Jeremy Leggett: Fossil Fuels are Risky Business

Jeremy LeggettJeremy Leggett, “Non-executive Chairman” of the highly influential Carbon Tracker Initiative, recently met with analysts, legislators, and climate activists (including several from and Fossil Free California) in the Bay Area. Jeremy is a tireless crusader in the quest to alert investors to the increasing risks of fossil fuel investments and the need for more capital to flow to clean energy.  Carbon Tracker provides crucial data for this quest with the “Carbon Underground 200“—a list of “the top 100 public coal companies globally and the top 100 public oil and gas companies globally, ranked by the potential carbon emissions content of their reported reserves.” Since 80% of these reserves must remain unburned in order to constrain global temperature rise to a safe limit of 2°C (3.6° F), these reserves represent “stranded assets” in a carbon bubble that could suddenly deflate.

Fortunately for keen observers of the unfolding drama of climate change activism in the run-up to the IPCC COP21 talks in Paris, Jeremy is keeping a chronicle of significant markers and key actions on his website ( The site is a treasure trove of resources, links, and observations from an climate activist who’s been on the front lines for several decades. The final chapters of Jeremy’s most recent book “The Winning of The Carbon War” will be written from the streets and conference rooms of Paris, detailing events as they happen.  The Winning of The Carbon War can be pre-ordered for January delivery; all profits go to Jeremy’s SolarAid charitable foundation.

Jeremy pointed out that when the Governor of the Bank of England recently stated that the “vast majority of [fossil fuel] reserves are unburnable” if climate change is to be limited to 2 degrees Centigrade, shivers should have been felt throughout the financial world.  But fossil fuel companies seem blind to the mounting risk of a sudden market failure for their products, and continue to invest billions of dollars each year discovering new reserves. Jeremy Leggett is a wonderful guide to the struggle for the future of our world, and is optimistic that public and private entities can exert enough pressure on the market to slow the climate juggernaut before it’s too late.