Amidst plummeting prices for oil and coal, companies betting on risky, out-dated fossil fuels are finding themselves losing the battle for survival against the clean energy future.
As oil prices continue to drag, Shell reported an 87 per cent decline in annual profits this week, leaving thousands of the company’s employees bearing the brunt. Statoil andBP have both also reported steep declines in earnings.
Oil is not the only industry in trouble. In the latest blow to the declining coal industry, UK based SSE has announced plans to close three units at one of its ageing coal plants, reporting economic challenges.
In Australia, unconfirmed reports show the country’s largest planned coal mine in the Galilee basin could also be facing yet more turmoil and energy company AGL has announced it is abandoning coal seam gas operations.
With renewables booming – and making countries both wealthier and healthier in the process – these latest trends show there is really no reason to cling to volatile fossil fuels, and the companies getting ahead of the curve and diversifying their portfolios are already seeing the benefits.
Meanwhile, those that continue to fight for fossil fuel market scraps will only face greater instability as the world transitions towards a 100 per cent renewable future.
- Replacing fossil fuels with renewables is good for business. As the outlook is increasingly bleak for fossil fuel giants, those alreadymaking the shift to cleaner energy sources are showing themselves to be ahead of the curve. 2015 saw renewable investment reach arecord $329.3 billion worldwide, and continuing to support this booming industry would see a huge boost to the global economy.
- The energy transition is picking up speed; and the faster it happens, the better it is for people and the planet. Continuing to pursue dirty energy, like coal, would bring more cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory illnesses from air pollution, along with devastating health consequences from worsening climate change. Ditching dirty energy would protect people’s health – especially children and the most vulnerable – and save money on medical care and sick days.
- Strong policies will send renewables soaring. As countries move to turn the momentum of the Paris Agreement into “implementation and action,” rapidly establishing clear rules for their agreed emissions reductions would give investors confidence and let renewables thrive. This, combined with a clear pathway for climate finance, will help speed up the transition to a healthy, sustainable renewable energy future which leaves no-one behind.