Amidst plummeting prices for oil and coal, companies betting on risky, out-dated fossil fuels are finding themselves losing the battle for survival against the clean energy future. As oil prices continue to drag, Shell reported an 87 per cent decline in annual profits this week, leaving thousands of the company’s employees bearing the brunt. Statoil andBP have both also reported steep declines in earnings. Oil is not the only industry in trouble. In the latest blow to the declining coal industry, UK based SSE has announced plans to close three units at one of its ageing coal plants, reporting economic challenges. In Australia, unconfirmed reports show the country’s largest planned coal mine in the Galilee basin could also be facing yet more turmoil and energy company AGL has announced it is abandoning coal seam gas operations. With renewables booming – and making countries both wealthier and healthier in the process – these latest trends show there is really no reason to cling to volatile fossil fuels, and the companies getting ahead of the curve and diversifying their portfolios are already seeing the benefits. Meanwhile, those that continue to fight for fossil fuel market scraps will only face greater instability as the world transitions towards a 100 per cent renewable future.
— Greenpeace (@Greenpeace) February 4, 2016
- Replacing fossil fuels with renewables is good for business. As the outlook is increasingly bleak for fossil fuel giants, those already making the shift to cleaner energy sources are showing themselves to be ahead of the curve. 2015 saw renewable investment reach a record $329.3 billion worldwide, and continuing to support this booming industry would see a huge boost to the global economy.
- The energy transition is picking up speed; and the faster it happens, the better it is for people and the planet. Continuing to pursue dirty energy, like coal, would bring more cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory illnesses from air pollution, along with devastating health consequences from worsening climate change. Ditching dirty energy would protect people’s health – especially children and the most vulnerable – and save money on medical care and sick days.
- Strong policies will send renewables soaring. As countries move to turn the momentum of the Paris Agreement into “implementation and action,” rapidly establishing clear rules for their agreed emissions reductions would give investors confidence and let renewables thrive. This, combined with a clear pathway for climate finance, will help speed up the transition to a healthy, sustainable renewable energy future which leaves no-one behind.
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- Shell’s tumbling profits (350.org)
- Royal Dutch Shell confirms 10,000 job cuts as profit plunges 87 per cent on slumping oil prices (ABC News)
- BP shares plunge as profits halve (BBC)
- Shell, Statoil earnings decline as oil price drags (CNBC)
- Adani freezes investment in Carmichael mine until world coal price recovers (Guardian)
- Adani denies Carmichael mine on hold until coal price rises (ABC News)
- Offshore wind helps Dong Energy’s results as it moves from oil and gas (Energy Voice)
- Vattenfall reports record 2015 loss after writedowns (Reuters)
- SSE reveals plans for early closure of Fiddler’s Ferry coal plant (BusinessGreen)
Tools and Resources
- AGL press release Review of gas assets and exit of gas exploration and production
- Report: Renewable Energy Benefits: Measuring the Economics (IRENA)
- Report: Clean Energy Investment By the Numbers – End of Year 2015 (Bloomberg New Energy Finance)
- Press release: Clean energy defies fossil fuel price crash to attract record $329BN global investment in 2015 (Bloomberg New Energy Finance)
- Blog: Is 2016 the year of wind and solar? (Oil Change International)
- Another blow for coal as Vietnam signals retreat
- Coal is a harmful rock in a hard place as fortunes fade
- Renewing the economy: clean energy key to growth
- Pressure on polluters set to grow in 2016, as year starts with storms
- RT @globeandmail Shell vows more cuts as annual profit sinks on weak oil http://trib.al/MQixiLH from @GlobeBusiness
- RT @BusinessGreen SSE reveals plans for early closure of Fiddler’s Ferry coal plant http://bit.ly/1SJZUYU