Fossil fuel is under pressure
Jun 29, 2021
Episode 464

Fossil fuel is under pressure

No pun intended.

The global economy runs on oil. But as Portland, Oregon, melts under a massive heat wave, the energy industry is under pressure to get away from oil and move toward cleaner, renewable sources.

Activist investors favoring renewable power snagged three seats on Exxon Mobil’s board, for example, and a landmark ruling in the Netherlands last month pushed Royal Dutch Shell to quickly reduce its carbon emissions. Chevron’s shareholders are doing the same.

“I think we’re seeing the aggregation of several tipping points that really are going to lead to significant change,” said Jason Bordoff, director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. But, he added: “As long as oil use remains unchanged or even grows, other companies are going to be there to buy the assets that those oil majors sell, or maybe increase their own production.”

For this week’s deep dive, Bordoff gives us a more holistic view of the fight against climate change and fossil fuels’ role in it. Because even as electric cars and solar batteries become more accessible, massive industries like steel and cement still run through a lot of oil. So, too, will emerging economies in Africa and Southeast Asia.

We’ll talk with Bordoff about all this, plus his experience in the Obama administration and how America can get some of its authority back on climate.

Later in the show, we’ll talk about the new COVID-19 Delta variant, and the questions — both responsible and not — about the origins of the coronavirus. Plus, we’ll hear from a listener who is struggling with a 4/10 work schedule that was supposed to make his life easier.

When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week, we’re explaining the Pride flag, Section 18 and charcoal. You can hear them all here. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.

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The team

Marissa Cabrera Senior Producer
Bridget Bodnar Senior Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer