Even before the current COVID-19 crisis, coal was in trouble due to its high carbon content, coupled with high costs. But COVID-19 is accelerating that decline. And once coal is gone, it is not coming back.
The Norwegian Government has just given lucrative tax breaks to the oil industry to carry on drilling, despite the urgent need to tackle our climate emergency.
We have leading experts warning that trillions could be at stake as the fossil fuel industry suffers a terminal and structural decline, but all governments do is pour billions more away on fossil fuels in COVID-19 recovery plans. It is nonsensical. There should be no Big Oil & Gas bailout.
More and more companies do not want to go back. They want a just transition moving forward. We have to make sure now that politicians meet rising corporate and political pressure. There can be no Big polluter bailout. Any post-COVID-19 economic recovery plan has to make central a managed transition away from fossil fuels to a cleaner, more sustainable, more just, future.
A letter from leading businesses, scientists and activists demands “bold, not incremental, action” is required from the International Energy Agency on climate change. Hopefully, Dr. Birol and the IEA are listening. For all our futures may depend on their report next month.
Exxon, which has been bruised, battered and bloodied by a catastrophic collapse in the oil price, and is haemorrhaging money, wants us all to drive over a climate cliff too. It is reckless corporate behaviour, which the executives must know will cost lives.
As I write, the strongest storm ever recorded in the Bay of Bengal has just made landfall in India and Bangladesh.
Despite COVID-19, activists plan to protest about Shell’s climate failure at its Annual General Meeting tomorrow.
For years, coal lobbyists have been saying we needed the dirty fossil fuel for when the wind didn’t blow or the sun didn’t shine. We always knew that was a lie. For years, Donald Trump tried to prop up a dying industry. And now the market has proved them both wrong. And there will be no going back.
So the public want change for a post-COVID-19 future, towards a cleaner, fairer, greener society. Whereas politicians want to remain stuck in our polluted past. It is time to make our voices heard.