The Angry Clean Energy Guy on the Bank of England, the world’s capital markets; plant-based diets; stopping flying; overthrowing capitalism; mainstream media, the BBC and Shell Oil
Finance the future/www.devpolicy.org
Hi, I am The Angry Clean Energy Guy, Assaad Razzouk.
This is Episode 4 and I am so happy you’re here. Thank you. I have to say there is so much to be angry about if you are a clean energy guy. Every day, so many things happen around the world that makes me angry when I look at them with lenses colored by climate change, chaos unfolding everywhere around us and I’m especially angry because I know we can solve the climate change crisis if we were only trying – except we’re not as a civilization, as a collective, as a society, we are not. In fact, we’re doing the opposite because the climate change chaos is getting worse and so much time is being wasted. This week I’m going to rant about the entire world’s capital markets, plant-based diets, rebellion, the BBC and of course Shell oil.
THE CAPITAL MARKETS
A story was recently picked up by some news outlets that the Bank of England, so the Central Bank of the United Kingdom, warned yet again that the global financial system could be left in a bloodbath because $20 trillion of assets will be wiped out by climate change if institutions and companies fail to prepare properly, which they are miserably failing to do.
Twenty trillion dollars of our savings are gone. Poof.
According to the Bank of England, the shock could be so severe that this $20 trillion could disappear in a sudden moment when asset prices just become worthless.
Now that story made me so angry. Clearly, no one is listening. If you walked today across the trading floor of any Wall Street investment bank or City of London investment bank or one in Frankfurt or Hong Kong or Tokyo and you uttered the words “climate change”, you would most likely be either completely ignored or kicked off the trading floor with a lot of blank faces staring at you and people laughing. Why? Because the entire capital markets, that’s all of the stocks and bonds of the world combined, some $200 trillion of wealth, completely ignore climate risks in their pricing.
Okay. Maybe there’s 1% that doesn’t, but 99% just completely ignore climate risks in their pricing. What that means is when you buy a stock or you buy a bond, all the hard work that’s gone behind issuing that stock to raise money for a business did not take into account any of the climate risks involved in that business, and that’s just crazy. It’s just crazy. All these stocks and bonds or if you want me to be conservative, 99% of them are simply mispriced. They are doing the math wrong. They’re priced as if we’re living in a world with no climate change. How crazy is that and how do we change that?
Changing it is actually not that complicated. The $200 trillion capital markets are like an inverted pyramid. At the very top sits the source of all money, which is ultimately us and our savings that are managed by pension funds, government funds, endowment funds. There are not that many of them. There are not that many big pension funds and government funds around the world and all they need to do is tell everybody else that they give money to – so asset managers, banks, investment banks, etc. – to price climate risks correctly and include that in the written mandate that they give them.
That’s what they need to do, but they’re not doing it. Why? They’re just sleeping at the wheel and it’s quite nice not to do anything. When you know, you just ignore the problem and you’re worrying about something else and you can’t see the elephant in the room.
What do we need to do? These pension funds and government funds need to be sued. They need to be taken to court and the courts need to find that they’re not doing their job, that they are failing their duty to us, their fiduciary duty to protect our savings by ignoring climate risks and not including them in their mandates and in their investment analysis.
It’s not that difficult. It’s probably a three-year job. It might take three years for the courts to come down with that judgement. We just need more lawsuits against these pension funds and government funds and then the entire inverted pyramid of the capital markets will move. Climate risks will be priced and stocks and bonds will then reflect the correct math and the money will start moving where it needs to go, which is to climate change solutions and climate proof investments and changing our lifestyles so that we are all fueled by clean green energy, which is free from the sun and the wind. It’s just a three-year job and it can be completed in time to avert climate chaos.
GEORGE MONBIOT AND “OVERTHROWING CAPITALISM”
Now, the second story that made me angry this week is I saw a video by a journalist in Britain called George Monbiot according to whom what we need to do to solve climate change is nothing less than switch to plant-based diets, stopping flying (which I think he says won’t make much of a difference, and he says that correctly.) and overthrow capitalism.
And frankly, I just felt at that point that I was just wasting my time listening to that video.
I wish these armchair pontifications from the comfort of Western houses just stop. Stop preaching stuff that’s not going to happen. Stop preaching stuff that we don’t have time for. We don’t have time to switch 7 billion people to plant-based diets. We don’t have time to stop everyone flying. We don’t have time to overthrow capitalism either. It’s just not going to happen.
Now, I mean, clearly if you just think about the United States logically for a second, you’re never going to overthrow capitalism. Not in my lifetime. So stop wasting my time with solutions that don’t work. And frankly, these types of arguments and that type of noise makes it even more difficult for us to do our job solving the climate change crisis.
We spent $1 trillion or more on the Iraq war. Look where that led us. We can solve poverty in Africa and all its climate change problems for less than that amount of money. So frankly, picking up guns to overthrow governments or whatever, Mr Monbiot, is not the way forward. We need to simply work out sustainable ways for transport, for energy, for food, and we have them. We need to stop being a wasteful throwaway society and we can do that. All it takes are changes to a few government regulations. All it takes is a change to the way money is priced when it goes into bad oil, gas and coal investments. Capitalism adapts. You don’t need to overthrow it, Mr Monbiot. You really don’t. Instead, let’s focus on the practical and I would advise listening to my podcast because in my weekly episodes every week, I try to give several examples of how that can be done. Thank you.
THE BBC AND EXTINCTION REBELLION
Now my final rant of the week is about the mainstream media and in particular I’d like to pick on the BBC. Now, this is not just about the BBC. Frankly, all media is guilty of that same bias. Let me explain it and it makes me so angry. So a few days ago, London, one of the world’s greatest cities came to a standstill because of climate change protests. The entire city center came to a standstill because of climate change protests. But in all their wisdom, the BBC decided that a story about no fault evictions and another story about an ex soldier that was going to be charged with a murder in 1972 and the final series of game of Thrones, the American miniseries, were far more important stories than London coming down to a standstill because of climate change protests.
And you just kind of watched the home page and you go, “now seriously, what is going on in the head of whoever is in charge of that homepage”?. I mean this makes me angry on so many levels. Why, why pick these stories ahead of clearly the most important stories probably that week and maybe even that month? Who are the thinking heads who decide these things and what exactly do they take into consideration other than click baiting when they pick their stories. Why are these events more important than tens of thousands of people shouting from the roofs for the government to make simple changes to our rules, to our laws to solve the climate crisis?
I mean, does anyone at the BBC actually care that we are in the middle of a ritualistic kamikaze act of collective suicide?
I mean, the media has got to wake up.
Why are they still publishing oil and gas stories without a health warning, like what you see on a pack of cigarettes for example, about how what these companies are doing to the planet does to our health, all seven and a half billion of us. Why? Why are we still not prioritizing stories correctly now? Surely that must change please. Editors think, please.
LOSER OF THE WEEK
Thank you so much for listening to me, The Angry Clean Energy Guy. My loser of the week is Shell whose CEO published a story waxing lyrical about trees and trying to make more money off of carbon offsets while making enormous amounts of money off of oil and gas that’s poisoning us.
I mean, come on Shell, you should be ashamed of yourselves.
HERO OF THE WEEK
My hero of the week is Notre Dame cathedral in France because it’s a reminder that unless we take bold, rapid climate action, thousands of places of cultural heritage, some every bit as important, will be destroyed as certainly as if they burned.
I’m afraid you all should know that ecological catastrophic means among many other sufferings, the erasure of humanity; of our past and of our future.
Thank you for listening and don’t hesitate to send my way any questions you have about clean energy, climate change, or whatever you like. Stuff in the green space that makes you angry is always particularly welcome. Have a great week.
There is so much to be angry about, if you are a clean energy guy.
Every day, so many things that happen around the world make me angry when I look at them with lenses colored by the climate change chaos unfolding everywhere around us. And I am especially angry because I know we can solve the climate change crisis if we were only trying.
Each week, I will share with you a few topics that struck me and that I was very angry about – and this will generally have to do with climate change, solar or wind power, plastic pollution, environmental degradation, wildlife, the oceans and other related topics.