, 16 tweets, 8 min read
Royal Dutch Shell invited me to give a plenary talk at their "Powering Progress Together" conference tomorrow. Upon reviewing my talk slides today, however, they canceled my talk.

Too much truth for Shell 😂 @GretaThunberg
OK, here's a summary of my slides (thread). I was/am genuinely interested in having a constructive conversation with Shell and the other attendees.

But to that end I realized there were certain things I simply had say. Greenwashing isn't constructive. And there are hard truths
I planned to start off asking the audience to raise hands if they agreed with these 3 statements. (I like two-way connection)

1. I am concerned about climate breakdown
2. I am BEYOND EXTREMELY concerned about climate breakdown
3. fossil fuel causes harm
Next I briefly introduced my areas of research.

Unfortunately I'm not allowed to say where I work! (That should change once we rid congress of climate deniers, which can't happen too soon... but which requires deeper cultural shift. Climate breakdown is nonpartisan.)
Next, a few slides showing how ridiculously obvious the climate signal is, in a large variety of independent measurements (inc. glacier melt movie). As a former grav. wave astrophysicist I still marvel at this honking signal. I could have shown dozens more slides on this...
Next, a slide to put up while discussing what I'm most concerned about: seriousness of impacts, rapidity of change, permanence, and unknown unknowns.
Then I switched to activism. I'm not a policy or economy expert (though I think about both a lot), but I AM an activist, and I thought that perspective would be a valuable addition to an honest and meaningful discussion.
And we have to recognize that Shell (and other fossil fuel corporations) have NOT been good actors over the last several decades. #ShellKnew. It's an incontrovertible fact. IF... IF Shell really actually wants to start doing the right thing, they MUST own this fact first.
We also must recognize that this IS how activists see the fossil fuel industry... another incontrovertible fact... and for good reason. A bit of humor to lighten things up (doesn't come through my slides but would have come trough live!) but like any good humor, truth-revealing
I then argued that the recent surge in activism and cultural shift is only going to accelerate because it is driven by intensifying climate impacts that aren't going to remit until decades after we ramp down our fossil fuel emissions. Protest driven by physics.
In other words, I'm arguing that there's a strategic opportunity for one of the FF corporations to get "out in front" of this by really, actually doing the right thing. Otherwise, they leave themselves vulnerable to increasing economic and legal liability.
Now this is a HUGE ask for Shell, especially an actual rapid transition from their climate-breakdown-causing products. But it's time to think really big. No more #greenwashing.
A carbon fee and dividend should be part of a #GreenNewDeal, btw, for lots of reasons... INCLUDING that it would give FF corporations an "out" from their legal prime directive to put maximizing profits for shareholders literally above having a livable planet... (madness!)
But FF corporations CANNOT endorse fee and dividend, as it then makes it less likely to happen (eye of Sauron, etc.). Like the Baker-Schulz version, which was a disaster for lots of reasons... and now many climate activists distrust fee & dividend in general
Finally: Shell no doubt thinks they're the good guys. "Giving consumers what the want/need." "Powering Progress™" etc. But this kind of rationalizing is dangerous. Shell COULD be a force for climate action, but first they'd need to see themselves from e.g. @GretaThunberg's eyes
And frankly, I'm not holding my breath. Wasn't thrilled that they or the organizers canceled my talk and then attempted to say that it was me backing out. (It wasn't.) But I'm happy to have a conversation, so long as it's an honest one.
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