Does the climate crisis threaten the end of big oil?
THE MOST EXCITING PLACE for a climate journalist right now has to be the business beat. Investors face growing pressure to stop funding the fossil-fuel industry. Climate activists have been demanding such divestment for years, but now the calls are coming from the heights of the financial community. It’s a titanic clash of economic interests, bursting with drama, substance, and consequence. Can news organizations give the story the attention and visibility it deserves—and make clear that what’s at stake are not only corporate balance sheets and stock valuations but also humanity’s chances of preserving a livable climate?
Recently, each week has brought another jaw dropping development on this front. Most recently, it was Goldman Sachs, the world’s second-largest investment bank, telling clients on February 3 to “sell” shares of ExxonMobil, which not so long ago ranked as the world’s most valuable company. ExxonMobil has lost a staggering 41 percent of its value in the past six years, and Goldman foresees more choppy water ahead, warning that the oil giant might not be able to sell all the fossil fuel it has under development, Reuters reported.