After reading Forbes an old idea springs to mind again. I would like to see a global “future/fossil power index” being calculated. This does not have to be very sophisticated to give a sense of direction. It would look at the companies with the world’s top revenues as this indicates where we put the money to provide the services we want (or think we want). It would also indicate the lobbying capacity of the "fossil industry" vs. the "future industry" that in many cases have good reasons to slow down a transition to a low carbon economy.
First outline for the “future/fossil power index” based on Forbes top 50 list over revenues/sales
+100 for companies providing services that are reasonable sustainable and have a track record of supporting low carbon legislation/initiatives (not very many on the top 50 list)
+50 for companies that are doing more good than harm through investments and/or lobbying
0 for companies that are neutral (either with a business that is not really pushing in any direction or a company that do as much good as bad)
-50 for companies that are starting to move in a more low carbon direction and/or doing some lobbying in support of a low carbon development. But where the majority of the business is still in a high carbon area and the majority of investments still go in a direction where they lock us into a structure that making reductions more difficult
-100 for companies that still investing in high carbon solutions and either blocking or in other ways trying to stop rules and regulations that support a low carbon future.
Looking at top 50 I get the following list (based on my knowledge on the companies and rather giving a good score than a bad, so in reality we might be a little worse off, but as the rhetoric is carbon friendly in most cases I think we can get a momentum as soon as the biggest obstacles are out of the way) :
2 Companies +100
2 Companies +50
17 Companies 0
17 Companies -50
11 Companies -100
This would result in a 2008 Future/Fossil Power index of: -33
So we still have a long way to go, and I hope to follow-up this next year. Hopefully with a much better score.