- Trends in Energy
- Beyond Billions
This Week's Trend In Brief:
Billionaire Michael Bloomberg celebrated the one-year anniversary of launching his “Beyond Petrochemicals” initiative to block the construction of petrochemical plants along the Gulf Coast and in the Midwest by doubling his previous $500 million investment in his “Beyond Carbon” campaign to retire remaining coal and gas facilities.
Bloomberg’s campaigns use a proven playbook, with “Beyond Petrochemicals” reshaping the fight against industry on the Gulf Coast by providing activist groups in the region with unprecedented funding, subject matter expertise, and litigation support in their fights against industry.
Delve’s Gulf Energy Monitoring Service (GEMS) has tracked over ten thousand unique instances of activism in the region since the campaign’s launch, which indicate how Bloomberg’s billions are helping Gulf Coast activists take the fight against fossil fuels worldwide.
While Bloomberg’s target may be fossil fuels, the groups he funds are also hindering the advance of green infrastructure such as carbon capture and hydrogen projects necessary to reach the climate goals.
As detailed in our latest GEMS risk snapshot, Beyond Petrochemicals One Year Later, Bloomberg is far from alone in fueling the fight against industry, and his latest commitment of $500 million is just a small part of the billions allowing activist groups to upgrade their strategies and tactics in the region and beyond.
As activist infrastructure in the U.S. gains increased resources and professionalized operations, industry representatives cannot get caught by surprise. They must fully understand the resources available to these activist groups and how they are able to shape the debate.
Last month, Michael Bloomberg pumped another $500 million into his “Beyond Carbon” campaign, which aims to shutter remaining U.S. coal plants and halt gas use. Bloomberg’s announcement came on the one year anniversary of his latest campaign, “Beyond Petrochemicals: People Over Plastics,” which is using the best and most effective components of “Beyond Carbon” to block petrochemical plants in the Gulf Coast and the Midwest. Over the past year, activists have secured “a string of victories” alongside “Beyond Petrochemicals,” and Bloomberg himself took credit for helping his campaign partners block the construction of five petrochemical plants.
“Beyond Petrochemicals” has reshaped the fight against industry on the Gulf Coast, providing Gulf Coast activists with unprecedented funding, subject matter expertise, and litigation support in their fights against industry in the region. The campaign has professionalized the operations of local activist groups in the Gulf and “hired an army of lawyers” to target petrochemical projects through litigation. Rise St. James, a prominent activist group Louisiana, used funding from Bloomberg to file a lawsuit blocking construction of a plastics facility in St. James Parish. Healthy Gulf, another notable activist group in the region, used funding from Bloomberg to launch a grants program that shares “Beyond Petrochemicals” mission to block the more than 120 proposed petrochemical projects in Louisiana and Texas. With more than 50 partners and Bloomberg’s capital, “Beyond Petrochemicals” has upgraded activists’ strategies and tactics, and even enabled them to travel beyond the Gulf to New York, Washington, Geneva, and even President Biden’s home in Delaware to make their voices heard.
While Bloomberg’s “Beyond Petrochemicals” campaign is designed to target fossil fuel facilities, the assistance it provides strengthens activist groups that also seek to halt green infrastructure such as carbon capture and hydrogen projects. The Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy was among the 500 groups that called on policymakers to reject carbon capture technologies as “a false solution,” and the Louisiana Bucket Brigade complains government support for hydrogen technologies “is actively protecting the fossil fuel industry.” Activist groups operating in the Gulf Coast that are the beneficiaries of Bloomberg’s billions will continue to target the petrochemical industry, but these same activist groups will also use the support to stymie carbon reducing projects as well, despite the needed climate benefits.
Bloomberg and his recent commitment of an additional $500 million in his fight against fossil fuels is the latest reminder of the billions are flowing to activist groups in the Gulf Coast and beyond, helping revolutionize their fights against industry. The McKnight Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and at least another nine other foundations are among the funders who have joined Bloomberg in providing the hundreds of millions to activists in the region. Jeff Bezos and his $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund has also committed millions to these groups in pursuit of environmental justice. As activist groups utilize this funding and Bloomberg’s “formidable Rolodex” to engage “a surround-sound strategy that is pursuing every single avenue” against industry, public affairs professionals and the companies they represent must follow this shifting narrative in real time and understand what it takes to ensure success in today’s operating landscape.
Delve’s Gulf Energy Monitoring Service (GEMS) has been helping public affairs professionals understand and mitigate this activism for the past year, informing strategies to rebut misinformation and overcome activism to get projects built and keep them operating. The latest GEMS Risk Snapshot, Beyond Petrochemicals One Year Later, ensures industry public affairs professionals understand fully how Bloomberg’s billions are reshaping activism along the Gul Coast and beyond, negatively impacting both traditional and renewables energy interests.
Trends in Energy is your weekly look at key trends affecting the energy industry, brought to you by the competitive intelligence experts at Delve. As the political and regulatory landscape continues to shift, reach out to learn how our insights can help you navigate these challenges.