John Donne Kaskey, Exxon, 15 discussed on Fresh Air
In episode five times a week, thoughts on the market. This is science Friday. I'm John Donne Kaskey in for Ira Flatow Later this hour, we'll talk about the 15 to 20% of Americans who are still in wait and see mode about getting the Koven vaccine. And we'll look at how drought in the Southwest is affecting the Colorado River basin. But first, depending on your perspective, Wednesday was a bad day to be an oil company or a good day to be a climate activist. Three major oil companies had climate change pushed higher on their agendas. Shell was ordered by a Dutch court to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, Chevron was told by shareholders To reduce not just its emissions from oil production, but also those of its customers and it Exxon's annual shareholder meeting, a small climate advocacy group managed to score seats on its board of directors. So where did these climate Koos come from? And what could come next box staff writer who Mayor or fund is here to talk about this big story? Welcome back to the program of Mayor. Thanks for having me. So I just ran through these oil companies. Story's pretty quickly Maybe you can dig into them in a bit more detail. Ah, what happened on this one Big day? Yeah, That's right. You know, the one of the biggest ones was at shell. This is major international oil company and a Dutch court ruled that essentially they have to control their greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris agreement. Now Shell did put out a plan a few years ago, saying that they were going to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. But crucially This ruling says that they have to account for what's going on a scope three, which is basically not just the emissions that they produce, but emissions that are produced from burning their product by their customers. And so that means that they have a much larger scope of responsibility here. And what this ruling will likely mean is that they'll have to actually stop, you know, combusting and also drilling for more oil, So this is a fundamental change their business model. A fundamental change. They're coming from the courts. In some ways, though, these other moves that are really shareholder based, might make even more of an impact. Talk us through those right. So these shareholder owned companies mean that you know, investors have a say in how these companies are run, and more recently, a climate activists have found that they could get a seat at the table by buying stock in these companies. And in the case of Exxon this week, Yes, there was an investment firm that literally got seats on their board, and they have two of them potentially get up to three seats. On dis is a way that they've been able to, you know, make their voices heard. Essentially, they have these big meetings at these companies are required to hold. They could make their case for why actually addressing climate change is a good business decision, but also that continue to drill for oil is a bad decision. And that's kind of what's interesting here with both conical Phillips and Chevron is that they're making the case that this is a business. Benefit to address and mitigate climate change and that it's causing harm if they don't what are some of the limitations of the power that shareholders actually have to force any change in these companies, though. I mean, the big thing is that these companies are obligated to generate a profit for their shareholders, and so anything that requires an investment up front has to translate into something that's going to generate a profit down the line. And so that business case has to be made there legally obligated to do this. They can actually be sued if they do things that are counterproductive to their shareholders. So it's really hard to make that case. But in recent years, you know with this global push for climate action, with companies coming up with their own development of technologies, and also government starting to impose more restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions. These shareholders, These activists are actually able to make a compelling business case that it makes sense to actually start addressing climate change to start diversifying the business portfolio and dealing with the world past oil. Despite all this good news for climate activists, though, it should be clear that there are plenty of big oil companies that just can't be forced to change at all through these kind of avenues. That's right. You know they these air the investor owned oil companies, right that we're talking about. But the largest share of oil production right now is being held by nationally owned oil company. So these are basically government run corporations. And for these governments, you know, particularly those around the Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia. Oil is the dominant source of revenue. They don't really have much of an alternative and because they're owned by governments, there is less opportunity for individuals and activists to get a seat at the table to try to sway their decisions. And so these companies are increasingly making up a larger share of oil production, and they're becoming harder and harder to sway. Let's move on to some covert 19 news here. Visors vaccine was approved for adolescents earlier this month and later on in the program. We're gonna be talking about vaccine hesitancy, including and parents. But in the meantime, now Madonna has some promising results for this 12, the 17 age group in this latest set of data, tell us more about what we heard. Right. The company Majorino reported this week that they found 100% efficacy and Children ages between the ages of 12 and 17 with no serious safety issues, and now they want to seek FDA approval to administer this vaccine to younger people, just like visor did. So visor had similar results. Visor has already been approved. What took Madonna's along? Well. Part of the reason is how Fizer got their initial emergency use authorization when they filed for that initial approval. They looked for approval for ages, 16 and up so they were able to vaccinate teenagers this whole time murdered. His approval was primarily for ages. 18 and older and Fizer also being a U. S biotech company..