CHARLOTTE, NC: A recent IEA-related article in the Guardian newspaper included a quote from Greg Muttitt, an energy expert at the International Institute for Sustainable Development: “Governments and companies often suffer from a form of cognitive dissonance: while recognising the urgency and severity of the climate threat, they still keep developing new oil, gas and coalfields and mines that will worsen the problem.
“The policy answer is a simple one: when in a hole, you need to stop digging.”
Three years ago we launched a publishing business based on the idea companies want to talk to their stakeholders (employees, suppliers, customers and shareholders) about solutions to the climate crisis.
So it's been a bit of a shocker recently to realise they don't.
Companies know all about the risk (if we can read, so can they) and they're choosing to ignore the science and opt for business as usual.
In 2020, for example, one of the largest container shipping lines in the world ordered a billion dollars worth of LNG-powered containerships in an apparent nod to Sustainability. Prior to the order being placed in South Korea, obviously bank underwriters did a risk assessment.
It's interesting to note the company will write down the debt in 12 years. After that, presumably, loan officers saw the risk curve rising fast.
Also in 2020 the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research warned of a 2.5 metre sea-level rise if the West Antarctica Ice Shelf irreversibly melts from a global warming of two degree Celsius.
A spokesman acknowledged such a rise would prohibit ships loading or unloading containers from port terminals now permanently underwater: So no logistics, no anything.
Last December the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration confirmed the Potsdam findings with a report the West Antarctica glacier has become increasingly unstable.
At 120 kilometres, “Thwaites is the widest glacier in the world,” noted Ted Scambos, a senior research scientist at the U.S. Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. “It’s doubled its outflow speed within the last 30 years, and the glacier in its entirety holds enough water to raise sea-level by over two feet. And it could lead to even more sea-level rise, up to 10 feet, if it draws the surrounding glaciers with it.”
As Greta Thunberg said in her foreword to the book ‘Breaking Boundaries’, “Despite what you may think, the vast majority of us are not aware of the situation we face. Or rather, we have not been made aware.”
Meanwhile UN secretary-general António Guterres continues to warn governments and companies of an impending climate catastrophe. This week, while announcing a five-point plan to jump-start a transition to renewable energy, he commented: “While people suffer from high prices at the pump, the oil and gas industry is raking in billions from a distorted market. This scandal must stop.”
According to BP finance director Murray Auchincloss, “It is possible that we are getting more cash than we know what to do with.”
World Food Programme head David Beasley could tell him. He's trying to stop 50 million people from starving to death due to a collapsing supply chain.
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