September 26, 2022

Glasgow Financial Alliance For Net Zero Was Launched In April 2021 By Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy For Climate Action. Psychopaths Say It Will Cost $100 Trillion To Replace Fossil Fuels

Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ)
November 28, 2021
[source: United Nations Coventry Branch]

The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) was launched in April 2021 by Mark Carney, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance and UK Prime Minister Johnson’s Finance Adviser for COP26, and the COP26 Private Finance Hub in partnership with the UNFCCC Climate Action Champions, the Race to Zero campaign and the COP26 Presidency.

Bringing together existing and new net-zero finance initiatives in one sector-wide coalition, GFANZ provides a forum for leading financial institutions to accelerate the transition to a net-zero global economy. Its members currently include over 450 financial firms across 45 countries responsible for assets of over $130 trillion.

Call to Action

GFANZ’s Call to Action recognises the critical role financial services firms must play to support the transition to a green economy, which requires annual clean energy investment to more than triple by 2030 to around $4 trillion. However, if the world is to achieve an orderly transition to Net Zero – and so avoid the massive human, social, economic loss and financial instability associated with failing to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement – more governments must follow through on the commitments of the Paris Agreement and ensure a Just Transition to a net zero global economy.

$4 trillion a year is not enough!

Note that CovCAN has shown that the cost of merely replacing all fossil fuels with clean electricity by 2050 would cost over $100 trillion, which equates to over $3 trillion per year for the next 30 years. This is just one part of what will be required to transition to a green economy. Hence the $4 trillion per year from 2030, if it materialises, would fall significantly short of what will be needed.

Note also that a temperature rise greater than 2C could cost $14 trillion per year, as we reported here.

More information
About GFANZ:

Bloomberg News
written by Alastair Marsh
Sunday September 25, 2022

Al Gore, the former US vice president turned climate activist, said investors are growing increasingly impatient with evidence of potential “greenwashing” amid signs that net-zero pledges made by some members of the financial industry weren’t credible.

Gore, who spoke in an interview just before Climate Week in New York got under way last week, said commitments made by members of the No. 1 green club for bankers and investors -- the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero -- are “very welcome” and “not meaningless.”

“But obviously they have to be followed up,” he said.

GFANZ, which counts roughly 500 members representing more than $135 trillion in assets, was hailed as a milestone at the COP26 climate summit last year. But now, “it’s become apparent that some who made impressive pledges did not immediately begin to put in place a practical plan to fulfill those pledges,” Gore said.

“Investors and others are sniffing out greenwashing more readily these days,” said Gore, who chairs Generation Investment Management. “And the pressure is going to grow.”

Against that backdrop of growing scrutiny, GFANZ has now seen its first official defections. Bundespensionskasse AG, an Austrian pensions firm, quietly exited last month, according to the GFANZ unit to which it reports. And the departure of A$70 billion ($46 billion) Construction and Building Unions Superannuation Fund, known as Cbus, was made public earlier this month by the sub-alliance to which it belonged.

“We made the difficult decision to focus our resources on our internal climate change activities,” a spokesperson for Melbourne, Australia-based Cbus told Bloomberg. “We support the important work that the alliance is doing and wish all members the best in their endeavors.”

GFANZ has sought to build credibility while remaining a voluntary alliance without binding rules that might frighten off members. But as it tries to introduce stricter standards, cracks are becoming visible. For some members there’s a growing realization that they may fail to meet the goals set out by the alliance, while others have expressed fear the organization’s requirements for decarbonization could make them legally vulnerable.

Last week, it emerged that Wall Street heavyweights JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Morgan Stanley were considering a possible exit from GFANZ. That was followed by a clarification of the GFANZ criteria, giving financial firms scope to set weaker fossil finance targets, and ostensibly easing tensions behind the scenes.

For some, the development was a red flag. It “calls into question how genuine their commitment was to net zero in the first place,” said Jeanne Martin, head of the banking program at ShareAction, a nonprofit that promotes responsible investment. “Ultimately, this is indicative of the limits of leaving urgent climate action up to banks and other voluntary initiatives.”

Rebecca Self, a former senior banker at HSBC Holdings Plc who now runs Seawolf Sustainability Consulting, said GFANZ members appear to be realizing that “it requires more than an initial commitment and nice words.”

“For net zero initiatives like GFANZ to work well, they require credibility beyond the initial commitment and fanfare,” she said. “This includes transparency such as routine progress reporting and verification, including disclosing the financing of fossil fuels.”

Mark Carney, former Bank of England governor, co-chairs GFANZ together with Michael R. Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Francine Lacqua, Carney played down the risk of defections and said Race to Zero, the UN-backed net-zero project that underpins GFANZ, had gone “too far” with recent requirements for more stringent decarbonization targets. Race to Zero has since updated its language and emphasized that members must “independently find their own route” to the 1.5 degrees Celsius-aligned climate goal.

Cbus didn’t cite concerns around legal risks for its departure from GFANZ. Instead, it listed the administrative burden involved in staying. That’s as developing regulations and standards require signatories to meet parallel frameworks.

For some, these hurdles have led them to snub GFANZ from the get-go. Blackstone Inc., Apollo Global Management Inc. and KKR & Co. Inc. are among private equity giants that judged GFANZ membership an unnecessary burden. Insiders, on condition of anonymity, have referred to the near-impossibility of coming up with credible plans to eliminate their carbon footprints by 2050 as reason enough to avoid GFANZ and its sub-alliances.

Self says it’s now “evident the voluntary approach to the climate action will not work.”

Failure to meaningfully cut emissions comes at a huge cost, Gore said.

“The cost of these climate related extreme events to the global economy was $2.5 trillion, an increase of $1 trillion over the previous 10 years,” he said. “And because we’re continuing to add another 162 million tonnes of man-made global warming pollution every single day to the troposphere, of course it’s getting worse.”

The accumulated greenhouse gas pollution “in the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, which we’re using as if it’s an open sewer, now traps as much extra heat every day as would be released by 600,000 Hiroshima class atomic bombs exploding every 24 hours,” Gore said. “It’s quite literally insane. We have to change!”
End Of Renewables Craze Is Near
written by Michael Shellenberger
Thursday September 8, 2022

Renewables have stalled out in California and Germany :: UK announces it will frack for natural gas :: South Korea cuts renewables to fund nuclear

The global energy crisis appears to have strengthened the resolve of Western political leaders to not just continue but accelerate the transition toward green energy. Last month, U.S. President Joe Biden signed legislation that aims to spend $370 billion on wind, solar, electric cars and other forms of green tech. California legislators and regulators recently decided to spend $54 billion on clean tech, restrict oil and gas drilling, and ban the sale of internal combustion cars by 2035. And the President of the European Commission affirmed yesterday the European Union’s “massive investments in renewables” because “they are cheap, they are home-grown, they make us independent.”

But appearances can be deceiving. In truth, the energy crisis is rapidly exposing the limits of renewables and the need for fossil fuels. Recognizing the political threat of high gasoline prices, Biden has released so much petroleum from the public’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves that they are at their lowest level in nearly 30 years. Six days after California regulators banned the sale of internal combustion engines, the state’s grid operator urged residents to not charge their electric vehicles from 4 pm to 9 pm for fear of blackouts. And European governments will spend over $50 billion this winter on new and refurbished coal and natural gas supplies and equipment.

Officially, governments and corporations are still moving ahead with big investments in renewables and electric vehicles (EVs). Globally, solar installations in 2022 will rise at their fastest pace in nearly a decade. Toyota and Honda announced they would spend $2.5 billion and $4.4 billion, respectively, on EV battery manufacturing in the U.S., Piedmont Lithium said it would build a plant to process lithium for EVs. in Tennessee, and First Solar announced $1.2 billion for a new U.S. solar panel factory. California will spend $6.1 billion on EVs. And Europe has not pulled back from the $210 billion in new money it promised to invest, mostly in renewables, over the next five years

But other data complicate that picture. Fossil fuels remain 82% of global primary energy, down from 83% in 2019 and 85% in 2017. Solar and wind supply just 5% of global energy. And there are so few EVs that they reduce petroleum consumption by just a half percent of global demand.

Meanwhile, places with heavy renewables penetration are reaching their limits. The amount of zero-carbon electricity California generated declined by 10% over the last decade, because of less hydroelectricity from drought, and the 2011 closure of San Onofre nuclear plant, which was 9% of the state’s total electricity generation. In Germany, the total amount of electricity from renewables declined in 2021, even as overall electricity consumption rose.

California invested billions in batteries to prevent blackouts and is thus proof that batteries are no substitute for natural gas. To store just 12 hours of electricity for the U.S. would cost $1.5 trillion, notes analyst Mark Mills, in an essential new Manhattan Institute report, “and that scale of storage would still leave the nation regularly third-world dark.”

And rising energy prices, public debt, and the far higher materials requirements of renewables will make them prohibitively expensive, in many places, over the next decade. Solar and wind energy projects require roughly 300% more copper and 700% more rare earths than fossil fuels, per unit of energy. Wind, solar, and batteries require 1,000% more steel, concrete and glass; 300% more copper; and 4,200%, 2,500%, 1,900%, and 700% more lithium, graphite, nickel, and rare earths, respectively, than fossil fuels, to produce the same amount of energy, according to International Energy Agency and others.

Why is that? And what does it mean for the future of energy?

Yesterday, 40 CEOs of European metal companies warned of the “existential threat” to their industries due to energy shortages and the "extra raw materials needed to shift away from fossil fuels.” They noted that “50% of the EU’s aluminum and zinc capacity has already been forced offline due to the crisis….Producers face electricity and gas costs over ten times higher than last year, far exceeding the sales price for their products. We know from experience that once a plant is closed it very often becomes a permanent situation, as re-opening implies significant uncertainty and cost.” [My emphasis]

What about simply sourcing materials from China? China’s market share of renewables and EV minerals is already twice OPEC’s share of oil, notes Mills, drawing on data from the IEA and others. The U.S. is dependent on imports for 100% of 17 renewables and EV-critical minerals; for 28 others, imports account for more than 50% of domestic demand. China already dominates solar and battery production. Minerals are 60%–70% of the cost to produce solar panels and lithium batteries.
The "Great Reset" Is Real And Wreaking Havoc
written by Michael Shellenberger
Thursday September 22, 2022

Why are global elites demanding poor nations make energy expensive?

Over the last decade, the World Economic Forum (WEF), the United Nations’ International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank have all urged poor nations to stop subsidizing fossil fuels. “End fossil fuel subsidies and reset the economy for a better world,” read the headline of a June 2020 WEF article about the launch of its “Great Reset” initiative.

The WEF article quoted the Managing Director of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva. "We now have to step up, use all the strength we have, which in the case of the IMF is $1 trillion,” she said to create “the great reset, not the great reversal.” By “reversal” she meant returning to the use of fossil fuels, after the pandemic. By “reset” she meant moving to renewables. "I’m particularly keen to take advantage of low oil prices to eliminate harmful subsidies," she said.

Last week, the government of the small Caribbean island of Haiti took the advice of the IMF, WEF, and World Bank and announced the end of fuel subsidies. The result has been riots, looting, and chaos. A powerful gang leader used public outrage at the announcement to block a port and organize the overthrow of the government. Looters stormed warehouses, making off with food aid. Rioters burned down beach houses and businesses. And several European embassies shut down to protect their staff.

The underlying cause of Haiti’s problems cannot be laid at the feet of the WEF or IMF, and many have exaggerated the role of the Great Reset in policymaking. Haiti has been a ward of the US government and international agencies for decades. In 1994, the UN Security Council authorized a military occupation of Haiti after its military overthrew a democratically elected president in 1991. An earthquake killed over 100,000 and devastated infrastructure in 2010. As for WEF, it has been the subject of ridiculous conspiracy theorists.

But there is no question that it was the Haitian government’s announcement of fossil fuel subsidy cuts that triggered the current chaos, nor that it was encouraged by WEF, IMF, and the World Bank. Conspiracy theories aside, the influence of the WEF is quite real, and one of the central demands of the Great Reset was, upon its launch, the phase-out of fuel subsidies in poor nations. And after the government of Haiti, last week announced it would do just that, thousands of Haitians surged into the streets to burn tires for roadblocks. “The population cracked,” a truck driver told the Wall Street Journal.

In an email to me, an IMF spokesperson defended the agency’s advocacy of fossil fuel subsidy cuts. “The Fund supports the objectives of the current government in Haiti as regards fuel reform,” said the spokesperson. “The Fund has also recommended for several years a gradual reduction in fuel subsidies, but only after careful preparation and launch of (i) offsetting social benefits for vulnerable groups affected, including the transport sector, and (ii) clear communications about the rationale and end-goal of subsidy reform.” [Emphasis in original.]

But the IMF should have known that any cut to fossil fuel subsidies would inflame citizens. In 2018, the Haitian government agreed to IMF demands that it cut fuel subsidies as a prerequisite for receiving $96 million from the World Bank, European Union, and Inter-American Development bank, triggering protests that resulted in the resignation of the prime minister. And in 2014, the government of Haiti, on the advice of the World Bank, combined fuel price increases with greater spending on health and education, as IMF recommends, and the result was widespread strikes that forced the government to resume subsidies by early 2015.

And, it’s not just Haiti. Over 40 nations since 2005 have triggered riots after cutting fuel subsidies or otherwise raising energy prices. It happened earlier this year in Kazakhstan, Ecuador in 2019, Nigeria in 2012, Bolivia in 2010, and Indonesia in 2005. “What is interesting,” note researchers, “is that the story plays out in almost the same way, and the consequences of both action—and inaction—are very similar as well.”

All of which begs the question: why, if cutting fuel subsidies results in social chaos and the overthrow of governments, do global elites at the WEF, UN, and World Bank keep demanding poor nations do it?

The Global Elites’ War on Energy

In 2017, an obscure agency within the World Bank called the Energy Subsidy Reform Facility (ESRF) published a report about what went wrong with its 2014 efforts in Haiti to remove fuel subsidies. In it, ESRF revealed itself to be the architect of the Haitian government’s plan to cut fuel subsidies. ESMAP ran economic simulations to predict the impact of fuel price increases on different social groups, held workshops with government officials, and staffed an “inter-ministerial reform committee” to devise ways “to contain possible social and political unrest.”

The report is so damning I was surprised the World Bank allowed it to be published.

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