☀️ California vs. Big Oil

Tuesday, September 19, 2023 by Snacks
Drilling for liquid gold (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Drilling for liquid gold (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Drilling for liquid gold (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Drilling for liquid gold (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Sponsored by
Yesterday’s Market Moves
Dow Jones
34,624 (+0.01%)
S&P 500
4,454 (+0.07%)
13,710 (+0.01%)
$26,842 (+1.14%)

Hey Snackers,

Apple boss Tim Cook said he watched the entire third season of “Ted Lasso” on his company’s Vision Pro headset. Big Tech CEOs — they’re just like us… except they binge shows playing on streamers that they run with futuristic hardware that they made.

Stocks barely budged to kick off the last week of summer (hello, spooky szn) as investors await the Fed’s rate decision tomorrow. Traders expect a pause in hikes. Still, rising oil prices have been fueling worries of a pickup in inflation.


1. California sues oil titans, saying they deceived the public on climate change

Fossil feud… California sued ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, and the American Petroleum Institute trade association, saying that they knew the risks of fossil fuels as early as the 1950s. The suit alleges that they downplayed the danger of climate change and spread disinformation to undermine climate scientists. Picture: oil company ads with copy like “The most catastrophic thing about global warming is — it may not be true” and “Apocalypse no.” 

  • Overdue: CA wants fossil fuel companies to help foot the bill for increasingly common climate catastrophes by financing a new fund that’ll help pay for the fallout. 

  • Major natural disasters cost the US $165B last year, and CA’s drought and heat wave was the nation’s second-most-expensive disaster at $22B. 

Drilling in… Climate-related legal battles have been piling up as advancements in attribution science (aka: whodunit tools) supply sturdier evidence to bring to court. The Golden State joins seven states, 36 municipalities, and DC in suing Big Oil over climate damages. CA’s massive economy, plus its status as a major oil and gas producer, could inspire others to join in as existing cases move through slow-as-sludge courts. 

  • Not unlike: Most US states sued Big Tobacco in the 1990s, seeking damages for a deadly crisis amplified by corporate disinformation. Tobacco companies eventually settled with 46 states and agreed to pay them $246B over 25 years.


No one wants to get stuck with the climate bill… Energy companies have been accused of “greenwashing” in recent years, making climate-friendly pledges while financially depending on fossil fuels. As oil profits keep pouring in, CA Gov. Gavin Newsom emphasized that taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for the climate crisis (especially as insurance companies limit their coverage). Shell and Chevron said climate enforcement shouldn’t be decided by local courts, but through public policy.

Sponsored by LiquidPiston
Article image

A little engine more powerful than its predecessors

Rev up… For the past 15 years, a talented team of innovators at LiquidPiston has been working to disrupt engine technology for the first time since 1876. Unlike its big and inefficient piston  predecessors, LiquidPiston rotary engines deliver a patented thermodynamic cycle that achieves greater efficiency and power density. 

Accelerating… LiquidPiston has currently been awarded $30M in defense contracts and has the potential to take the lead in a $400B market for combustion engines. 

Clutch… Not only is LiquidPiston’s rotary engine capable of disrupting the aerospace and automotive industry, but it could potentially be used to power emerging tech, like green energy, robotics, and urban air mobility (think: flying cars).

Tap into this investment opportunity before LiquidPiston goes full throttle.*


2. With the UAW on strike, auto workers and carmakers buckle up for a long and bumpy ride

Clocking out… The United Auto Workers began an unprecedented strike against all of the Detroit Three automakers (GM, Ford, and Dodge-maker Stellantis) on Friday — a first in the union’s 88-year history. As the work stoppage enters its fifth day, both sides appear to be digging in for a lengthy showdown over pay and pensions.

  • Targeted: To start, about 13K of the UAW’s 145K workers are striking at three plants (one per company). Those plants make up ~9% of the automakers’ North American production, and are the manufacturing hubs of some of their most profitable whips, including the Ford Bronco and the Jeep Wrangler. 

  • Ripple effects: GM said it would likely pause work at a plant with ~2K workers because the targeted strikes were causing parts shortages. Ford told 600 workers at one of its plants to stay home, citing strike “knock-on effects.”

It’s a marathon… Negotiations are moving at a school-zone pace. Over the weekend, the UAW rejected a Stellantis proposal that would’ve boosted pay 21% over four years (the union had asked for a 36% raise). By limiting strikes to a few key plants, the UAW is stretching the lifespan of its $825M fund that pays picketing workers. While most UAW members are still reporting to work for now, the strike could be costly: industry experts say shutting down a single engine or transmission plant per automaker could idle nearly 75% of their US assembly plants.


#HotStrikeSummer is rolling into long strike fall… The UAW’s targeted strikes are a sign that the union is prepared for a lengthy showdown. Meanwhile, the Hollywood writers’ strike is less than two weeks away from becoming the longest in the union’s history. Lengthy strikes can hurt both workers and companies, but can yield industry-shifting results when one side cedes.

What else we’re Snackin’

  • Wiped: Sanitizing star Clorox said that a recent cyberattack it suffered will hurt its quarterly financial results as production disruptions continue. Hackers have been increasingly targeting big corps. 

  • NYPAY: New York state enacted a pay-transparency law that requires many employers to post salary ranges on listings. Similar laws are spreading across the US, and job site Indeed said 50%+ of listings include ranges.

  • TheMark: Hackers stole $870K in crypto from Mark Cuban (the billionaire said he likely downloaded a fake MetaMask wallet). Despite recent high-profile hacks, crypto crime was down in the first half of this year.

  • BossSam: Public-sector hiring accounted for nearly 20% of US job growth so far this year. The gov’t is playing catch-up to fill roles after millions of public servants like teachers and police officers quit during the pandemic. 

  • Deal: Five Americans that were being held as prisoners in Iran were freed in return for the US gov’t unfreezing $6B in sanctioned Iranian funds. Five Iranian citizens were also set to be released from US custody.

Snack Fact of the Day

TikTok now has a Billboard Top 50 chart of viral songs


  • Earnings expected from AutoZone 

Authors of this Snacks own shares of: Apple and GM

*Advertiser's disclosure: This is a paid advertisement for LiquidPiston’s Regulation A+ Offering. Please read the offering circular at invest.liquidpiston.com and risks related to this investment.

Subscribe to Snacks