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Climate Activists Respond to OPEC Official Calling Them ‘Greatest Threat’ to Big Oil
Climate campaigners were undaunted when the secretary general of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) called their movement "perhaps the greatest threat" to the oil industry.
"Thank you!" 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg tweeted in response Thursday. "Our biggest compliment yet!"
Thunberg has been credited with launching the "Fridays for Future" youth movement when her one-person school strikes outside Swedish parliament inspired children and teens around the world to skip classes to call for action on the climate crisis. Thunberg and the movement won Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience Award this June.
In remarks made in Vienna earlier this month, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo seemed to single out the youth-led climate strikes when he said that the children of some of his OPEC-headquarter colleagues "are asking us about their future because ... they see their peers on the streets campaigning against this industry," AFP reported.
Barkindo said that "unscientific" attacks on the oil industry by climate activists were "perhaps the greatest threat to our industry going forward."
"Civil society is being misled to believe oil is the cause of climate change," he said.
However, at least 97 percent of scientists agree that global warming is occurring, and is caused by greenhouse gas emissions from human activities like the burning of fossil fuels, including oil. A 2018 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said those emissions needed to fall by nearly half in 11 years in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and avoid the most catastrophic consequences of climate change.
Thunberg wasn't the only climate activist to welcome Barkindo's comments as a sign their efforts were paying off.
"Brilliant! Proof that we are having an impact and be sure that we will not stop," UK climate strike leader Holly Gillibrand tweeted, as The Guardian reported.
And it wasn't just the youth who expressed excitement. 350.org founder Bill McKibben, who has been campaigning on climate issues for more than 30 years according to CNBC, also took to Twitter to celebrate.
"Thanks everyone for your good work!" he wrote.
In remarks reported by The Guardian, McKibben reflected further on the impact of the climate movement on the oil industry.
"By this point, most people realize that the oil companies lied for decades about global warming — they are this generation's version of the tobacco companies," he said. "And it's clearly affecting their ability to raise capital, to recruit employees and so on. People set out to cost them their social license, and it's working. Whether it's working fast enough — that's another question."
In one example of how big oil is losing its "social license," the London Stock Exchange recently reclassified oil and gas companies under a non-renewable energy category to distinguish them from renewable energy companies, The Guardian reported July 3.
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It's become a familiar story with the Trump administration: Scientists write a report that shows the administration's policies will cause environmental damage, then the administration buries the report and fires the scientists.
By Jake Johnson
Calling the global climate crisis both the greatest threat facing the U.S. and the greatest opportunity for transformative change, Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled today a comprehensive Green New Deal proposal that would transition the U.S. economy to 100 percent renewable energy and create 20 million well-paying union jobs over a decade.
The Parties to CITES agreed to list giraffes on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) today at the World Wildlife Conference or CoP18 in Geneva. Such protections will ensure that all giraffe parts trade were legally acquired and not sourced from the poached giraffes trade and will require countries to make non-detriment findings before allowing giraffe exports. The listing will also enable the collection of international trade data for giraffes that might justify greater protections at both CITES and other venues in the future.
The WHO stressed that more research is needed on the potential health risks of microplastic ingestion. luchschen / iStock / Getty Images Plus
The UN's health agency on Thursday said that microplastics contained in drinking water posed a "low" risk at their current levels.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) — in its first report on the potential health risks of microplastic ingestion — also stressed more research was needed to reassure consumers.