Skip to comments.Climate Change is 'All about Our Money,' Big Investors Say
Posted on 05/12/2005 2:06:24 AM PDT by Einigkeit_Recht_Freiheit
UNITED NATIONS In a daylong brainstorming "summit," a dozen U.S. state treasurers and hundreds of financiers and other major investors debated ways Tuesday to pressure more U.S. companies into dealing openly with the financial risk of climate change and with ways to reduce it.
"Climate change poses a long-term financial and business risk for many of the companies in which we invest," said Connecticut Treasurer Denise L. Nappier, a co-chair of the event. "For us today it's all about our money."
Harvard University environmental scientist John Holdren gave the more than 300 participants an update on the latest climate research, saying it's increasingly clear that rising global temperatures caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse gases" would intensify heat waves, storms, floods, droughts and wildfires in the 21st century.
"After years of debate, the scientific community has arrived at the conclusion that global warming is in fact a reality," said William C. Thompson Jr., who as New York City comptroller handles $82 billion (euro64 billion) in invested assets. "Global warming is likely to result in billions and billions of losses for public companies."
Everything from agricultural productivity to the health of the global insurance industry would be adversely affected. Big investors like the treasurers, who manage state pension funds, are particularly concerned about electricity and other energy companies, which may face government-mandated cutbacks in carbon dioxide emissions, produced when they burn coal and other fossil fuels.
"If, in fact, someone invests $2 billion in a coal-fired power plant, and the laws change -- and they will change at some point -- with those changes come perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars of stranded costs," said Mindy S. Lubber, who heads an environmentally minded investors group, CERES.
Unlike most of the rest of the world, the United States has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, which mandates emissions cuts. But many view such U.S. controls as inevitable as evidence of warming mounts.
Investor groups, seeking fuller disclosure of risks, last year persuaded two Ohio-based power companies -- Cinergy and American Electric Power -- to issue reports examining the possible impacts and financial uncertainties of such regulation, as well as steps they're already taking to reduce emissions, such as switching to renewable fuels.
Cinergy has since been bought by North Carolina's Duke Energy, whose chairman, Paul Anderson, said last month his company would lobby for a tax on carbon dioxide emissions because "the time has come to act" on climate.
Summit participants also repeatedly focused on the "opportunities" represented by the climate threat -- in new energy technologies, for example. The General Electric Co. announced on Monday it will more than double its research investment in environmental technology over five years, with an emphasis on products to reduce greenhouse gases.
Thompson noted that in just 18 months a coalition of state and city officials representing $2.7 trillion in investments has formed around these issues, and North Carolina's treasurer called on his fellow heavyweight investors -- "as owners" -- to act aggressively and selectively.
"We should pick four or five companies that could make the most difference and give them a reasonable timetable," Richard Moore said. "We should tell them, `If you don't do this we will not own your stock.' We will be successful if we all stick together."
The meeting was sponsored by CERES and the Ted Turner-financed U.N. Foundation. Among the participants were representatives of major financial houses, foundations and university endowments, union pension funds and insurance companies
For those of you out there who still think climate change is a hoax, my suggestion is to stop denying and start mitigating the economic impact of carbon reduction.
If 99 people are saying the sky is yellow and you are the only one saying it is blue, even if you are right, you still look crazy.
When in comes to climate change, logic dictates that denyers can only be wrong.
This is all a bunch of crap! Enviromentalism is a joke and was created by the left to bring America to its knees.
It is is worrying to see even radio commentators supposedly on the right starting to embrace enviromentalism. I am sick and tired of government jumping through hoops trying to appease these eco terrorists.
Truth stands on its own, without nay need of such haughty, arrogant and condescending language such as the above.
Wow, rather than ask you assume it is condescending crap.
Actually what I meant was that since the climate changes regardless of the presence or activitiy of humans, no matter what denyers say or do, the climate will eventually change and they will be "proven" wrong.
Whereas if something is done, regardless of what happens, the efforts made will have either prevented things from getting worse, or make the action the reason that nothing happened.
Therefore logic clearly dictates that denyers can only be wrong.
How so? It is an event and it happened, not an opinion.
Actually your right, the problem is not the gas that we release with the use of cars etc, atleast it's not the gas that our cars produce that create the problems that are apearing
The problem is that when we release CO2, we create a minimal increase of temerature, as the gas stops and starts to reflect the heat that is released from the planet back down.
But as we increase the temperature minimaly, nature responds.
And natures responce is that it too starts to release CO2, esp. at sea the levels are HUGE, we are talking thousands of years of our release in the space of about 5 years.
More gas, more heat, more gas, more heat.
And to be honest, the oil problem the US is experiencing is really one you have created on your own, the consumation of oil that the US has surpasses all other countries to an extent that is just amazing.
We are talking the combined use of all the large European countries combined, and still you take a formidable lead.
The creation of Hydrogen engines is cruital for our own future, if you do not wish to belive any of the facts that are released then ofcourse that is your choice and you will never experience the responces that mother nature will give.
But if you think that the snow on Kilimanjaro is melting due to natural causes then you should know that nature avg. temp. rises and falls trough about ten decades and the snow there from around two ice ages ago.
This is not a conspiracy, and change is necesary, failure to addapt will have consequences, what do you want your heritage to be?
I know what I want to leave my son, and it's certainly includes the possibily to go skiing in the winter.
Welcome to the Free Republic.
Since Apr 28, 2005
You will find that there are a limited number around here who share you views on Climate Change. Of course, sometimes they argue that water isn't wet, so don't let it bother you.
What many of us have said is that the effect that humanity's actions have on the climate is negligible, at worst, more likely inconsequential..
I find it interesting that you use the term, "climate change"...
What happened to "Global Warming" ???
When we "naysayers" pointed out that global warming was the natural outcome of a swing from "global cooling", i.e., an ice age, suddenly, the term went out of use..
It was us "naysayers" that pointed out that it was warmer 1000 years ago than it is now, and that the so-called global warming was just "climate change".. a naturally occuring fluctuation in the global temperature that has been taking place for billions of years..
I have no doubt carbon emissions will be taxed..
I have no doubt that some businesses, especially energy corporations will eventually support it.
I also have no doubt that those corporations have found a way to pocket a percentage of those "fees" they will undoubtedly collect for the government...
The consumer will pay, and corporations and government will collude in profiting from a naturally occurring global climate pattern over which no one has any control..
In as little as 10 years we will know for sure whether you are right or I am..
In the meantime, I will simply accept that there is climate change and nothing I do will change it..
I will just do my best to stay comfortable..
And maybe start an orange grove here in Missouri..
Or a winery.. MO may be the new CA..
Two questions and a modest proposal:
1. What costs are acceptable, in terms of jobs and quality of life, for the actions in you advocate? I speak not just about those of us in rich countries who would only have to suffer a lower standard of living but for people in other parts of the world who would be denied the benefits of economic development in order to minimize their carbon output.
2. What about the third possible consequence, i.e. whatever we do could make things worse? We really don't have good climate models.
Read Michael Chrichton's novel "State of Fear". Although a work of fiction it has a lot of good references to items in the scientific literature that suggest that possibly anthropogenic global warming is not the scientific foregone conclusion that is is commonly portrayed as.
I've read many articles on increased solar activity playing a role in miniscule climatic change. Just enough to register here on Earth. Not that we can do anything about it, but yeah, it's enough to give voice to the most paranoid delusions of economic leftist who want to strangle industry and put a cap on econimic expanision.
Meanwhile we can only sit back and watch the show. Still, emphasis on common sense environmentalism and such is definately in our best interests. And nowadays it makes for good marketing. Nope, the environmental lobby isn't going to go away anytime soon. We'll have to deal with the nuts as well as those with a rational and reasonable arguement.
Where will that hydrogen come from?
>> I don't think any one here at FR has ever said climate change is a hoax..
I say "global warming" is a hoax.
Climate change is inevitable.
Now, let's be REALLY HONEST...
The Goods and Services the US produces with a barrel of oil "surpasses all other countries to an extent that is just amazing"...
Those technologically advanced nations, like the US do more and more with less and less, which actually reduces pollution.. which is unused, waste energy..
You want the US to cut back on oil consumption?
You want the US to cut back on emissions?
Then you want the US to cut back on the Goods and Services that you (and your children) enjoy..
I hear a cry of "For the Children" ringing in my ears..
Well here's something for your children...
If you have your way, they may not have many of the creature comforts you enjoy today..
Your kid will be able to go skiing alright.. he'll have to if he wants groceries in the winter.. because personal transportation may be a thing of the past.. and mass transportation will be tightly regulated..
He may have to spend a good part of every day maintaining his wind generators, and solar power array, methane collection systems, etc.. because public power generation is limited to prescribed hours of the day..
The same with television and radio broadcasting, use of the internet, use of high volume traffic lanes, telephone use, and other services, products, food items...
Stuff that will just not be available any longer..
And it's not just the US that will suffer from a lower standard of living..
The rest of the world benefits from our efficient productivity..
Their standard of living will decrease as well..
And all of that will have an effect on the economy.. not just the US economy but the world's economy..
But I'm sure your kids will appreciate the sacrifice you made "for the children"..
But they'll appreciate it in home-made shoes, wearing home-spun clothes, living in a 19th century society..
That is what I said..
A lot of ludicrous presumption, but good rant.
>>Hence my proposal for naysayers to work on mitigating the consequences of the apparent consensus to do something rather than keep saying there is no reason to do anything.
there are solid data on both sides of this issue. which side has the lousy scientists?
The easiest source is water aka H20, although yields are not as high as wanted.
You asked if the changes promoted by the "Greens" would really constitute a lessening of lifestyle. I submit the answer is a clear yes and people know it for a fact. Otherwise, global government treaties would not be required. Were the impacts of those changes negligible, then people would make those changes on their own, without the threat of government force.
What say you to that?
This is defeatism at its very root.
With this kind of attitude, the Wright brothers never would have built an airplane ("if man were meant to fly he would have been given wings"). We never would have landed men on the moon ("there is no way that this can be done in less than a decade").The list of examples is endless.
My friend, this is the basic difference between Americans and Europeans; Europeans will give in to popular public opinion while Anericans give popular public opinion little weight. Europeans operate with a democracy; Americans operate with a representative republic. Americans celibrate their rebels (Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Founding Fathers) - Europeans do not (they celibrate artists, authors and scientists).
I refuse to let public opinion gain any ground on the wrong side. That is why I signed the Petition Project - a collection of nearly 20,000 scientists and engineers who have signed a petition AGAINST the Kyoto protocals.
Climate change is a hoax!!!!!
...and how do you convert H2O into hydrogen?
And the energy to create hydrogen from water? Hydrogen is an energy storage system not an energy creation system. There is no panacea in hydrogen.
We can produce items that can replace the onces that we take from oil even today.
And the use of waterpower from falls or dams are very good in yield, electricity can replace most of the purposes of comb. engines, heck Diesel engines actually produce electricity for power.
I have to say I see that none of your arguments hold their grounds under scrutiny, and ofcourse lands on the list of "most used excuses" when someone just doesn't want to change their life style.
There is ALWAYS a valid alternativ to anything we are doing today that harms our own future.
Btw: What in H!LL!! is wrong with "for the children?" I actually find that quite offensive, there is nothing more precious in my life then my son, and in that I include my wife.
So if children aren't good enough argument for you, the I think you need to do the Ostrich procedure.
And the energy to create hydrogen from water? Hydrogen is an energy storage system not an energy creation system. There is no panacea in hydrogen.
I think what he wants to know is -- how will you unlock the hydrogen? Where will you get the energy required to separate the hydrogen from the H2O? The process requires more energy than what is obtained. That energy must be created somehow. Would burning oil or coal be a part of you equation? Would the carbon created by the process simply disappear on it's own?
You need to think this stuff through, or your "cure" may kill you.
Right on, but by spliting it into it's two parts H and O(x2) it becomes a valid source for energy.
Electrolysis is the method of choice here.
Hydrogen is probably the best method we could use, after all it's what power that large burning ball in the sky.
NTNU in Norway has already created a small engine that uses water to power a RC car, so it does work.
And heck, I'm all for use of oil in it self, as I stated above it's not what we do that is the primary cause of the events taking place.
And as long as Oil is as expensive and important, my country's wallet keeps getting thicker.
Once again my friend, the article is about individuals who control huge amounts of capital and have huge amounts of influence on the way decisions get made at the very top.
They are saying something is going to be done. Now, if those who want to most extreme measures implemented win while you are off shouting about how we should do nothing, your worst-case scenario will come true.
But, if you make a tactical retreat and recognize the political reality for what it is, you can mitigate the harm.
Sometimes when you lose it is best to admit it and move on.
In other words defeatism is only a term when you are still in the game. The game is over, start preparing for the next battle.
We have many valid sources of energy already, it's just that hydrogen has an imense potential for energy and cost.
Now that word has to be one that should help give you a reason to go for it
So in your magical "green" world, we should all drive cars that use diesel engines to charge batteries to run electric motors to power our cars.
We could also save energy if we all only drove our carrs downhill, but that is hardly practical.
Are you familiar with the scientific principal of "conservation of energy"? Every time you change an energy source from one form to another, you suffer losses. The more times you flip the energy sources, the more energy you waste.
I know that you understand this, but you just can't be bothered with the laws of physics when you are busy saving the world.
As for public transportation; as one of the 8% of Americans who commute to work via public transportation (and thank you to the 92% of you who help to subsidize my ride to work each day) just let me just say YES!!! Living standards DO go down when you have to use public transportation.
I spend about an hour a day getting five miles to and from work. I can drive it in 10 minutes each way if I want to pay $15 a day for parking. Even using BART, America's #1 public transit system according to JD Powers and Associates, public transit takes at least 40 minutes a day out of my life. Not to mention all of the wonderful side benefits from public transit - ranging from being crammed into an enclosed space with people suffering from about every communicable disease on earth short of a few hemorrhagic fevers, the smell left behind by the unfortunate homeless person who puked in the seat next to you last night, the not too sane gentleman who wanders from one end of the train to the other asking everyone if they know where Mary is and of course the drunk guys coming back from the baseball game who want to fight because the Giants lost again - and who are headed in the wrong direction.
Given the option of taking public transportation or paying $2300 a year more to drive myself and park, not counting gas and maintenance, I'll take the train - cheap bastard that I am. But don't think for a moment that it doesn't negatively impact my quality of life.
Sorry, end of rant. Now I have to hit the shower, then go see if anyone knows where Mary is...
Well, it looks like several other Freepers have caught on to my line of thought.
Hydrogen is not a source of energy - simply because it cannot be obtained naturally on Earth.
Hydrogen is an energy carrier. It requires energy to be made. And it takes more energy to make hydrogen than the energy that it will produce.
Yes, hydroelectic dams are wonderful. But all of the electricty that they produce are used for existing needs. And there are very few places left to build new hydroelectic plants.
Replacing hydrocarbon fuels with hydrogen fuel for automotive purposes would roughly double our need for electricity. There is no way that hydro, solar or wind power could meet that demand. Not even close.
If we are to have hydrogen cars (and as a former fuel cell engineer, I'll let you know that these are at least 20 years away), then we will need more nuclear or coal-fired power plants. Twice as many as we have now.
Hydrogen cars/buses are wonderful for specialty applications, but are horrible for general purpose use. Do not place your hopes on them as a means of helping the environment.
You missed the point, it was an example of how you use one thing to produce another.
point of interest would be that changing it from diesel to, (still f.ex) Hydrogen.
Over here there is not a single train that runs on anything but electricity, ofcourse there are exceptions due to f.ex the fact that power can go out and you need to retrive an engine on the mountain, clear tracks or in emergencies.
Hydrogen, as an energy storage medium, is one of the most expensive options. It is difficult and expensive to obtain. It is difficult and expensive to store. It is difficult and expensive to distribute.
Given all the negatives, why would it be a better choice than other forms of energy that are cheaper and easier to use?
>>>Won't people just reduce their carbon production voluntarily?>>>
That is an absurd statement. If people did things that they new were good or bad or right or wrong voluntarily we would not need government. Expecting indivudals to have the capacity to "volunteer" to change their actions to solve a macroeconomic issue has no precedent, because it cannot happen.
Perhaps you are an anarchist at heart.
If you aggregate the oil consumption of the EU as one country your consumption figures vanish into thin air. It is a intellectually dishonest statistic - Just pure rhetoric. It is abusd to rank each EU country seperately and then bans together, hands on hiips, pouting like school girls and decry US usage. It is a hoax, just like all the idiocy about GM crops. This is just another socilist hustle designed to reign in capitalism and freedom.
You cannot stop freedom, no matter how hard you try.
The day is coming when all of the European socialist dodges and hustles will be exposed. Do you think the developing world in the end will follow your model. Socialism always fails.
What will you do then?
Take a look at Latin America. That is your future.
So since we have such an ok standard of living in the western world we should just settle down and stop exploring new things?
I am glad to see Europeans joining the forum, as I am very concerned about the group think and collective we that they exhibit. Briefly stated, I think that US energy policy is market driven and moving towards innovation in lots of ways. We do not like collective, coercive government policies, and our Congress seems unable and unwilling to adopt a national energy policy, anyway.
My point being it requires energy to perform electrolysis. Hydrogen hype doesn't create that energy. When the hydrogen and oxygen are recombined that energy is released for use.
There are theoretical economies of scale in the production of hydrogen. Using fossil fuels to generate electricity to perform electrolysis to produce hydrogen for running vehicles over the direct use of that fossil fuel in vehicles MAY produce savings. The cost of new infrastructure also needs to be factored in. Like I said, no panacea.
Oh my freaking lord!
I won't even bother, keep up with what you do bro, It's giving my country a nice bank account, thats why we paid for your UN membership four time, but that probably also agrees with you since thats just another angle for us "socialists" to take over the world.
Btw, I've vote FRP my whole life, if I wanted to be a socialist I would certainly not be on this forum
The amount of energy it takes to split H2O into its respective components is precisely the amount you get when you burn those components. High school thermodynamics tells us that you *can't* do this without losing energy in the conversion process. So the best case scenario is a zero sum game, and we know that even *that* is impossible.
It's like playing on a craps table. The optimal odds are a 99% return on your money. These theories on water being an energy source are ridiculous (fusion research aside).
I'm not sure of the NTNU project you're talking about, but I'd hazard a guess that it was a fuel cell project.
What makes you think the game is over? We aren't even losing.
In this country, the last time that Kyoto was voted on, it was soundly defeated by a vote of 99-0. The President of the United States, the most powerful man in the world, is soundly against it. 20,000 reputable climatoligists/scientists/engineers have signed a document that they are against it.
30 years ago, environmentalists were telling us that an ice age was imminent. 30 years ago, they told us that the planet wouldn't be able to feed itself because of overpopulation. Time has proven them wrong. Time has discredited their fear-mongering.
We are firmly holding our ground.
No said it would be easy, my favourite car is my 63 vette, she ROARS when she runs but she drinks more gas then my wallet can take in the long run.
I'll still use her in the future, but I'd like to know that we continue to evolve and search for new sciences.
Hydrogen was also the source for the apollo's right?
Bush is a great leader, and without doubt smarter then he wants people to think (also a great tactic) so I won't go against you on anything he's said or means.
Kyoto however is not U.S.A's biggest moment of glory.
I'm seriously confused now.
Published online: 5 May 2005;
Clear skies end global dimming
Earth's air is cleaner, but this may worsen the greenhouse effect.
Hello sunshine: cleaner air could make the world warmer
Our planet's air has cleared up in the past decade or two, allowing more sunshine to reach the ground, say two studies in Science this week.
Reductions in industrial emissions in many countries, along with the use of particulate filters for car exhausts and smoke stacks, seem to have reduced the amount of dirt in the atmosphere and made the sky more transparent.
That sounds like very good news. But the researchers say that more solar energy arriving on the ground will also make the surface warmer, and this may add to the problems of global warming. More sunlight will also have knock-on effects on cloud cover, winds, rainfall and air temperature that are difficult to predict.
The results suggest that a downward trend in the amount of sunlight reaching the surface, which has been observed since measurements began in the late 1950s, is now over.
The researchers argue that this trend, commonly called 'global dimming', reversed more than a decade ago, probably following the collapse of communist economies and the consequent decrease in industrial pollutants.
The widespread brightening has remained unnoticed until now simply because there wasn't enough data for a statistically significant analysis, says Martin Wild, an atmospheric scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and an author on one of the reports.
Wild and his team looked at data on surface sunshine levels from hundreds of devices around the planet. They found that since the 1980s there has been a transition from decreasing to increasing solar radiation nearly everywhere, except in heavily polluted areas such as India and at scattered sites in Australia, Africa, and South America1.
A second study, led by Rachel Pinker from the University of Maryland, College Park, found a similar trend by looking at satellite data, although their research suggests the extent of the brightening is smaller2. Unlike ground stations, satellites can sample the whole planet, including the oceans. However, satellite data are difficult to calibrate, and so are considered less accurate than measurements from the ground.
Surprisingly, Wild's study shows a brightening trend in China, despite the fact that there is a booming, fossil-fuel-intensive industry in that country. Wild says he can only speculate that the use of clean-air technologies in China might be more widespread and efficient than has been thought.
In contrast, India's vast brown clouds of smog, which result from wildfires and the use of fossil fuels, have reduced the sunlight reaching the ground.
Just warming up
Researchers will now focus on working out the long-term effects of clearer air. One thing they do know is that black particulate matter in the air has been contributing a cooling effect to the ground. "It is clear that the greenhouse effect has been partly masked in the past by air pollution," says Andreas Macke, a meteorologist at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Kiel, Germany.
Uncertainties remain part of the game because scientists have only a limited ability to track cloud cover and particulates, says Macke. Increased cooperation in programmes such as the NASA-led International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project should help to close the gaps in our knowledge of how dirty air affects climate, he says.