After months of silence following the huge blow delivered by the Paris Agreement, the fossil fuel industry has come out of hiding, and it is swinging wildly.
As greater numbers speak out against dirty energy, companies’ scheming has turned to activists, with 350.org founder Bill McKibben, warning operatives from the industry are mounting a six-figure campaign against high-profile campaigners and attempting to discredit the huge potential of renewables.
Coal, oil and gas companies know the impact they have on the climate – and have done so for decades. Yet instead of putting their businesses on a less ruinous path, they continue to choose denial.
But with many businesses, investors and citizens all waking up to the risks of continuing to pump fossil fuels, these underhand tactics are finally being seen for what they are: a last-ditched and desperate attempt for survival by an industry that faces oblivion.
- The fossil fuel industry’s dirty attacks don’t change the facts: the future is renewables. As fossil fuel companies’ decades-long campaign to pedal misinformation can no longer compete with the overwhelming science, they’re shifting to ever seedier tactics to sell their dirty products. But they can’t hide from reality. Renewables are booming: last year clean energy capacity grew at a record pace;investment outstripped that in coal two to one; and research after research showed renewables are the only option for providing energy access across the globe.
- The market has spoken and investors are quickly fleeing fossil fuels. The global fossil fuel market has faced a hammering in recent months, as prices plummeted and company after company faced bankruptcy. With such a dire outlook, dirty energy is quickly becoming a bad bet and everyone from capital cities to major banks, and wealth funds are shifting their funds away from these risky investments. Fossil fuel company shareholders, meanwhile, are upping the pressure on them to wake up to their climate risk and the benefits of insulating themselves against such threats.
- Standing up for the planet is essential but dangerous. Berta Cáceres was murdered for her activism in Honduras, while a brutal crackdown of a protest in the Philippines left farmers dead. Attacks on campaigners like Bill McKibben, as well as governments’ assaults on the right to protest and the funding of environmental NGOs, while not as viscerally brutal, are reprehensible and undemocratic. But with the impacts of our environmental destruction hitting home across the globe, citizens are coming out in ever greater numbers to call for a fossil free, safe future for all.