VLOG: Too good to be true

#9 Wk 16-21

Hi. Thanks for watching this sub-1 minute vlog on this week’s forthcoming post. Also, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to register for our free webinar: Big Oil’s Big Problem. That’s on Thursday April 29 at 1900 hours CET. Register here.

Coming up

On King’s Day, Tuesday April 27, I’ll post on A wafer-thin plan, taking my cue from comments made by chief coalition-builder, Herman Tjeenk Willink. The man tasked with navigating common ground for a new cabinet is a 79-year-old former top civil servant-turned-politician who previously served as chairman of the Senate.

Willink urged MPs to commit only to an outline agreement of guiding principles rather than a detailed contract. A “wafer-thin” pact would allow more flexibility in making policies and encourage more open government, he suggested.

Whether or not the next cabinet includes a new president - Rutte IV or Kaag I - Willink’s aversion to the comprehensive plans brokered by previous coalitions went down well in parliament.

The alternative hasn’t worked well, according to a majority of MPs who feel marginalised by attempts to broker comprehensive coalition agreements behind the scenes.

Een circulaire economie

Under successive Rutte cabinets, and arguably well before, parties’ attempts to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s in a binding formula for policy has undermined parliament and is bad for democracy.

So what might a wafer-thin agreement include? One answer - posted by circular economy pioneer Guido Braam on LinkedIn - proposes a joined-up response to serial global crises.

Braam described bold ideas for buildings, energy, food and mobility in a circular economy - een circulaire economie - founded on principles of re-use, recycling, zero-waste and low carbon growth within planetary boundaries.

More from me in this sub-1 minute video update - now in portrait mode.

Happily, this ‘man on the moon’ vision does exist. You can read it here in the form of an open Google document. Anyone can comment, contribute or improve (it’s in Dutch, or let the Chrome browser plug-in translate).

So it took me a while - duh - to work out that Braam’s LinkedIn post was, alas, a spoof. He claimed that a leaked draft of an official document (working title: A Circular Economy That Connects - Een circulaire economie die verbindt) had been leaked from multi-party negotiations in the Hague.

Instead, the actual document - to which many circular economy thinkers have contributed - remains more of a dream than a policy. And more of a challenge to government than an official secret. It's no less powerful for that. The best satire is only a small step from reality.


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Activist shareholders in Royal Dutch Shell are taking their approach, honed in the Netherlands, to oil and gas companies across Europe and on to the United States. Please join us on Thursday April 29 at 1900 hrs CET for the first 2nd Opinion webinar with Follow This founder Mark van Baal.

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As I reported here, last month the US Securities and Exchange Commission gave the green light to a climate resolution tabled by Follow This, a movement of more than 5,000 investors in oil giants including BP, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, Equinor and Total.

Then, Shell announced it will table its first ‘in-house’ climate resolution at its annual general meeting in May. Shell’s board wants shareholders to vote against the binding emissions targets for 2030 proposed by Follow This, and for its own resolution which sets out ‘new’ ambitions for a ‘net-zero’ emissions by 2050. “If Shell’s targets were Paris-consistent, we would only need one resolution,” said Van Baal.

During the 2020 AGM season in Europe, up to 27% of non-government shareholders in oil and gas companies supported the Follow This resolution asking companies to adopt binding targets for so-called ‘Scope 3’ emissions from their products, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

Follow This argues that oil and gas companies can make or break the Paris Climate Agreement. But for all their brainpower and financial muscle, do incumbents really have the ‘know-how’ rapidly to scale renewables?

And is it credible for the so-called legacy players in fossil fuels to lead a clean energy transition when many new entrants with none of Big Oil’s old economy baggage are impatient to get on with building a low-carbon energy system?

Find out on April 29 at 1900 hrs CET.

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Keep well. Met vriendelijke groet!




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Please join us on Thursday April 29 at 1900 hrs CET for the first 2nd Opinion webinar with Follow This founder Mark van Baal. Your friends and colleagues are welcome too. Please spread the word.

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