March 6, 2009
Investment Managers Liable as Greenhouse Theories Unravel?
Key science risks being ignored while financial stakes rise higher and higher
I am struck by the diversity of risk analyses being carried out by investors in today’s climate change market place. Whether it’s ‘carbon’ market conferences and publications, ‘ethical investments’, insurance company projects or the activities of financial, legal and engineering institutions, it seems at first glance that they have it all covered. Many financial, political, procedural, legal and technical issues are addressed. Anything that might pose a risk to the market and the hundreds of billions of dollars being poured into one of the greatest enterprises in human history – ‘fighting’ global climate change – appears to be examined.
It looks on the surface like an investment and legislative dream come true, combining the public’s desire to ‘save the planet’ and compensate for recent stock market losses with helping corporations fulfill their ‘corporate social responsibilities’. It even satisfies the natural desire of politicians to be seen to be leading their nations to safety and a supposedly green, prosperous future.
On closer examination however, one notices something remarkable. Practically without exception, all of these organizations, many of them among the most successful and respected in the world, completely ignore the risk that the very foundation of all of these activities might be shown to be faulty. Like many of those who were caught off guard by the sub-prime mortgage crisis, those involved in the rapidly expanding climate change industry are not asking the most fundamental of questions:
• What if the science that supposedly backs concerns over carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions cannot be justified? And, even more important to the investment, legal and political community:
• What if the public at large come to believe that the whole thing is a gigantic scam? What if it becomes common knowledge that we can’t stop climate change and all of the great and glorious plans to restrict CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions are seen as a complete waste?
In these tough economic times, government regulations such as cap and trade would then be dropped like a hot potato. ‘Carbon’ credits, as well as the massive investments into reducing CO2 emissions, would quickly become worthless. Careers, companies and investors would be ruined, governments disgraced and the environmental movement set back decades as their primary crusade over the last twenty years is exposed as hopelessly misguided, or even worse, an enormous fraud.
is Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition. For the past thirteen years Harris has been working intensively with a growing team of independent scientists and engineers to promote a sensible approach to a range of energy and environmental issues. He has thirty-five years of experience working as a mechanical engineer and project manager, science and technology communications professional and media and S&T advisor to a former Opposition Senior Environment Critic. Harris has Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Mechanical Engineering (thermo-fluids and energy focus).