A New Golden Age for Big Oil or a Golden Goodbye?
By Andy Rowell
Goldman Sachs, the investment bank at the heart of the global economy still doesn't get it.
The bank, once famously described as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity," has a blinkered and fundamentally flawed vision when it comes to the future of the oil industry.
Monday, Bloomberg reported that the hugely influential investment bank had issued a report on the "Seven Sisters," the world's largest oil companies and the bank argues that having "survived a life-changing crisis," the companies are "now poised to reap the rewards."
Having shed costs as prices plummeted, Big Oil is now "in a sweet spot with rising oil prices and low operating costs, leaving them with the biggest cash-flow growth in two decades and boosting earnings," according to Goldman's report.
Goldman's Michele Della Vigna told Bloomberg: "We see this as the start of a new golden age for Big Oil's reborn Seven Sisters," with a "favorable environment for returns in the commodity."
This analysis is dangerously defective in that it seems to envisage a world where Big Oil can carry on drilling unimpeded for decades. But the bank has forgotten about climate change, stranded assets, shareholder actions and the growing number of lawsuits against Big Oil for their role in climate change, widely seen as the #Exxonknew scandal. Indeed, recently Arnold Schwarzenegger said he was planning on suing the companies for "murder."
Schwarzenegger to Sue Big Oil for 'Murder' by @Andy_Rowell of @EcoWatch: https://t.co/5ZSwRmm9YA— Michael E. Mann (@Michael E. Mann)1520960013.0
Furthermore, the website Business Green reported last week about another report, produced jointly by the environmental think tank E3G and the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme. The top line says it all: "New research released today suggests the only commercially viable future for oil majors in a carbon constrained world is a gradual winding down of their operations or a quick sell off of assets."
The report had simulated a scenario under which the Seven Sisters had to shift their business models in line with what was agreed in Paris—a 2 C warming—which could put a whopping $2.3 trillion of oil and gas industry projects at risk as they are "incompatible" with a 2 C world.
As Business Green reported "It found that oil firms' best chance of commercial survival is to rapidly diversify from fossil fuels into alternative technologies such as renewable energy, and gradually retire upstream fossil fuel assets."
This is far from a new dawn as you can get. "Out of five possible strategies, only 'managed decline' and 'first one out' are commercially viable options for International Oil Corporations," said Business Green.
Indeed, Monday one of the Seven Sisters, Royal Dutch Shell, produced its annual "Sky scenario" report which outlined how we might collectively achieve the Paris agreement emission targets.
"Introducing Sky—an ambitious scenario to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 C. This requires a complex combination of mutually reinforcing drivers being rapidly accelerated by society, markets and governments," said Shell.
Shell outlines, amongst others, "a change in consumer mindset means that people preferentially choose low-carbon, high-efficiency options to meet their energy service needs," a "step-change in the efficiency of energy use," plus carbon pricing, a massive increase in renewables, and unprecedented expansion of Carbon, Capture and Storage and vast reforestation.
No doubt others will pick apart Shell's plans for being unrealistic and flawed, especially around its own continuing investment in fossil fuels and issues such as carbon pricing and Carbon, Capture and Storage, but the main point is that the company's own analysts believe that the days of Big Oil are numbered.
And pressure is building day by day for the companies to divest: Monday, the Financial Times reported that shareholders are "preparing a renewed push" for Shell to "adopt more ambitious goals for tackling climate change." The company is expected to face a shareholder resolution at its AGM calling for a "radical shift" away from fossil fuels.
Mark Van Baal of Follow This, who is leading the shareholder action, told the Financial Times: "More and more institutional investors want companies they invest in to commit to Paris. Because they foresee that they cannot make a decent return on their capital in a world economy disrupted by devastated climate change."
Maybe someone should tell the Goldman Sachs vampire squid that too, before they advise too many investors about this wonderful new golden era for Big Oil. Because that era is now history.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Oil Change International.
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1. Stay Informed<p>A first order of business in pet evacuation planning is to understand and be ready for the possible threats in your area. Visit <a href="https://www.ready.gov/be-informed" target="_blank">Ready.gov</a> to learn more about preparing for potential disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Then pay attention to related updates by tuning <a href="http://www.weather.gov/nwr/" target="_blank">NOAA Weather Radio</a> to your local emergency station or using the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app" target="_blank">FEMA app</a> to get National Weather Service alerts.</p>
2. Ensure Your Pet is Easily Identifiable<p><span>Household pets, including indoor cats, should wear collars with ID tags that have your mobile phone number. </span><a href="https://www.avma.org/microchipping-animals-faq" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Microchipping</a><span> your pets will also improve your chances of reunion should you become separated. Be sure to add an emergency contact for friends or relatives outside your immediate area.</span></p><p>Additionally, use <a href="https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/order-your-pet-safety-pack" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">'animals inside' door/window stickers</a> to show rescue workers how many pets live there. (If you evacuate with your pets, quickly write "Evacuated" on the sticker so first responders don't waste time searching for them.)</p>
3. Make a Pet Evacuation Plan<p> "No family disaster plan is complete without including your pets and all of your animals," says veterinarian Heather Case in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9NRJkFKAm4" target="_blank">a video</a> produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association.</p><p>It's important to determine where to take your pet in the event of an emergency.</p><p>Red Cross shelters and many other emergency shelters allow only service animals. Ask your vet, local animal shelters, and emergency management officials for information on local and regional animal sheltering options.</p><p>For those with access to the rare shelter that allows pets, CDC offers <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies/pets-in-evacuation-centers.html" target="_blank">tips on what to expect</a> there, including potential health risks and hygiene best practices.</p><p>Beyond that, talk with family or friends outside the evacuation area about potentially hosting you and/or your pet if you're comfortable doing so. Search for pet-friendly hotel or boarding options along key evacuation routes.</p><p>If you have exotic pets or a mix of large and small animals, you may need to identify multiple locations to shelter them.</p><p>For other household pets like hamsters, snakes, and fish, the SPCA recommends that if they normally live in a cage, they should be transported in that cage. If the enclosure is too big to transport, however, transfer them to a smaller container temporarily. (More on that <a href="https://www.spcai.org/take-action/emergency-preparedness/evacuation-how-to-be-pet-prepared" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">here</a>.)</p><p>For any pet, a key step is to establish who in your household will be the point person for gathering up pets and bringing their supplies. Keep in mind that you may not be home when disaster strikes, so come up with a Plan B. For example, you might form a buddy system with neighbors with pets, or coordinate with a trusted pet sitter.</p>
4. Prepare a Pet Evacuation Kit<p>Like the emergency preparedness kit you'd prepare for humans, assemble basic survival items for your pets in a sturdy, easy-to-grab container. Items should include:</p><ul><li>Water, food, and medicine to last a week or two;</li><li>Water, food bowls, and a can opener if packing wet food;</li><li>Litter supplies for cats (a shoebox lined with a plastic bag and litter may work);</li><li>Leashes, harnesses, or vehicle restraints if applicable;</li><li>A <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/pet-first-aid-supplies-checklist" target="_blank">pet first aid kit</a>;</li><li>A sturdy carrier or crate for each cat or dog. In addition to easing transport, these may serve as your pet's most familiar or safe space in an unfamiliar environment;</li><li>A favorite toy and/or blanket;</li><li>If your pet is prone to anxiety or stress, the American Kennel Club suggests adding <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">stress-relieving items</a> like an anxiety vest or calming sprays.</li></ul><p>In the not-unlikely event that you and your pet have to shelter in different places, your kit should also include:</p><ul><li>Detailed information including contact information for you, your vet, and other emergency contacts;</li><li>A list with phone numbers and addresses of potential destinations, including pet-friendly hotels and emergency boarding facilities near your planned evacuation routes, plus friends or relatives in other areas who might be willing to host you or your pet;</li><li>Medical information including vaccine records and a current rabies vaccination tag;</li><li>Feeding notes including portions and sizes in case you need to leave your pet in someone else's care;</li><li>A photo of you and your pet for identification purposes.</li></ul>
5. Be Ready to Evacuate at Any Time<p>It's always wise to be prepared, but stay especially vigilant in high-risk periods during fire or hurricane season. Practice evacuating at different times of day. Make sure your grab-and-go kit is up to date and in a convenient location, and keep leashes and carriers by the exit door. You might even stow a thick pillowcase under your bed for middle-of-the-night, dash-out emergencies when you don't have time to coax an anxious pet into a carrier. If forecasters warn of potential wildfire, a hurricane, or other dangerous conditions, bring outdoor pets inside so you can keep a close eye on them.</p><p>As with any emergency, the key is to be prepared. As the American Kennel Club points out, "If you panic, it will agitate your dog. Therefore, <a href="https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/create-emergency-evacuation-plan-dog/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pet disaster preparedness</a> will not only reduce your anxiety but will help reduce your pet's anxiety too."</p>
Evacuating Horses and Other Farm Animals<p>The same basic principles apply for evacuating horses and most other livestock. Provide each with some form of identification. Ensure that adequate food, water, and medicine are available. And develop a clear plan on where to go and how to get there.</p><p>Sheltering and transporting farm animals requires careful coordination, from identifying potential shelter space at fairgrounds, racetracks, or pastures, to ensuring enough space is available in vehicles and trailers – not to mention handlers and drivers on hand to support the effort.</p><p>For most farm animals, the Red Cross advises that you consider precautionary evacuation when a threat seems imminent but evacuation orders haven't yet been announced. The American Veterinary Medical Association has <a href="https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/emergencycare/large-animals-and-livestock-disasters" target="_blank">more information</a>.</p>
Bottom Line: If You Need to Evacuate, So Do Your Pets<p>As the Humane Society warns, pets left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost, or killed. Plan ahead to make sure you can safely evacuate your entire household – furry members included.</p>
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