Big Oil shuts the door on Ukraine’s foremost energy campaigner

Big Oil shuts the door on Ukraine’s foremost energy campaigner

Bill McKibben writes:

You may recall that last year, days after the invasion of Ukraine, this newsletter launched the (ultimately successful) campaign to get the Biden administration to invoke the Defense Production Act to build heat pumps. Much of the thinking behind that work came from an old Ukrainian friend and colleague, Svitlana Romanko—and she’s been the inspiration for much much more in the past year, working with the EU leadership in Brussels to speed up Europe’s transition to renewable energy and pushing the UN’s global climate conference in Egypt to keep Russia’s oil and gas reserves truly locked up. She has, in other words, become a key global spokesperson in the midst of the greatest fossil-fueled conflict in decades.

But there’s one place she’s not welcome. CERAWeek is the hydrocarbon world’s biggest festival, a Davos for carbon. Energy executives gather to crow about their successes and whine about insufficient government support; government officials often gather with them, too often to offer solace and subsidy. This year is no exception: you’ve got the head of Exxon, the head of Chevron, the head of Abu Dhabi’s oil company, the head of the American Petroleum Institute. If you find gas station fumes an evocative scent, this is the place for you, especially this year: buoyed by Putin’s war, Big Oil made serious bank last year, welcome news after a decade of slumping share prices.

So maybe it was understandable that they didn’t want Romanko on hand. She was registered for the event, but apparently only because no one had checked her bio; when she arrived after the long journey in Houston, she was turned away at the door. You can see the moment in the video above. “I can’t answer why you were declined,” Unlucky Corporate Guy tells her.

But I can.

It was because she came bearing four messages: [Continue reading…]

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