Climate Activism and the ‘Person of the Year’

The Story:

Time, a news magazine publishing  since 1923, chooses a Person of the Year (in less enlightened eras this was called its “Man of the Year” choice) every December. This year, the Time POTY is Greta Thunberg, the youngest POTY ever, a 16 year old known for her climate activism.


The announcement of the choice of Thunberg as POTY came on the same day (December 11) that Saudi Arabia staged the initial public offering of “Saudi Aramco.” This is the company that manages the Kingdom’s oil and gas fields. The Kingdom itself will maintain majority ownership and control, but in the IPO it allowed other parties to buy a piece of the (equity) action.

Only 1.5% of the equity was sold, but it fetched $25.6 billion. What does this have to do with Thunberg? Saudi Aramco is in the fossil fuels business, and the success of the IPO indicates the market expects that business to continue to be profitable for a long time.

The Thing to Know:

Climate activists like Thunberg believe that as a species we humans have to cut way back on our use of fossil fuels for energy. So far they are having more publicity than policy successes.


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