VLOG: Brexit in Belfast + Big Oil webinar

#8 Wk 15-21

Hi. Thanks for watching. This post is short if not sweet, and instead of my sub-1 minute vlog update here’s a 10-second trailer for our forthcoming Big Oil webinar on Thursday April 29 at 1900 hours CET.

Coming this week

First, on Saturday I’ll post here on Brexit in Belfast. After serial nights of rioting on the Shankill Road (Ireland’s version of the Berlin Wall, where the gates - open by day - are locked at night), a long truce between historically Catholic and Protestant sides looks fragile again.

The violence was the worst of its kind in 23 years, since a power-sharing agreement under the Good Friday Agreement defused the worst of Ireland’s factional identity politics. Reports in the Dutch media were not slow to point out the repercussions of Brexit, where a new nominal “hard border” in the Irish channel satisfies no-one.

But why?

The root cause of the riots is a cause of much speculation and soul-searching. Many commentators suggest the legacy of the Good Friday Agreement has been a “blurring” of factional loyalties - until now. That welcome fuzziness has been undone by the sharpening effect of Brexit, with its trade borders and polarised opinion.

So far, authorities say paramilitary groups are not known to be involved, though their ongoing presence is thinly veiled on both sides of the historic nationalist struggle (pro-British Northern Irish unionists, versus anti-British republicans). Most pundits say the rioters are mostly teenagers: a generation angered by Brexit restrictions, Covid-19, and allegations of partisan policing - both ways - of the illegal drug trade.

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As I reported here, activist shareholders in the world’s biggest oil and gas companies have exported their formula from the Netherlands, across Europe, and on to the United States. Last month, the US Securities and Exchange Commission gave the green light to a climate resolution tabled by Follow This at the forthcoming annual general meetings of Chevron and ConocoPhillips.

The resolution asks shareholders to commit their companies to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement by adopting binding targets to reduce so-called ‘Scope 3’ emissions from their products. But why should oil and gas producers commit to invest in renewables, an industry very different from their own? And is it credible to ask the old economy incumbents to lead the energy transition?


Thursday April 29th at 1900 hours CET.

Free webinar: Register here

Please join 2nd Opinion’s free webinar with Mark van Baal, founder of Follow This, a movement of more than 5,000 green shareholders in Royal Dutch Shell and other oil giants including BP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, Equinor and Total.


It’s good timing, because…

This week, Shell published the text of its first ‘in-house’ climate resolution which the company will recommend to shareholders at its annual general meeting in May. Shell wants shareholders to vote against a climate resolution from Follow This, and in support of its own ‘new’ climate ambitions.

By asking shareholders to back its own resolution, Shell has chosen not to seek a mandate from shareholders for binding emissions targets. “This is a novelty, but it is a distraction from the serious issue of acting to curb emissions and drive renewables,” said Mark van Baal, founder of Follow This. “If Shell’s targets were Paris-consistent, we would only need one resolution.”

Please join us to interrogate Van Baal on what’s reasonable, what’s not, and where Big Oil goes next on April 29, and see below for relevant links from our archive.

Keep well. Met vriendelijke groet!




Dutch activists bring climate targets to US oil majors

Green light from Wall Street regulator signals ‘clean break’ from Trump era

Comedian, chameleon, pianist, prime minister

The making of Mark Rutte. A man of “flexible” opinion, said the Volkskrantde flexibele opiniemaker.

The price for getting clean

Oil and gas firms want subsidies for carbon capture and storage: why?

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THAT WEBINAR AGAIN…April 29 at 1900 hrs

On Thursday April 29th please join us for the first 2nd Opinion webinar to discuss Big Oil’s fast-changing role in the energy transition with Follow This founder Mark van Baal.

Register here to claim your spot