Environmentalists have won the battle of a generation: after years of campaigning, they have largely persuaded the world that man-made climate change is real and that fossil fuels are to blame. Remaining sceptics – chief among them US president Donald Trump – are outnumbered even in their own countries. Instead, most governments, energy companies, investors and others are beginning the pivot towards supporting low-carbon energy sources. That poses a fresh challenge for environmentalists: though transition is under way, scientists say only more action than is planned will avoid the catastrophic effects of unabated global warming. Campaigners are divided on the tactics to achieve this. At one end are grassroots groups such as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, which are well known for protests that aim to obstruct polluters and mobilise public opinion. They have no plans to abandon such tactics, even as one-time foes including oil majors slowly begin to address their contribution to climate change. This month, Greenpeace protesters dangled from a Canadian bridge for 38 hours to block an oil sands tanker. “Those bold statements are needed more than ever,” says Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International, “because we’re in a climate crisis and it’s very clear that the pace of change is not adequate enough.” There is also a new breed of campaigners who prefer to exert pressure inside boardrooms. These groups, including activist shareholders, investors and analysts, say there is a pragmatic case against continued investment in coal, oil and gas. Among them is Carbon Tracker Initiative, an early pioneer in arguing the risks and rewards for investors. Founded nine years ago by sustainable investment analyst Mark Campanale with philanthropic funding, the think-tank spent several years telling investors that many of their fossil fuel assets would become “unburnable” in a low-carbon economy.
FT 31st July 2018 read more »