Apple Issues $1.5 Billion Green Bond

solar-and-wind-energy

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Green bonds – corporate borrowing to help finance improved energy efficiency, renewables, and other fashionable environmental activities, appear to be a growing trend. But there are concerns about transparency, about ensuring the money raised is spent as promised.

On the surface, green bonds seem counter intuitive: why would a company willingly take on debt to finance environmental efforts? But Apple’s recent decision to issue its first green bond suggests that this type of investment could play a key role in reining in global warming.

Apple’s $1.5bn green bond, announced last month, will fund several initiatives, including the company’s conversion to 100% renewable energy, installation of more energy efficient heating and cooling systems and an increase in the company’s use of biodegradable materials. A green bond, like a typical bond, is simply a way to borrow money, but it’s issued specifically to fund environmental projects.

Apple’s green bond reflects a growing corporate concern about the economic impact of climate change. Businesses are responsible for the majority of manmade greenhouse gas emissions, which are driving up average temperatures worldwide and affecting many companies’ bottom lines. Some, including Apple, are realizing the need to invest in environmental resources, such as watersheds or forests, to protect the sources of their products.

Clinton Moloney, sustainability advisory leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said that as the effects of climate change become more devastating and widespread, green bond projects could grow more complex. For instance, proceeds can be used to build a seawall to help protect the San Francisco Bay from rising sea levels, or to restore marshlands that help to soak up runoffs during a big storm.

“We can do environmental projects that use concrete and steel, or we can think of nature based solutions as well,” Moloney said. “Evaluating those projects needs to be more sophisticated. That’s where we’re headed.”

Another issue facing green bonds is transparency. For investors who aren’t only interested in making money, figuring out the environmental impact of their investments while ensuring that the money is spent as promised can be difficult to accomplish. As a result, a number of organizations have come up with rules and metrics to help both corporate borrowers and investors track and understand how the money is spent.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/mar/20/apple-green-bond-environment-energy-toyota-climate-change

Some of the proposed investments sound like things companies would have wanted to do anyway. For example, cooling data centres is an ongoing technical challenge. While there have been energy efficiency improvements, such as low voltage technology which produces less heat per computation, the overwhelming commercial incentive to stay on the leading edge of capability appears to be forcing the development of increasingly radical innovations.

Nevertheless I suspect delivery will become an increasing issue for green bonds. While I have no doubt of Apple management’s ideological commitment to green issues, I suspect some players will think of this new green fundraising trend as just another way to tap the markets. In addition, even when their intentions are good, many companies may have substantially underestimated their dependence on fossil fuels, which may also mean they have underestimated the cost of “going green”.

Activist investors will not be slow to demand action, if they believe they have not received the promised return on their investments. Even if a company pays the promised dividends on green bonds, investors may still be dissatisfied with environmental outcomes. If a company commits to outcomes, as part of their issuance of their green bonds, they might find themselves caught short, if the costs of meeting those commitments substantially exceeds the capital raised by the bonds.

Given the disastrous track record of many green investments over the last few years, it seems likely that at least some of these new green bond funded projects, however well intentioned, will not end well.

135 thoughts on “Apple Issues $1.5 Billion Green Bond

    • so why does Apple not produce it products in the US? the balance of trade problem thus created is not sustainable.

      If Apple truly wants to be a responsible manufacturer, produce the products within 100km’s of where it is consumed.

      Sending Iphones to the US and $$ to China will lead to the collapse of the US. Britain faced the same problem 200 years ago and solved the problem by getting the Chinese addicted to opium. Otherwise the flight of wealth cannot be sustained and will lead to the collapse of the US without the Chinese having fired a single shot.

      • “so why does Apple not produce its products in the US? the balance of trade problem thus created is not sustainable.”

        That is a very good question. One that can be asked of a lot of manufacturers. And there is an answer, but I don’t think you will like it.

        The answer is that the US federal government, state governments, local governments, and a host of meddling bureaucracies make it very difficult to build things in this country and more expensive when it can be done. Apple does not love the Chinese more than the residents of the US, it is that China decided to support manufacturing and wealth creation.

        The left-wing in this country has been punishing producers all of my long lifetime, and they have won. Go look at the “rust belt”. But even if one says the “rust belt” was not the fault of government, one would have to be blind to see that manufacturing or any innovation in this country meets with many disincentives and is easier to do abroad.

        And so many people really believe that big government is your friend. Ha!

      • Back in the opium war days, China did not want anything that Britain produced except silver. Paying for all the tea was breaking Britain – until Britain got them hooked on opium, as you say. Britain found something that the Chinese wanted and were prepared to pay for.

        Similarly, USA must produce something the Chinese want, at prices the Chinese want to pay. If the USA cannot provide anything that the world wants, and everything the USA wants can be provided cheaper by someone else, then as far as economics is concerned there is no need for the USA. It will go to the wall like an uncompetitive company. That does not look like happening any time soon, but long term? Who knows?

      • seaice1 says:
        March 21, 2016 at 2:48 am

        … there is no need for the USA. It will go to the wall like an uncompetitive company. That does not look like happening any time soon, but long term?

        It’s been happening for years. The manufacturing sector has been hollowed out. A huge number of folks haven’t had a well paying job in years. The Mexicans are leaving. It’s one thing after the other.

      • “so why does Apple not produce it products in the US? the balance of trade problem thus created is not sustainable.”

        Your comment is simply not true. The balance of trade is almost meaningless; what matters, if at all, is the overall current account surplus or deficit, the total flow of funds. The US can go on running a deficit on trade with China essentially forever.

        The other problem with your comment is that the recorded deficit in no way means that, just because it is exported from China, that it is wholly produced there. More likely, of e.g. every $100million of exports from China, a large percentage has been sourced overseas, perhaps as much as 90%. In this example the actual manufactured value from china would be “only” $10 million.

        But you are in good company as Trump is also unaware of basic economics.

        It is best to let businesses get on with what they do best: making affordable goods for you to buy.

      • “It is best to let businesses get on with what they do best: making affordable goods for you to buy.”

        This is a science site that stumbles into science because the science has become political. I also see that economic theory wiggles it’s way into conversation. I assume that only natural because science isn’t free.

        Trade is what social groups do. Globalization is an extension of that trait quickened by the tools made available for a smaller world. Left to his own demise, man is drawn to ever more free wheeling trade. Obviously globalization has been a boon to some and a drag on wealth creation for others.

        I have been to many a town that has lost its income producing base due to outsourcing. Some in those towns made alot, most lost their source of income. All’s fair in love, war and globalization.

        How could the outsourcing nations of the world done a better job at preserving their working middle classes? I mean the question in the most open of manners as it is obvious that part of the popularity of the current populist is that he is talking to those who have not reaped the rewards of globilization.

        Thanks

      • Harold says:
        March 21, 2016 at 5:33 am

        … But you are in good company as Trump is also unaware of basic economics.

        That’s probably not true. He knows what to say and what not to say. It’s all a show, just like any other skilled politician. Don’t judge his intelligence and knowledge on what comes out of his mouth.

      • CommieBob:

        The US manufacturing sector has not been hollowed out. Far more manufacturing jobs have been lost to digitization than trade. For example, the automobile manufacturing capacity in the US is at record levels but employment is way down. Humans have been replaced by robots.

        FYI, the vehicle with the highest domestic content is not a Ford, GM or Chrysler product. The Toyota Camry tops the list so if you want to buy American I suggest you buy a Camry.

      • GE is busy returning the manufacture of white goods to the USA. They claim it will be cheaper because of automation and better because of improved control over engineering.

      • Net monthly money according to Rydex tracking data has been exiting Apple since last July at around 125. It still is. At best the big tree fruit is a sideline watch until this economy sorts itself out.

        The green bond thing is homage to the administration. Noise. In the homage world you can get alot for a little.

    • No, Apple wants to fund the California Flats solar PV project with a low cost financing mechanism it has available to it. That project is no Ivanpah by any stretch of the imagination. It also shields Apple from future fuel price swings that utilities and others are still faced with. It’s smart in this case, but dumb in many other cases and on average. It just takes competitive bidding and a venture capitalist eye on the choices to find the right solutions for the technology, price, and the correct path. Clearly, a lot of bad choices have been made out there with DoE leading the way on bad ideas, policy, and disincentives to find the efficient solutions.

      http://www.firstsolar.com/About-Us/Projects/California-Flats.aspx

      See also, YouTube videos of Jim Cramer and FS CEO Jim Hughes 2015

  1. I think companies also perceive advertising value to draw in customers for the money spent. For me it has the opposite effect. When companies announce they are on the CAGW bandwagon or will spend money to reduce their “carbon footprint” I avoid buying their products.

    • Apple have been pretty good environmentally.

      Their data centres are all renewable-energy powered, as are their entire operations in many first world countries, where they can purchase electricity from renewables.

      It’s taken some commitment.

      • When you consider the hi-tech products that Apple has made it’s fortune designing & manufacturing, it is hard for me to see them as “pretty good environmentally”, Seth. By your comment, I imagine it means you believe the mining & processing of rare earth ores to make lithium ion batteries is environmentally friendly, eh? Not to mention the gold that goes into their products, & what about the plastics? I would not be surprised if there are no environmentally sustainable materials that go into each & every Apple product.

      • The biggest stupidity of these people, I mean aside from the fact that they are chasing rainbows and killing dragons that don’t really exist, is that they choose the worst possible power technologies to accomplish their goals. So one can say they have taken stupid to a new level.

      • dbstealey wrote: I guess Seth missed the hundreds of stories about Apple’s use of essentially slave labor in the most polluted country on earth.

        Yes. Their social record is significantly worse than their environmental record.

      • RayB wrote When you consider the hi-tech products that Apple has made it’s fortune designing & manufacturing, it is hard for me to see them as “pretty good environmentally”, Seth.

        Hi tech isn’t synonymous with environmental destruction, Ray. Quite the opposite. In fact its the older technology that tends to be less carbon efficient.

        By your comment, I imagine it means you believe the mining & processing of rare earth ores to make lithium ion batteries is environmentally friendly, eh?

        I think that you can infer from my comment that using renewable energy for the data centres is environmentally friendly. But certainly a battery electric car with a Li-ion battery in most places is better for the environment that a gasoline one, and the mining and manufacturing of the batteries (which amounts to fewer emissions than the aluminum), is negligible. The equation is dominated by running emissions.

        Not to mention the gold that goes into their products, & what about the plastics?

        Gold is a small environmental problem. It’s pretty intert. Plastics are an increasing problem in the ocean. The problem is much bigger than apple, and by the time the packing that came with your iphone floats off into the ocean either you’ve disposed of it carelessly, or your landfill has been poorly managed.

      • Seth:
        “…pretty good environmentally…”

        Pretty? And that means what? an adjective modifying ‘good’?

        Environmentally? And just what exactly does an attractive desired environmentally mean in that sentence.

        It’s a vague decidedly non specific description for a company that means zilch. What the sentence is meant to accomplish is to cause listeners to assume the company Apple is doings things environmental…

        Useless driver giving false impressions to people.
        Apple is a typical massive corporation solely devoted to earning profits and the corporation doesn’t care about it’s own employees nor the people whose repetitive labor they contract for at world minimum rates with minimal health care. A slave, in other terms, as others have already reminded you.

        Yes, there are hordes that adore their apple products. These same people happily purchase the latest Apple gadget at inflated prices while they discard, store or attempt to sell the old technology.

        The sad fact is; Apple will place their employee’s retirement funds into environmental bonds. Bonds that are intended to spread the environmental costs burden directly onto the shoulders of regular people.
        Bonds that Gore, Mann, Schmidt, Pachuri, Shukla, Gleick, Trenberth, Michaels and many more should put their own unearned earnings into.

      • electric car with a Li-ion battery in most places is better for the environment that a gasoline one
        ================
        a horse and buggy is environmentally friendly and sustainable, running almost completely on renewable energy.

        yet if we were to try and run the world using horses instead of gasoline, we would not have enough land to grow the hay to power the horses.

        does a Li-ion battery magically produce power? what did it take to produce the battery and charge it with electricity? was the mining and smelting powered by Li-ion batteries? you can be certain it was not.

        Considering that cars use substantially more power than houses, on the order of 10 times as much, how are we going to pay to make the electrical grid 10 times bigger? how many decades/centuries will it take?

        It has taken us 100 years to build the electrical grid to this point. How long will it take to make it 10 times bigger so that we can all recharge out electric cars? How high will electricity rates have to go to pay for all the infrastructure?

      • Wind turbines and Solar cells are very far from being environmentally sustainable.

        Almost exactly the opposite, in fact. They are an environmental degradation.

        Modern coal/gas fired electricity, on the other hand, released CO2 which helps sustain the whole planet.

      • “Their data centres are all renewable-energy powered”

        No they’re not. Yes, they pay renewable-energy companies for their power, but it is distributed on the same grid as fossil fuels because obtaining power only when renewable energy produces it would be unsustainable. It’s nothing more than an accounting scheme.

      • ferdberple wrote: does a Li-ion battery magically produce power? what did it take to produce the battery and charge it with electricity? was the mining and smelting powered by Li-ion batteries? you can be certain it was not.

        The mining and smelting is a very minor input to the whole of life energy use of a car. And the batteries don’t represent a majority of the energy in the car construction process. The aluminium does.

        ferdberple wrote: Considering that cars use substantially more power than houses, on the order of 10 times as much, how are we going to pay to make the electrical grid 10 times bigger? how many decades/centuries will it take?

        It depends how far you commute. The vast majority of people could power their car from PV cells on their roof. But certainly cleaning the grid and increasing its capacity will be necessary if heavy vehicles and agricultural machinery are to move across to electric.

        It won’t take centuries. You can pop up a nuclear power plant in about a decade if you’re practised at it. You can pop up a windmill in a month.

        It has taken us 100 years to build the electrical grid to this point.

        Important not to have to move a lot of it due to sea level rise and changing land use due to climate change then.

        How high will electricity rates have to go to pay for all the infrastructure?

        Wind and nuclear are pretty close to grid parity. You pay off a power plant over its lifetime, not when you build it. Prices won’t change much. Certainly they will be insulated from the fluctuations of fuel prices, which will enable more reliable business planning.

      • Seth. You seem to be interpreting “pretty good environmentally” in terms of CO2 emissions only. When I worked in Silicon Valley people were concerned about contamination of groundwater due to hi tech companies. Apple devices probably contain gold, as it is so good for electrical contacts. Gold from NZ is probably not much of a problem – we’re more worried about cow dung – but you really don’t want to know about arsenic and mercury from 3rd world gold mining. I used to think wind turbines were quite lovely until I read up on their environmental consequences. And if your view of the environment extends to the welfare of the other creatures living in it, you really can’t smile on tide/wave power either, as I learned to my shock and disappointment. There is a pretty good chance that it will be a BAD thing for the environment and its inhabitants to switch to “green” power.

      • Seth. Have you considered that to date, almost all renewables only exist because of huge public subsidies (in all forms from cash to tax relief, or in the case of wind energy exemptions from environmental laws) and that these subsidies always shift the burden downward from the well to do to the poor?

      • Indeed a simple truth. While many green energy warriors freely admit that subsidies are necessary for the childlike tech they conveniently leave out the part about the poor paying for such things disproportionately.

        Unless of course you carve out more taxpayer income from the remaining producers and subsidize the burden to the poor. It’s not a new idea to have a sliding scale for energy based on income, but it will be a bigger honeypot.

      • “Gold is a small environmental problem. It’s pretty intert (sic)”

        Ahem. Yes, the gold is quite harmless environmentally.

        The acres of cyanide filled lakes for extracting it, less so.

      • I think one can say categorically that apple do not power their data centres from purely green energy. Now that’s a guess but having worked with large critical data there is absolutely no way we would rely on intermittent, unpredictable energy sources.

        We had diesel backup and battery backup. The batteries were on continuous charge from FF electricity. The batteries would last only a few hours but usually enough time to find and repair the fault.

      • “Wind and nuclear are pretty close to grid parity.”

        BULLS**T

        Only the massive subsidies and the mandated feed in make wind even slightly viable.

      • “Seth

        March 20, 2016 at 10:59 pm”

        Spoken by someone who has no idea about making cars. Way to go Seth!

      • “Their data centres are all renewable-energy powered” – does that mean that Apple’s products stop working when the wind stops?… very unlikely. Perhaps you mean Apple buys offsets – almost as big a fraud as global warming.

      • Seth
        March 20, 2016 at 6:40 pm

        Apple have been pretty good environmentally.

        Their data centres are all renewable-energy powered

        =====================================

        You can’t know that. Terms of their agreements with electric utilities are confidential.
        I have run data centers. Your assertion is preposterous.

      • Richard A. O’Keefe wrote I used to think wind turbines were quite lovely until I read up on their environmental consequences.

        Yeah, those toxic windspills are devastating. For the downwind ecosystems. But with good materials and careful pre-emptive maintenance, they can be kept to a minimum.

        And if your view of the environment extends to the welfare of the other creatures living in it, you really can’t smile on tide/wave power either, as I learned to my shock and disappointment.

        It does, but tidal power doesn’t cut the mustard economically. The effects on the shallow seabed ecosystems is largely unknown, as far as I’m aware. Where did you learn to your shock and disappointment, that this otherwise poor economic choice was damaging creatures?

        There is a pretty good chance that it will be a BAD thing for the environment and its inhabitants to switch to “green” power.

        Acidification and range changes are BAD for the environment. There’s a pretty low chance switching to low carbon sources will be as BAD as those.

      • Pretty is as pretty does!
        When pretty qualifies a noun it’s an adjective and when pretty qualifies an adjective it’s an adverb.
        ATheoK is entirely correct about the ambiguous nature of “pretty”. In speech, it can amplify the following adjective or diminish it but, in text, you just don’t know what was meant.

      • Gamecock Wrote:
        “Apple have been pretty good environmentally.

        Their data centres are all renewable-energy powered”

        =====================================

        You can’t know that. Terms of their agreements with electric utilities are confidential.
        I have run data centers. Your assertion is preposterous.

        I suggest you take your argument up with apple:

        100 per cent of our data centres run on 100 per cent renewable energy.

        Be sure to mention that you’ve run data centres. It’ll probably impress them.

      • ‘I suggest you take your argument up with apple:

        100 per cent of our data centres run on 100 per cent renewable energy.

        Be sure to mention that you’ve run data centres. It’ll probably impress them.’

        Look at the Apple Data Center at Maiden, NC, with Google Earth. Nice solar farm. Data center only runs from 9AM to 4PM, I presume.

        Look at large substation and high tension lines on west side of building.

        Look at the south end of the solar farm at the substation. See the power line coming in from the south?

        Seth, you have a willing suspension of disbelief. Apple is lying through their teeth, and the proof is there in the open.

  2. https://www.climatebonds.net/about/coordinating-team

    So if I work to ensure that the climate change agenda is secured then go join a foundation (or company) that promotes the corporate financing of initiatives that achieve that agenda, is it a conflict of interest ?

    Follow the UN Report in the link then read about the Climate Cage Support Team
    http://cleantechnica.com/2015/11/04/worlds-largest-investor-blackrock-eyes-green-bonds-market-partners-climate-bond-initiative/

    Perhaps Cynthia Scharf is an example of the interconnectedness of some of the players http://som.yale.edu/event/2016/02/colloquium-advanced-management-with-cynthia-scharf

    Or maybe even this VP at Apple
    http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN0VQ2K2

    • So if I work to ensure that the climate change agenda is secured then go join a foundation (or company) that promotes the corporate financing of initiatives that achieve that agenda, is it a conflict of interest ?

      It depends what you mean by “climate change agenda is secured”. It’s sounds like a grand conspiracy theory. The likely answer is it’s not a conflict of interest, because the “climate change agenda” is no more than considering future generations and sound science and economics.

      • The likely answer is it’s not a conflict of interest, because the “climate change agenda” is no more than considering future generations and sound science and economics.

        So bankrupting future generations is “sound science and economics”? Who woulda thunk!

      • So bankrupting future generations is “sound science and economics”?

        1) What is your basis for claiming that nuclear and renewables will bankrupt future generations?

        2) What is your basis for claiming that dropping biodiversity, dropping agricultural productivity and abandoning infrastructure is not going to bankrupt future generations?

        Who woulda thunk!

        Fewer than you might hope, it seems.

      • What is your basis for claiming that nuclear and renewables will bankrupt future generations?
        =============
        The ex Soviet Union is a shining example of what happens when you place ideology ahead of practicality.

      • Seth, people are free to put their own money where they want. Its when they come after my money as well that I object, and demand a say in what is happening.

      • Eric Worrall wrote: Seth, people are free to put their own money where they want. Its when they come after my money as well that I object, and demand a say in what is happening.

        Wallmart don’t pay a living wage, so the taxpayer supplements their payroll costs.

        Fossil fuels damage biodiversity, agricultural production in some regions, and will damage infrastructure or require large engineering projects to protect it. So the world is supplementing their costs.

        The market works when the cost is applied to the person applying the process that incurs the cost. Otherwise the market is distorted by the more expensive option appearing cheaper by being subsidized.

      • What is your basis for claiming that nuclear and renewables will bankrupt future generations?

        Because of people like you are disingenuous. It is also people like you that have opposed the building of nuclear power since the 70’s so your inclusion is anything but honest.

        What is your basis for claiming that …

        What is your basis for making stuff up?

      • Greg F Wrote: Because of people like you are disingenuous.

        You seem to be trying to avoid answering the question. What you’re feeling is congitive dissonance.

        It is also people like you that have opposed the building of nuclear power since the 70’s so your inclusion is anything but honest.

        Nuclear is a low carbon power source. I’m sorry if you think that that’s dishonest, but it really is your problem, because thats the facts.

  3. Over the last 4 quarters Apple has made $53.8 billion on $235 billion in sales. Just think of the $1.5 billion as part of their marketing budget.

  4. While I’m no greenie, I have absolutely no problem with Apple’s approach. If they want to borrow money to fund green projects, and if people are willing to lend them that money, it’s a market based activity. If they succeed, the borrower and lender will be happy. If Apple defaults, the lenders will have a claim on the assets, and then we’ll learn the true value of this stuff.

      • A faux crisis creating a faux energy pricing market financed by most favored companies with investor money. What could go wrong ?

        Surely this Ponzi scheme can give CAGW an extended shelf life.Looks to me like phase II of the institutionalization is expanding its distribution of the ruse.

        If you suddenly become the new leader of the free world and were faced with the reality that if you cut the subsidies, you could trigger a 2008 repeat, what would you do ?

    • If Apple defaults

      That would take some doing. They’ve got over $200 billion in cash. If they bring it into the US, they’ll have to pay tax on it, which is an extra cost, but they’re not going to default instead of doing that.

      • Why does Apple have over $100 billion in cash? Because people who are not opposed to trading with communist China tell me an iPhone would cost us way more if it were assembled in the USA.

        My reply to them is that Apple has over $100 billion in cash which usually leaves them muttering nonsense.

      • Seth,
        History shows that after Hubris comes Nemesis, nothing is immune.

        Delphi, Trump Entertainment Resort, Delta Airlines, IndyMac Bancorp, Compaq, Eastern Airlines, Woolworth’s, Pan Am, Standard Oil, TWA, Pullman Co., RCA, Burger Chef, Rolls Royce (1971), Kodak, General Motors, Marvel Comics and Texaco all prove that fact. That some exist now is due to luck after the event as much as anything else.

      • If Apple has $200 billion in cash, why do they need to float a bond? They should spend their own money. The answer is that they don’t trust that their own investment will pay for itself + the interest on the bonds. That way, if they default on the bonds because the investment tanks, they lost OPM… kind of like Donald Trump’s bankruptcies.

      • Why does Apple have over $100 billion in cash?

        Because of their tax arrangements, their money ends up offshore, where is it difficult to spend, and impossible to return to shareholders.

        So it builds up.

  5. What if Apple is wrong and the earth’s bio-systems are staved for CO2? What if the Gaia genome developed with CO2 well north of 1000 ppm and is currently staving at 400 ppm? What if biodiversity is being trampled by stifling levels of CO2?

    Can Tim Cook, admittedly a manufacturing logistician extraordinaire, be so cocksure to the answers to these questions that he is ready to publicly commit to this path? Just asking.

    • What if Apple is wrong and the earth’s bio-systems are staved for CO2?

      What if gravity is a myth and the earth’s bio-systems suck?

      What if the Gaia genome developed with CO2 well north of 1000 ppm and is currently staving at 400 ppm?

      What if photosynthesis is a myth and the Gaia genome is gas-bagging?

      What if biodiversity is being trampled by stifling levels of CO2?

      What if Elvis is alive and being trampled by low levels of O2?

      Can Tim Cook, admittedly a manufacturing logistician extraordinaire, be so cocksure to the answers to these questions that he is ready to publicly commit to this path?

      Huh?

      Just asking.

      So you are. Comes a point when we could save energy and not ask though doesn’t there?

      • Seth are you saying that the premise “that CO2 is at a low point and the earth’s bio systems would do much better with a higher concentration” is equivalent to “gravity is a myth and the earth’s bio-systems suck”?

        Are you say that it is the same as “photosynthesis is a myth…” or that it is the same as “Elvis is alive …”

        I would say that the first premise is “pretty much” more likely and that a higher concentration of CO2 would be “pretty good” from an environmental standpoint.

        (If you want to hype up the rate of sea level increase as accelerating, and a danger, do it somewhere else; that premise is more closely comparable to your others .)

      • Seth are you saying that the premise “that CO2 is at a low point and the earth’s bio systems would do much better with a higher concentration” is equivalent to “gravity is a myth and the earth’s bio-systems suck”?

        Yes. CO2 is not at a low point.

        I would say that the first premise is “pretty much” more likely and that a higher concentration of CO2 would be “pretty good” from an environmental standpoint.

        So there’s a stack of paper that look at Extinction risk from climate change. That’s the scientific side.

        And on the other hand we have your saying it would be “pretty good”. Do you have any evidence?

  6. Admittedly the green agenda has been on a long run, but if Trump or Cruz get elected, the government can change all the rules and those who have bet on the “sustainability” of a bad idea may have to pay the consequences with financial loss. Hopefully the fraud will be exposed soon before the US and other countries go under.

    • Yeah it’s funny how the GOP only puts up science deniers for candidates.

      A bit of a worry if you think evidence based decisions is a good idea.

  7. Apple has a legal fiduciary duty to the shareholders. They cannot simply jump off on whatever fad strikes their fancy. Obviously, this must make good business sense to them, and the bond buyers, as well.

    So what is the angle with tax breaks, credits, and subsidies? And how much are the taxpayers on the hook for this time?

  8. IIRC, Apple has close to $1 trillion amassed overseas. In cash. They certainly do not need to ask people for more cash. And $1.5 billion is only about 0.015% of their cash hoard.

    I suspect what they say and what they do are two different things. Plus, what better time to issue bonds? Interest rates are at all time low levels, and inflation is rearing its head again. Draw your own conclusions.

  9. “Given the disastrous track record of many green investments over the last few years, it seems likely that at least some of these new green bond funded projects, however well intentioned, will not end well.”

    Exactly! I would not touch them with a barge pole.

    • Depends.

      If Shillary gets elected these bonds will do well as they will be indirectly subsidized by the continuation of the movement.

      If Trump gets elected I’m not to sure he can just pull the plug. He wouldn’t want to trigger a domino of failed paper in an already tenuous economy.

      We live in interesting times.

  10. This is nothing more than marketing. I’m OK with that, since my early retirement is based on going long with Apple stock since the dot com bust.

  11. As an Apple shareholder I am not happy. Management is wasting resources on environmental projects for a problem that does not exist and will have zero impact on climate / warming. They will be less competitive as a result.

    • To be fair a lot of Apple customers probably believe the full green package, so Apple might make up lost ground to higher costs, through clever marketing of their green credentials.

      • Perhaps schemes like this pop up aplenty when the economy shifts to a primarily paper driven one. Odds are Goldman will be on the right side of the trade. Maybe they’ll roll Uncle Warren out for one more deeply discounted (aka stock at 80) endorsement.

        Had lunch today with a guy who sells golf course sand for the sand pits. Who knew there was such a lucrative business there. I certainly didn’t. He used to own a couple of textile mills. Sold out during the NAFTA purge and wiggled his way into this new biz. Paraphrasing him … it makes little sense to take the risks involved in making anything these days when you can make even more money by moving paper around.

        I went home, stared out the window and tried to make sense of the moment. There is something bigger there I need to understand.

    • As an Apple shareholder I am not happy. Management is wasting resources on environmental projects for a problem that does not exist and will have zero impact on climate / warming.

      You should sell, and buy up Peabody Energy Corporation shares. Coal’s had a good 5 years. Not.

      • I have invested in Green Energy and Environmental shares in the past. They have a nasty habit of going bankrupt. This is one reason I have avoided Apple.
        Old tech mining shares may be down at the moment, but they have sure paid out a lot in dividends.

      • My portfolio is for my support in retirement, not for making political statements no one will hear.

  12. This is how it works.
    Apple Singapore gets their products made in China for, say $10.
    Apple Singapore sells the products to Apple Australia for $600.
    Apple Australia sells on the product to the Australian public for $650.
    After Apple Australia pays for rent for the shop fronts and utilities, they pay NO TAX, no profit made. Tax is only payable on profit after expenses.
    So, Australia gains nothing but sends $600 per unit to Singapore.
    Great work if you can get it. And operating within the law.

    • Chris,

      This from our Financial Review and overseas readers please note that this paper is from the Fairfax stable and that stable is 100% luvvie so its bias need be considered but…
      …US tech giant Apple has shifted an estimated $8.9 billion in untaxed profits from its Australian operations to a tax haven structure in Ireland in the last decade, an investigation by The Australian Financial Review has found.

      …Last year Apple reported pretax earnings in Australia of only $88.5 million after it sent an estimated $2 billion of income from its Australian sales to Ireland via Singapore, where Apple negotiated a secret tax deal in 2009….(march 2014)

      So they have billions stuck in every fully stacked filing cabinet all over the world yet they make a song and dance about borrowing one and a half billion for green bonds.

      I sniff a marketing virtue signalling opportunity with the strong aroma of many, many millions in green subsidies.

  13. A few years ago SSE in the UK offered the option of buying “green electricity” at a premium to ordinary electricity.
    Of course there was no separate wiring for the “green” electricity it’s all the same stuff coming through the mains circuit.
    In other words if you are a complete moron pay extra for the same stuff!
    SSE have now dropped the scam as very few opted in.
    SSE found that its UK customers are not so green after all!

  14. When I was at Apple, we bagged a giant “energy conservation rebate” from PG&E. Something north of $50, 000 for one check.

    What did we do?

    Fill out the paperwork to claim it for the “reduction” from our already planned and in progress shutdown of Supercomputer operations in a RIF.

    That’s right. We did nothing extra to conserve energy, just filled out the claim for planned layoffs and site shutdown.

    Now I have no insider info on this, but I’d bet hard monet they are only going “renewable” because their is a subsidy making a profit. The building and facility work is likely cover for something already being done…

    We got some other rebates for things like T8 replacements of T12 lights that we were doing anyway as a building refurnish… Apple had (has?) a dedicated subsidy farmer group in facilities to assure they are found, applied to any already planned work, and any PR value exploited.

    The “Green Bonds” angle is just a greenwash over regular maintenance, facilities costs, and subsidy farming. Debt with lipstick on it…

    • E.M.Smith March 21, 2016 at 12:00 am
      The “Green Bonds” angle is just a greenwash over regular maintenance, facilities costs, and subsidy farming. Debt with lipstick on it…

      Thread winner!

      Apple apologist Seth above has obviously not read this blog, or he would know that there is no danger of sea-level rise or ‘global warming’ from CO2 emissions, none whatever. I expect the high-tech money men at Apple and other Silicon Valley corporations know full well about the ‘green’ scam, but they’re delighted to play along with the Climate Cult and get in on the ‘green’ gravy train. They’ll be standing at the faucet with ever-more ingenious buckets to catch the green gravy as long as it flows.

      Admission: I’m a fan of Apple products, having used Macs since 1987, and continued to do so even after Steve Jobs appointed Algore to the Board. They’re just better. But it would be nice to elect Ted Cruz, who will put the kibosh on all this ‘global warming’ ‘climate change’ ‘eco-green’ nonsense and stop the green-gravy flow.

      /Mr Lynn

  15. $70 billion profit and they have borrow $1.5?

    Don’t want to take a risk with their own money or is some tax dodge hidden in this.

  16. ..Seth is going to be very unhappy when Trump becomes president ..All Seth’s childish dreams of his liberal green Unicorn utopia will come crashing down ! Oh, and by the way Seth, most liberals DO NOT count nuclear energy as ” green” !

    • Yeah I was wondering when seth was going to remember that. Of course some greens Do understand that nuclear is the way to go / the least CO2-intensive (in their view). But, why concentrate so MUCH energy in one small area when you can carpet an entire beautiful region with ugly turbines that work at 35% efficiency (tops!)?

  17. Clinton Moloney, sustainability advisory leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said that as the effects of climate change become more devastating and widespread

    Yet another doomsayer. Why is it that people like this seem to think that ‘warm’ is so much worse than ‘cold’. If that was the case, more people would emigrate to Alaska than Florida.

    • I said long ago, the people running California and Florida want to cool down the entire planet so they can have a milder climate.

    • Clinton,

      I assume this PriceWaterhouseCooper firm is in your neck of the woods and it appears that they are fully aboard the Green Gravy Train. We have a division of that firm in Australia and that Gravy Train stops and collect many passengers from many surprising sources within the Luvvie Left movement.

      Soon we (Australia) are to have a plebiscite re same sex marriage and its advocates are furious that it is going to public opinion. They claim Parliament should sit and pass it and are coming up with every ridiculous claim and insult about the public vote. Why the Horror. Who Knows as it is likely to pass.

      The most pathetic claim came from This Firm – PWC- about the cost of running a plebiscite.
      Note our last Federal election (2013) cost a tad short of 2 hundred million Australian and included a half senate election. PWC claimed it would cost nearly 500 million for the plebiscite and that included 200 million or so in lost productivity. We have these things on Saturday and 90% of us do not work on Saturday.
      Better still was the 20 million added for people mentally upset by all the fuss of the vote. Really True!

      Now….Vault Accounting 50 has ranked PwC as the most prestigious accounting firm in the world for seven consecutive years, as well as the top firm to work for in North America for three consecutive years.(Wikipedia)…

      So an absolute major company in accounting and finance services is ‘Green Crazed’ in your neck of the woods while in Australia this world leading accountancy firm is so desperate to Virtue Signal that it deliberately fiddles productivity costs and deliberately ignores a way of life in Australia. Most of us do not and will not work at weekends.

      I thought these people and firms were supposed to be the lackeys of the running dogs of Capitalism but the modern Left seem to have found a ‘safe space’ to advance their Green, and other credentials, inside some of The worlds leading financial service organisations.

      Christina Figueras would be pleased and I wonder if this “green colonialism” is worldwide and how do you stop it?

      • Apology to Harry,

        Clinton was the Goose (Nerd or Turkey) from PriceWaterhouseCooper.

  18. A state agency in Massachusetts recently sold “green bonds,” a type of debt designed to fund environmentally friendly projects. But the money raised from the sale won’t go to a new park, more bike lanes or a renewable energy facility.

    Instead, the Massachusetts State College Building Authority plans to use some of the funds to build a 725-space parking garage at Salem State University near Boston.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/green-bonds-for-a-parking-garage-1426176294

    Climate bonds are theme bonds, similar in principle to a railway bond of the 19th century, the war bonds of the early 20th century or the highway bond of the 1960s. Theme bonds are designed to:

    o Allow institutional capital – pension, government, insurance and sovereign wealth funds – to invest in areas seen as politically important to their stakeholders that have the same credit risk and returns profile as standards bonds.
    o Provide a means for governments to direct funding to climate change mitigation. For example, this might be done by choosing to privilege qualifying bonds with preferential tax treatments.
    o Send a political signal to other stakeholders.

    Otherwise, for operational purposes, theme bonds largely function as conventional debt instruments. They are risk-weighted and credit rated in the usual way based on the creditworthiness of the issuer, and tradable, market conditions permitting, in international secondary bond markets. These instruments can theoretically be issued at all levels of the fixed income market, from sovereigns to corporate.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_bond

    File under: Marketing, Smoke and Mirrors

  19. So…Apple is worried about air conditioning its buildings due to computers running hot? Why not simply relocate to very cold places like say, Vermont or Alaska??? Staying in warm/hot California is stupid, no?

  20. go to google

    type in Green bond

    press the space bar

    the words tax exempt will appear, if need to know why Apple are interested that is your answer

  21. Interesting piece of marketing.

    But of course computers aren’t green and never could be.

    IIRC apple products are usually silver….

  22. Why the hell are people engaging in conversation/indulging Seth? I got bored with his crap after a few posts. He is probably 20 and knows everything. A waste of time and energy.

    • Or as a recent Ivy engineering grad informed me …. wind and solar are here to stay and will increase in viability as the economy of scale kicks in. At some point, it’s best to smile and move on as it’s pointless to argue with someone who is blind to a rigged market.

      There are many well educated and otherwise bright people who have been sucked in. We have squandered much wealth chasing fundamentally flawed choices.

  23. “Businesses are responsible for the majority of manmade greenhouse gas emissions, which are driving up average temperatures worldwide and affecting many companies’ bottom lines”

    And all along they’ve been telling us it was transportation use of fossil fuels and our gas-powered cars have to be scrapped in favor of those uneconomic Tesla thingies……somebody got some ‘splainin’ to do.

    As for Apple’s datacenters running on 100% renewable energy – just cut them off the grid and see how long they stay up by themselves before the diesel-driven EPUs kick in.

    Somewhere in all this green bond BS I get a distinct whiff of government backing boondoggle to make them more “attractive” to investors. It’s already been proposed, if not implemented, in Canada and the UK. Not to mention government organizations like World Bank and its various Development Bank associates issuing their own green bonds which are backed by taxpayer funds. I’m getting more than a little tired of paying for free lunches.

    • You ain’t seen the end of the CAGW ruse IF they continue to be successful in mandating percent ownership of green scams into publically managed pots of money. It will give long legs to the ruse.

      Cut off the subsidies in a rigged market or at least slow them to meaningless crawl and chances are the movement will find something else to drone on about.

  24. The truth is that “green” is simply a devious way to dress up lies in order to steal and improve PR. Even the phrase “energy efficiency” is a way of lying, because it pretends that any expense in the pursuit of saving energy is worthwhile.

  25. It is, of course, nothing more than one more in a long line of Wall Street gimmicks intended to separate fools from their money.

  26. Apple is doing the right thing here, on many levels.
    1) competitive solar PV provider http://www.firstsolar.com/About-Us/Projects/California-Flats.aspx
    2) use of low cost debt for low cost power source, especially for Calif.
    3) takes future power cost swings off the table, without sacrifices up front
    4) adds a cost advantage over competitors, like the dunces at Google
    5) forestalls some of the worker relocations to Austin and other non-Calif sites, for now

  27. This is laughable. There is no way Apple can go “100% renewable” with respect to any part of their business, let alone the manufacturing portion, which is subcontracted to the Chinese.

    At this rate their current management will drive them once again to be the loser Apple of the mid-90s.

  28. Considering 67% of the electricity in the US comes from fossil fuels and another 19% from nuclear (EIA 2014), I would guess Apple is completely clueless as to how much of their energy comes from non-renewable sources. With 86% of their energy needing to be replaced by 19th century technology for 21st century purposes, perhaps Apple should go into the miracle business and forget computers.

  29. Wow Eric, This topic brought out quite a number of “renewables are as American as apple pie” trolls from their dorm rooms apparently. Without fossil fuels and nuclear power there will not be enough energy available in the economy to support anything like the 10 billion people our planet is expected to have in anything remotely resembling a decent standard of living. It’s that simple. Finding cute little scams to profiteer from subsidies and tax dodging is no solution whatsoever to the very real need for real economic development and increased skills in the workforce worldwide. It really is that simple. The alternative is World War….it is that simple.

  30. How long will it be , before we get speeding fines because our phone has been caught going over the speed limit, and it wont matter if your the driver or not, every member in the car with a mobile turned on will receive a fine. Just announced in Australia, You will be fined $200.00 if your caught walking across a intersection while texting. http://arstechnica.com/apple/2011/04/how-apple-tracks-your-location-without-your-consent-and-why-it-matters/
    The world would be a better place if these companies did NOT exist . http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/mar/02/arms-sales-top-100-producers .
    Without Wars these companies would have to find something else to manufacture , Maybe something that enhances live and doesn’t destroy it would be a good start .

  31. The term ‘renewable’ is misleading. Wind and solar power are best described as ‘unreliable’ and ‘intermittent’. Nuclear fission power is eminently renewable: just dig up a little more uranium (or thorium), of which we have plenty. So for that matter is ‘fossil’ fuel power: we just keep finding more natural gas everywhere we look (and oil, too), and we can make it from plants and air, too. And there’s a half millenium’s worth of coal just waiting to be dug up. It’s all renewable, and wonderfully reliable—just takes fuel!

    /Mr Lynn

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