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Climate and Environment

Santiago Saez Moreno
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piqer: Santiago Saez Moreno
Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Empire Oil: How London's AIM Stock Market Rules An Opaque Fossil Network In Africa

I often say that climate change is a story of injustice. Those most responsible for it won't have to face consequences nearly as serious as those with a lesser impact. It's also a story of hypocrisy, in which we sometimes encounter stories like Exxon's, but many others are left untold. That's one reason why I really value journalists who cut through the spin and greenwashing and take a look at the root of the problem. One of them is Chloé Farand, from DeSmog UK.

This story is a three-part investigation into a London-based corporate network that pulls wealth to the British financial hub through its activities in Africa which destroy both climate and environment. This business culture is incentivized by loose regulation and the ready availability of tax havens.

The first part of the series (Black Gold) takes a look at the companies operating in Africa. Don't expect BP here: These names are obscure, and many of them have faced corruption allegations in the past. This chapter also looks at the UK government's passive attitude towards these companies' opacity.

The second episode (Taking AIM) is an analysis of London's secondary stock exchange:

London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) [...] has been denounced by critics for its weak regulation and lack of means of enforcement.

It focuses on the fascinating figure of the "nomads", businesses that specialize in the due diligence and regulatory process of would-be listed companies, and whose inability to enforce rules allow a kind of "Wild West" environment.

Finally, the third part of the investigation is about the culture that enables all this. The article's title says it all: "Elite Boys Club". I found this last part the most interesting and easy to read. It's the most narrative in nature (while the other two are analytical), a sight for sore eyes in financial journalism.

This is some serious investigative journalism and a great model for other outlets to follow. Please give it a read!

Empire Oil: How London's AIM Stock Market Rules An Opaque Fossil Network In Africa
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Comments 4
  1. User deleted
    User deleted · 8 months ago

    thanks for this piq, santi!

    1. Santiago Saez Moreno
      Santiago Saez Moreno · 8 months ago

      You're very welcome! DeSmog UK has geared up in the last year or so and they're producing amazing content. Definitely, an outlet worth following.

    2. User deleted
      User deleted · 8 months ago

      @Santiago Saez Moreno ...and they adopted a telling name: DeSmog : )

    3. Santiago Saez Moreno
      Santiago Saez Moreno · 8 months ago

      @User deleted Ha! Indeed! They started in the US — as a blog!! (, and now they have professional branches in the UK and Canada, doing things like this investigation. For proximity reasons, I follow the British version more closely, but I've piqed stuff from those other two in the past.
      I really like that they still have a few very "bloggy" features, like a "links" page (which I still have to explore) -->