The Importance of Mapping Fossil Fuel Companies

industry

The Corporate Mapping Project in Canada tries to connect the dots between corporations, organizations, and governmental bodies in regards to the oil and gas industry. Despite all evidence that the tar sands are horrible for the planet the Canadian taxpayer continues to subsidize the fossil fuel industry. Why?

That the answer the mapping project looks to help investigate. By showing the connections between corporate and political players we can expose anything from sketchy polices to blatant corruption. This project is great for researchers and economist trying to understand why Canada props up a dying (and lethal) industry.

You can see their list of the top 50 companies in terms of power and influence in Canada’s oil and gas industry.

We focus on “mapping” how power and influence play out in the oil, gas and coal industries of BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan. We will also map the wider connections that link Western Canada’s fossil fuel sector to other sectors of the economy (both national and global) and to other parts of society (governments and other public institutions, think tanks and lobby groups, etc).

Our mapping efforts are focused in four key areas:

  1. How are the people and companies that control fossil-fuel corporations organized as a network, and how does that network connect with other sectors of the Canadian and global economy? That is, how is economic power organized in and around the fossil-fuel sector?

  2. How does that economic power reach into political and cultural life, through elite networks, funding relationships, lobbying and mass-media advertising and messaging? What are the implications of such corporate influence for politics and society?

  3. How is corporate power wielded at ground level, from fossil-fuel extraction and transport right through to final consumption? If we follow a barrel of bitumen from its source to the end user, how does it affect the communities and environments all along the way? How and why do certain links along these commodity chains become flashpoints of intense political struggle, as we have seen particularly with pipeline projects?

  4. How can we build capacity for citizen monitoring of corporate power and influence, while expanding the space for democratic discussion?

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We can Stop Climate Change Just by Ending Fossil Fuel Usage

wind turbine
It seems that every month we’re confronted with another study pointing out that climate change is happening faster and worse than projected. This constant news cycle can make people tone it out and ignore the defining issue of our day. Thankfully, we also get tons of suggestions to stop climate change. Today I share with you the simplest way to stop climate change: end fossil fuel use. We have the technology and we have the knowledge. All we need to do to avert a global catastrophe is stop burning dead dinosaur juice.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, used computer models to estimate by how much global temperatures would rise if a fossil fuel infrastructure phaseout began immediately. The lifespan for power plants was set at 40 years, cars an average of 15 years and planes 26 years. The work also assumes a rapid end to beef and dairy consumption, which is responsible for significant global emissions.

In this scenario, the models suggest carbon emissions would decline to zero over the next four decades and there would be a 66% chance of the global temperature rise remaining below 1.5C. If the phaseout does not begin until 2030, the chance is 33%.

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Now is the Time to Sell Stocks in Fossil Fuels

Most everyone knows that fossil fuel energy is on its way out and renewable energy usage is accelerating. This means that air quality will improve and energy will become cheaper, all good things. Yet, there’s a large group of companies that don’t see the obvious. Enter the divestment campaign. Divestment campaigns have been around for years and are showing great strides in getting shareholders to take their money from world-destroying industries and put that money into other, friendly, industries.

This year divestment initiatives doubled to $5.2tn! That’s a lot of money leaving oil companies.

The new report, produced by Arabella investment advisors for the DivestInvestcoalition, collated public pledges to sell off some or all fossil fuel investments and added up the overall investments managed by those institutions. The total was double the $2.6tn reported by the last analysis in September 2015.

It is often difficult to calculate the precise proportion of fossil fuel investments in complex funds, but about $400bn of the $5.2tn total is likely to be in coal, oil and gas. Asset managers controlling $1.3tn – a quarter of the total – have also committed to increasing their investments in clean energy to accelerate a transition to the low-carbon economy.

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Thanks to Delaney!

Canadian Government Think Tank: Renewables Win Over Fossil Fuels


When the Conservatives were in charge of Canada they didn’t conserve at all, instead they rallied behind fossil fuels to power Canada’s economy. That foolish gamble contributed to a lame economy (sent the country into massive debt) and a dying planet (even sabotaging global discussions about carbon and fossil fuel. Canadians are hopeful that the new government led by the Liberals will reverse the Conservatives anti-common sense approach to energy policy.

Last week, a federal think tank release a report on the near term growth of Canada’s economy and global influence. They project that fossil fuels will be less important to the global economy with every passing year and that the benefits of switching to renewable energy for the planet are obvious.

At the core of the report’s forecasts is a growing number of indicators that suggest growth in the world’s demand for electricity — particularly renewable-based electricity — will outpace other energy types, while the costs of its production and storage fall faster than previously believed.

The demand is expected to be driven largely by the emerging and rapidly urbanizing middle class in developing countries.

Wind and solar systems have the advantage of being “highly scalable and distributable,” the report states, making them appealing for communities of virtually any size, with or without an existing electrical grid.

As a result, emerging economies in Latin America and Africa may follow a different development path than the West and “leap-frog” directly to renewables as a primary energy source in a relatively short timeframe.

Read more.
Read the full report.

Coal Continues to Falter

Coal was a great power source at the turn of the last century because it was easy to transport and plentiful. The obvious problem is that it basically kills the planet when you burn it and that’s not going to change despite the whole ‘clean coal’ propaganda. The good news is as we enter the 21st century coal is losing out to better energy sources. This is great because coal is the worse thing ever.

Slate has an article looking into the fall of coal and notes that less-destructive natural gas is being used. We need to curb the use of natural gas too but at least getting rid of coal is a step in the right direction.

Simply put, the U.S. energy industry has stopped building coal-fired plants, and is adding plants that don’t use coal. So far this year, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s April infrastructure report, no new coal capacity has been added, while natural gas (1.5 gigawatts), solar (937 megawatts), and wind (633 megawatts) have each added a decent amount of production capacity. Of the nation’s installed electricity-producing capacity, coal only accounts for 27.5 percent, compared with 42.2 percent for natural gas.

Wall Street has soured on coal producers like Walter in part because today’s results look bad, but largely because tomorrow’s results look even worse. The stock market is famously a futures market—investors are making bets based on future cash flows they expect companies to produce. It’s difficult to see a positive future when the main coal customers are literally dismantling the machines that burn coal.

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