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Friday, October 25, 2013

Are fossil fuels a prudent investment? Investors controlling $3 trillion want to know.

A very significant amount of fossil fuel reserves - corporate assets - that now underpin the financial might of oil, gas, coal and power companies will be unburnable if the world is to avoid catastrophic climate disruption.  Only wholesale, mandatory adoption of carbon capture and storage or carbon capture and utilization technologies on all powerplant and industrial sources can alter that very inconvenient truth.  

In light of that sobering fact, some of the largest pension funds in the U.S. and the world are asking 45 of the world’s top oil, gas, coal and electric power companies to do detailed assessments of how efforts to control climate change could impact their businesses and profitability.

The 70 funds signing on to the request control about $3 trillion in assets. The effort is being coordinated by Ceres and Carbon Tracker. 

This article sums up the situation:
Oil and coal are still wildly efficient and abundant energy sources, but the associated costs of both pulling carbon out of the ground and burning it are way, way up. This, coupled with a decreasing demand in much of the world -- cars are more efficient, alternative fuels are getting better, and there are more of them -- is a potential recipe for disaster if oil and gas companies continue to ignore the effects of a market changing along with the climate. Even today, prices have dropped in the U.S. due to excess inventory. This argument isn't from Carbon Tracker but Craig Mackenzie, one of those 70 signers, from an article he published in Responsible Investor.
How loudly will all this money talk in moving us toward a sustainable - and habitable - climate?

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