The big one is getting noticed.
http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable- ... ent-agenda
Craig Mackenzie of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership wrote:But one message comes across loud and clear: hydrocarbon demand is unusually uncertain and this places risk firmly on the investment agenda.
I read 'The Burning Question' recently, from the point of view of wanting to be able to recommend a decent overview of the climate change predicament to people (and yes, I will be recommending it). It's clear the issue of a 'carbon bubble' being ripe for pricking is a hugely important economic question. However, whether it will lead to a stock market crash on a similar scale to the crash the banking sector enjoyed in 2007/8, I'm not so sure. I suspect the process is likely to be more drawn out as coal is gradually vilified (in the absence of CCS), other fossil fuels are portrayed as sort-of-OK-for-now (as the article above tries to make out) and people very reluctantly get dragged toward reality. The 'politically doable', in other words.
The trouble is, there is a little graph in chapter 4 of TBQ which shows how, even with just 'proven' reserves alone, oil and gas together can take us beyond 1000 billion tonnes of CO2, far past what we can safely burn to have a 75% chance of staying below 2ºC. Allowing for uncertainty, they go on to say that recent estimates from the IEA suggest a total recoverable oil and gas resource 3.5 times greater than the proven reserves (and 20 times greater for recoverable coal). That puts oil and gas alone up to over 3500 billion tonnes of CO2, more than double the amount for even a 50% chance of staying below 2ºC. (And that's presuming we stop burning coal yesterday, stop all deforestation etc)
It is no wonder that keeping below the 2ºC target is now considered by many as nigh on impossible, though the Tyndall Centre's 'Radical Emission Reduction Conference
' next month is aiming to counter the pessimism. I do wonder whether any non Green Party political representatives will be attending.
On a slightly related note, my main employer is in the process of rolling out the government mandated pension thang for us all, unless we choose to opt out every three years. My employer has decided to use Scottish Widows to manage their auto-enrollment process, and a little bit of research left me distinctly underwhelmed about this from an ethical point of view, with SW coming bottom of Ethical Consumer
's list (admittedly from 2008). Nor do they seem to be very highly regarded by ethical investment advisers Barchester Green
. From what I have gleaned elsewhere, SW seem to think that investing in the banking sector is environmentally sound. Haha. (Well, they are part of Lloyds.)
So, I'm almost certainly going to have to forgo considerable pension contributions from my employer in order to avoid being drawn into this, something which I guess would be a step too far for most of my colleagues even if they did have ethical tendencies. Luckily, there will be a meeting with representatives from Scottish Widows next year ahead of the scheme starting up. I may make an appearance in order to ask a few awkward questions.
I note that the writer of the Guardian article Biff linked to (Craig MacKenzie) is head of sustainability at Scottish Widows. I'm not sure what his definition of 'sustainability' is, but I think it may not quite tally with mine.