The Tide is Turning in Favor of Saner Energy Policies

2024-02-05 14:00:12

So, as I write this post, I am being treated to howling winds blowing through Southern California. To my north, there is a rare hurricane warning for this part of the country.

A fierce winter storm fueled by a raging atmospheric river was thrashing Californians on Sunday with intense downpours, threatening treacherous flooding and hurricane-force winds − even in major urban areas.

Up to 37 million people, about 94% of the state’s population, were at risk for life-threatening floods from the storm, Accuweather meteorologists warned. The atmospheric river − like a river in the sky − is the second to pound the state in recent days, but forecasters said this storm would be the season’s most potent, particularly in Southern California.

I remember all the “global warming drought” gloom and doom, which allowed our power-hungry regulators to justify increased rates and water use restrictions. Now, there seems to be a “turning of the tide” against the climate cultists and their mandates.

I have often complained that the fossil fuel industry should stop trying to play nice with eco-activists (who will never be satisfied until every oil field is closed and every coal mine shuttered). So, I am delighted to report that one of the world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas companies has finally listened.

Exxon Mobil said Friday it will continue to pursue a lawsuit against two activist investors even after they withdrew a shareholder proposal on climate change, setting up a clash over what constitutes legitimate debate between a public company and its owners.

Exxon had taken the rare step in January of filing the lawsuit to block the shareholder measure from being voted on at its annual meeting.

In response, activist investors Arjuna Capital and Follow This said Friday that they had withdrawn the proposal, which called on Exxon to reduce its emissions.

But Exxon said it would continue with the suit, which questions the motivations of the investors and notes the rising number of resolutions being filed for corporate ballots.

“We believe there are still important issues for the court to resolve. There is no change to our plans, the suit is continuing,” Exxon said in an emailed statement.

May this be the start of a serious and much-needed counter-offensive?

But the fossil fuel industry isn’t the only one that has tried negotiating with cultists and finding that it isn’t leading to compromise, cooperation, or profits. Bank of America has begun to climb down from its No Coal/No Arctic Drilling stance.

It isn’t entirely off the ledge, but it is getting there.

Two years ago, Bank of America won kudos from climate activists for saying it would no longer finance new coal mines, coal-burning power plants or Arctic drilling projects because of the toll they take on the environment.

The bank’s latest environment and social-risk policy reneged on those commitments. The policy, updated in December, says that such projects will instead be subject to “enhanced due diligence.”

Bank of America’s change follows intensifying backlash from Republican lawmakers against corporations that consider environmental and social factors in their operations. Wall Street in particular has come under fire for what some Republicans have called “woke capitalism,” a campaign that has pulled banks into the wider culture wars.

States including Texas and West Virginia have passed financial regulations designed to ward off efforts to deny fossil-fuel companies access to banking services. In New Hampshire, state lawmakers have sought to criminalize the business principle known as E.S.G., shorthand for environmental, social and governance.

These actions have sent a chill through the E.S.G. world.

To conclude this news roundup, Volvo, an early electric vehicle (EV) adopter, has cut off funding for an EV affiliate.

It’s not the only automaker reviewing the real market conditions for EVs.

Volvo Car said it won’t provide further funding to Polestar, the electric-car maker it created with Volvo’s Chinese owner Geely—the latest EV retrenchment by the global auto industry.

The auto industry’s pivot to electric vehicles has been rocked by setbacks this year, just as a flood of new battery-powered models is hitting showrooms.

Earlier this week, French automaker Renault said it has decided to cancel the initial public offering of its electric-car unit Ampere. Ford, meanwhile, has slashed production of its electric F-150 Lightning, a pickup truck that has generated major buzz since its launch. Rental-car firm Hertz has said it was dumping about one-third of its EV rental car fleet, replacing the cars with gas-engine vehicles.

Can policymakers mandate the buying of products that simply don’t exist?

It looks like the tides have shifted against Climate Crisis/Global Warming hysteria. Hopefully, it will join all the other apocalypse agents sooner rather than later.


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