The oil industry, and fossil fuels in general, has had a terrible time recently. The omens were not good after the EU’s Green Deal, and got considerably worse when Biden beat Trump. But this was really just the mood music, and was not necessarily fatal in and of itself. Fossil fuels could manage a slow decline, even as other forms of energy emerged. But the last few weeks have been dreadful for oil companies. A month ago Germany’s high court sided with activists in a landmark climate case, ruling that some aspects of the country's climate protection legislation were unconstitutional because they placed too much of a burden for reducing greenhouse gas emissions on younger generations. Then followed last Monday’s bombshell from the IEA, charting the industry’s funeral procession, and posing the question whether any further investment in oil and gas was warranted after this year. But even worse was to follow today, in a double-whammy on either side of the Atlantic as the walls of the fortress built around the oil companies themselves began to crumble. In The Hague, Shell was ordered to cut its 2030 emissions by 45% by a Dutch court, and a few hours later, Exxon lost full control of its own board, losing two board seats to rebel directors proposed by a climate activist hedge fund, Engine No. 1.
The industry will of course respond, and try to wrest back control. It may well succeed. But, what will success look like? When the fortress is breached and the infidel is inside the city walls, blending with your own troops, it may be easier to negotiate for peace than attempt to defend the perimeter any longer.
The Nordic countries are some of the most dynamic and successful economies in the world. They are also leaders in sustainability, from renewable energy, biofuels, carbon capture and storage and the hydrogen economy, circular economy business models and battery development, the Nordics are pioneers in policy design, technology development and consumer uptake. Mundus Nordic Green News is covering this transition for the international community. Every day we clip the stories of most relevance to international businesspeople and policy experts from the flow of news. We supplement these with our own opinion pieces and commentary, in English.