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Divest Or Else
More Nut Job Balderdash from Supposedly Responsible Green Leaders

The UN’s climate head warned the world’s investors to heed science, divest from fossil fuel funds, and put that money towards green energy. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres supported this extraordinary demand with an old green standby: pain of climate doom and gloom. The BBC reports:

“The continued and dangerous rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is in large part the direct result of past investments in energy and mobility systems based on the use of fossil fuels,” Ms Figueres told an audience of investors and corporate leaders in New York with more than $20 trillion in combined assets. […]

Ms Figueres argued that investment decisions needed to reflect the science. Climate change, if left unchecked, could devastate the lives, livelihoods and savings of billions of people into the future.

Somebody needs to take a class in Finance 101. If there were brilliant green stock picks out there just waiting to deliver outsized returns, the world’s pension fund managers and investment bankers would be all over them like a chicken on a June bug. And if the UN climate chief doesn’t have any more practical ways to address carbon emissions than to call on accountants to declare the world’s oil reserves worthless to keep people from investing in conventional energy companies, then she needs to take a nice long rest.

The more one examines the irrational outbursts and utopian schemes of these so-called green leaders, the clearer it becomes that the leading causes of climate skepticism are dumb green ideas and the self-dramatizing shenanigans of clueless green leaders. If some of these misguided green leaders are serious about solving global problems rather than posturing, the best thing they could do for a while would be to shut up and think. And they might want to take a look at some of the ideas coming from places like the Breakthrough Institute and people like Bjorn Lomborg. Their voices matter far more to the future of our environmental well-being than the mainstream green movement.

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  • Fat_Man

    “An Impasse on Climate Change” by Gary D. Libecap (Research Fellow, Hoover Institution), January 15, 2014
    “International efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions will continue to fail until the science is better.”

    • Kavanna

      I’m not sure *which* science they’re talking about. It would be nice to have *some* science injected into what is otherwise this madness.

      Still seeing talk about “what to do about climate change” in what in many parts of the US is the coldest winter in 50 years.

      • Fat_Man


    • qet

      Also, as Via Meadia is (rightly) fond of pointing out, in recent years the US has cut its CO2 emissions by 20% without any “policy” from Congress, simply by operation of those notorious free market forces. Someone needs to remind the Greens that economics is a science, too.

  • Matt
  • qet

    Really, Greens are the new conservatives. They remain wedded to a world-view and a politics that was in the ascendant for 40 years, and now, as more and more doubt is cast on the tenets of their faith, they can do nothing but circle the wagons, double-down, launch ad hominem attacks, etc. It is they who reflexively deny science–the science that contradicts their settled dogma. The crown epithet “denier” is now theirs. The denier king is dead! Long live the denier king!

  • S.C. Schwarz

    If only President Obama read this blog…

    “Obama’s Second Term Is All About Climate Change” (see

  • Pait

    Your argument contains the assumption that the only worthwhile goal of investors is to pick stocks that deliver outsize returns. If you accept that premise, fine. If you consider that investors are people too, then perhaps you will realize that this post is beneath the standards we hold this blog.

    • TommyTwo

      Perhaps you should realize that we are talking about institutional investors who manage other people’s money. If I give my money to professional investors, I expect them to deliver returns. If they want to make the world a better place, they can do what I do and give their own money to non-profits. They could also invest their own money in green energy or set up (yet another) green fund. Neither I nor VM would have a problem with that. Our problem, which you artfully ignore, is that Christiana Figueres is declaring investment in fossil fuel funds to be practically illegal.

      • Pait

        First, no, that’s not what the quote says. Second, you agree that the only goal of investors is to maximize returns, that means, you agree with the premise of the article. That is precisely what I said: the fact that the article is only appealing to those who assume the premise makes it rather weak. I expect more from this blog.

        • TommyTwo

          “First, no, that’s not what the quote says.”

          She said institutional investors would be in blatant breach of their fiduciary duty if they ignored the ‘clear scientific evidence’.”

          “Second, you agree that the only goal of investors is to maximize returns”

          Private investors are welcome to invest in green energy, even if this will mean lower returns. Institutional investors are welcome to set up green energy funds, as long as they are upfront about it. But it is the fiduciary duty of any general fund to maximize returns in accordance with its mandate and the law. The fact that Greens, peaceniks, Muslims, BDSers, labor unions, Christians etc might not like some of those investments is irrelevant. If I entrust my money with a professional investor, she cannot without prior disclosure choose to avoid all healthcare companies with any connection to abortion.

          You may of course disagree with this, in which case I see no basis for dialogue (and no reason for VM to accommodate your viewpoint*). I sincerely wish you an enjoyable weekend regardless.

          * In the sense of meeting your expectations, not of disallowing your comments.

          • Pait

            I think we agree that once you make the assumption that the only worthwhile goal of investors is to pick stocks that deliver outsize returns, the argument stands. I expect better from The American Interest than to call “nut job balderdash” an argument just because it doesn’t start from this premise. Have a good weekend!

  • TommyTwo

    “The UN’s climate head warned the world’s investors to heed science,
    divest from fossil fuel funds, and put that money towards green energy.”

    Graphic= Condescending Wonka
    Audio = Bill Cosby’s “Right!”

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