Big Oil’s bridge too far… Giant energy companies claim there’s a need to maintain the burning of fossil fuels because they provide a “bridge” to a brighter, healthier future world of renewables.

That’s bunk, according to House Democrats.

They released a trove of documents on Dec. 9 that show how the major oil companies misled the public on climate change as they barrelled ahead with plans to pump more dirty fuels for decades to come, according to Carolyn Maloney, chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform.

The documents include a Brunswick Group campaign for BP to “position the positive role of gas—in the context of advancing the transition to a low carbon future.”

The PR firm admitted three challenges that needed to be addressed.

Though gas has lower carbon than coal, it is still a fossil fuel.

Renewables dominate the debate in the future of energy.

The emergence of methane leakage during the natural gas extraction process and pipeline transportation

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and Brunswick noted that BP needed to fix the leakage problem.

One idea: use a group of employees as ambassadors to educate the media and influencers on BP’s methane reduction plans.

Congressman Ro Khanna, chair of the subcommittee on the environment, said America cannot tackle the climate crisis until we tackle the disinformation crisis.

He vowed to keep up the effort to hold Big Oil accountable for its failure to curb greenhouse gas emission.

BP, Chevron, Shell and Exxon can’t wait for the new Republican Congress to be seated in January. Their PR firms also will breathe sighs of relief.

NPR, VOA to tread lightly in the UK… The National Security Bill that is working its way through the British parliament criminalizes journalists who handle, obtain, retain or provide access to “protected information” as part of their work, if they work for organizations that receive funding from outside the UK.

That puts targets on the backs of journalists from National Public Radio and the Voice of America, if they report leaked official information.

“This worrisome legislative proposal is the latest in a long line of moves by the UK government to restrict independent reporting,” said Azzurra Moores of the Reporters Without Borders group. “The wrongful conflation of journalists as spies could have alarming consequences for press freedom.”

The bill had its second reading in the House of Lords on Dec. 6 and is now headed to the committee stage.

Lost in SPACS. FTI Consulting’s Activism Vulnerability Report for the third quarter charts the collapse of the IPO and SPAC activity that powered financial firms in 2021.

While SPAC activity was in the doldrums during the first half, that “subdued enthusiasm carried over through 3Q22, as the volume of U.S. SPAC IPOs fell to just eight listings in 3Q22, relative to 89 SPAC listings in 3Q21,” reported FTI.

Only 25 IPOs occurred in the U.S. in 3Q22, relative to 94 in 3Q21, at a total value of just $2.4 billion compared to an aggregate amount of $27.6 billion in 3Q21.

SPACs will be yesterday’s news in 2023.

Kudos for Elon. Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor-in-chief of The Economist, and Ed Carr, deputy editor, heaped praise on Elon Musk despite his “bonkers” acquisition of Twitter, during a Dec. 9 webinar in which they commented on the big stories of 2022.

Though a big fan of Elon, whom Minton Beddoes noted doesn’t even have to use his last name, acquiring Twitter “was a crazy thing for him to do” and is now a “colossal waste of his time.”

Carr said Musk will go down in history as a “transformational figure” for his role in electrifying the auto market, launching of SpaceX and establishing the Starlink satellite communications network that has been used with great success by the Ukrainian military.

The deputy editor agreed that buying Twitter was nuts but Carr brushed off much of the social media attacks on Musk as “piling on” by critics.

The war in Ukraine and China (election of Xi Jinping to an unprecedented third term and the country’s zero COVID policy) dominated the Economist's coverage in 2022.

The US midterms and Britain’s broken politics (three prime ministers in a single year) were next in line.

Hardly discussed was Europe, which Minton Beddoes lamented was “telling enough.”