Year 4, Month 11, Day 6: One Of These Things…Is Not Like The Other

The Rapid City Journal (SD) runs an AP article about pension-fund managers and their fraught relationship with fossil fuel companies:

PITTSBURGH | Some of the largest pension funds in the U.S. and the world are worried that major fossil fuel companies may not be as profitable in the future because of efforts to limit climate change, and they want details on how the firms will manage a long-term shift to cleaner energy sources.

In a statement released Thursday, leaders of 70 funds said they’re asking 45 of the world’s top oil, gas, coal and electric power companies to do detailed assessments of how efforts to control climate change could impact their businesses.

“Institutional investors must think over the long term, which means that we must take environmental risks into consideration when we make investments,” New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli told The Associated Press in a statement. The state’s Common Retirement Fund manages almost $161 billion of investments.

Fossil fuels currently provide about 80 percent of all the energy used in the world. The pension funds say that because it takes decades to recoup the huge investments required for fossil fuel exploration, there’s a significant chance that future regulations will limit production or impose expensive pollution-control requirements that would reduce the fuels’ profitability.

La la la la la la la la. October 27:

It is a very subtle irony that pension fund managers are now trying to factor in the impacts of climate change on the investments under their supervision, particularly those in fossil-fuel corporations. We adults are fond of telling our children to plan ahead, to invest, to think responsibly — but has there ever been a more disastrous lack of forethought than that exemplified by oil and coal industries in their drive to burn every bit of fossilized carbon the planet can hold in a geological eyeblink, to power a complex and wasteful consumer society?

Pensions, or course, are collective attempts to prepare for future financial shortfalls — institutionalized versions of “saving it for a rainy day.” If humanity is to grow old as a species, we need to take our own advice. Planning for our posterity and thinking responsibly about the future cannot be done while investing in fossil fuels.

Warren Senders

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