Search below for resources covering the intersection of climate engagement, social science and data analytics.
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Young Americans don’t believe the Biden administration has done enough to combat climate change or to hold oil and gas companies accountable. Young Americans particularly want to see the administration close outdated oil and gas pipelines. 64% of young Americans aged 18-34 support closing outdated oil and gas pipelines. 59% of young Americans aged 18-34 support preventing new oil drilling on federal lands and waters. 54% of young Americans aged 18-34 support halting the expansion of methane gas exports. President Biden is deeply underwater with young Americans aged 18-34. This group is twice as likely to say that Biden is doing a “poor” or “not so good” job as president (65%) as to say that he is doing a “good” or “excellent” job (32%). Biden is even further underwater with this group on his ratings for combating climate change (24% excellent or good / 59% not so good or poor) and for holding oil and gas companies accountable (15% excellent or good / 61% not so good or poor).
The United States’ Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) fails to reduce fossil fuel production or alleviate impact on environmental justice communities. Rather than set the United States on a path toward a managed phase-out of fossil fuels, the Inflation Reduction Act and the Biden administration’s policies are set to lead to a significant increase in U.S. oil and gas extraction and soaring exports. This finding makes a mockery of President Joe Biden’s claims of “climate leadership” and signals that without additional action to constrain oil and gas production, the suffering of oil and gas frontline communities will only grow. Black, Brown, Indigenous, and poor communities, especially in Appalachia, the Gulf Coast, and the Permian Basin, are disproportionately impacted by fossil fuel pollution, climate disasters, and health impacts.
President Biden’s ratings on climate and the environment have slipped in recent months among Democrats and young voters. News about the Willow project drops his ratings among Democrats further, as voters - especially Democrats - don’t want to prioritize fossil fuel projects on public lands. By a 56%-35% margin, voters say that the federal government should prioritize clean energy projects over fossil fuel projects when allowing new energy projects on public lands. By an 80%-12% margin, voters support President Biden’s original campaign promise to take action against polluters who knowingly harm the environment or conceal information regarding health risks. By a 57%-32% margin, voters support President Biden’s original campaign promise to ensure a 100% clean energy power sector by no later than 2035.
The successful Irish anti-fracking struggle offers key insights on community power building for anti-extraction movements all over the world. In 2017, community activists in Ireland mobilized a grassroots movement that forced the state to revoke fracking company Tamboran’s license and ban fracking. The first step towards defeating Tamboran in Ireland was building a movement rooted in the local community. Out of this experience, five key “rooting strategies” for local organizing emerged — showing how the resistance developed a strong social license and built community power. First, build from and on relationships. Second, foster ‘two-way’ community engagement. Third, celebrate community. Fourth, connect to culture. Fifth, build networks of solidarity. Four key political strategies include: find strategic framings; demonstrate resistance; engage politicians before regulators; focus on the parliament.
From divergence to convergence: Examining the energy transition expectations of oil and gas executives and investors
Amid a growing focus on net-zero, a recent Deloitte survey compares the expectations of oil and gas (O&G) executives and institutional investors around the energy transition. O&G companies cite a 28% average reduction in emissions over the last three years and remain confident about achieving a 50%–60% reduction in emissions by 2030. Additionally, there is a recognition that the O&G industry offers high dividend and buyback yield to investors, leading all industries with a combined yield of 8% in 2022. Although their paths toward net-zero might not be completely aligned, there seems to be a shared consensus between executives and investors on the industry’s potential to achieve its overarching goal.
The interactive map below shows the locations of proposed new and expanding oil, gas, and petrochemical infrastructure projects that were approved or announced since 2012. 457 of these projects have been built over the last decade and are permitted to release up to 136,780,765 tons of greenhouse gases per year. An additional 538 projects have not yet been constructed, but have the potential to release an additional 205,341,832 tons of greenhouse gases per year.
Environmental advocates can strengthen their argument on permitting reform by framing it as an issue of communities vs. corporate interests. Voters overwhelmingly believe that input from impacted communities should be prioritized over input from industry association groups as Congress considers changes to the permitting process for energy projects. Voters support the Environmental Justice for All Act by a greater than three-to-one margin (69% support / 20% oppose) after reading a brief description of it. By a 65%-22% margin, voters prefer that lawmakers prioritize feedback from impacted communities over industry association groups like the American Petroleum Institute when considering changes to the permitting process. By a 56%-35% margin, voters say that President Biden should prioritize permitting for clean energy projects over fossil fuel projects. Just 16% of voters believe that permitting reform should be attached to the annual government spending bill, compared to 59% who say it should be considered as a standalone bill and 10% who say it shouldn’t be considered at all.
If humanity is to survive the climate crisis, we must manage a just and orderly transition away from fossil fuels. Acknowledge the full scope of the problem. Recognize the limited scope of economic policy solutions. Accept that substantially reducing greenhouse-gas emissions presents an existential challenge for the industry. We face the challenge of managing “compassionate destruction,” in which we guide all the complex and expansive elements of the fossil-fuel sector through a just and orderly transition to a carbon-free economy. Bring about the end of the entire sector through corporate collaboration. Protect workers and avoid labor flight during transition. Overcome political and social resistance to change. Account for the full scope of the financial impact of the transition. Control the fate of products both used and unused. Protect indirect workers in related industries. Maintain justice and equity for all communities. Decommission, remediate, and repurpose dedicated infrastructure. Leverage the power of government. Overhaul business education as if people and the planet really matter.