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At the end of May, two unexpected events shook the foundations of Big Oil. Shell was ordered to cut its carbon footprint 45% globally by a Dutch court, which had heard a case brought by climate activists in the wake of the Paris accord. While the Anglo-Dutch giant vowed to cut greenhouse-gas emissions more quickly, it also vowed to appeal the ruling. Still, with activists planning similar court challenges, oil executives are on notice that “lawfare” isn’t going away.

A more intriguing dynamic took place deep in the heart of Texas: some of the most visible activism that we have…

U.S. Climate Envoy and former Presidential contender John Kerry is a techno-optimist.

“Innovation is going to be a critical component of what we have to achieve,’’ Kerry said in his closing remarks during last month’s virtual leaders’ summit on climate.

If his focus on technology wasn’t obvious, he also highlighted an appearance by Bill Gates at the summit. Kerry, famous for his military service in Vietnam, was also keen to cite the Pentagon as an authority for his arguments about reducing emissions: the U.S. defense establishment views climate change as a “threat multiplier.”

How seriously does the Pentagon take climate…

The European Union loves an epic negotiation. Last month, negotiators hammered out a deal on the European Climate Law after 14 hours of talks. Broadly speaking: members of the European Parliament were at odds with national states, which aren’t ready to go as far on climate commitments.

Nation-state representatives in the Council of Ministers didn’t agree to make their 2050 goal a legal obligation: instead, it’s an objective — and a collective one for the EU as a whole rather than one imposed on every member state. Another defeat for the Greens: demands for access to energy subsidies were dropped.

Bill McKibben’s “Do the Math” was a 2013 documentary that tracked the U.S. environmentalist’s tour campaigning against major oil companies, likening his quest to the demonization of Big Tobacco and Apartheid.

The math referred to in the title was an alarming calculation based on the reserves that Big Oil held at the time: five times as much as it was safe to burn, according to the Carbon Tracker Initiative.

Chamath Palihapitiya, the outspoken tech billionaire who has been ubiquitous in 2021, stepped into the environmental, social and governance (ESG) debate with some math of his own. …

If you walk or cycle to work, and you work out that a taxi would have not only cost you $50 but burned $10 of diesel, should you get karma points from society, even if you would never have intended to spend that kind of money on a daily cab ride? An environmental loyalty card, stamped when you “chose” not to inflict carbon and particulate matter on the atmosphere that day?

High-profile climate change campaigner and former central banker Mark Carney got in trouble this year for suggesting as much. The former Bank of England governor, who now toils for…


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