The Guardian: Still hypocritical on pensions

big-oilGuest essay by Eric Worrall

The Guardian has launched an attack on pension funds which invest in fossil fuel assets, accusing them of “… taking an ill-advised gamble on climate change …”. There is just one problem with this stern advice – the Guardian recently admitted that their own pension fund is invested in fossil fuels.

The Guardian on Pensions;

Almost half the world’s top pension funds are taking an ill-advised gamble on climate change, according to a financial thinktank.

The Asset Owners Disclosure Project’s (AODP) annual index of 500 of the largest global asset owners found that 232 of them had done little or nothing to protect their investments from the financial upheavals predicted due to climate change.

Financial experts, including the president of the World Bank and the governor of the Bank of England, have warned that fossil fuel assets are risky investments because their reserves of coal, oil and gas cannot be burned if the world is to avoid the most extreme impacts of climate change.

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As Josh hilariously illustrated, as Bishop Hill reported, the Guardian pension fund holds substantial investments in fossil fuel assets.

If you need more evidence of the Guardian’s rather strange approach to “ethical” investment, on the 18th April, the Guardian offered advice on pensions – which included the following gem.

The low-cost route

All the funds above are actively managed, so you end up paying fund managers’ salaries. An alternative is to use index funds. Two worth considering are the Vanguard UK Equity Income, which yields 3.9% and has an annual fee of 0.22% – at least 0.5% less than the standard active fund – and the Legal & General FTSE 100 Index, yielding 3.3% with an annual charge of just 0.1%.

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Both the Vanguard UK Equity Income fund, and the Legal & General FTSE 100 Index, have substantial investments in Tobacco and fossil fuel assets.

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April 28, 2015 10:32 am

The Guardian wants others to sell their holdings, so that they can buy them up, cheap.

Bruce Cobb
April 28, 2015 10:49 am

Idiots who divest in fossil fuels will only succeed in creating a financial boon for others with more financial smarts.

Bohdan Burban
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
April 28, 2015 3:18 pm

As I recall, Warren Buffet once said that a stock exchange is a place you go to, to see if someone’s doing something foolish

Gerry, England
Reply to  Bohdan Burban
April 29, 2015 6:07 am

The Guardian is a paper where you do the same thing.

April 28, 2015 10:52 am

The Guardian does not make money or pay its way. It is subsidized by the UK government which by some diseased reasoning believes that it needs a Soviet/North Korea style mouthpiece of marxist-ecofascist propaganda. It’s not journalism, its just agitprop, and it’s crap.

Reply to  Phlogiston
April 28, 2015 11:11 am

Do you have any evidence for that Phlogiston? Or any links to anything? Or do you just think you can make thing up?
I don’t question that the loss-making Guardian is subsidised; but not by Government.

Reply to  MikeB
April 28, 2015 11:28 am

It has only survived in recent years because it gets most of the advertising for public sector jobs.

Reply to  MikeB
April 28, 2015 12:39 pm

I know what you mean Paul, but raising money through advertising cannot be called a government subsidy; all newspapers do that.
That said, the Guardian does seem to have a monopoly of job adverts for teaching posts and BBC appointments. This ensures that the left-wing bias of those ‘professions’ is maintained and our children continue to be brainwashed by them.

Reply to  Phlogiston
April 28, 2015 12:20 pm

The Guardian only survives because for years the same trust hypocritically owned the very profitable Autotrader magazine. Having recently sold that magazine for north of half a billion then The Guardian won’t be running out of money any time soon, with or without the jobs adverts I assume you mean by the over-hysterical government subsidy idea.
Incidentally, The Guardian, whatever it’s many, many faults is extremely critical of the present government on almost every issue so any government bribery isn’t working very well.

Keith Willshaw
Reply to  Phlogiston
April 28, 2015 2:36 pm

Well no. The Guardian receives no money from the UK government and of course it is hardly supportive of the present Conservative Prime Minister. The Guardian is in fact dependent on the Scott Trust Fund which is heavily invested in companies in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and other oil producing economies.

Mark from the Midwest
April 28, 2015 10:58 am

I want the Universities across the world to sell their holdings so I can buy them up cheap. With depressed stock prices from $45bbl oil, and a few fire sales by colleges I should be able to find a 4-4.5% yield, plus major stock price appreciation over the next 24-30 months! All of a sudden this AGW nonsense is looking better and better to me.

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
April 28, 2015 11:47 am

Damn Right Mark!
But can we not let the silly sods know what we are doing and how much better off we will be because of their stupidity !!!

Clovis Marcus
April 28, 2015 11:08 am

I wonder whether all this divestment stuff counts as investment advice. The FCA needs to check whether they need IFA status.

Reply to  Clovis Marcus
April 28, 2015 11:56 am

Sadly not – a “Journalist” can spout and recommend total bollox in an article in the UK but it does not constitute giving advice. Martin Lewis regularly drops some whoppers on TV. This is the best know one of about 4 years ago – so he is a tad more careful now before letting his mouth run off with him.
And the standard of financial advice in the Grauniad is suspect to say the least! Both the Guardian and Martin Lewis were advocating Icelandic Banks for ISA’s right up to and after the Icelandic banks collapsed!!! This despite Standard and Poors’s, Moody’s et al stating many months before that there was serious issues.

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley
Reply to  Doug UK
April 28, 2015 2:16 pm

I try to be polite, but Lewis is a [trimmed]. He endorsed solar panels on the Radio2 Jeremy Vine show about 18 months ago, and forgot to mention loss of interest on capital investment. Even Vine (very often a [trimmed] in his own right) asked him about it, but Lewis didn’t reply! His advice was to go for it, never mentioning loss of interest, maintenance, or degradation of power generation. I stopped listening to Vine after that.
[Cut the language. .mod]

James Bull
Reply to  Doug UK
April 29, 2015 12:08 am

The Grauniad is using the don’t do what I do, do as I say type of leadership for which it is well known.
A good friend of mine who at the time worked in the financial industry was asked to do some articles for a local paper, the first week they didn’t print what he had written and so the next week he tried to correct it and they still got it wrong so he gave up putting any numbers in his bit but they still managed to foul it up so he gave up and stopped doing the articles for them.
He once gave me a bit of financial advice which he said he couldn’t give to some of his clients as they might take him seriously and try it, the advice was under the Very High Risk Very High Return heading.
It was.
Rob a bank.
I didn’t try it as I like living in the UK and didn’t want to have to leave for any reason.
James Bull

April 28, 2015 11:29 am

I wonder where Mr Rusbridger invests his personal wealth, which no doubt is worth a lot more than I have got!

Reply to  Paul Homewood
April 28, 2015 1:07 pm

around 900,000 dollars a year of wealth .

April 28, 2015 11:42 am

Just to be fair, much as I dislike the Guardian.
The Guardian Media Group (GMG) is to sell all the fossil fuel assets in its investment fund of over £800m, making it the largest yet known to pull out of coal, oil and gas companies.
The decision was justified on both financial and ethical grounds, said Neil Berkett, GMG chair: “It is a hard-nosed business decision, but it is influenced by the values of our organisation. It is a holistic decision taking into account all of those things.”

Reply to  James MacLochlainn
April 28, 2015 1:33 pm

Is the GMG Investment Fund also their Pension Fund?

Reply to  Jeff
April 29, 2015 12:33 am

No, The Guardian News (green porn) operation makes a loss (go figure), but it is cross subsized by the investment fund it has from selling off previous assets like the car magazine (auto-trader) yes the Guardian is funded by petrol heads.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  James MacLochlainn
April 28, 2015 2:07 pm

Of course in order to sell you must have buyers. Now, a prudent buyer might want to sit and wait as the Guardian will no doubt not care what the price falls to, that is if they are truly going to divest for philosophical reasons.

Mark from the Midwest
April 28, 2015 11:48 am

Wow, I just read the link to the Guardian’s investment advice, it’s scary, and it’s depressing to think that people who read that crap might think it’s a sound and comprehensive review of their investment options. Maybe the people at the Guardian are that flippin’ stupid.

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
April 28, 2015 11:59 am

You are not wrong Mark – you are not wrong!

April 28, 2015 11:48 am

Have they called out their hero Al Gore? Or does he similarly get a free pass?

April 28, 2015 11:56 am

It is really funny how you all keep ignoring LENR (low energy nuclear reaction)
Two independent sources now report Industrial Heat’s 1 MW thermal LENR commercial plant is working well with a COP ranging from 20 to 80. Cheap, safe & free of any pollution.

Gilbert K. Arnold
Reply to  Adrian Ashfield
April 28, 2015 12:55 pm

How about some links to support your assertion.

Reply to  Gilbert K. Arnold
April 29, 2015 7:07 am

See my comment below. 29 Apr at 6:40 (now in moderation)

Reply to  Adrian Ashfield
April 28, 2015 1:08 pm

Anyone talking future nuclear who isn’t enthusiastic about molten salt reactors is living in a world of ignorance. It will blow every other energy technology away. Guaranteed.
And it doesn’t need to be proven.

Reply to  arthur4563
April 29, 2015 7:11 am

I agree LFTR is the best conventional way, but LENR is better. Cheaper, safe, no waste products.
See my comment with links APR 29 6:40

Reply to  Adrian Ashfield
May 2, 2015 10:42 am

While WUWT is certainly a right place for completely silly and naive arguments, LENR-lunacy seems to be out of place even here.

Rodzki of Oz
April 28, 2015 12:38 pm

As a largely “set and forget” type of sharemarket investor myself, I only tend to make adjustments to my portfolio when I see obvious discrepancies (well, obvious in my eyes, anyway) in a company’s deemed market value.
I just love it when other investors buy or sell on emotion! Bring it on, Guardian!

April 28, 2015 1:04 pm

The Guardian: always hypocritical is a more accurate headline ,for example it as published the many , many articles attacking people and organisations for use ‘legal ‘ offshore tax management approaches.
The Scott Trust the ,owners of the Guardian and therefore the pay masters of all those journalist who have written these articles, use the very same tax management approaches .
Which may explain why ‘NONE’ of these journalists how wrote the articles, thought it worthwhile to mention the Guardains owners use of these same tax management approaches., let alone questioned the Guardian use of them.
[As] for its climate coverage , it is remarkable to say that it hit a high note under Monbat , yes the person who claimed people who fly are like paedophiles shortly before going on a North American book selling tour and the one who did much to promote the idea of AGW sceptic= holocaust denier , actual had a more balanced approach then you see now . Which shows how bad it really has become .
Frankly the best idea is to leave it to the circle jerk of self sanctification it has become , where they compete to out hate each other on their approach to sceptics, the madder the better .

April 28, 2015 1:45 pm

Adrian Ashfield April 28, 2015 at 11:56 am
It is really funny how you all keep ignoring LENR (low energy nuclear reaction)
Two independent sources now report Industrial Heat’s 1 MW thermal LENR commercial plant is working well with a COP ranging from 20 to 80. Cheap, safe & free of any pollution.
I’d really love to see LENR pan out but everything published to date is suspect at best. Is it real or is it a scam?

April 28, 2015 2:06 pm

I love the hilarious asertion that energy companies are somehow risky investments! Only in these journalists minds could essentials like affordable energy be risky. These people need to go back to elementary school. Or take on a job that doesn’t require any critical thinking skills.

Reply to  daviditron
April 28, 2015 2:18 pm

Obama did threaten to put coal companies out of business.

Reply to  MarkW
April 28, 2015 7:50 pm

That’s OK. He’s going to give the miners welfare. He’s sent in social workers to fight “mountain pride”.

Christopher Hanley
April 28, 2015 2:25 pm

These campaigns are designed to sway expectations and thereby be self-fulfilling.

April 28, 2015 2:33 pm

This roughly translates as:
‘Parts of our portfolio are getting hosed at the moment, maybe we’ll dump it, but we can spin this to look like we’re doing our bit to save the world.’
Buy high and sell low – sound investment advice brought to you from the Guardian. Flockwits

Ian Macdonald
April 28, 2015 2:34 pm

The Guardian is still a good source of news on other topics, provided you ignore the environment section. The worst publication by far in this respect is New Scientist, which is 95% climate alarmist propaganda. Or, it was last time I read it.

April 28, 2015 3:01 pm

I’ve got some Solyndra shares available at bargain prices….

April 28, 2015 3:06 pm

financial institutions become Godlike.
“Governor Mark Carney told Parliament that officials are probing whether “the majority of proven coal, oil, and gas reserves may be considered ‘unburnable’ if global temperature increases are to be limited to 2 degree celsius”.

Reply to  zemlik
April 28, 2015 4:19 pm

unburnable??? gimmie a match let me prove him wrong

April 28, 2015 3:42 pm

Isn’t the BBC pension fund also heavily invested in oil companies ?
Arkham Asylum comes to mind when you read the comments posted on any Guardian climate related article.

April 28, 2015 4:18 pm

OK maybee a dumb question but…
What is the intense outcome of this divestment craze?? For example suppose all these organisations do divest their portfolios what effect would it have on oil/coal/gas companies?…. so their share price falls… so what?… I am sure their are many other people out their willing to take up the slack and at a knock down price to boot?
Or am I missing something?

Jerry Henson
April 28, 2015 6:34 pm

Saudi oil is profitable at less than $10 per barrel. It is their only crop. They will allow nothing
to threaten it. Their upper production potential is known only by them.
Anyone who buys any investment which competes with hydrocarbons should study the effects
withdrawal of government subsidies on wind, solar, and ethanol had on those “industries”
in the ’80s.

David A
Reply to  Jerry Henson
April 29, 2015 3:28 am

I would like a link regarding Saudi oil at $10 per barrel. However, even if true, they would run massive annual deficits as most of their government is financed by state owned oil.

April 28, 2015 7:13 pm

Maybe they will re-invest in carbon credit schemes? Like the BBC did and still does?

April 28, 2015 7:35 pm

A fool pool and its money are soon parted.

April 28, 2015 7:41 pm

The Guardian’s pension should stuff its gizzard with clean-burning bitcoins.

April 28, 2015 8:32 pm

Greenpeace uses fossil fuel powered machinery to try and stop fossil fuel powered machinery.

April 29, 2015 6:40 am

Here are some links on LENR as requested. Gives a few pages from the book (scroll down) Now slightly dated but a good introduction. Photo (in the middle) of the 1 MW plant under construction.
UPDATE: Since a COP (Coefficient of Performance — output energy/input energy) ranging from 20 to 80 has been reported, I can confirm that I have got the same information, although I think it’s wise not to pay too much attention to numbers in this case).
interview with Tom Darden.
The special section in Current Science here
Observation of abundant heat production froma reactor device and of isotopic changes in the fuel

Jerry Henson
April 29, 2015 6:51 am

David A
Cost to produce at $2 is not the same as profit demand.

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