E-Mich - Seize the Means of Decarbonization! The role of public ownership of fossil fuel companies in tackling the climate emergency

CHAIRE HOOVER Louvain-La-Neuve

20 avril 2021

12h45 - 14h00


Mardi intime de la Chaire Hoover par Fergus Green et Ingrid Robeyns (Utrecht University)

Fossil fuel producers lie at the heart of the carbon economy. Yet standard climate policy responses engage them only indirectly—addressing only the point sources of greenhouse gas emissions under their control (e.g. methane leakages), and even then considering them as but one set of point sources among others. In the last few years, a growing body of climate governance scholarship has begun to address fossil fuel supply explicitly. In this literature, various measures to restrict fossil fuels are contemplated and explored, ranging from taxes to bans. Yet it has largely been assumed that present ownership and control over fossil fuel companies would remain unchanged. The potential for public ownership (of those companies that are currently privately owned) as a political means to the rapid and equitable phase-out of fossil fuels has been under-explored. The aim of this paper is to make a conditional case for such public ownership.