The Atlantic: Investment Bankers Will Save Us from Climate Change

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to The Atlantic, while governments squabble Investment Bankers are acting to save the planet from global warming.

Why Goldman Sachs Is Fighting Climate Change—And the UN Isn’t

Bankers on Wall Street brought the best news for the climate this week. What’s even happening? ROBINSON MEYER 2:51 PM ET

The most recent COP, the 25th, ended on Sunday. It ran two days longer than planned and went, by most accounts, very poorly. “There is no sugarcoating it: The negotiations fell far short of what was expected,” said a vice president of the World Resources Institute, a nonpartisan environmental think tank, in a statement. Corporate Accountability, a progressive advocacy firm, decried the result: “COP25 failed to rise to the challenge of our time.” Even the staid New York Times, in its headline, bemoaned “few commitments and ‘lost’ opportunity” at the meeting.

For the most helpful clue, it was best on Sunday not to look to Madrid, where the climate negotiations were wrapping up, but to New York, where a different kind of global governance was unfolding. This weekend, the investment bank Goldman Sachs updated its rules about when and how it would underwrite fossil-fuel projects. Goldman will now refuse to lend money or underwrite oil exploration or drilling in the Arctic, including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. It will also decline to finance new thermal coal mines, mountaintop-removal mines, or coal-fired power plants.

Generally, banks both lend capital directly to fossil-fuel companies and also connect those companies with third-party investors. Goldman says its ban applies to both kinds of activity. While other banks around the world—including Barclays and Société Générale—have adopted similar policies, Goldman Sachs is both the first American bank and the largest bank by market value to do so.

Goldman also committed to spend $750 billion on a number of clean-energy and climate-adjacent areas over the next 10 years. And David Solomon, the bank’s chief executive, called for countries to put a price on greenhouse-gas emissions in an editorial in the Financial Times.

Now Goldman has also pulled its support for coal. The bank has its own selfish reasons for this surge in climate spending. Among them: It is trying to move into consumer banking in the United States. and is especially keen on capturing climate-concerned millennials for its new online bank Marcus. It has a corporate image to clean that, 10 years after the financial crisis, remains tawdry to say the least. And it needs to recruit chipper young undergraduates (often from Harvard and Yale) to join its ranks, and generally today’s twenty-somethings prefer to avoid complicity in the scorching of the sky. On top of all this, fossil-fuel stocks have systematically underperformed expectations this decade, and financiers are wary of their business further suffering under future climate policy.

Read more: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/12/goldman-sachs-fighting-climate-change-un/603760/

For once I agree with something The Atlantic published, at least some of it.

Merchant banks like Goldman are surprisingly vulnerable to climate hype. Not only are their investments in fossil fuel potentially imperilled by what they call sovereign risk, the possibility politicians will enact adverse laws which affect their profitability, their lower ranks are rapidly filling with hardline greens, brainwashed Western university graduates who genuinely demand their new workplace respect their values.

I have personally seen these values at play in an internal meeting at a major US merchant bank. On that occasion upper management were apparently caught by surprise, by harsh demands from normally compliant junior staff that they do more to address climate change.

And its not just the junior staff. Upper management of such organizations contains a handful of green influencers, early pioneers of the modern climate movement who graduated in the 90s, who worked their way up the ranks and who now wield substantial influence over corporate policy. The meeting I attended was arranged by a senior management green.

Coal and oil companies will still get their cash, of course. Regardless of what Western banks do, there is a big world outside the anglosphere which is happy to invest in fossil fuel, which regards Western climate activism as an inexplicable own goal, or even as an aggressive underhand attempt to suppress their challenge to Western economic domination.

As the climate movement unravels, as global warming fails to accelerate or goes into reverse, even Western shareholders will eventually challenge the decisions of bankers to deliberately reduce their end of year profits for ideological reasons.

53 thoughts on “The Atlantic: Investment Bankers Will Save Us from Climate Change

  1. Carbon trading could be worth twice that of oil in next decade

    The ETS market may see $3tn (£1.8tn) worth of transactions a year in the next decade or two, according to Andrew Ager, head of emissions trading at Bache Commodities in London, with it even being used as a hedge against falling equities or rising inflation. “It is still a relatively new industry with annual trades of around €300bn every year. But this could grow to around $3tn compared to the $1.5tn market there is for oil,” says Ager, who used to be a foreign currencies trader.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/29/carbon-trading-market-copenhagen-summit

    • By 2050, it is predicted that the world will see the first trillionaire and I predict it will be someone, Gore-like, connected to the carbon trading markets.

    • “Eric McCool December 17, 2019 at 6:09 pm
      Carbon trading could be worth twice that of oil in next decade”…

      The caron markets that have existed so far have been rife with corrupt carbon trading schemes.

      Carbon trading is all Falsehoods from start to finish.
      There is no physical measurement of total carbon emitted.
      There is no physical measurement for “saving” or preventing carbon.

      Baseless estimates, sold to individuals and companies is a prime opportunity for crooks.
      At least, cash reserves have physical units that can be physically audited successfully.

    • But when that happens…they go into government.

      Someone mentioned Zerohedge, which can be a bit…extreme at time.

      But they aren’t always wrong:

      https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/750-billion-reasons-why-goldman-rooting-greta-thunbergs-success

      “Translation: Goldman made about $15 million selling a bunch of bonds to a bunch of “green” liberals managing other liberals’ money. Because when central banks have taken over the market and Goldman’s own trading desk is shrinking quarter after quarter, and when the coming negative rates will make Goldman’s recent investment into retail banking a disaster, one can always make money betting on liberal guilt, and nobody knows this better than Goldman Sachs… and Greta Thunberg.”

      “Vampire Squid”. Indeed.

      • By the time the generation following millennials achieves college graduation age the Government will have collapsed into a generational recession and the Yuan will be the world currency.
        Not only will we no longer be able to deficit spend we will have handed the overdue credit cards bills to the next 4 generations. As the population will shrink considerably, it could very well be the next 10 generations.
        Understanding that by the time the last boomer collects his last Social Security dollar the National Debt will be somewhere in the vicinity of 70 to 90 Trillion dollars because our unfunded Social Security, medicare and medicaid obligation will make our currently 22 Trillion dollar debt look like an overdue Christmas bill. When this collapse comes the service cost of the interest payments will be larger than U.S. Tax Revenue after they raise the marginal rates to 80% on everybody.
        Bottome line, Caligula, the First GenXer into the grave wins.

        • (our unfunded Social Security, )
          the SS sector received over 3 trillion dollars more than they spent in the last 40(?) years..
          the gov spent it , and issued bonds to the SS agency..
          what is the “unfunded ” part ???

  2. Hmmm…. is there any way at all to get a firm like Golden Slacks to invest in a network of reliable and “clean” nuclear reactors?

    And is there any way – even a remote possibility – to get the Greenbeaners to understand how destructive solar plots and wind turbines are to birds, which WE NEED?????

    • Goldman Sachs — Ten years ago they were the Left’s favorite boogeyman for their huge role in the Subprime mortgage and worthless CDO fiasco that led to the financial meltdown. And they got bailed out when the AIG got bailed out, because that bail-out money went straight to Goldman’s accounts.
      https://www.businessinsider.com/henry-blodget-goldman-sachs-wins-big-in-secret-bailout-via-aig-2009-3

      Goladman-Sachs was and still is the vampire quids of World Finance.
      https://www.quora.com/Why-is-Goldman-Sachs-seen-as-the-most-atrocious-investment-bank

      or this :
      https://i.pinimg.com/originals/63/75/01/6375018f5e98724d9ac48acd6a05b63f.jpg

      And now suddenly the Left wants to embrace Goldman because they are supporting the Left’s Climate Religion? Talk about stupid. These Leftist guys have the attention span and memory of a cow. No wonder Hillary was able to playthem for rubes while getting campaign cash from Wall Street in 2016.

      And Goldman-Sachs will be laughing all the way to the next bail-out from the stupid politicians they own from both sides of the political aisle.

      • These Leftist guys have the attention span and memory of a cow.

        I know it’s cheap and obvious, but that is an insult to cows everywhere.

        • Only for 5 minutes. Then they forget why they were insulted. And the n 10 minutes later they forget they were insulted at all by whoever is feeding them.

      • “And now suddenly the Left wants to embrace (…)”

        They will embrace literally anything. And I mean literally literally, not literally figuratively.

        They embraced:

        – free, vague “contracts” that can be interpreted to mean anything; the right to write ridiculously powerful “we can do anything and you have no right to complain” clauses;
        – almost monopolistic big tech, after they claimed to defend the powerless;
        – suppressing accounts of people they don’t like, you have committed no crime and who don’t even have a right to count their criticism;
        – shaming people whose account have been deleted, because they have had their account deleted, when they can’t reply;
        – giving free speech rights to mega corporations that are almost monopolistic (have gigantic power);
        – allowing mega corporations to suppress user accounts based on nothing because “free speech”;
        – allowing social networks which don’t take position and are essentially a support for their users opinion to claim they work as a journal or book editor not a carrier;
        – allowing said social networks to keep the legal immunity of a carrier unlike an editor;
        – not allowing the target of an accusation to even give a reply;
        – “cancelling” people they don’t like: suppression of all accounts on all platforms acting in a coordinated way (thus, really a monopoly of a small Web intelligencia who gets to say who has the right to an account on their platforms);
        – denying revenue by intimidation of advertisers;
        – denying the right of accused;
        – worshiping the FBI;
        – sending informants to an opponent’s political campaign;
        – secret courts;
        – getting dirt from foreigners;
        – the CIA;
        – jailing political opponents.

        At that point, I believe there is nothing – I mean literally nothing – THEY considered THEMSELVES backward thinking, rancid or fascistic that the hysterical leftist twitter base did not embrace.

        I think it’s the 30ties all over again: in France many collaborators with the Occupier were formerly Jew defending leftists.

        • You omitted ANTIFA: a terrorist organization sponsored by left deep state.
          The main purpose of ANTIFA is preemptive attack against possible tax revolt.
          The deplorable middle-class must be constantly afraid of having any opinions opposing tax hungry batterers.

    • I think Sara solar plots are a complete waste of money for their investors, the total output I watch here

      https://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/index.php

      In winter in the UK their contribution is minimal/intermittent, they take up huge spaces of often green farm land, maybe the farmer makes some rent, their put on old coal mining sites which in my area are government owned. I think their a total waste of time,

      Wind power here is heavily subsidised, they even pay who ever owns them when there not turning , they again take massive chunks of land and by definition there up on hills and totally spoil the landscape, they do produce more than solar, but their very nature seems to cause problems with frequency for the grid, and of course they kill birds , I dont think they can build any more on the dry land but I could be wrong about that , there are also wind farms out to sea, gas and nuclear are the main providers supplemented with bio and coal. We import from France, Ireland, and it’s a two way flow if need be ,theres a secondary back up gas generation plant that it used as last resort ,I’ve seen it on a few times already this winter, we come over 3/4 capacity often and some times reach the limit, if we have a severe winter their will be power outages, theres only one coal plant left running on imported coal.

    • re: Sara December 17, 2019 at 6:15 pm
      Hmmm…. is there any way at all to get a firm like Golden Slacks to invest in a network of reliable and “clean” nuclear reactors?

      The “answer” isn’t going to be anything s proposed on these pages anyway, so all this is just a ‘paper’ exercise or ‘drill’ …

      What? Straight-line projections (or extrapolation) into the future are suddenly going to be correct, are going to be accurate?

      • Cheap natural gas is killing every other form of capital investment in new power projects… except wind and solar. That’s because wind and solar gets ITC and PTC from the federal government. Without those, there would be no new wind and solar farms being built. And existing ones would quickly go bankrupt.

        Nuclear has very high capital construction (upfront) costs. CCGT plants and fast-start NGT peaking power plants are far more economical to build and quickly bring online compared to the +20 years for a big nuclear power plant project. So unless a political decision is made to bring in nuclear power construction tax credits to industry, none will be built. That goes for the big plants and any of the planned, newer compact nuclear power generators.

      • At some point, probably not in my lifetime, all the fantasies will come tumbling down and the hard-knocks world of reality will set in. Having an alternative plan in place, one that might be already put to use, is always a good idea.

        Read the article on how Enron has been ripping off naive, gullible school district officials and getting away with it. Knowing about these things is worth your time.

  3. If you’re a shareholder, you get a chance every year to vote out the current board. They worry about the vote counts, even if no one is running against them.

    • greenpeas avaaz and getup have been running campaigns to email ALL the banks and investment mobs to pull funding
      because theyve been doing it endlessly the last coupe yrs the morons at the banks think its a real thing customers care about
      most of the signatories arent even with those mobs!
      if they really wanted to know theyd put questionnaires IN the banks etc at the counters for REAL customers to have a say.

      in Aus NAB is planning to cut ALL funding to oil/mines etc by 2025
      theyre already in deep shit for dirty dealings
      as are the other big 3 of our total 4 large banks

      they think this will earn them customers
      boy are they wrong!

  4. If the US Congress ever can gather the cojones to pull the plug on the PTC from wind ventures, those assets would be what gets left stranded. Eventually the US Congress is going to have to face the mounting US deficit problem.

    Trick question: Will Congress cut non-discretionary spending for things like SS payments and Medicare, or will they start to slash the discretionary spending for things like the multi-billion dollar renewable energy production tax credits (PTC) first?

    It’s really a no brainer what the political choice will be. And when the federal PTC for wind and solar goes, those wind turbines will grind to halt and solar farms will go into receivership.

    Thus the political risk is far greater in wind and solar than low cost natural gas and coal projects. And all those landowners who signed multi-decade leases to put those monstrosities on their land will be left with no lease checks coming in and a rusting hulk on their land. And when they try to get answers no one in the bankrupt company or court-appointed receiver will return their phone calls or emails about when it will be resolved.

  5. Goldman Sachs has been pushing this for years because they’ll be brokers under carbon credit schemes and rake in trillions with a little piece of the action on every credit traded.

    • Yep.
      Back before the 2009 Copenhagen climate ho-down, Goldmans had positioned itself as the top potential player in the putative government-mandated global ‘carbon’ credits trading scheme.

      Many banks were also drooling over the potential profits to be derived from transaction fees to be levied on businesses for compulsory purchases of pieces of paper with no assessable provenance.

      This was junk bonds in the making all over again.

      Has the world yet dodged this bullet?

  6. When you shake hands with Goldie, count your fingers. (a snide remark repeated in various forms all over the internet)

    While I was googling for information on Goldman Sachs, I stumbled across a controversial financial markets forecaster. That made me wonder how Piers Corbyn (a controversial climate forecaster) is doing these days.

  7. The same people that got bailed out. What a coincidence. Do you have to work for a living? These people want to make you permanently poor.

  8. Anybody who has to work for a living has to be nuts if they vote for any Democrat next year. Democrats are only going to make you poorer and unemployed while they make investment bankers who went to Harvard and Yale richer. Democrats are only going to make your electricity and gas three times more expensive while they make rich Democrats richer. This Democrat Party is NOT the party that your working grandpa might have supported. They hate you.

  9. Regarding “sovereign risk” – If the U.S. government forced legitimate resource owners to “leave it in the ground” through some legislative act, wouldn’t that constitute a “taking” under existing jurisprudence and require the government to compensate them for the lost value?

  10. I say thgis is all posturing. They committed to precisely nothing. Let’s review their statement:

    oil exploration or drilling in the Arctic, including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

    Only Shell was doing that. They don’t borrow money. Litigation has tied up the rest of it.

    new thermal coal mines, mountaintop-removal mines, or coal-fired power plants.

    Again. No one is doing these things in the US.

    Another fraud from the Vampire Squid.

  11. Paulson takes on China and climate change
    September 19, 2008
    One thing Paulson makes clear is that it’s in everyone’s interest to promote clean technology and energy efficiency in China, to curb global warming. According to Paulson, if China today was as efficient in its use of energy as the U.S. was in 1970, it would save the equivalent of 16 million barrels of oil a day, or almost 10% of the world’s daily oil consumption.
    All of the world must learn to make do with less, he argues. “There simply are not enough energy resources to allow the world’s entire population, or even the third of it represented by the Chinese, to lead the resource-intensive lifestyle that Americans currently enjoy,” Paulson says.
    Paulson’s an environmentalist – he is the former chair of the Nature Conservancy and the reason why Goldman Sachs, under his watch, became the first investment bank to call for federal regulation of greenhouse gases.
    http://archive.fortune.com/2008/09/19/news/economy/gunther_paulson.fortune/index.htm?postversion=2008091916

  12. During investigations about 2007 crisis (or ENRON, I’m not sure), emails from traders revealed a wish for a market that is completely disconnected from reality, which means, where trader working for market makers could take a bet against their own clients without any risk.
    By short selling you can provoke flash crash triggering a cascade of margin calls and pocket huge gains as market maker. But attempt to trigger is risky if market forces are stronger than the manipulation attempt.
    CO2 “market” is an incarnation of this pipe dream.

    • CO2 “market” is an incarnation of this pipe dream. – SC

      And do not think for one second that people won’t use and abuse it if it becomes a “thing” in the markets. It is, in reality, such a risky business that the only people who’d make money off of it will be those who started using it as a trading item. That may not be too far off – commodities markets are strange things, so why not add “carbon tax credits” as one of those strange things?

  13. I trust the investment bankers. They have a long, distinguished history of selflessly working for common good, for improvement of lives of every ordinary citizen, often at their own expense…hahaha

  14. Goldman Sachs suffered during the financial crisis of 2007–2008, and received a $10 billion investment from the United States Department of the Treasury.

    Next time Goldman Sachs needs another lot of bail-out money from the taxpayer shouldn’t we tell them that we do not invest in such banks anymore? It would do wonders to the climate in the banking world.

  15. Goldman is a near-perfect analogue of Chuckie Schumer.

    Both get up in the morning and check to see which way the wind is blowing. Both have the backbone of a jellyfish.

  16. The “Climate Crisis” supporting International Bankers are in synch with the Globalist Socialist Elite. These are the guys that caused a financial crisis…got $20 Trillion handed to them to fix it…and nobody went to jail. Many Capitalists that have made it to the top are all for Global Socialism…with them being amongst the Ruling Class of course. Most are well meaning but their visions of the future are appalling to me (there’s lots of talk in their circles about getting the population below 1 Billion for instance…what’s their plan and time scale for that one?). The fact that they use lies and fraud (Climate Fraud and 24/7 Propaganda from their MSM) to propel their plans is disturbing and offputting to me. Their methods make me recoil…what they want to do terrifies me. They do not present their ultimate plans openly and honestly. They “back door” everything…like using Climate to gain power.

    Our US Constitution does a pretty good job of dividing power within our government. It did allow the formation of the unelected Deep State which the Russia Hoax and the Impeachment Inquiry has uncovered and put on display. Cleaning up that mess may be impossible…with the Globalists and Democrats supporting the mess.

    The Constitution does not address the concentrated power of wealth (which has brought us Climate Change and Social Media Censorship as 2 recent examples). For defending against the concentration of illegitimate power from wealth we need to find other remedies. Transparency and these blogs are our best tools currently – we can see a lot of what they are doing via the internet – and we can generate resistance via the internet.

    And here we are.

  17. BonBon should be around any moment now for his obligatory evil British national bankers conspiracy rant.

    • Well, he is mostly right. The current banking system is the spawn of the Bank of England, which was created some 300 years or more ago. It is a system of interest bearing debt and only those who control that system make any real wealth.

      • Is this bizarro world where “mostly right” really means “mostly wrong”? other than Banking being part of English history his inane conspiracy theories bear no resemblance to any sane reality.

        • No, I expanded on the mostly wright bit with my comment. It’s no theory, conspiracy or otherwise, it is fact. The original purpose of the Bank of England was to fund England’s war machine. It changed over time spawning the industry of interest bearing debt as it is today.

          • Which is an infinitesimally small part of bonbon’s evil British bankers conspiracy rants. so again, when you said “mostly right” you were really talking about such a small part that it’s more accurate to say “mostly wrong” (except, as I noted, in Bizarro world).

  18. Unfortunately President Trump is being set up for a crash much worse by far than 2008. And ZH does report hard finance such as the money pump for the Repo Market since 15-Sep.

    Goldilocks and Co. for sure remember Trump’s election promise to enact Glass-Steagall, bank separation. As the crash looms the sheer hysterics from banking circles explains the suicidal Dem lurch forward.

    Even Lagarde promises to continue Draghi’s “whatever it takes” to rescue the zombies. They will paint a doomed bailout green, but green lipstick on a bailout is still a bailout.

    FDR used the US Constitution in 1934, the Banking Act, known as Glass-Steagall, to reconstruct out of the Depression, just in time to defeat a deadly adversary. Bankers then organized a Plot, whistle-blown by Maj. Smedley-Butler – they fully intended a military putsch right in the good ol’ USA.
    Now look at the impeachment hoax, say a putsch, and while ogling the circus watch out as the entire financial system falls over.

  19. Any investment banking group with a background in telling its clients one thing while betting against them in the office suite next door is quite capable of playing all sides of the climate coin: heads, tails, edges, options, hedges, and new improved financial instruments of we-win, you-lose designs. If they can cheat institutional clients like pension systems they can cheat eight ways to Sunday before you know about it.

  20. It’s all straight out of Communist theoretician Antonio Gramsci’s encouraging the worst excesses of capitalism in order to accelerate it’s collapse. If the public successfully rebel and get their way in ending Carbon Taxes, the value of Carbon Credits(currently ~25 Euros per ton CO2) falls to zero with the stroke of a pen. Same as the Credit Default Swaps train wreck of 2008, threatens to bring down the financial system. Carbon Credits are just like Cancer, they either kill the host by starving it to death or the host dies trying to remove them.

    • re: “A simple assessment at https://watervaporandwarming.blogspot.com shows that nothing that banks might do to support the reduction of the use of fossil fuels will have a significant effect on climate.”

      There ought to be an acronym for this sort of analysis, like “S L P P” for “Straight Line-Projection Planning” … And, moreover, how do they know? The future, and technological development, is anything but linear (Moore’s Law anyone?) Have not 2,000 (more or less) years of recorded history not demonstrated this? An IPO offered at (and the funded work up to) a strategic point in time could make a lot of difference given certain, specific “tech”.

      • _J,
        Apparently you did not grasp the assessment or perhaps did not even examine it. It shows that consumption of fossil fuels and the CO2 produced has no significant effect on climate. Therefore nothing that anyone does, even investment banks, to influence the amount of CO2 produced will have no significant effect on climate. Your speculation is not relevant.

  21. Interesting that there are a lot of ex-bankers and finance people working at the World Resources Institute.

    Could it be because the global cap-and-trade market was estimated to be $20 trillion per year and that they (bankers) were/are ready to cash in on the global trading including carbon derivatives partially set up by the same person who gave us the subprime derivatives? (I bet this would be a HUGE CASH COW for the rich bankers).

    I bet banks profit nicely on the carbon trading going on between states. Would be nice to know the specifics and if my hunch is correct

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