Ep. 29: From Big Oil to Big Green. On the moral responsibility for the climate crisis
The coal industry in Poland has been a pillar of the national economy for years. Being at the centre of economic as well as political relations, it has to some extent imposed the framework of the discourse on decarbonisation and responsibility for climate change. Dr Marco Grasso from the University of Milano - Bicocca, among other reasons, decided to carry out a research project at the Polish Institute of Advanced Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences, which was to contribute to answering the question on the moral responsibility of, inter alia, this sector for the climate crisis. Dr Grasso tried to understand how the Polish fossil fuel regime can be exogenously ‘destabilised’ in order to increase the chances that Polish coal companies – at least the largest – move towards the satisfaction of the duties of decarbonisation and of reparation as demanded by their moral responsibility for climate change, in spite of their enduring extensive coal mining activities and of the future planned coal-fired plants.
In a book published, among others, as a result of the project “From Big Oil to Big Green” examines the responsibility of the oil and gas industry for the climate crisis and develops a moral framework that lays out its duties of reparation and decarbonization to allay the harm it has done. By framing climate change as a moral issue and outlining the industry's obligation to tackle it, Grasso shows that Big Oil is a central, yet overlooked, agent of climate ethics and policy. After making the moral case for climate reparations and their implementation, Grasso develops Big Oil's duty of decarbonization, which entails its transformation into Big Green by phasing out carbon emissions from its processes and, especially, its products.