Earlier this month, some of the world’s largest oil and gas companies–and therefore, some of its biggest polluters–acknowledged that their firms must play a role in reducing the release of carbon into the earth’s atmosphere, which would in turn reduce the impact of climate change.
BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Saudi Aramco and Total made the announcement in advance of the pivotal climate talks in Paris that begin late next month and run into December. No, United States-based companies (hi, ExxonMobil!!!) signed on.
The companies that did make the pledge did not give specific commitments as part of the global effort to prevent the earth’s temperature from rising 3.6 degrees. Scientists have said that figure represents the cutoff point for catastrophe.
The companies’ move was merely the latest leading up to the Paris conference, where officials will attempt to hammer out a meaningful climate change pact.
Much of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States last month drew attention to the affects of capitalism on the environment and how a warming planet disproportionately endangers our most vulnerable citizens.
President Obama worked with the Chinese last year to come to an agreement between their two countries, the biggest emitters of carbon on the planet.
While much of the world seeks a solution of unprecedented scale, most of the people running for president and representing this country in Congress don’t even believe there’s a problem. This dichotomy is, of course, not because fossil fuel companies have given so generously to Republican politicians (oh, you’re still here, ExxonMobil!!!).
But then again, maybe it is.
BNR BOTTOM LINE: Given the track record of this crowd, we’re adopting a “deeds not creeds” approach. Or a, “we’ll believe it when we see it.” Whichever you prefer. But at least they were willing to put themselves on record acknowledging that climate change is, in fact, real and in fact, a problem.