Scientists are in full agreement that CO2 from burning fossil fuels has fundamentally altered Earth’s climate. Without action, consequences include drought, starvation, chaos and war. The Pentagon calls climate change a “threat multiplier” and a national security risk.
To avoid the worst, we must hold global warming to 2°C (we are already halfway there), by keeping about 80% of known coal, gas and oil reserves in the ground. The companies owning these assets are therefore greatly overvalued. In economic terms, it’s a “carbon bubble”. Our business community calls climate change a “risky business”, recognizing that a rapid switch from fossil fuels to clean energy is by far the safest path for our economy. The social cost of carbon is simply too high. In 2017, even stalwart conservative voices are arguing for a tax on carbon, even James Baker, and former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson.
In recent years, the industry has claimed that natural gas is a “clean bridge fuel”, since it produces less CO2 than coal. However, as NASA has confirmed, large amounts of “fugitive methane emissions” escape during harvesting and delivery of natural gas. Methane is up to 86X more potent than CO2 over a 20-year time frame, making gas just as bad as burning coal.