This story was originally published by Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Imagine Rip Van Winkle as a climate-conscious investor. If Rip had fallen asleep after the Paris climate agreement was drafted in 2015 and woken up today, he might conclude that the fossil fuel industry is rapidly transforming itself to prepare for a carbon-constrained world. ExxonMobil TV ads tout its investments in algal biofuels, Chevron offers electric car charging at gas stations, BP spots on National Public Radio boast of turning garbage into fuel, Shell has acquired a British utility company that now sells only electricity from renewable sources, and the American Petroleum Institute claims to be leading the world in cutting greenhouse gases. Big Oil also helped design a proposal it could get behind to establish a carbon price in the United States: BP, ExxonMobil, and Shell pledged $1 million each in support of the Climate Leadership Council’s “carbon fee and dividend” proposal, and ConocoPhillips pledged $2 million. If Rip were influential in Washington, he would be barraged with digital ads for the Climate Leadership Council’s ... Read more