Big Oil, Make Way for Big Solar. The Winners and Losers in Paris

  • 2016-01-25
  • Bloomberg

Saving the world isn’t going to be cheap. If you sell oil, coal or old-fashioned cars, that threatens disaster. For makers of stuff like solar panels, high-tech home insulation, and efficient lighting, it’s a potential miracle.

That’s the bottom line from this weekend’s climate deal in Paris, which commits 195 countries to reducing pollution in order to head off dangerous climate change.

Global governments and companies are counting the costs and benefits from the agreement, which calls for wholesale transformations of energy, transportation, and dozens of other lines of business. Fossil-fuel producers and countries that depend on them face massive, costly disruption. Players in up-and-coming industries like renewable power and energy efficiency are looking at an unprecedented opportunity.

“As a major oil and gas company, we are clearly at stake in these discussions," Patrick Pouyanne, the chief executive officer of French oil giant Total SA, said in Paris. But "an optimist sees in every difficulty an opportunity. I’m definitely an optimist; I have to be."

The Paris pact, which also calls for a review of ever-tightening pledges every five years, is the most significant global climate agreement ever, outstripping the 1997 Kyoto Accord in its scope and ambition. Along with Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and dozens of other top political leaders, the summit that produced it attracted hundreds of large companies eager to influence or understand negotiations that could deeply affect their future business models.

Image Credit: Unsplash By Ksenia Kudelkina