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Financial Review: Companies, Directors face a Wave of Climate Lawfare in 2021

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

As companies and company directors go all in to try to prevent the Covid economic crash from turning into a new great depression, greens are advancing plans to bleed struggling businesses with a wave of nuisance climate lawsuits.

Companies, directors, governments face wave of climate change lawfare

Hannah Wootton and Elouise Fowler
Jan 4, 2021 – 12.00am

Companies, directors, governments and professional services firms face a growing risk of litigation over their climate change disclosure and emissions reduction policies in 2021, experts predict, as concerned citizens turn to the courts to spearhead environmental action.

It builds on a trend of climate change litigation that culminated in the Retail Employees Superannuation Trust (Rest) settlement in 2020, which for the first time forced the super fund to recognise climate change was a financial risk, and stress-test its portfolio against the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

Mark McVeigh, the 24-year-old Rest member who launched the landmark case against the fund, warned that anyone bringing climate change cases needed to settle in for the long haul.

“Be aware it will take a long time, it won’t happen in a straightforward way either,” he said.

But to Mr McVeigh, the effort was worth it: “It’s a really powerful way to get the ball moving on climate action in these industries.”

Disclosure the next ‘big story’

King & Wood Mallesons partner Will Heath, who specialises in corporate governance, said “there’s no doubt the big story for next year will be requirements related to climate disclosure … [which are] only set to expand”.

President-elect Joe Biden has committed to mandating companies disclose climate risk – mirroring action already taken by the EU – and Australia has historically followed America’s lead on such reforms.

Read more: https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/companies-directors-governments-face-wave-of-climate-change-lawfare-20201228-p56qf9

I doubt greens care if their relentless attacks on struggling business end up triggering a long term recession or a new great depression.

We’ve all seen examples of how climate activists celebrated the Covid-19 lockdown, or “heart warming” images of deserted children’s playgrounds. Greens have made it abundantly clear that many of them think reduced economic activity is a good thing, no matter how much pain that contraction in economic activity causes for ordinary people.

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niceguy
January 5, 2021 6:27 pm

I studied to be part of academia, the great blob that created that monster.

The blob that managed to get so many high IQ people to sign up on that BS. The blob that managed to brainwash itself into thinking they are the smart people and US conservatives are a minority of know nothing… (although US conservatives tried hard to give that impression with anti physics Conservapedia).

I’m ashamed I almost fell for that crap.

Derg
Reply to  Eric Worrall
January 6, 2021 2:30 am

Exactly Eric!

PCman999
Reply to  Eric Worrall
January 6, 2021 5:49 am

I new something was fishy with the green movement when iron fertilization of the oceans was rejected immediately without even small scale testing, and even though it could help fisheries. They’re happy to pollute the sky with dust to the sun and inadvertently kill plants though.

niceguy
Reply to  Eric Worrall
January 6, 2021 10:15 pm

I see how people could fear nuclear – before Japan was bombed. That’s right, before, not after: how can they reconcile terror of nuclear with both Japanese cities being as flourishing now as any other? How could anyone not see the lack of real world Godzillas as a failure of insane mutant predictions?

Not, it isn’t just intense high radiation low radio-isotopes issues; after the local catastrophe of the Lenin nuclear plant in Chernobyl, with no Godzillas either, and the triple accident of Fukushima Daiichi, where are all the articles on the explosion of leukemia cases all over Japan as many people alleged in 2011?

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  niceguy
January 5, 2021 6:53 pm

Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls them Intellectual Yet Idiots (IYI’s). They are trained to liberal ideas and live their comfortable lives in academia, with little to no grounding in the real world or hard work of labor and engineering. They know not of what it takes to make our highly technical society, with all its life-enhancing conveniences, like reliable electricity and clean water out of a faucet, work every time you plug something to a wall socket or turn a faucet knowing the life giving flow that will come forth from it
The IYI’s love to Virtue-signal to their fellow libs about their socail justice and climate piety at cocktail parties and departmental meetings. They are clueless idiots. All of them. I saw it first hand while at Grad School and as a post-doc in Massachusetts.

William Buckley famously observed 55 years ago about this IYI class:
I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.”

Mr. Buckley went on to observe about the intellectual idiot class:

Not, heaven knows, because I hold lightly the brainpower or knowledge or generosity or even the affability of the Harvard faculty: but because I greatly fear intellectual arrogance, and that is a distinguishing characteristic of the university which refuses to accept any common premise.”

Redge
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
January 5, 2021 10:22 pm

I call them “educated fools”

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some very capable people in academia. I’ve also met a very high number of professors who excelled at school, obtained doctorates etc, but they don’t know how to think.

High IQ does not equal smart.

(IQ of 157, but so what?)

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Redge
January 6, 2021 12:06 am

IQ tests were devised by “academics” for “academics”. Has no bearing on actual intelligence.

Philo
Reply to  Patrick MJD
January 6, 2021 11:51 am

Historically IQ tests(after they were first proposed) were used mainly by the military going into WW II. The primary takeaway was that an IQ of 83 or higher was neccesary for recruitment because a lower IQ either couldn’t at least be trained to be a soldier. Higher was fine, but high IQ’s were mostly steered into academic/industry to help the war effort. Too many high IQ’s in the higher ranks caused problems because many very smart people cannot work well with “less intelligent” people.

Einstein was not easy to work with since 99% of the people couldn’t understand his thinking.

Solomon Green
Reply to  Philo
January 8, 2021 3:14 am

It is a mistake to confuse cleverness with intelligence.

My wife, who left school at fifteen without any leaving certifcate as opposed to myself and our children who each have two or more degrees, is more inelligent than any of us We may be more clever but we recognise that she is more intelligent.

My father and the four of his brothers who attended universities, each became leaders in their chosen professions but the two brothers who never made it to college each becsme multi-millionaires and achieved far higher positions.

I have also noticed that, while almost every scientist that i meet has reservtions about the component of the CAGW hypothesis in which they are experts, many are still willing to go along with the crowd.

Is there a correaltion between grants and gullability?

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
January 6, 2021 1:53 am

George Orwell: “there are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them”.

DonM
Reply to  niceguy
January 5, 2021 7:05 pm

I had never heard of ‘conservapedia’ before you mentioned it. My guess is that there are not very many right of center types that have heard of it either.

Your impression that USA conservatives are on board with Conservapedia is mistaken. You may not have “fell for that crap”, but it appears that your biases are still influenced by the purveyors of crap.

(I haven’t looked, but I would guess that the conservapedia errors and propaganda posts number about the same as the errors and propaganda posts in wikipedia)

MarkW
Reply to  niceguy
January 6, 2021 6:29 am

Before you mentioning it, I had never heard of conservapedia. Reading up on it, it seems to the the project of a very small number of conservatives.
Judging all conservatives based on the actions of a few is no different from judging WUWT by the presence of a few sky dragons or anti-vaccine activists that post here.

I didn’t spend the time to research any of the positions that conservapedia takes on various scientific issues, but I’ve spent a life time listening to liberals declare that conservatives are anti this and anti that, merely because conservatives don’t agree with liberals on that issue.

Last edited 15 days ago by MarkW
Tsk Tsk
January 5, 2021 6:53 pm

<blockquote>Greens have made it abundantly clear that many of them think reduced economic activity is a good thing, no matter how much pain that contraction in economic activity causes for ordinary people.</blockquote>

No, Greens have made it abundantly clear that they are a death cult and have been for decades.

n.n
Reply to  Tsk Tsk
January 5, 2021 7:21 pm

Planned Population schemes reduce obstacles, “burdens”, that impede social progress. Think one-child. Think selective-child. Great Leaps, wicked solutions. This is forward-looking, religious, or its relativistic cousin “ethical” thought.

Waza
January 5, 2021 6:53 pm

A valid corporate risk plan should address all types of risks and required actions to reduce these risks.
New regulations and taxes pose a significant financial risk to corporations.
These corporations have a responsibility to their shareholders to fight detrimental laws and taxes.

Jeffery P
Reply to  Waza
January 6, 2021 7:14 am

What is the real (physical) risk from climate change? It must be pretty low or we wouldn’t have so much waterfront development.

LdB
Reply to  Waza
January 6, 2021 12:45 pm

The converse of that is you can lose a lot of money on lawyers fighting endless legal actions and under the same responsibility to shareholders they may cave. It’s a double edged sword. Unfortunately often the better option is to simply pull out of a country with such a problem.

Kevin kilty
January 5, 2021 6:54 pm

The elite, who have supported this nonsense in so many way, display undisguised contempt for most of us. I understand that. They also wish for total control. What I fail to understand is why they wish to ruin the country, as they will have to live in it afterwards. Do they think they’ll be able to buy up everything on the cheap?

Last edited 16 days ago by Kevin kilty
Redge
Reply to  Kevin kilty
January 5, 2021 10:27 pm

One of the things I don’t understand is why the eco-worriers are so keen to destroy everything they can just so they can be foot soldiers of the New World Oder*.

I guess they believe the lies they have been fed.

*The whole thing stinks.

MarkW
Reply to  Kevin kilty
January 6, 2021 6:34 am

Many of them actually believe that if only we would turn over control over everything to them, they will be able to make everything better.

Voltron
January 5, 2021 7:05 pm

If I remember correctly Mark McVeigh had it settled outside court and no real changes were made. Easy way to make some dollars if you’re sufficiently rabid.

gringojay
Reply to  Voltron
January 5, 2021 9:39 pm

Gives a whole new dimension to the practice of “greenmail” litigation; which used to be only about it being cheaper to just settle a nuisance suit. This new dimension is more like hybridizing in “ambulance” chasing; which used to be only jumping into disasters looking to file litigation.

In the U.S.A. there was at least one individual who was notorious for filing multiple litigations against established businesses because their premises, which pre-dated legal disabled persons accessibility laws, “discriminated” against him. It seemed this person hunted out places where some types of upgrades were behind the times & filed “got’cha” law suits to collect damages &/or greenmail settlements.

markl
January 5, 2021 7:19 pm

“…many of them think reduced economic activity is a good thing…” No, they don’t think about that when they believe the future of man is jeopardized by AGW. However those pulling their strings not only want it to happen it’s their prime mover. “Environmentalists” have become the perfect useful idiots.

Carl Dybus
January 5, 2021 7:29 pm

I know this will probably never happen, but it would be very interesting if companies and businesses just started shutting down in response to climate lawsuits from the climate alarmist gang and new climate regulations and demands from the Biden Administration.

If these businesses and companies are all so evil, let’s just see what happens when they are all gone. The economic decline and fall that would follow would trigger chaos the likes of which we probably haven’t seen since the Great Depression.

I realize that this is an extreme and radical response to the lawsuits and regulations, but I suggest SOMETHING needs to happen to wake up the masses to the consequences of the climate alarmist radicals as they keep pushing to get their way.

No one is challenging and pushing back against the shaky and highly dubious “science” of the alarmists, so it leaves me wondering if and when all of this is ever going to end…and how it will end.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Eric Worrall
January 5, 2021 9:37 pm

I love “Carbon Leakage,” presumably tariffs, import limits, etc. It assumes Western Europe has the strength to survive a trade war with the rest of the world. I’ll bet my money on the likes of China, India, Brazil, U.S. and the rest.

Biden and company will be nibbling around the CO2 reduction edges with some resulting economic harm, but no way voters/taxpayers will allow the progressives to wreck our basic economy, including inexpensive energy. No matter which political party is in control, the Senate is not suicidal.

Redge
Reply to  Eric Worrall
January 5, 2021 10:32 pm

Carbon leakage is a tacit admission that CO2 reduction policies are killing industry and jobs.

So instead of changing policies to help their own industries, the EU (and probably the UK) give hush money to companies

observa
January 5, 2021 8:39 pm

They’re going to change the climate or sue anybody and everybody for the capricious ungovernable weather presumably-
Bushfire emergency still posing ‘significant risk’ north of Perth as properties saved overnight (msn.com)
North Queensland hit with intense rainfall causing flooding as BOM issues severe storm warning – ABC News
It’s summer in the continent of Australia stretching from the tropics to the snow but no matter somebody’s to blame and somebody has to pay for this outrage.

waza
January 5, 2021 8:43 pm

A realist company may not believe in CAGW, but may be prepared to virtual signal just to look good to get more sales.
Additionally, a realist company that does not believe in CAGW may also prepare a Climate Risk Plan to shut up radical environmentalists. The Plan could be simple with no real actions proposed.

I am personally against this approach, because it is my experience that the radicals will just push for even more.”your not doing enough..”

Dave Fair
Reply to  waza
January 5, 2021 9:51 pm

It will be interesting to see how the various companies and industries approach making climate risk assessments. The actual UN IPCC assessments and reports are not alarming. William Nordhaus’ work shows no significant economic harm from the exaggerated projected climate change. The UN IPCC RCP8.5 is in the process of being widely debunked as a practical impossibility. The boardrooms are not hobbled in their analyses by politicized governmental bodies.

It will be interesting to see how all this shakes out. Remember, everyone involved, government or not, has a fiduciary obligation to the financial wellbeing of the shareholders. And a couple of successful shareholder lawsuits against management would have huge impacts.

Last edited 16 days ago by Dave Fair
Philo
Reply to  waza
January 6, 2021 12:01 pm

Any company large enough to be a target. They will make up fanciful, unachievable targets and programs. They’ll underfund them so not much gets done. Then, when “climate programs” are ultimately unworkable they will sue the perpetrators pushing them.

The only possible problem is that there may actually some practices that do have some small climate risk.

John the Econ
January 5, 2021 10:04 pm

Just more of the Progressive War on the Middle Class. The rich won’t care. The poor will get subsidized. The Middle Class will get a lower standard of living and the bill, and will ultimately get absorbed into the poor.

January 5, 2021 10:43 pm

I wonder when people will realise that they cannot afford COVID 19 AND climate change?

fred250
January 5, 2021 11:27 pm

I doubt greens care if their relentless attacks on struggling business end up triggering a long term recession or a new great depression.

That is EXACTLY THE AIM !!

That is the marxist/socialist agenda to a “T”

Fred Harris
Reply to  fred250
January 6, 2021 2:26 am

Exactly correct Fred

Ed Zuiderwijk
January 6, 2021 2:13 am

There is a concept in Marxism known as the ‘verelendungstheorie’. A good German term which is a bit difficult to translate. It encapsulates not only abject poverty through ruination but also the hopelessness of being trapped. The ‘theory’ posits that before a socialist paradise will emerge society has to go through such a verelendung phase as a necessity. The far left’s attempts at economic vandalism are therefore totally on script.

I put it to my history teacher: given that many a European society went through such a phase after the demise of the Roman Empire but no socialism emerged as a result was the ‘theory’ not a bit wonky? It went not down well, even then. What emerged after the medieval verelendung was the feodal society; it took many centuries to liberate humanity from those shackles.

Alasdair Fairbairn
January 6, 2021 4:38 am

The legal profession has much to answer for here. It’s reluctance to cut short litigation on the grounds of its mischievous intent is driven by the resulting inherent loss of income to the profession as a whole. Not therefore surprising.
At always; if you wish to explain then best follow the money.

Vuk
January 6, 2021 8:42 am

Don’t see what is all the fuss about. Children are given multiple vaccines at same time. 30%+ of people who have recently been Covid vaccinated have also received flu vaccine in the recent weeks.

Last edited 15 days ago by Vuk
John the Econ
January 6, 2021 9:23 am

The only financial risk associated with climate change is that imposed by governments and other political actors.

I tend to believe those who have actual dollars at risk over those with political agendas.

The effects of climate change, “if any,” have not affected the insurance market, billionaire Warren Buffett told CNBC, —adding he’s not calculating the probabilities of catastrophes any differently.

While the question of climate change “deserves lots of attention,” Buffett said in a “Squawk Box” interview, “It has no effect … [on] the prices we’re charging this year versus five years ago. And I don’t think it’ll have an effect on what we’re charging three years or five years from now.”

“The public has the impression that because there’s been so much talk about climate that events of the last 10 years from an insured standpoint and climate have been unusual,” he continued. “The answer is they haven’t.”

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101460458

Rui
January 7, 2021 9:14 am

You voted for it. You deserve it…

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