Sean McElwee and Lew Daly write about the disconnect between valuing oil and gas reserves and valuing the future of our planet:
A whopping two-thirds of reserves listed on markets are potentially worthless.
Steve Waygood, head of Sustainability Research at Aviva Investors, a global asset management company, sums up the conundrum: “Valuations of the oil and gas sector still assume that they will be able to take all proven and probable reserves out of the ground and burn them. Based on credible data we cannot be allowed to do that…” So in much the same way that pre-Great Recession housing prices were based on the assumption that their values would continue to rise and homeowners would pay off their mortgages, the valuation of oil and gas companies is based on the assumption that they will be able to extract resources that must remain in the ground.
Read their piece here.
Worldwide subsidies for fossil fuels amount to a whopping $500 billion annually, according to a new report from London-based Overseas Development Institute:
They are subsidizing the very activities that are pushing the world towards dangerous climate change, and creating barriers to investment in low-carbon development.
Read about another tilted playing field here.
Econ4′s James Boyce explains why “efficiency” may be a poor basis for deciding whether to save the planet:
Source: Real News Network.
From Robert Reich’s blog:
A basic economic principle is government ought to tax what we want to discourage, and not tax what we want to encourage.
For example, if we want less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we should tax carbon polluters. On the other hand, if we want more students from lower-income families to be able to afford college, we shouldn’t put a tax on student loans.
Read his post here.
Econ4′s James Boyce on how to translate good principles into good practice:
Dani Rodrik explains how rich countries could promote development overseas:
First, a new global compact should focus more directly on rich countries’ responsibilities. Second, it should emphasize policies beyond aid and trade that have an equal, if not greater, impact on poor countries’ development prospects.
A short list of such policies would include:
- carbon taxes and other measures to ameliorate climate change;
- more work visas to allow larger temporary migration flows from poor countries;
- strict controls on arms sales to developing nations;
- reduced support for repressive regimes; and
- improved sharing of financial information to reduce money laundering and tax avoidance.
Notice that most of these measures are actually aimed at reducing damage—for example, climate change, military conflict, and financial crime—that otherwise results from rich countries’ conduct. “Do no harm” is as good a principle here as it is in medicine.
Read his piece here.
Five years ago, this picture appeared in report titled Nation Under Siege: Sea Level Rise at Our Doorstep. It depicts what would happen – and this week, did happen – as a result of a 3-meter rise in sea levels in New York City:
Was superstorm Sandy a preview of what sea level rise will bring—permanently—to New York and other coastal cities by century’s end?
Read about it here.
Bill McKibben breaks down the “new math” of global warming:
We have five times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn….
Yes, this coal and gas and oil is still technically in the soil. But it’s already economically aboveground – it’s figured into share prices, companies are borrowing money against it, nations are basing their budgets on the presumed returns from their patrimony. It explains why the big fossil-fuel companies have fought so hard to prevent the regulation of carbon dioxide – those reserves are their primary asset, the holding that gives their companies their value. It’s why they’ve worked so hard these past years to figure out how to unlock the oil in Canada’s tar sands, or how to drill miles beneath the sea, or how to frack the Appalachians.
Read it here.
Stephen Colbert finds common ground between liberals and conservatives: blame immigrants for climate change.
This short cartoon from www.capanddividend.org lays out how a cap-and-dividend climate policy would work:
Source: Cap’n Dividend.