Guest eye-rolling by David Middleton
Op-Ed: Frustrated by the lack of action on climate change and gun violence? Divest
By JACQUES LESLIE
AUG. 26, 2019
Californians frustrated by Congress’s failure to pass climate and gun control legislation have a potentially potent tool to produce the change they want: divestment.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the nation’s second- and third-largest retirement plans, own investment portfolios that brim with shares in fossil fuel companies, ammunition manufacturers and gun retailers. So do almost all 401(k) accounts. Divestment campaigns can change that.
The primary goal of divestment advocacy usually isn’t to force the collapse of target companies by depriving them of capital — that outcome is often out of reach. According to a 1999 study in the Journal of Business, the anti-apartheid divestment campaign that targeted corporations and individuals who did business in South Africa in the 1980s — generally considered the most successful such efforts — didn’t deeply affect South Africa’s financial sector. It achieved its goal by stigmatizing the practices of the South African government. As a 2012 Harvard Political Review article concluded, “It is almost certain that worldwide popular opposition … contributed to the decline of apartheid, and divestment was an important piece of this puzzle.”
“That outcome” is always out of reach because divestment is nothing but “a really futile and stupid gesture.” The anti-apartheid divestment campaign didn’t demand divestment form entire industries upon which our economy is dependent. It demanded divestment from specific entities that did business with South Africa. It is not an analogy.
Are these people stupid or just lazy? I clicked on the fossil fuel companies link…
Do they have any idea how stupid the phrase “fossil free” is?
Mr. Leslie, a former Vietnam War correspondent and environmental wacko, proceeded to dive deeper into the sea of futility…
Last month, an overwhelming majority — 77% — of the UC faculty on all 10 campuses asked the university’s regents to definitively rid the school’s portfolio of holdings “in the 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies with the largest carbon reserves.”LA Times
What the frack are “carbon reserves”? There are oil & gas reserves, coal reserves and even carbon dioxide reserves used for enhanced oil recovery… But there’s no such thing as carbon reserves. Are the “UC faculty on all 10 campuses” really that stupid?
Did 77% of “UC faculty on all 10 campuses” actually vote for this really futile and stupid gesture? No, not even close.
12.6% of the eligible faculty voted for this really futile and stupid gesture. They more or less ignored the whining, much to the chagrin of Bill McKibben.
“This would be one of the biggest moments in the seven-year history of the fossil fuel divestment movement,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, which has led the international campaign.LA Times
Mr. Leslie continued to dive even deeper.
Only students, faculty and alumni can pressure the UC regents to divest, but millions of other Californians can put similar advocacy to work on their own portfolios. CalSTRS, for example, has repeatedly proclaimed that its funds are gun-free, but according to As You Sow, a shareholder advocacy nonprofit, the teachers’ pension fund still holds hundreds of thousands of shares in ammunition manufacturers and millions of shares in gun retailers such as Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods.LA Times
Do these bozos really think that Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods will stop selling guns and ammunition because people like Bill McKibben whine a lot?
Mr. Leslie then set a new world record for deep diving into the sea of futility…
One obstacle to divestment campaigns is that individuals don’t know what companies a pension behemoth like CalSTRS or CalPERS is investing in, and 401(k) holders have to choose among mutual funds, which are just as opaque.
“Every company in California should let their employees know what their [401(k)s are] invested in — that to me is really the big issue,” Behar said. “We’re complicit in climate change and gun violence, yet none of us know it, and we don’t realize the power we have to change it.”
In contrast, the UC regents can’t claim ignorance: They manage the university’s portfolio. They should directly address the faculty petition, and they should overcome their timidity and commit the university to wholehearted divestment. The rest of us should end our complicity by dropping investment funds that contain socially destructive companies.LA Times
“Socially destructive companies”?
Firearms forged the American society…
Those who are best acquainted with the last successful resistance of this country against the British arms, will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it.James Madison, The Federalist Papers : No. 46, January 29, 1788
And fossil fuels keep it running…
The crazy thing is that we currently burn more biomass for energy than we did before we started burning coal.
The world consumes more energy now than it ever has before and that demand can only continue to grow.
Jul 5, 2019
Global Energy Demand Can Only Increase
There’s an unimaginable urbanization boom occurring around the world that means more energy use.
We, of course, don’t see much of it here in the West, but global cities swell in population by some 80 million people every year: e.g., the rise of the “megacity” with 10 million residents.
Basically all population growth in the decades ahead will take place in urban areas, all of which will be in the still developing nations (non-OECD), where poverty and insufficient access to energy is far more rampant than our worst nightmares could ever imagine.
And just look to the West to see why urbanization is desirable.
Take electricity, the sine qua non of a modern society.
At less than 2,500 kWh per capita per year, over half the world uses less than 40% what the average Europe consumes and less than 20% of what we Americans use.
Again, the richest, healthiest nations on Earth devouring the most energy and now demanding that the world’s poor can’t do the same.
The global energy demand trend is increasingly… up.
Another everyday example of why the world will clearly be using more energy in the decades ahead is air conditioning: “Global Warming, More Air Conditioning, and More Energy.”
Yep, given such dismal electricity access and poverty globally, most of the world doesn’t have that little cooling thing we all take for granted.
So much more electricity-powered cooling is surely coming: the big cities of the still developing nations are far hotter than those in the West.
The U.S., for instance, uses more electricity for air conditioning alone than Mexico (with 135 million people) uses in total for everything.
The global energy demand trend is increasingly… up.
The harsh reality for some is that all energy sources will have a crucial role to play for decades to come: global demand is surging that fast.
Simply put, in a still overwhelmingly poor and energy-deprived world, latent energy consumption is far more immense than what some want you to believe.
Mr. Leslie, meet “the harsh reality”…
If you clowns were serious about reducing the carbon footprint of energy, you would be clamoring for more nuclear power and natural gas…
Instead of just being clowns…
For some reason, this post made me think of a classic Warren Zevon song…