The Climate Wrecking Industry, Part Deux: Blame the Banks for Climate Change

The Climate Wrecking Industry, Part Deux: Blame the Banks for Climate Change

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Guest ridicule by David Middleton, proud member of the Climate Wrecking Industry since 1981

Another gem from Real Clear Energy.

I couldn’t make this schist up if I tried…

Blame your bank for climate change – and demand fossil free finance

Chris Saltmarsh | 4th September 2018

Banks are just as much to blame for the climate crisis as fossil fuel companies and corrupt governments. Campaigning for fossil free finance must be the climate movement’s next step, writes CHRIS SALTMARSH

Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, Gazprom, Total, Chevron. A familiar list? More recently the likes of Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau have joined the ranks of well known climate villains.

This is the first our new fossil free finance series.

These are the companies imposing fossil fuel extraction on – disproportionately poor and Indigenous – communities worldwide and profiting from the root cause of climate crisis, and the politicians that support them. There is, however, another faction within global capitalism equally responsible for accelerating climate breakdown: banks.

Even as climate change campaigners in recent years redirect their blame away from the nebulous “consumer” and towards those who stand to profit from continued climate breakdown, banks have largely been let off the hook.

[…]

Ecologist, Setting the Environmental Agenda Since 1970

Amazingly, I think Chris Saltmarsh is his real name.  I found a Chris Saltmarsh on LinkedIn who was the Fossil Free Campaigns Coordinator for People & Planet…

People & Planet is the UK’s largest student campaigning organisation campaigning to end world poverty, defend human rights and protect the environment.

Mr. Saltmarsh has a BS in Politics & Philosophy and a brief résumé of social justice warrior-ing.

I guess the nature of banking and business in general probably wasn’t at the core of a Politics & Philosophy curriculum.

What do banks do?

What is a ‘Bank’
A bank is a financial institution licensed to receive deposits and make loans. Banks may also provide financial services, such as wealth management, currency exchange and safe deposit boxes. There are two types of banks: commercial/retail banks and investment banks. In most countries, banks are regulated by the national government or central bank.

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Banks that don’t make loans to qualified borrowers, tend to go out of business.

The banks most relevant to the Climate Wrecking Industry are “investment banks”…

What is an ‘Investment Bank (IB)’
An investment bank (IB) is a financial intermediary that performs a variety of services. Investment banks specialize in large and complex financial transactions, such as underwriting, acting as an intermediary between a securities issuer and the investing public, facilitating mergers and other corporate reorganizations, and acting as a broker and/or financial advisor for institutional clients. Major investment banks include Barclays, BofA Merrill Lynch, Rothschild , Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Credit Suisse, Citibank and Lazard. Some investment banks specialize in particular industry sectors. Many investment banks also have retail operations that serve small, individual customers.

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The Climate Wrecking Industry, like most businesses, relies on investment banks for lines of credit and the underwriting of equity offerings.  Investment banks assess the qualifications of the Climate Wrecking Industry the same way they do for other businesses: Do they have adequate assets and cash flow to pay back loans and justify the underwriting of equity offerings?  If the answer is yes, investment banks, also being businesses, have a fiduciary obligation to their owners to finance the Climate Wrecking Industry just like any other businesses.

In addition to wrecking the climate, the Climate Wrecking Industry provides the following services to the human race:

Feeds nearly half the of humans on Earth.

About 25% of US natural gas production is used as a feedstock for fertilizer production, fossil fuels contribute to the value added to our economy by farming.  The Haber-Bosch process, which manufactures synthetic fertilizer from natural gas and atmospheric nitrogen, feeds nearly half of the world population.

Trends in human population and nitrogen use throughout the twentieth century. Of the total world population (solid line), an estimate is made of the number of people that could be sustained without reactive nitrogen from the Haber–Bosch process (long dashed line), also expressed as a percentage of the global population (short dashed line). The recorded increase in average fertilizer use per hectare of agricultural land (blue symbols) and the increase in per capita meat production (green symbols) is also shown. Erisman et al., 2008

Even if one ignores the multitude of other benefits of fossil fuels, the ability to feed 48% of 7.6 billion people means that at least 3,648,000,000 people stand to gain from our continued “addiction” to fossil fuels.  While the Haber-Bosch process doesn’t “burn” much natural gas, it accounts for about 3% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

Provides 85% of the world’s primary energy.

“In 2017, petroleum products accounted for about 92% of the total U.S. transportation sector energy use.”

63% of the electricity in these United States was generated by fossil fuel-fired power plants in 2017.

Fossil fuels are the largest sources of energy for electricity generation

Natural gas was the largest source—about 32%—of U.S. electricity generation in 2017. Natural gas is used in steam turbines and gas turbines to generate electricity.

Coal was the second-largest energy source for U.S. electricity generation in 2017—about 30%. Nearly all coal-fired power plants use steam turbines. A few coal-fired power plants convert coal to a gas for use in a gas turbine to generate electricity.

Petroleum was the source of less than 1% of U.S. electricity generation in 2017. Residual fuel oil and petroleum coke are used in steam turbines. Distillate—or diesel—fuel oil is used in diesel-engine generators. Residual fuel oil and distillates can also be burned in gas turbines.

[…]

US EIA

It has been estimated that if these United States were deprived of electricity, that 90% of our population would be dead within two years.

Why banks will continue to be banks despite the nattering of social justice warriors

  1. Banks are in business to make money – That’s why they are called businesses.
  2. Banks make money by financing the Climate Wrecking Industry.
  3. The Climate Wrecking Industry keeps at least half of the humans on Earth alive.
  4. Banks also rely on humans outside the Climate Wrecking Industry to be customers.  Wiping out half of humanity would be bad for business.

References

BP. Statistical Review of World Energy. June 2018.

Erisman, J. W., Sutton, M. A., Galloway, J., Klimont, Z. & Winiwarter, W. How a century of ammonia synthesis changed the world. Nat. Geosci.1,636–639 (2008)

Superforest,Climate Change

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