Image for post
Image for post

There are a lot of empty maxims in the communications and climate advocacy space, but the truly solid one is that repetition is key.

So, let’s say it again: the engine of climate change is the rapid accumulation of greenhouse gases inside the finite bucket that is the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. The only way out: putting a hard stop to our species leaking this substance into the skies, and eventually, figure out how to undo the damage already done.

My previous post, about Shell’s climate plans, dug into how what seems to us like strong climate ambition can actually…


Image for post
Image for post

In part 1 of this piece, I explored how the American oil and gas giant Exxon Mobil has, after decades of outright hostility, begrudgingly started clenching their teeth and pretending to care about climate.

Much of that is being realised by focusing solely on the process of producing their products, oil and gas. But the vast majority of the impact of their emissions comes from the use of their products — when they’re burned as part of their normal use. This isn’t an accident or a design flaw. It is the inalterable chemistry of their business model.

The act of…


Image for post
Image for post

The phrase ‘shell game’ originates from a dazzling trick involving walnut shells and a pea. You put a pea under one of three, whizz them around, and then ask your watcher to nominate the shell with the pea under it. Of course, you’ve done some sleight of hand to misdirect your mark — they think they’re looking in the right spot, but they never win the game. The mark always loses.

When it comes to protecting the Earth from the impacts of fossil fuels, we’re still struggling to see past the ruse. It’s understandable: there hasn’t been a climate change…


Image for post
Image for post

You’ll have noticed a theme in the work of ACCR, and that of LobbyWatch’s posts: climate delay. That’s when a company begrudgingly accepts the need for climate action, then calmly sets about making that action as hard, slow and complex as possible.

A key part of this process is creating climate plans and policies that sound vaguely like they’re doing the right thing, but are either causing stagnation, or even a worsening of pre-existing climate harm.

I explored this in detail, in a recent post on the companies that are ‘running hard in the wrong direction’. In that piece, I…


Image for post
Image for post

A helpful exercise for staying lucid while working constantly with climate and energy is trying to imagine how precisely the same problem you’re working on would be treated if it were in any other profession.

Here’s an example. Companies extract and sell fossil fuels, which are later burned by their customers, creating the problem of climate change. The first step, extraction and sale, creates emissions, but nowhere near as much as the final step, when the product is burned. Fossil fuel companies are are now focusing on the smaller part while largely ignoring the bigger part.

In a previous post


Image for post
Image for post
The world’s worst manel. Via OGCI

The oil and gas industry is, as you might expect, struggling to come to terms with the prospect of its own demise. As producers and transporters of two of the key things that cause climate change, their days are numbered. They are coping with this in a variety of ways.

Some, like BP, are taking initial steps into this transition. Others, like ExxonMobil or Chevron, remain with their feet planted firmly in the hardcore denialism and delay of the past several decades.

Quite a few major players on this spectrum are members of the “Oil and Gas Climate Initiative”, OGCI


Image for post
Image for post

In part 1 of this series, I explored the smattering of local, city-level battles being fought between those seeking to electrify their homes and the fossil gas industry in America. As the gas industry truly loses the fight to become a ‘transition fuel’, they’re retreating to homes and buildings as a place to make their stand, and in many instances in the US, they’re winning.

In Australia, ‘existential threats’ are already emerging. Recently, Canberra lifted the legislation that made it mandatory to connect new gas to homes. …


Image for post
Image for post
The Door To Hell — a burning gas crater

Every attempt to weave a narrative of our different possible climate futures share this single and extremely important commonality: the best-case outcomes involve eliminating fossil fuels. Coal, oil and gas.

As coal and oil suffer their own setbacks, gas has quickly become the last great hope for fossil fuel companies. Of the trifecta, it’s often seen as the best chance for extending the lifespan of a dying industry.

The gas industry is not starting in a strong position. The old forecasts of perpetual fossil growth are long gone. And the old idea that we must ‘bridge’ the transition using fossil…


Image for post
Image for post

It is 2020. Climate impacts are no longer predictions; they are descriptions. Wildfires in Australia and California, floods in Bangladesh, countless other daily news reports. These impacts are beginning to accelerate, but so are efforts to properly detach fossil fuels from human existence.

Just in the past week, California just announced a ban on the purchase of fossil cars by 2035. China has sent shockwaves around the world by announcing a net zero by 2060 target. General Electric announced it will stop making parts for coal plants.

Promises aren’t sufficient, and each could end up as platitudes rather than progress…


Image for post
Image for post
1908 coal machinery

Is it safe to smoke at a tobacco farm? Are on-site buildings at an asbestos mine made out of asbestos? Are lunch breaks at the bullet factory filled with hootin’ and hollerin’ and wild firing of pistols into the air?

Is it meaningful when a company that produces something that damages human life refuses to use that thing in the process of producing it?

In climate, and in particular, in the space of shareholder activism, this is not an unfamiliar moral and ethical question. A company divesting from a harmful product while continuing to produce that product is an improvement…

Ketan Joshi

Anecdata analysis, research, writing, caffeine. Science, tech and data communications professional in Sydney.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store