In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Exxon is making big cuts to its personnel, which could be close to 15% of the global workforce.
  • Protect the earth and its biodiversity or face deadlier, more frequent pandemics, says a new report.
  • A new report from Wärtsilä shows how a net-zero electricity system in the US is possible by 2035.
  • Arcadia Power is committed to making clean energy work for the planet and Americans’ bank accounts — all without changing your utility company. Sign up to receive your $20 Amazon Gift Card — *ad.

Exxon job cuts

Oil giant Exxon announced yesterday that it will cut 1,900 US employees and reduce its global workforce by as much as 15% — around 14,000 people in total. Exxon earlier this month reported that it was cutting 1,600 positions in Europe through the end of 2021. This is due to the pandemic, the lack of demand for oil, and the transition into green energy.

CNBC reported:

The company anticipates 14,000 contractors and employees to be affected by the already announced programs. As of the end of 2019, Exxon had a global workforce of 88,300, which included 13,300 contractors.

Exxon has repeatedly said that its dividend remains a priority.

This morning, Exxon (XOM) reported its third-quarter earnings. For the third straight quarter, it reported losses. This quarter it was a loss of $680 million.

CNBC reports today:

On an adjusted basis, Exxon lost 18 cents per share during the quarter while generating $46.2 billion in revenue. The Street was expecting a 25 cent loss per share and $46.01 billion in revenue, according to estimates from Refinitiv.

year earlier, the company earned 75 cents per share on $65.05 billion in revenue. During the second quarter of 2020, Exxon lost 70 cents per share on an adjusted basis, while revenue came in at $32.61 billion.

Electrek reported in March about how Exxon’s refusal to evolve isn’t working financially. As we wrote then:

If they stay on their current path of justification for refusing to emulate their European counterparts by investing in green energy and steering away from fossil fuels, it’s just financially not smart. Just ask Jim Cramer, who declared fossil fuels “done” on January 31.

In August, Exxon was removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and there has been no indication of change of direction, the way that BP has chosen to do. The penny hasn’t yet dropped at Exxon.

Pandemics and biodiversity

Twenty-two leading experts from around the world held an urgent virtual workshop about the connection between the degradation of nature and increasing pandemic risks.

The resulting report (which you can read here) states that future pandemics will do more damage than COVID-19 unless we reduce human activities that drive the loss of biodiversity by greater conservation of protected areas, according to a major new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

The majority (70%) of emerging diseases are caused by microbes of animal origin. These microbes “spill over” due to contact among wildlife, livestock, and people.

Dr. Peter Daszak, a zoologist, and president of EcoHealth Alliance and chair of the IPBES workshop, said:

There is no great mystery about the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic — or of any modern pandemic.

The same human activities that drive climate change and biodiversity loss also drive pandemic risk through their impacts on our environment. Changes in the way we use land; the expansion and intensification of agriculture; and unsustainable trade, production, and consumption disrupt nature and increase contact between wildlife, livestock, pathogens, and people. This is the path to pandemics.

In other words, we’ve got to stop doing things that result in biodiversity loss, such as deforestation and wildlife trade.

US potential in green energy

A new report from global technology company Wärtsilä, “Aligning Stimulus with Energy Transformation,” has modeled scenarios where key G20 countries, including the US and the UK, focus their entire current stimulus packages for energy on cost-optimally increasing green energy, aligning economic recovery with decarbonization. 

For example, in the US, if all of the current stimulus money going to fossil fuels ($72 billion) was allocated to advance green energy, the country could achieve more than 100 GW of new capacity. This could result in over 500,000 new green energy jobs — 175% more new jobs than if the stimulus was focused on fossil fuels.

Wärtsilä modeled a scenario for a net-zero electricity sector for the US by 2035. The model demonstrates that a cost-optimal, carbon-neutral power system could be achieved with 1,700 GW of new wind and solar, supported by battery energy storage and flexible gas-fired power capacity operating on renewable bio- or synthetic fuels. The system could create 8.7 million jobs in green energy alone and would cost around $1.7 trillion. In other words, it’s achievable.

You can read the full report here.

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