This oil crash is not like the others

Climate Change News discusses why this oil crash is not like the others. The coronavirus lockdown has dealt a savage blow to Big Oil, at a time fears of climate breakdown call the whole basis of our energy system into question.

Shell cuts its dividend for the first time since the second world war. Oil prices turn negative in the US. Supertankers of unwanted fuel stack up in the Singapore Strait.

The Covid-19 pandemic has scared the global economy to a standstill, slashing demand for the hydrocarbons that to this day are its main source of energy.

As travel restrictions begin to ease and production cuts kick in, oil prices are edging up from rock bottom. But this is not just another cyclical downturn. It is a savage blow at a time when fears of climate breakdown call the whole basis of our energy system into question.

The majority of the world’s oil and gas reserves must stay in the ground, unburned, to stop dangerous global heating. While few in the industry grasp the scale and speed of transition required, oil majors see the writing on the wall.

Will the current oil market turmoil hasten or hinder the shift to clean energy sources? Do governments need to play a more active role in managing production? What, ultimately, does this mean for the climate?

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