter break, but I still heard about Chevron’s PRIDE masterpiece with a whole ass video and could not help going to take a look myself. While I was thrilled to see so many people calling them out and forcing them to reconcile their rhetoric with their record, I was even more tickled to see them getting trolled from the right. It’s not the first time either. Chevron pissed the right off royally when they called for a peaceful transfer of power after the insurrection.
Look, it’s ridiculous in a lot of ways. Chevron has given a shit ton of money to Republicans, and that’s why trying to “play woke” on the internet doesn’t cut it. But also the r(wh)ite wing has whipped their base up with a potent recipe of white supremacist populism, which means they don’t take kindly to big corporations. So, a company like Chevron has enemies on both sides.
So I guess they should...I dunno...die?
*** Bonus troll tip from Hot Take researcher Julianna Bradley! Chevron wasn’t the only one with the rainbow-washing this week. API made their twitter photo a rainbow for PRIDE which spurred this twitter thread
They’re Still Out There
By Mary Annaïse Heglar
One of the things that I find most disturbing about the Biden era thus far is the drop in conversation about white supremacist extremism. Once we kicked these folks off the internet, it seems like we went into a collective “out of sight, out of mind” kind of place. Even though these folks legit stormed the Capitol and came damn close to hanging the Vice President mere months ago.
From my vantage point as a Black woman, I can’t forget that right around this time last year, they were gearing up to infiltrate and cause chaos at BLM protests. From my vantage point as a Black Climate Person, I can’t forget that they set up armed checkpoints in wildfire-ravaged states. In Louisiana, a whole town refused to allow evacuees from Hurricane Laura because of “bad actors” at BLM protests.
Y’all, these folks were not locked up. They didn’t die. They most likely multiplied. And while I understand why they were deplatformed and kicked off the internet, I am fearful about what they wind up doing when we’re not looking. As we gear up for another summer of protests and fires and storms, we can’t afford to ignore this part of the story. Just like climate change intersects with literally everything, so does white supremacy. In fact, that’s how we GOT climate change.
And one thing we know about white supremacy is that it doesn’t fade away, it doesn’t go quietly or gradually. It has to be erased, which means we have to talk about it.
A Window into the Climate Crisis in Mexico
By Amy Westervelt
I've been obsessively watching El Tema, a docuseries from actor/producer/director Gael García Bernal and writer and linguist Yásnaya Águilar that offers a fascinating window into how the climate crisis is unfolding in Mexico (and in some cases the role the U.S. plays in exacerbating climate impacts south of our border). I found out about the docuseries from political scientist Pablo Montaño, who also worked on the project. He sent me a link to it on Twitter and a DM, joking that hopefully we wouldn't give it the same review we gave Seaspiracy.
Fear not, Pablo! Honestly, it's troublingly hard to find climate content that's not afraid to go into specifics but can do so without making your eyes glaze over. And El Tema pulls it off. In the first episode, Agua, for example, you learn about a recent protest over water in Chihuahua, Mexico. It centers around a dam, three rivers, and a totally outdated treaty with the U.S. In broad strokes, a 1944 treaty between the U.S. and Mexico governs who gets what water from which rivers and when. The treaty doesn't take the current context--which includes not only climate change-exacerbated drought but also the build-out of several new cities and major increases in population—into account. So in 2020, when Mexican officials were scheduled to open the dam and send water to the U.S., it would have left the state of Chihuahua and its citizens with no water. Protesters stopped the release for a time, but ultimately couldn't stop it. With rainfall at about 30 percent belowthe average last year, farmers are desperate. The tensions continue and it's clear that treaties like these need to be updated to reflect the impacts and current realities of climate change.
I won't spoil the rest for you, there are episodes on air pollution, carbon, energy, oceans and more, all using very specific Mexican stories as a window into the complexities of the global climate crisis and the need for humans to operate as not only an interconnected species but also as part of the global ecosystem. Netflix should be running *this* kind of content! In the meantime, you can catch El Tema (in Spanish with English subtitles) streaming on YouTube.
Following is a curated list of all the climate coverage we were tracking this week.
Rising Temperatures, Rising Seas
A Million Years of Data Confirms: Monsoons Are Likely to Get Worse, by John Schwartz for The New York Times
Record Heat Worsens California's Already Punishing Drought by Brian Kahn for Earther
10% of the World's Sequoias Burned in 2020 Castle Fire by Brian Kahn for Earther
Climate tipping points could topple like dominoes, warn scientists, by Damian Carrington for The Guardian
The Western Drought Is Bad. Here’s What You Should Know About It, by Henry Fountain for The New York Times
California's Drought Is So Bad, Farmers Ripping Up Almond Trees by Molly Taft for Earther
Hurricane Season Is About to Start Early—Again by Molly Taft for Earther
Emissions from Texas's Permian Basin will be a climate test for Joe Biden by Rebecca Leber for Vox
Beleaguered by disaster damages, the U.S. may finally start spending on resilience by Zoya Teirstein for Grist
A 20-Foot Sea Wall? Miami Faces the Hard Choices of Climate Change. by Patricia Mazzei for the New York Times
Western States Sizzle Under Triple-Digit Temperatures by Derrick Bryson Taylor for the New York Times
Arctic sea ice thinning twice as fast as thought, study finds, by Damian Carrington for The Guardian
World must rewild on massive scale to heal nature and climate, says UN, by Patrick Greenfield for The Guardian
Climate crisis is suffocating the world’s lakes, study finds, by Damian Carrington for The Guardian
Key species at risk if planet heats up by more than 1.5C, report finds, by Fiona Harvey for The Guardian
Human-induced global heating ‘causes over a third of heat deaths’, by Natalie Grover for The Guardian
Pests on the march as climate change fans spread of crop destroyers, by Nita Bhalla for Reuters
North Atlantic Right Whales Are Shrinking, and It's Our Fault, by Dharna Noor for Earther
The Climate Presidency
What John Kerry, Jennifer Granholm Aren't Saying, by Nick Martin for The New Republic
Biden's infrastructure plan is in jeopardy of being picked apart by Congress by Shannon Osaka for Grist
Biden Suspends Drilling Leases in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, by Coral Davenport, Henry Fountain and Lisa Friedman for The New York Times
Biden Justice Department Defends Trump-Era Plan to Drill the Arctic by Dharna Noor for Earther
What Ron DeSantis and the 2022 Florida Governor Race Mean for Climate Change, by Toby Jaffe for The New Republic
Lauren Boebert Spends Drought Hearing Rambling About ‘Green New Deal Extremists,’ by Molly Taft for Earther
Congress whittles away at the National Environmental Policy Act, by Ysabelle Kempe for Grist
Cori Bush and Jamaal Bowman Propose a New Era of Public Electricity, by Kate Aronoff for The New Republic
Biden to suspend Trump’s eleventh-hour oil leases in Arctic, by Jennifer A. Dlouhy for The LA Times
Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does the Opposite by Matt Apuzzo and Sarah Hurtes for the New York Times
Big Oil is awash in rainbows for Pride Month by Kate Yoder for Grist
An Arizona case blaming immigration for climate change echoes far-right environmentalism and ecofascism by By Jariel Arvin for Vox
Exxon, Shell, and Chevron lost big this week. Engine No. 1 led a coup. by Rebecca Leber for Vox
Here Are America’s Top Methane Emitters. Some Will Surprise You. by Hiroko Tabuchi for The New York Times
Chevron Celebrates Pride While Funding Bigots in Congress by Molly Taft for Earther
Why Can't We Call It a Climate Emergency?gizmodo.com by Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope for Earther
Oil Countries Are Not Happy About Landmark IEA Report by Molly Taft for Earther
Exxon's Newest Activist Investor Is a 'Space Cowboy' by Molly Taft for Earther
A Court Ruled Shell Is Liable for Its Contributions to Climate Change. What Happens Now? by Antonia Juhasz for Rolling Stone
The Fossil Fuel Industry's Biggest Methane Polluter Is a Nobody by Dharna Norr for Earther
Guyanese citizens challenge ExxonMobil offshore drilling on climate grounds, by Isabella Kaminski for The Guardian
As Illinois Strains to Pass a Major Clean Energy Law, a Big Coal Plant Stands in the Way By Brett Chase, Chicago Sun-Times, and Dan Gearino for InsideClimate News
With the World Focused on Reducing Methane Emissions, Even Texas Signals a Crackdown on 'Flaring' by Jonathan Moens for InsideClimate News
United’s Supersonic Jet Sustainability Claims Sure Sound Suspect, by Tom McKay for Earther
NASA Spots Sneaky Methane Emissions From Biggest Oilfield in America, by Molly Taft for Earther
Illinois had a chance to pass one of the most progressive clean energy bills in the country. It failed, by Jena Brooker for Grist
United Airlines' Partnership With Boom Supersonic Is a Bad Idea, by Kate Aronoff for The New Republic
Italian climate activists sue government over inaction, by Angela Giuffrida for The Guardian
When a solar customer died, Sunrun wouldn't end her contract, by David Lazarus for The Los Angeles Times
Justice Is Justice Is Justice
The Asian Pacific Environmental Network is redefining justice, by Adam Mahoney for Grist
How many people has climate change killed already? by Nathanael Johnson for Grist
With Trump Gone, Old Fault Lines in the Climate Movement Reopen, Complicating Biden's Path Forward By Marianne Lavelle for InsideClimate News
Amazon Workers Are Petitioning the Company to Bring Its Pollution to Zero By 2030 by Brianna Provenzano for Earther
Why two women sacrificed everything to stop the Dakota Access pipeline by Julia Shipley for Grist
This Louisiana neighborhood is retreating in the face of climate change by Alexandria Herr for Grist
The Asian Pacific Environmental Network is redefining justice by Adam Mahoney for Grist
More Than a Third of Heat Deaths Are Tied to Climate Change, Study Says by John Schwartz for the New York Times
If we can vaccinate the world, we can beat the climate crisis, by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo for The Guardian
Climate crisis: rich countries falling short on vow to help poorer ones, by Fiona Harvey for The Guardian
Glimmers of Hope
Activist fund expected to win third seat on ExxonMobil board, by Jasper Jolly for The Guardian
‘This isn’t ideological’: reluctant ‘green hero’ behind Exxon coup, by Jillian Ambrose for The Guardian
Shell’s historic loss in The Hague is a turning point in the fight against big oil, by Tessa Khan for The Guardian
Watch Rashida Tlaib Grill Bank CEOs Who Are Confused About Environmental Racism, by Geoff Dembicki for Vice
An Army of 100 Bots Is Reading Climate Change News and Clicking Every Ad Along the Way, by Gita Jackson for Vice
An enormous missing contribution to global warming may have been right under our feet, by Chris Mooney for The Washington Post
U.S. cities hire specialists to counter climate change as impacts worsen, by Ned Parker
California Looks at Curbing Construction in Wild Fire-Prone Areas, by Christopher Flavelle for The New York Times
The media is still mostly failing to convey the urgency of the climate crisis, by Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope of Covering Climate Now, for the Guardian
The smartest way to finance clean energy that you’ve never heard of by By Ella Nilsen for Vox
Eve: the off-grid life of a nine-year-old climate activist, by Ekaterina Ochagavia and Lindsay Poulton for The Guardian
Mark Rylance: arts should tell ‘love stories’ about nature to tackle climate crisis, by Tara Conlan for The Guardian
Is It Good for the Environment to Replace My Used Car With an Electric Vehicle? By Aaron Gordon for Vice
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