An earthquake under Big Oil
The Dutch court, US shareholders and a policy to ban new oil and gas projects
THIS IS A POST I’d half-expected to write, one day. Not this week. The optimistic part of my brain said it was only a matter of time, but the more sceptical voice in my head warned: Don’t hold your breath.
Sooner or later, argued my inner optimist, the balance of opinion about the role of Big Oil in the global energy system would shift. Not just yet, said the other voice. My inner sceptic counselled patience: the incumbents were powerful, there were just too many pieces in the puzzle, and too much inertia.
Still, the balance of probabilities argued that something had to give.
Alarming as it feels to tackle our addiction to hydrocarbons, it would be far more dangerous to do nothing. The law - prosecutions, judicial review, multilateral rules - would have to step up, I thought. Whether in national or larger courts, judges would be called in to assess the case for coercing fossil fuel producers to switch to renewables (if that’s even possible…