The Death Of Fossil Fuels

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Woodchopper
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Apr 29, 2020 7:44 am

jdc wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 9:43 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sat Apr 25, 2020 9:54 pm
Most men in the street don't manage investment portfolios, or even have them really..

The economic and social damage from the loss of a single sector is nothing compared with what will come from climate change.

Obviously the workers in the sector need retraining and new jobs, which is why all the big political plans (the USA Green New Deal and the European Green Deal, for instance) include just transition funds.

But the sector's gotta go asap.

Or have I misunderstood you?
It was your celebration of people losing money that bothered me a little; I suspect the number of ordinary men and women with investments is higher than you think. Rather than cheering when they lose out, I'd prefer to see something more dull-and-worthy like raising people's awareness of where money may be invested, maybe encouraging people to ask questions of the folk managing their money. (It's probably all being put into companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon but if you don't ask then you don't know for sure that none of it's ending up in, say, arms manufacturing or big tobacco or whatever.)

Re most normal people not managing investment portfolios - obv this is true and maybe I was thinking of 'investors' as the people with savings while you were using the term to refer to the people who were deciding where that money should go.

Re most people not having investment portfolios - aiui it's not just hedge funds and unit trusts that need to be considered it's also pensions, stocks & shares ISAs and probably umpteen other things. I might be underestimating how unusual I am here but I earn £750 a month and live in a shoebox and even I have a pension, a S&S ISA, and a few quid in a unit trust or summat. With things like people being auto-enrolled on workplace pensions now, and various investment products like unit trusts/oeic being advertised directly to people by those reassuring and cuddly types at building societies (that's how I ended up with mine) I'd be surprised if people with spare cash didn't tend to invest at least some of it rather than splashing it all on trinkets and baubles from Amazon. I'm not even sure whether the money in my basic savings account is guilt-free, come to that - f.ck knows who the bank's lending that to behind my back.
We’ve discussed this before. As far as I remember a majority of adults in Britain have a private or occupational pension.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Millennie Al » Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:14 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 9:54 pm
People have been touting individualistic solutions like choosing ethical investments for decades, yet here we are.
That's because people cannot agree on what is "ethical" and even if they could, would probably be incapable of deciding whether a specific investment was ethical or not. Note that for a true definition of "ethical", an investment is ethical or not depending on the full consequences of the investment - intended and unintended - not just a superficial appearance.

To take an example, is it ethical to invest in UK gilts (government bonds)? If the UK were a company, it would presumably be evaluated based on what it does with the money raised, which historically includes a significant amount of military action which has resulted in many deaths. Would you invest in a company which did that?
Most funds that normal people depend on will be diversified across various sectors, including fossil fuels but also other mining, weapons, technology, etcetera. So I tend to assume that the fossil fuel sector isn't large enough that its demise will affect the man in the street more than pollution, flooding, agricultural instability and civil unrest will.
Since the vast majority of the world's products are heavily reliant on fossil fuels (particularly for vehicles transporting raw materials and delivering finished goods), a sudden demise of the fossil fuel industry would cause such serious effects that the most severe Covid-19 would look like a holiday in comparison. For example, the UK's electricity supply would fall to well under half, people's gas cookers and central heating would stop working, and less than 1% of people's cars would work. This would at the very least result in mass starvation and could possibly threaten the very existence of modern civilisation.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri May 01, 2020 9:07 pm

Millennie Al wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:14 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 9:54 pm
People have been touting individualistic solutions like choosing ethical investments for decades, yet here we are.
That's because people cannot agree on what is "ethical" and even if they could, would probably be incapable of deciding whether a specific investment was ethical or not. Note that for a true definition of "ethical", an investment is ethical or not depending on the full consequences of the investment - intended and unintended - not just a superficial appearance.
Obviously moral codes vary, but there's more to it than that. Products that deliberately don't invest in obviously unethical stocks like tobacco, arms and fossil fuels have existed for decades, but uptake of them has been slow and small. That on its own doesn't seem capable of bringing down an industry if at the same time the big players, with far more capital to invest, continue to support those industries.

Rather than convincing individuals to switch their personal banking, campaigning tends to focus on convincing entire institutions to swap their investments, pension schemes etc away from contentious products like fossil fuels.
Millennie Al wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:14 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 9:54 pm
Most funds that normal people depend on will be diversified across various sectors, including fossil fuels but also other mining, weapons, technology, etcetera. So I tend to assume that the fossil fuel sector isn't large enough that its demise will affect the man in the street more than pollution, flooding, agricultural instability and civil unrest will.
Since the vast majority of the world's products are heavily reliant on fossil fuels (particularly for vehicles transporting raw materials and delivering finished goods), a sudden demise of the fossil fuel industry would cause such serious effects that the most severe Covid-19 would look like a holiday in comparison. For example, the UK's electricity supply would fall to well under half, people's gas cookers and central heating would stop working, and less than 1% of people's cars would work. This would at the very least result in mass starvation and could possibly threaten the very existence of modern civilisation.
Yes, obviously if the entire fossil energy sector disappeared overnight without anything to replace it that would be a bad thing, but as we're discussing investments in the sector proving to be unprofitable because more economic alternatives already exist (despite the failure of the marketplace to consider externalities) I'm not sure how germane this observation is.

Even the economic status quo is producing the necessary changes despite politicians' continuing to defend and subsidise the fossil sector. If they were instead taking things like climate change and respiratory conditions as seriously as people want them to, those trends would be rapidly accelerated. Unfortunately, the sector currently has enough money and therefore power to keep enough politicians onside, but that is slowly changing. But with every bust investment their power diminishes, which is good news.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Millennie Al » Sat May 02, 2020 1:28 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri May 01, 2020 9:07 pm
Millennie Al wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:14 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 9:54 pm
People have been touting individualistic solutions like choosing ethical investments for decades, yet here we are.
That's because people cannot agree on what is "ethical" and even if they could, would probably be incapable of deciding whether a specific investment was ethical or not. Note that for a true definition of "ethical", an investment is ethical or not depending on the full consequences of the investment - intended and unintended - not just a superficial appearance.
Obviously moral codes vary, but there's more to it than that. Products that deliberately don't invest in obviously unethical stocks like tobacco, arms and fossil fuels have existed for decades, but uptake of them has been slow and small.
It is interesting that you mention tobacco. That's probably a good example of how the superficial view gets the wrong answer. As we can see from other substances which are desired but banned, refusal to allow people what they want results in far more harm than permitting it.
That on its own doesn't seem capable of bringing down an industry if at the same time the big players, with far more capital to invest, continue to support those industries.

Rather than convincing individuals to switch their personal banking, campaigning tends to focus on convincing entire institutions to swap their investments, pension schemes etc away from contentious products like fossil fuels.
Be careful what you wish for. If a small number of large instituations (or governments) have the power to bring down an entire industry then that is a power which I consider is too dangerous for anyone to hold.
Millennie Al wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:14 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 9:54 pm
Most funds that normal people depend on will be diversified across various sectors, including fossil fuels but also other mining, weapons, technology, etcetera. So I tend to assume that the fossil fuel sector isn't large enough that its demise will affect the man in the street more than pollution, flooding, agricultural instability and civil unrest will.
Since the vast majority of the world's products are heavily reliant on fossil fuels (particularly for vehicles transporting raw materials and delivering finished goods), a sudden demise of the fossil fuel industry would cause such serious effects that the most severe Covid-19 would look like a holiday in comparison. For example, the UK's electricity supply would fall to well under half, people's gas cookers and central heating would stop working, and less than 1% of people's cars would work. This would at the very least result in mass starvation and could possibly threaten the very existence of modern civilisation.
Yes, obviously if the entire fossil energy sector disappeared overnight without anything to replace it that would be a bad thing, but as we're discussing investments in the sector proving to be unprofitable because more economic alternatives already exist (despite the failure of the marketplace to consider externalities) I'm not sure how germane this observation is.
The relevance is that the sector is indispensible, so if it is to go away it must be replaced and for safety this means the replacement must be driven by the provision of alternatives and not the removal of the existing solutions.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Grumble » Sat May 02, 2020 8:33 am

Slightly off topic, I’m a motorsports fan. I’m all for electrification and am fairly sure we will get to a point where ICE vehicles are a niche, at which point what happens to motorsports?

Do they become electrified? Currently the technology isn’t there, certainly not for something like 24h Le Mans or the Dakar Rally.
Do they remain as petrol burning and become akin to horse racing? A specialist exercise which no longer has any relevance to daily life to even the tenuous extent that motorsports currently do (technology trickle down is a real thing at least).
Do other sports take over? Simulator racing for example - currently being screened by the likes of BT Sport.

I think the appetite for watching competition is still there so there remains a market.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Woodchopper » Sat May 02, 2020 11:40 am

Millennie Al wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 1:28 am

Be careful what you wish for. If a small number of large instituations (or governments) have the power to bring down an entire industry then that is a power which I consider is too dangerous for anyone to hold.
Alternatively, if an industry cannot be regulated by governments then that is a power which I consider is too dangerous for anyone to hold

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by AMS » Sat May 02, 2020 9:34 pm

Grumble wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 8:33 am
Slightly off topic, I’m a motorsports fan. I’m all for electrification and am fairly sure we will get to a point where ICE vehicles are a niche, at which point what happens to motorsports?

Do they become electrified? Currently the technology isn’t there, certainly not for something like 24h Le Mans or the Dakar Rally.
Do they remain as petrol burning and become akin to horse racing? A specialist exercise which no longer has any relevance to daily life to even the tenuous extent that motorsports currently do (technology trickle down is a real thing at least).
Do other sports take over? Simulator racing for example - currently being screened by the likes of BT Sport.

I think the appetite for watching competition is still there so there remains a market.
The CO2 emissions of motorsport are trivial compared to general transportation. There's space for specialist activities, in the same way that the odd steam train here and there is not a problem. Another good comparison would be sailing, which is obsolete for commercial shipping but survives for sport and leisure.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Millennie Al » Sun May 03, 2020 2:25 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 11:40 am
Millennie Al wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 1:28 am
Be careful what you wish for. If a small number of large instituations (or governments) have the power to bring down an entire industry then that is a power which I consider is too dangerous for anyone to hold.
Alternatively, if an industry cannot be regulated by governments then that is a power which I consider is too dangerous for anyone to hold
It would be a power that nobody held, so satisfying you.

But all industries can be regulated to some extent, and I didn't refer to mere regulation. I said the power to bring down an entire industry.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Grumble » Sun May 03, 2020 8:36 am

AMS wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 9:34 pm
Grumble wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 8:33 am
Slightly off topic, I’m a motorsports fan. I’m all for electrification and am fairly sure we will get to a point where ICE vehicles are a niche, at which point what happens to motorsports?

Do they become electrified? Currently the technology isn’t there, certainly not for something like 24h Le Mans or the Dakar Rally.
Do they remain as petrol burning and become akin to horse racing? A specialist exercise which no longer has any relevance to daily life to even the tenuous extent that motorsports currently do (technology trickle down is a real thing at least).
Do other sports take over? Simulator racing for example - currently being screened by the likes of BT Sport.

I think the appetite for watching competition is still there so there remains a market.
The CO2 emissions of motorsport are trivial compared to general transportation. There's space for specialist activities, in the same way that the odd steam train here and there is not a problem. Another good comparison would be sailing, which is obsolete for commercial shipping but survives for sport and leisure.
I’m not particularly worried about the CO2 emissions, more the viability. CO2 emissions should be tackled at commuter and transit levels before sport is worried about. Many of the various formulas are racing vehicles that are at least similar to what you can buy in a showroom though, especially where you get gentleman drivers. A lot of motorsports below the top tier of MotoGP or F1 depends on this.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun May 03, 2020 3:10 pm

Would converting motorsports to biofuels be easier than to electric or hydrogen?

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by dyqik » Sun May 03, 2020 3:41 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 3:10 pm
Would converting motorsports to biofuels be easier than to electric or hydrogen?
Indycar converted back in 2007.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun May 03, 2020 4:03 pm

dyqik wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 3:41 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 3:10 pm
Would converting motorsports to biofuels be easier than to electric or hydrogen?
Indycar converted back in 2007.
That's very interesting (I know nothing about motorsports, nor motors). The wiki page on Indycar says that methanol was a standard fuel since the 1960s https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IndyCar_Series#Fuel

So is it the case that motorsports' reliance on fossil fuels (presumably petrol with some additives) is more a case of inertia than outright necessity?

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun May 03, 2020 4:16 pm

Millennie Al wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 1:28 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri May 01, 2020 9:07 pm
Millennie Al wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:14 am


That's because people cannot agree on what is "ethical" and even if they could, would probably be incapable of deciding whether a specific investment was ethical or not. Note that for a true definition of "ethical", an investment is ethical or not depending on the full consequences of the investment - intended and unintended - not just a superficial appearance.
Obviously moral codes vary, but there's more to it than that. Products that deliberately don't invest in obviously unethical stocks like tobacco, arms and fossil fuels have existed for decades, but uptake of them has been slow and small.
It is interesting that you mention tobacco. That's probably a good example of how the superficial view gets the wrong answer. As we can see from other substances which are desired but banned, refusal to allow people what they want results in far more harm than permitting it.
I didn't mention banning tobacco. The industry is unethical, denying links between smoking and cancer, marketing to children, etc, to this day, writing the reality-denying playbook that fossil fuel companies subsequently learned from. So maybe I should have said "Big Tobacco" or named specific companies, but whatevs. It's a tangent.
Millennie Al wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:14 am
That on its own doesn't seem capable of bringing down an industry if at the same time the big players, with far more capital to invest, continue to support those industries.

Rather than convincing individuals to switch their personal banking, campaigning tends to focus on convincing entire institutions to swap their investments, pension schemes etc away from contentious products like fossil fuels.
Be careful what you wish for. If a small number of large instituations (or governments) have the power to bring down an entire industry then that is a power which I consider is too dangerous for anyone to hold.
I'm not sure what you think I'm wishing for, or where the idea of a "small number" comes from.

For a ballpark figure, wikipedia says "In April 2020, a total of 1,192 institutions and over 58,000 individuals representing $14 trillion in assets worldwide had begun or committed to a divestment from fossil fuels." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil_fuel_divestment

To me, that sounds like a pretty large number of institutions that lack the power to make much of a dent in an entire industry.
Millennie Al wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:14 am
Millennie Al wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:14 am


Since the vast majority of the world's products are heavily reliant on fossil fuels (particularly for vehicles transporting raw materials and delivering finished goods), a sudden demise of the fossil fuel industry would cause such serious effects that the most severe Covid-19 would look like a holiday in comparison. For example, the UK's electricity supply would fall to well under half, people's gas cookers and central heating would stop working, and less than 1% of people's cars would work. This would at the very least result in mass starvation and could possibly threaten the very existence of modern civilisation.
Yes, obviously if the entire fossil energy sector disappeared overnight without anything to replace it that would be a bad thing, but as we're discussing investments in the sector proving to be unprofitable because more economic alternatives already exist (despite the failure of the marketplace to consider externalities) I'm not sure how germane this observation is.
The relevance is that the sector is indispensible, so if it is to go away it must be replaced and for safety this means the replacement must be driven by the provision of alternatives and not the removal of the existing solutions.
Yes, I think we're in agreement there. The continued provision of renewable technology should be a priority, in order to accelerate that replacement.

I think government support, wherever possible, should be focussed on forward-looking solutions rather than subsidising a dying (and hugely damaging) industry, though - by which I mean not just the removal of direct subsidies, but also a move towards including the cost of fossil-fuel externalities such as air pollution and climate damage when considering permits, taxation etc.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Millennie Al » Mon May 04, 2020 2:13 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 4:16 pm
I'm not sure what you think I'm wishing for, or where the idea of a "small number" comes from.

For a ballpark figure, wikipedia says "In April 2020, a total of 1,192 institutions and over 58,000 individuals representing $14 trillion in assets worldwide had begun or committed to a divestment from fossil fuels." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil_fuel_divestment

To me, that sounds like a pretty large number of institutions that lack the power to make much of a dent in an entire industry.
In England there were 672,890 companies registered in 2019, so 1,192 institutions is 0.18% of that. The population of England is about 55,977,178, so 58,000 individuals is about 0.1% of that. Given that I consider England to be a pretty small part of the whole world, I would not describe your figure as a "pretty large number of institutions". I would describe it as a completely insignificantly small number. If 58,000 individuals could control the policy for England alone it would be grossly undemocratic. To allow them to control the world's policy is far beyond unacceptable.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Woodchopper » Mon May 04, 2020 6:59 am

Millennie Al wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 2:25 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 11:40 am
Millennie Al wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 1:28 am
Be careful what you wish for. If a small number of large instituations (or governments) have the power to bring down an entire industry then that is a power which I consider is too dangerous for anyone to hold.
Alternatively, if an industry cannot be regulated by governments then that is a power which I consider is too dangerous for anyone to hold
It would be a power that nobody held, so satisfying you.

But all industries can be regulated to some extent, and I didn't refer to mere regulation. I said the power to bring down an entire industry.
Are you actually suggesting that there should be regulated markets across the world in things like slaves, whale meat and other products from endangered species or chemical and biological weapons?

Some things are subject to global prohibitions.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by bjn » Mon May 04, 2020 8:36 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 6:59 am
Millennie Al wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 2:25 am
Woodchopper wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 11:40 am


Alternatively, if an industry cannot be regulated by governments then that is a power which I consider is too dangerous for anyone to hold
It would be a power that nobody held, so satisfying you.

But all industries can be regulated to some extent, and I didn't refer to mere regulation. I said the power to bring down an entire industry.
Are you actually suggesting that there should be regulated markets across the world in things like slaves, whale meat and other products from endangered species or chemical and biological weapons?

Some things are subject to global prohibitions.
I think Shelly’s* pearl clutching is funny and a bit sad. The “Oh you poor naive liberals haven’t considered the unintended consequences of X. Whereas I, Super Genius that I am, have.”

Nice examples Mr Chopper. governments, acting solely, or in conjunction with other governments have always had the power to destroy entire industries. It’s not a new thing. It can be used for good and bad things. The Tories did it to destroy much of the coal industry in the U.K. last century.

*If MA isn’t Sheldrake’s sock I’ll be very very surprised.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by dyqik » Mon May 04, 2020 2:06 pm

Millennie Al wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 2:13 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 4:16 pm
I'm not sure what you think I'm wishing for, or where the idea of a "small number" comes from.

For a ballpark figure, wikipedia says "In April 2020, a total of 1,192 institutions and over 58,000 individuals representing $14 trillion in assets worldwide had begun or committed to a divestment from fossil fuels." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil_fuel_divestment

To me, that sounds like a pretty large number of institutions that lack the power to make much of a dent in an entire industry.
In England there were 672,890 companies registered in 2019, so 1,192 institutions is 0.18% of that. The population of England is about 55,977,178, so 58,000 individuals is about 0.1% of that. Given that I consider England to be a pretty small part of the whole world, I would not describe your figure as a "pretty large number of institutions". I would describe it as a completely insignificantly small number. If 58,000 individuals could control the policy for England alone it would be grossly undemocratic. To allow them to control the world's policy is far beyond unacceptable.
A very large fraction, maybe as high as 90%, of those companies will be one person, probably working less than full time, if they do any real work at all. So that's irrelevant.

Of the population of England, only a small fraction are investing money in stocks and shares in a conscious way, e.g. via stocks and shares ISAs (2.2 million people), or direct stock holdings. So that's largely irrelevant. Most with investments are just in employer based pensions.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Bird on a Fire » Mon May 04, 2020 3:34 pm

Millennie Al wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 2:13 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 4:16 pm
I'm not sure what you think I'm wishing for, or where the idea of a "small number" comes from.

For a ballpark figure, wikipedia says "In April 2020, a total of 1,192 institutions and over 58,000 individuals representing $14 trillion in assets worldwide had begun or committed to a divestment from fossil fuels." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil_fuel_divestment

To me, that sounds like a pretty large number of institutions that lack the power to make much of a dent in an entire industry.
In England there were 672,890 companies registered in 2019, so 1,192 institutions is 0.18% of that. The population of England is about 55,977,178, so 58,000 individuals is about 0.1% of that. Given that I consider England to be a pretty small part of the whole world, I would not describe your figure as a "pretty large number of institutions". I would describe it as a completely insignificantly small number. If 58,000 individuals could control the policy for England alone it would be grossly undemocratic. To allow them to control the world's policy is far beyond unacceptable.
That's a global figure, so you're not wrong that it's a very small percentage of people, even of people making investment decisions. But I disagree that those people are controlling policy in an undemocratic manner.

The UK, like most countries in the world, has been electing governments (groups of 1437 people, 650 of whom are actually elected, that do control the country's policy) that have promised to take serious action to tackle climate change. Those promises have been inspired by decades of scientific consensus that such action is necessary (even if they haven't actually met the targets scientists have identified). Like most countries in the world the UK has been signatory to international agreements like those of Kyoto, Paris and the Convention on Biological Diversity, under which it is bound to make concrete progress.

There is, however, a discrepancy between what voters have asked for (polls suggest a large majority in favour of stronger action - though as Woodchopper rightly pointed out, that doesn't necessarily mean they want to pay for it) and the policies that are enacted, and it seems pretty clear that part of the reason for that is the economic and lobbying power of the fossil fuel sector. Acting to diminish that power would enable governments to enact the policies that people want, that governments have promised, and that evidence suggests is essential.

I've been writing to my MP for over 20 years (I was a nerdy kid), voting for sound environmental policies since I came of age, and while some progress has been made it's too little and too slow. So while there is still a role for direct electoralism, I don't think it's problematic if investors are refusing to financially support industries that are viewed as toxic, or that are clearly living on borrowed time. The writing is on the wall for fossil fuels, even without considering their vulnerability to geopolitical instability and the unpleasant economic alliances we're beholden to.

The ability to choose where to invest is a fundamental tenet of the free market. Would you prevent investors from moving their money without a government order?

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Millennie Al » Tue May 05, 2020 1:55 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 6:59 am
Millennie Al wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 2:25 am
But all industries can be regulated to some extent, and I didn't refer to mere regulation. I said the power to bring down an entire industry.
Are you actually suggesting that there should be regulated markets across the world in things like slaves, whale meat and other products from endangered species or chemical and biological weapons?

Some things are subject to global prohibitions.
You seem to have forgotten the original quote which was about a small number of large institutions or governments. A small number of governments did not stop slavery. It was gradually eradicated over more than a hundred years by many different governments, often involving enacting restrictions before a complete prohibition. Whaling is still done commercially today, despite considreable opposition, so that is not evidence of any power to ban it (and a ban is hardly necessary as whale numbers have been reduced so much that it's not much of an industry at all nowadays - harsh reality achieving what governments cannot). Similarly, there is still trade in many products from endangered species (you may have noticed references to pangolins recently). And if you think that chemical or biological weapons are limited by governments, you're deluded. They are limited by the fact that they are just not very useful. The USA used chemical weapons in Vietnam and lost. And given the current crisis facing the world, it would take a particularly stupid leader to suggest deploying a biological weapon and a lot of extremely stupid subordinates to implement such an order.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Millennie Al » Tue May 05, 2020 2:04 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 3:34 pm
That's a global figure, so you're not wrong that it's a very small percentage of people, even of people making investment decisions. But I disagree that those people are controlling policy in an undemocratic manner.
[/quote[

Of course they aren't. But that's not because they're democratic. It's because they are not controlling policy at all.
There is, however, a discrepancy between what voters have asked for (polls suggest a large majority in favour of stronger action - though as Woodchopper rightly pointed out, that doesn't necessarily mean they want to pay for it) and the policies that are enacted, and it seems pretty clear that part of the reason for that is the economic and lobbying power of the fossil fuel sector. Acting to diminish that power would enable governments to enact the policies that people want, that governments have promised, and that evidence suggests is essential.
It's not clear at all that inaction is caused by some other power. It could be that what the people are asking for is unachievable, but politicians which tell voters that they cannot have what they want are not generally very successful. The successful politiciant assures the voters that they'll get exectly what they asked for and then comes up with some excuse to explain why it didn't happen. Watch and see what happens after Brexit when all the supposed benefits fail to materialise.
The ability to choose where to invest is a fundamental tenet of the free market. Would you prevent investors from moving their money without a government order?
I certainly would not prevent them. But they won't achieve much, if anything, by doing so.
Covid-19 - Don't catch it: don't spread it.

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Grumble
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Grumble » Wed May 06, 2020 12:43 pm

Yesterday the U.K. quietly exceeded the previous no-coal record, the last time we used coal for electricity was April 9. It’ll be interesting to see when it gets turned back on again, especially with the current lockdown related low demand and heading into summer. We could easily go several months without coal I reckon, in my amateur opinion.

On the downside there isn’t much wind at the moment, so lots of gas being used.
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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by shpalman » Wed May 06, 2020 2:17 pm

Grumble wrote:
Wed May 06, 2020 12:43 pm
On the downside there isn’t much wind at the moment...
Well, people aren't moving around much.
molto tricky

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by FlammableFlower » Wed May 06, 2020 2:17 pm

Friend in Portugal notes they've now gone 52 days without coal generating any electricity (although there may have been imported electricity that may have been coal-generated).

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by dyqik » Wed May 06, 2020 3:32 pm

shpalman wrote:
Wed May 06, 2020 2:17 pm
Grumble wrote:
Wed May 06, 2020 12:43 pm
On the downside there isn’t much wind at the moment...
Well, people aren't moving around much.
The rising price of meat might result in more bean consumption though.

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Re: The Death Of Fossil Fuels

Post by Gentleman Jim » Thu May 07, 2020 8:11 am

shpalman wrote:
Wed May 06, 2020 2:17 pm
Grumble wrote:
Wed May 06, 2020 12:43 pm
On the downside there isn’t much wind at the moment...
Well, people aren't moving around much.
Maybe it's why local supermarkets have started selling catering size tins of baked beans
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