Opinion

The silly Season!


Some years ago, given my blank response to a question, one of my bosses at Beyond Prudence decided to educate me about “The Season” which (apparently) once was the summer period when ‘debutante' balls were on in London and South East England but now describes the period from the Chelsea Flower Show via the Derby (a horse race run at Epsom), Glyndebourne (opera), Royal Academy (summer art exhibition), Ascot (more horse racing), Wimbledon (tennis), Henley Regatta (rowing + blocking up the roads near where I live), Polo (Windsor = more horses), Goodwood (more horse racing), concluding with Cowes Week (boats etc). I'm sure cricket at Lords was in there somewhere but maybe as England don't seem to be able to win very often this is no longer ‘in'…..

Anyway, this is quickly followed by the “silly season” when newspapers and TV are driven to report all sorts of nonsense in the absence of real news (other than about Wimbledon, Polo, horses anywhere….). Which brings me to….

An article in the Daily Telegraph reporting that “just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of greenhouse gases since 1988”, the numbers being generated by attributing all the end user emissions to the coal, oil and gas companies that delivered the resources. So not surprisingly most energy companies that you will ever have heard of are in the list though it is led by China Coal whose mission is presumably to keep 1bn+ people warm, working etc.

Not to be outdone, the Times then waded in, reminding us that Peabody Coal had gone bust in the USA and that this fate awaited other ‘fossils', sorry oil & gas companies.

I have said before that the Majors, the large Independents, in fact all of us, need to respond to this stuff.

But are the Majors doing it?

Well, let's just take one example – Shell, as seen at their most recent AGM.

In 2015, shareholders supported resolutions mandating Shell to produce enhanced disclosures to provide insight on how the firm is adapting in the context of a shift to low carbon energy mix.

Two years on, attendees noted that while there has been some incremental progress, and many fine words – see for example here - this is insufficient to guarantee that shareholder value could be protected under scenarios consistent with the Paris Agreement, where governments agreed to limit temperature rises to well below 2°C, with an ambition for 1.5°C.

Now there are many who read my blogs who regard taking any notice of the Paris Agreement as evidence of smoking some illegal substance or other but it does seem to me that the Majors and the E&Ps are painting a large target on their backs if they do not as a minimum start tackling (i.e. massively reducing) the CO2 and CH4 emissions from their own operations and provide the analytical evidence that demonstrates progress.

Otherwise the current denizens of the 4th Estate will take time off from quaffing champagne or Pimms, in a Seasonal event somewhere, to scribe yet another lazy article.


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