The CEO of a fossil company with reportedly vast holdings in the British North Sea declared the climate emergency “fake” in a recent series of now-deleted tweets, the UK’s Channel 4 News revealed late last month.
Orcadian Energy claims to be working toward net-zero emissions, Channel 4 reports. But CEO Steve Brown “claimed the global drive to meet the Paris Accord target of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is ‘insane’,” the TV news outlet states.
Brown “also appeared to suggest on Twitter that Sir David Attenborough was an ‘idiot’ for the renowned broadcaster and natural historian’s position on climate change,” adds Channel 4 Scotland Correspondent Ciaran Jenkins.
“There is no climate emergency, fake emergencies are used to override debate and democracy,” Brown wrote, adding that his answer to forecasts of future oil demand was “drill, baby, drill”.
He also apparently buys the climate denial tropes that solar activity is the main source of global warming, and that carbon dioxide emissions are likely “benign”.
Citing analysis by climate journalists at Desmog UK and think tank Common Wealth, Channel 4 says Orcadian is one of a group of smaller companies that have been acquiring North Sea oil licences as bigger fossils sell them off.
“What individuals believe is irrelevant,” a company spokesperson said of Brown’s climate denial. “What really matters is the significant work Orcadian Energy has done” to make its proposed development scheme as “clean as possible”.
In a landmark report in May, the International Energy Agency said a path to net-zero emissions would require no new oil, gas, or coal development anywhere, beginning this year.
Channel 4 News says Brown accepted an invitation to take part in an on-air interview, before cancelling the engagement and deleting his Twitter account.
The Boris Johnson government in the UK is set to approve a new North Sea oilfield that would produce 150 to 170 million barrels of crude through 2050, less than 100 days before hosting this year’s United Nations climate conference, COP 26, in Glasgow.