Category : FFI Perspectives Toggle

Presenting the First US Broad Market Index ex Fossil Fuels

We are pleased to announce the launch of our first index, Fossil Free Indexes US (FFIUS). FFIUS is based on the S&P 500, screened to exclude The Carbon Underground 200, the world's largest public oil, gas, and coal companies ranked by the potential carbon emissions of their reported reserves. 350.org has adopted our list as the official list of the divestment movement. 0 What Else You Need to Know FFIUS is the first fossil free...

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The Existential Issue Of Our Age

"Climate risk is the existential issue of our age," warned Robert Rubin, former US Treasury Secretary and member of the Risky Business Risk Committee introducing the newly-released Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States  (June 2014). He also concluded that the actions of American business and government "are no way commensurate with the risks we face." The report is the first comprehensive effort to calculate...

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The Galapagos Islands: Energy Challenges, Successes, and Contradictions

In considering some of the challenges being faced in implementing renewable energy solutions, I began thinking of how this could be addressed in my next blog.  A recent trip to the Galapagos Islands provided me with the answer. The Galapagos Islands, one of the most unique places on Earth and the basis for Darwin’s theory of natural selection, was severely threatened in 2001 when the oil tanker Jessica ran aground and spilled approximately...

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A Doubtful Nation

Results of a Pew Research survey on perceived risks identified climate change as the top global threat, with international financial instability a close second. The survey was conducted in 39 countries among 37,653 respondents during the spring of last year. Perhaps most noteworthy among the results was the relatively lower percentage of U.S. respondents that identified global climate change as a threat when compared to the respondents of most...

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The Stranding Begins, in the Netherlands

The Groningen field, a 350-square-mile natural gas field in northern Netherlands, has its output cut by 20% by the Dutch government. According to this New York Times article, the field, which accounts for one third of the natural gas produced in the EU, is causing earthquakes of increasing intensity as the gas is extracted. The field is operated by a joint venture between ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell, the fourth- and eighth-ranked companies,...

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Gazprom and the Price of Gas in China

Chayandinskoye field (photo by Gazprom) On May 21, Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corporation announced a 30-year gas deal. The details were not made public, but a virtual parade of numbers were: two world leaders, 10 years of negotiations, 2,500 miles of pipeline, $400 million dollars, 38 billion cubic meters of gas and one third of the Carbon Underground gas reserves. OK, I added the last one, but I'm making it public now. Here's what...

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Tale of Two Fossils: Why Separate Coal from Oil and Gas

The recent introduction of The Carbon Underground 200 attracted a lot of attention and raised a couple questions. Why 200? And why two lists? Both came up several times. As for the number of companies, it seems that having ten fingers and ten toes creates an unconscious human bias for ten and its multiples. Separating coal from oil and gas, though, was a conscious decision. The underlying basis for the Carbon Underground 200 is fossil fuel...

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The Coal Conundrum 101

To state the obvious, no one wants to sit in the dark. As the demand for energy grows, the supply of energy must also grow. And the demand for energy is growing rapidly, particularly in emerging markets. Coal remains one of the most readily available and scalable energy sources. All along the supply chain, coal is generally inexpensive compared to alternative energy sources and coal fired power plants can be constructed in a relatively...

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Is Passing a Tipping Point Avoidable?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s recent AR5 Summary for Policymakers, released March 30th, 2014 included the urgent but obvious observation that "increasing magnitudes of global warming increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive, and irrevocable impacts". Despite the scrutiny on climate systems, dangerous uncertainties still abound. The report states with medium confidence and growing menace that "the precise levels of...

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The Allocated Carbon Budget

Sharp readers of "The Carbon Underground" noticed that global proven reserves and the Carbon Underground 200 both exceeded the carbon budget by a factor of nearly four and a half. Coincidence or typo? Actually, neither. The allocated or adjusted carbon budget of 123 GtCO2 for The Carbon Underground 200 represents the burnable portion of reserves likely to keep global warming under two degrees centigrade. The calculations used to reach 123...

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