Common problem, varying strategies

Multinational corporations are not merely the problem in environmental concerns, but could also be part of the solution. The oil industry and climate change provide the clearest example of how the two are linked; what is less well known is how the industry is responding to these concerns. This book presents a detailed study of the climate strategies of ExxonMobil, Shell and Statoil. Using an analytical approach, the chapters explain variations at three decision-making levels: within the companies themselves, in the national home-bases of the companies and at an international level. The analysis generates policy-relevant knowledge about whether and how corporate resistance to a viable climate policy can be overcome. The analytical approach developed by this book is also applicable to other areas of environmental degradation where multinational corporations play a central role.

Jon Birger Skjærseth and Tora Skodvin

corporate climate strategy. As shown in chapter 2, there is reason to believe that the relationship between the companies’ home-base countries and corporate strategies is important. This link will be analysed in a comparative perspective with the guidance of the Domestic Politics (DP) model. The DP model highlights the extent of social demand for environmental quality, the type of climate policy supplied by the government, and the way in which political institutions link supply and demand, that is, the relationship between state and industry. The basic assumption is that

in Climate change and the oil industry
Open Access (free)
A social representation of scientific expertise
Warren Pearce and Brigitte Nerlich

his helpers, supporters and acolytes. Gore makes clear his frustration with inaction on climate policy from the US Congress and the then Bush administration, using this as the basis for a ‘bottom-up’ approach to spreading his message ‘city by city, street by street, house by house’. Gore explains that he has been ‘trying to tell this story for a long time’ and that he is focused 1  Gore’s presentation was developed using Keynote (Reynolds, 2007). An Inconvenient Truth 219 on ‘getting people to understand’ climate change. Clearly, this is not public education as

in Science and the politics of openness
Open Access (free)
Jon Birger Skjærseth and Tora Skodvin

climatechange regulation. In the early 1990s, the oil industry was united in its opposition to binding climate targets. A precondition for a viable climate regime is thus a change in the strategies of large multinational oil companies. Governments depend on the active or reluctant cooperation of this industry for mitigating climate change. The identification of conditions that determine how the climate strategies of major oil companies are formed may thus provide us with knowledge about the extent to which and how corporate support for a viable climate policy can be

in Climate change and the oil industry
Jon Birger Skjærseth and Tora Skodvin

entering the joint international climate commitments. We focus on the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol, and the post-Kyoto process leading up to the US withdrawal from the Kyoto agreement. Second, we search for observable influence within the two most important actors that to a large extent have determined the international commitments: the US and the EU. Notice that focus on the US is changed from domestic climate policy (chapter 5) to the development of positions in international negotiations. It is also important to note the dual role of the EU in this context. On the one

in Climate change and the oil industry
Open Access (free)
Jon Birger Skjærseth and Tora Skodvin

extremes are referred to as intermediates. This implies that the ‘indifferent’ category is excluded; our reasoning is that since oil companies make a living from the main causes of GHG emissions, climate policy is simply too important to be ignored. The ‘innovation’ category is also left out. Although interesting, it resists empirical analysis in this case, because technological innovation is so closely related to the operational purpose of the individual companies. Since an innovative strategy also tends to be proactive, we believe the category of proactive to be

in Climate change and the oil industry
Open Access (free)
Jon Birger Skjærseth and Tora Skodvin

different rhetoric or are the differences substantial? Why do the strategies of the oil majors vary and change over time, and what conditions trigger such changes? While interesting in their own right, these questions are also important for the prospects of establishing a viable international climate policy. Large multinational oil companies represent significant target groups for mitigating climate change. More than 50 per cent of GHG emissions originate from the activities of multinational corporations, and oil is responsible for about one quarter of the ‘greenhouse

in Climate change and the oil industry
Controversies regarding epistemic wagers in climate-economy models
Jonathan Metzger

atmosphere. However, an increasing number of climate economists are disputing claims about the usefulness of the IAMs in guiding climate policy. They argue that the framing of the problem provided by the IAMs is invalid because of the overflow of uncertainty produced by spurious and unwarranted assumptions that are integrated into the fundamental model structures. They further maintain that the identified cascade of uncertainties they find to be connected to the economic effects of global warming means that any results of models dependent upon these arbitrarily formulated

in Overwhelmed by overflows?
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Mark B. Brown

‘inconvenient public’ of critics who developed a ‘polemic’ counter-representation of climate change as either a complete hoax or, at best, an entirely natural phenomenon. Paradoxically, by seeking to make climate change meaningful, the film also politicised the issue in a partisan sense, linking climate change to ‘a narrow range of policy options that were anathema to US conservatives’ (p. 224). In the future, Pearce and Nerlich argue, climate policy advocates should be more open to engaging with ‘uninvited’ and ‘inconvenient’ publics, as well as a wider range of policy

in Science and the politics of openness
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Brigitte Nerlich, Sarah Hartley, Sujatha Raman and Alexander Thomas T. Smith

(bovine spongiform 2 Science and the politics of openness encephalopathy) or ‘mad cow disease’ crisis, the almost intractable disputes about the commercialisation of genetically modified (GM) foods and crops, the effects of scientific dissent on public health (e.g. the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine) and the impacts of the politicisation of climate science on climate policy (‘Climategate’). Since then, we have seen the emergence of new controversies involving the use of scientific evidence in policy (e.g. on the proposed role of dental evidence to assess

in Science and the politics of openness