A Chronicle of The Carbon War

A chronological log of events in global energy, climate change and related issues. Key events from this chronicle are distilled in the serialised front-line eye-witness account, The Winning of the Carbon War

Fossil fuels losing to renewables, CEOs want climate action, German solar sets new record, shale oil production falls in Bakken, Texas to ban bans on fracking: Week 16, 2015

Screenshot 2015-04-15 17.01.28

Carbon reserves held by top 200 quoted fossil fuel companies soar. Fossil Free Indices data show it has risen 10% in 5 years, and is concentrating in the bigger companies.
Hedge funds increasingly betting on rising oil prices. WTI has rebounded 30% since a low in March. Government now projects production dropping in June.
Fracking...

Funds perform better without fossil fuels, 100% renewables would save half a trillion a year, Saudi Arabia pumps record oil, hype of UK shale oil goes uncontested: Week 15, 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 11.20.12

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund says it won’t divest from coal. Engagement is the strategy they prefer, despite a parliamentary majority for coal divestment.
Fossil fuel-free funds outperformed conventional funds over last 5 years. Even before the oil price crop. So an analysis by the leading stock market index company, MSCI, shows.
Air...

Rig count in “financialised” US oil industry down >50%, fracking’s environmental toll ever clearer in daily breaches, Vattenfall restructures around wind, Duke goes solar in Florida: Week 14, 2015

150330 Rig count

US and Iran agree nuclear deal. Restrictions on enrichment for lifting of sanctions, details to come in June. Obama calls it historic. Israel calls it a threat to their existence.
“The US E&P business has, in effect, become financialized.” And capital continues to flow to “zombie companies” drilling shale, Art Berman laments.
Vattenfall...

Coal plants shutting down around world – incl. all 4 of Beijing’s big plants, China seeks get-out from tar sands, climate denial is immoral says US church leader as divestment pressure grows: Week 13, 2015

Coal plant

US to submit Paris plans before month end, others delay. China, India, Russia, Brazil, Canada and Australia say they are waiting until closer to a Paris summit.
US oil independents raise record amount from share sales. Small and midsize companies have sold $10.8bn of equity, with this quarter a record.
Shell hopes to produce 400,000 bd from the...

Record oil debt, bond bubble fears, solar survives eclipse, Obama unveils first federal fracking legislation and faces pushback on coal, don’t mention climate if you work for state of Florida: Week 12, 2015


“Global fund managers warn of a bond bubble”: FT. 4 out of 5 fear that overvalued asset class will collapse in a disorderly sell off.
“Oil majors pile on record debt”: FT. Oil majors have hiked borrowing 60% in first 2 months to $63bn of bonds.
“Sovereign wealth funds start to leak oil”: FT. The $7.1tn sector depends on revenue... read more...

Guardian launches divestment campaign, UN backs divestment, Pam devastates Vanuatu, global emissions flatten: Week 11, 2015

UN backs fossil-fuel divestment campaign. Support is because divestment sends a signal favouring a good outcome in Paris.
Strongest ever Pacific cyclone devastates Vanuatu. Pam is causing widespread devastation across the archipelago
Global carbon emissions flatten in 2014 on Chinese slowdown. So the IEA reports. The data... read more...

EU pledges 40% cuts by 2030, China to fight air pollution with solar, Oslo divests, UAE bank says investment will flood to renewables: Week 10, 2015

Petrobras bribes paid through Swiss banks, witness says. A former exec says he laundered c $100m through a web of accounts, including at HSBC and J Safra Sarasin.
Russia and China set to finalise gas deal later this year. A pipeline would take gas from western Siberia, giving Putin a choice of going either east or west for the first time.
Florida...

Obama vetoes tar sands pipeline, first Paris commitment in, China’s coal bubble bursting, Google’s biggest solar bet yet, another UK fracking setback: Week 9, 2015

“China’s bursting coal bubble raises fear of stranded assets”: Telegraph. A switch to clean energy is causing “dramatic slowdown” in coal demand, and peak coal.
Some upstate New Yorkers consider secession as way round fracking ban. They say they will try to join Pennsylvania.
Switzerland is first to submit...

Apple intends EV manufacture by 2020, world’s biggest PR agency quits American Petroleum Institute, traders make fortunes in oil rout, thousands of mosques go solar: Week 8, 2015


Prominent climate denier’s work was funded by energy industry. And Willie Soon did not declare the $1m+ from ExxonMobil et al in papers.
IPCC chair misses meeting due to sexual harrassment claims. Rajendra Pachauri claims his e-mail account was hacked to send in appropriate messages.
US will install air pollution...

Lowest oil & gas discovery in 20 yrs, US shale has been masking crude production fall in rest of world, global Divestment Day, big Apple solar play, Shell boss calls critics “naive”: Week 7, 2015

Discoveries of new oil and gas reserves drop to 20-year low. This is the fourth consecutive year of falling discoveries, with no discoveries of giant fields.
“BP’s battles leave it vulnerable to a major move”: FT. “If ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson really wanted to, he could snap up BP in a single bite.”
Is there a bubble...

The full Chronicle >>

Latest Presentations:

LSE lecture – The winning of the Carbon War

The presentation that accompanies the video shot at the book launch. LSE presentation by Jeremy Leggett, 2 March 2015 from jeremyleggettLSE Presentation

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Leggett’s Blogs:

Virgin Unite – The winning of the carbon war Part 2

Writer, campaigner and social entrepreneur, Dr Jeremy Leggett is the founding director of Solarcentury – the UK’s largest independent solar electric company. Ahead of the Paris Climate Summit in December, Jeremy is releasing a free-download, live series around the winning of the carbon war, with the vital final scene playedScreenshot 2015-04-07 17.56.56

More Blogs >>

Latest Interview:

PV Tech: On the changing global tide in energy.

Author, campaigner and solar energy entrepreneur Jeremy Leggett’s latest book, ‘The Winning of the Carbon War’, has just been published as a 10-part serial in the run up to the Paris climate summit in December. In a special interview, heScreenshot 2015-04-12 10.32.05

More Interviews >>

Latest Videos:

LSE lecture

The winning of the Carbon War The talk at the book launch. View the video (goes with the LSE presentation)Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 14.38.37

More Videos >>

Jeremy Leggett

Social entrepreneur: founder of Solarcentury and SolarAid so I could act as well as talk; Chair of Carbon Tracker; climate-and-energy activist-and-historian author.

Downloads and schedule

1 Mar (Chapters 1-7): 1,033 1st-31st
1 Apr (Chapters 1-12): 977 1st thru 21st
1st May to 1st Jan: monthly instalments

The Book in a minute

Latest scenes from The Winning of the Carbon War:

Park Lane Intercontinental, London, October 29th, 2014

Tony Hayward & Bob Dudley: similar pasts to me, somewhat different views of the future
Tony Hayward & Bob Dudley: similar pasts to me, somewhat different views of the future

“BP’s retreat from renewables has been so dismal to watch. After the high hopes of the Browne years came a shameless retrenchment to carbon under Tony Hayward’s leadership, notwithstanding hardening scientific evidence on climate change. Now, under Bob Dudley – who once headed BP’s solar unit – BP is on a dedicated mission to emulate ExxonMobil’s worst.”

Parliament Square, London, October 24th and 25th, 2014

Young people anguished about the future can protest. So long as they keep off the grass.
Young people anguished about the future can protest. So long as they keep off the grass.

“Modern capitalism is broken. I say this as a nominally successful capitalist. My experience has shown me that the system is suicidally dysfuntional. It is on course to destroy both itself, and more importantly the viable civilisation people of my generation have a moral duty to handover to our children and grandchildren. ….But it can be changed. It can be fixed.”

Moscow, October 14th, 2014

A gas pipeline carries Russian gas through Ukraine - for the time being
A gas pipeline carries Russian gas through Ukraine - for the time being

“’Let us be frank, in a comradely and hopefully constructive way’, I say with a smile. ‘Most of Europe is desperate to escape having to pay so much for Russian oil and gas exports, or even having to buy any Russian oil and gas’.”

New York, 21-26 September 21st – 26th, 2014

The NYPD find a novel way to deflate the carbon bubble on Wall Street
The NYPD find a novel way to deflate the carbon bubble on Wall Street

“I am often tempted to write ‘life, stranger than art’, in the pages of this chronicle. I can only get away with that cliché maybe once. Let it be here. The NYPD has found a way to deflate the carbon bubble. I mean the one twenty feet across, carried by protestors above their heads as they poured into Wall Street. The police popped it on one of the horns of the Merrill Lynch bull.”

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, September 18th, 2014

Riyadh at night. By day, no solar panel-plus-storage to be seen. Yet.
Riyadh at night. By day, no solar panel-plus-storage to be seen. Yet.

“I arrive at night, and am driven from the airport into a city lit up like a fireworks display. Six million people live here. They are burning oil in power plants to provide electricity with few constraints on waste. It is akin to shovelling their national income into a furnace, at an accelerating rate every day.”

Latest comments on the Winning of the Carbon War

  • Ed GillespieI’m enjoying ‘The Winning of the Carbon War’ - a great follow-up to ‘Energy of Nations’…and with a page-turning/cliff-hanger/yet-to-be-revealed ending to boot! (fingers crossed). Jeremy's analysis is spot-on, h...
  • Anthony SimpsonAn incredible, candid insight from a rare breed - someone who understands intimately both the workings of the fossil fuels industry, and renewable energy. It's so encouraging that we are on the cusp of an econo...
  • Gerald Prolmanbrilliant and insightful work that delivers the vital information the world needs to know and act upon.
  • Mighael VroomJeremy Leggett has helped the argument for renewables move from a moral and technological rationale to one that clearly articulates the financial and business logic of the energy transition. It is not only abou...
  • Alex HonnoldI read the first section of the Carbon War in a single sitting. The delightful writing style kept me hooked (and I had a fair amount of spare time). It's such a pleasure to see this perspective on where the wor...