Crib notes: Oil investors, Swedish lawmakers face climate test

ExxonMobil and Chevron face shareholder revolt over their carbon budget-busting business models this week, while Swedish parliament debates Vattenfall lignite sale

An oil rig (Flickr/ arbyreed)


As climate talks continue in Bonn this week, some of the biggest fossil fuel interests in the world are coming under the spotlight.

Investors in ExxonMobil and Chevron are urging them to adopt climate change resolutions at their AGMs on Wednesday. The oil majors look increasingly isolated in their refusal to stress test their portfolios against international climate targets, after miner Glencore adopted a similar proposal last Friday.

If the resolutions pass, that is just the start, of course. In the UK, Shell is further down the disclosure route, but analysis to be published by ShareAction ahead of its Tuesday AGM will show the firm is still not aligned with the Paris Agreement goal to hold warming “well below 2C”.

The real test is whether capital spending reflects the limits on carbon burnable under the 2C (or 1.5C) limit. Shell said in a recent report it has “no immediate plans to move to a net-zero emissions portfolio over [its] investment horizon of 10-20 years”.

Swedish lawmakers will grapple with the topic on Tuesday, when they debate state-owned Vattenfall’s plans to sell its German lignite (brown coal) operations to Czech firms EPH and PPF. Protesters argue the utility should close down the mines and power plants – some of the most polluting in Europe – rather than handing them over to “unscrupulous billionaires”.

A task force set up by the Financial Stability Board to improve climate risk disclosure across the board has named extra members from corporations including Barclays, EY and Daimler.

G7 meet

Japan welcomes G7 leaders to Ise-Shima on Thursday and Friday. On the agenda is mobilising funds for adapting to climate change and sustainable energy access in the developing world.

In a pre-summit progress report, the host nation hails US$11.5 billion of climate adaptation finance from G7 countries across 2011-14.

When it comes to curbing emissions, however, Japan is going backwards with plans for new coal plants at home and abroad – Ed King reports.

World Humanitarian Summit

In Istanbul on Monday and Tuesday, government and aid specialists gather to discuss the mounting toll of humanitarian crises around the world.

Ahead of the meeting, experts called for a shift in focus from disaster response to prevention, not least by addressing vulnerability to climate change impacts.

The cost of dealing with emergencies like the Syrian conflict has soared twelvefold in the past 15 years, according to International Alert. Every dollar invested in prevention avoids $4 of spending down the line, it estimates.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon wants states to spend 1% of overseas aid on disaster risk reduction by 2020, double the current rate. Oxfam reckons it should be 5%.

Insurance for the world’s poorest is part of the picture, said Maarten van Aalst of Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre in a phone briefing. Another promising approach is forecast-based financing, whereby aid is triggered if it is expected that weather extremes will put a community under extra stress.

Bonn continues

There is some overlap between that agenda and the “loss and damage” strand of UN climate talks, which continue this week in Bonn. Negotiators are grappling with how to put the Paris Agreement into action. More on the main issues up for debate so far here.

UN Environment Assembly

Meanwhile in Nairobi, the UN Environment Assembly will consider how to mesh climate and sustainable development goals. It is Achim Steiner’s swansong at the environmental body before Norway’s Eric Solheim takes the reins.

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