I’ve talked to dozens of oil and gas executives for my upcoming book — and the more conversations I have and the deeper I get into the writing, the more I realize that every single component of your company’s energy transition strategy needs to be about people.
Both These Things Are True
Since I last wrote about hydrogen, in September 2021, interest in hydrogen as a pillar of the energy future has gained enormous momentum. The infrastructure bill signed into law by President Joe Biden in November dedicated $9.5 billion to support the hydrogen industry and prompted 14 states and hundreds of private companies to partner to apply for regional hydrogen hubs.
The definition of EJ is continually evolving, shaking up our permitting landscape, resulting in ever-changing expectations of your company. With the goalposts quickly moving and new EJ tools launched every few months, I want you prepared to engage positively and proactively. In this second part of a two-part series, I explore the tools you need, actions you can take, and — most crucially — the mistakes you should avoid so as to authentically incorporate EJ into your strategy.
Environmental justice (EJ) should be on the mind of game-changing oil and gas leaders. That’s why my colleague Anne Carto is guest-authoring today’s primer. If you thought EJ was someone else’s responsibility, read on to understand why you — like every other oil and gas leader — need to get familiar with the expectations and social risks around your company’s EJ strategy.
Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine, many energy observers have predicted that the renewed global focus on energy security means the global focus on climate change is over. My view is very different: I look at this moment as an opportunity for oil and gas leadership to respond to a range of social and financial pressures for cleaner energy — pressures that will only intensify.
Even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine and resulting tectonic shifts around energy politics, there were signs that the “divest from oil and gas” movement might be losing steam. Investors under increasing pressure to address climate change were starting to fall into two camps: (a) those who would divest and (b) those who would engage with companies to create change.
At CERAWeek earlier this month, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm spoke for the first time in their Biden administration roles about the importance of U.S. oil and gas in the context of overall U.S. energy security. Game-changing oil and gas leaders are not squandering the opportunity this rhetorical shift has created.
The oil and gas industry has entered its third year of net-zero climate commitments. Not surprisingly, these commitments are coming under increasing scrutiny from external stakeholders. Your colleagues might interpret this scrutiny as an annoying drag on their timeline for progress. I propose you instead see it as an invaluable source of perspective.