Pulitzer winning climate news

Elizabeth Douglass

Elizabeth Douglass writes about energy for InsideClimate News. She worked for more than two decades as a business writer at daily newspapers, including a ten-year stint at the Los Angeles Times, where she spent the last half of her tenure covering energy. Her stories followed developments in the oil market, alternative fuels, and renewable energy, and exposed long-running performance problems at California's San Onofre nuclear power plant. She also chronicled how a power company falsified data to win customer-funded performance bonuses and how oil refiners and others in California created one of the nation’s most profitable fuel markets.

While covering telecommunications, she was the first to report financial sleight-of-hand at fiber network company Global Crossing, and uncovered Pacific Bell's boiler room-style sale of add-on features. At the San Diego Union-Tribune, she co-wrote an investigative series on government contractor Science Applications International Corp. that was a finalist for the 1996 Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism.

She holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

You can reach her by email at elizabeth.douglass@insideclimatenews.org

Articles

Climate Treaty's Finances on Shaky Ground

This primer explains why faith is beginning to wane in the Green Climate Fund, designed to heal divisions between rich and poor nations.

Jul 20, 2015

Faith in the Green Climate Fund, the finance arm long believed to hold a key to achieving a global climate change accord in Paris in December, is beginning to wane.

The Green Climate Fund is supposed to be the primary distributor of tens of billions of dollars in climate aid to help the world's poorest countries deal with climate change caused primarily by the actions of others. It was designed to help heal the deep divisions between rich and poor nations that have long dimmed hopes for a meaningful global warming solution. 

More 'Green Bonds' Needed to Fund the Clean Energy Revolution

Financing the shift to renewable energy will require bonds, which are growing in popularity, but not fast enough.

Jul 13, 2015

A critical piece of the funding needed to transition to a low-carbon world—bond financing for climate-saving projects—grew by 20 percent to nearly $600 billion compared to last year, but it's still short of what's needed, according to a new report.

Optimism and Intrigue: An Insider's View of the 'Carbon War'

A Q&A with Jeremy Leggett about his new book chronicling the 'Carbon War:' 'It feels like a civil war...minus the bullets.'

Jul 6, 2015

As 200 countries prepare for a Paris gathering in December in hopes of finalizing a climate treaty that will phase out the use of fossil fuels, a tale is unfolding of political intrigue, corporate denial and intransigence, and chess-like maneuvering that will likely be told in books and research for years to come.

Jeremy Leggett, a British writer, activist and solar entrepreneur, is already chronicling the complex saga, in a free serial book that's unfolding online in monthly installments.

Exxon's Gamble: 25 Years of Rejecting Shareholder Concerns on Climate Change

Refusing to act on climate resolutions could become a costly mistake, and invite the kind of legal onslaught that cost tobacco companies billions.

Jun 8, 2015

Editor's note: This is the first of several articles on American oil companies and whether their track records on shareholder resolutions on climate change expose them to legal liabilities.

These stories also launch ICN's Climate Accountability Project, which investigates the people, companies and other groups most responsible for opposing or delaying action on climate change.

At ExxonMobil, the answer is still no.

Exxon's 25 Years of 'No:' A Timeline of Resolutions on Climate Change

A narrative chronology and detailed spreadsheet examine Exxon's consistent refusal to support dozens of shareholder climate resolutions since 1990.

Jun 7, 2015

Editor's note: This is the second of several articles on American oil companies and whether their track records on shareholder resolutions on climate change expose them to legal liabilities. Read the first story.

InsideClimate News reviewed 25 years' worth of shareholder proposals at the three largest U.S. oil companies—ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips—to see how they responded to investor concerns about climate change. 

Exxon, Chevron Reject Shareholder Measures on Climate Change Again

Continued resistance by leaders of U.S. companies is a stark contrast to BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Statoil, which supported climate resolutions this year.

May 28, 2015

Sharp differences are emerging between U.S. oil majors and their European brethren on the issue of climate change, and Wednesday's shareholder meetings at ExxonMobil and Chevron underscored the divergence as they fought all climate-related shareholder proposals and came away largely victorious.

Oil Majors Face New Pressure to Disclose Climate Risk to Investors

Investors holding $2 trillion in assets ask regulators to require transparency a day after 98% of BP shareholders demand similar information.

Apr 17, 2015

A $2 trillion group of investors will ask regulators on Friday to force oil and gas companies to provide more disclosures about climate-related risks to their businesses.

The request, backed by 62 institutional investors from the U.S. and Europe, is included in an April 17 letter to Mary Jo White, head of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The comptrollers for New York State and New York City submitted a similar letter to the commission. The letters are the latest sign of the growing concern from shareholders and others about how fossil fuel companies would fare in a world that’s shifting to low-carbon energy sources.

"We are concerned that oil and gas companies are not disclosing sufficient information about several converging factors that, together, will profoundly affect the economics of the industry," the investors wrote.

The group cited worries that carbon assets could become uneconomic—or stranded—if climate-related trends permanently undercut prices and demand for fossil fuels. Those fears are exacerbated by “excessive capital spending on high-cost, carbon intensive projects such as Arctic drilling, ultra deepwater drilling and Canadian oil sands projects," the investors wrote. 

"We have found an absence of disclosure in SEC filings regarding these material risks," said the investor group, which was organized by the sustainability group Ceres.

On Thursday, shareholders of oil giant BP reinforced the importance of such disclosures by overwhelmingly approving a measure that requires the company to provide more robust yearly climate change-related information, including data about the viability of BP projects in a low-carbon economy.

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