BlackRock C.E.O. Larry Fink: Climate Crisis Will Reshape Finance – By Andrew Ross Sorkin – The New York Times

“Laurence D. Fink, the founder and chief executive of BlackRock, announced Tuesday that his firm would make investment decisions with environmental sustainability as a core goal.

BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager with nearly $7 trillion in investments, and this move will fundamentally shift its investing policy — and could reshape how corporate America does business and put pressure on other large money managers to follow suit.

Mr. Fink’s annual letter to the chief executives of the world’s largest companies is closely watched, and in the 2020 edition he said BlackRock would begin to exit certain investments that “present a high sustainability-related risk,” such as those in coal producers. His intent is to encourage every company, not just energy firms, to rethink their carbon footprints.

“Awareness is rapidly changing, and I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance,” Mr. Fink wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The New York Times. “The evidence on climate risk is compelling investors to reassess core assumptions about modern finance.” “

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:

An open letter to the NYT. This piece about Blackrock moving sustainability to central to its investing decisions is significant and exciting, but I would like the Times to do a major story on whether or not those investors with stock in fossil fuel companies such as Exxon Mobil should divest or remain as shareholders, if they want such companies to change direction and move rapidly away from fossil fuel extraction.

Many of my environmental friends think divestment is the only solution. I do not. I feel like environmentalists have more influence as an insiders and complainers and voters for change. I would love to hear what famous economists and financial experts think on this difficult subject.

Sincerely,
David Lindsay
Hamden CT.

Editorial | The World Solved the Ozone Problem. It Can Solve Climate Change. – The New York Times

By 

The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values. It is separate from the newsroom.

“Nearly 50 years ago, three chemists named Mario Molina, Sherwood Rowland and Paul Crutzen found evidence that chlorofluorocarbons, chemicals known as CFCs and released from aerosol sprays, were weakening the ozone layer that functions as the earth’s natural sunscreen protecting humans, animals and plants from harmful radiation.

The discovery made big news and rattled the public. Aerosol sales dropped dramatically, and, despite pushback from the chemical companies that made CFCs, Congress in 1977 added protecting the ozone layer to the Environmental Protection Agency’s duties under the Clean Air Act. Not long afterward, the agency determined that the compounds, then widely used in refrigerators, air-conditioners and some industrial processes, posed an even graver threat to the atmosphere than first thought. Soon after, pressure began to build for a phaseout of CFCs in the United States as well as for an international treaty to find alternatives.

The case for global action became ever more urgent in 1985 when a British team discovered a hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica, followed by confirmation by NASA scientists of a connection between the hole and CFCs. With the rest of the world and even industry on board, the result was the 1987 Montreal Protocol, a landmark agreement banning chlorofluorocarbons and other ozone-depleting chemicals. End of story? Not quite. As it happened, the ozone-friendly replacements for the CFCs, known as hydrofluorocarbons, turned out to be distinctly unfriendly to the climate. So in 2016, the Montreal signatories reconvened in Kigali, Rwanda, and agreed to amend the original protocol to phase out HFCs and find substitutes more friendly to the atmosphere.

The bottom line is that the world, confronted with two dire threats to the earth’s fragile atmosphere, found two planetary responses with positive outcomes. The ozone layer is healing. That’s worth remembering as we struggle, often despairingly, to find common ground in the battle against climate change. Compared with the manifold complexities of global warming, dealing with ozone depletion was, in fact, relatively simple. But the key point is that it happened, and it’s worth asking why the world has not responded with similar resolve in dealing with the main global warming gases like carbon dioxide, about which we have known a lot for a long time.”

Opinion | Why Walmart and Other Companies Are Sticking With the Paris Climate Deal – By Kathleen McLaughlin and Andrew Steer – The New York Times

By Kathleen McLaughlin and 

Ms. McLaughlin is an executive vice president of Walmart. Mr. Steer is president of the World Resources Institute.

Credit…Nicholas Kamm/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“The Trump administration’s announcement this week that it would follow through with its plan to officially withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement is deeply unfortunate. Leaving the accord will hamper America’s economic competitiveness and put Americans and people around the world at greater risk for climate-related disasters.

That’s why Walmart is one of over 3,800 American businesses, states, cities and other entities that have joined together in the coalition We Are Still In to continue our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Together, these entities represent nearly 70 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and two-thirds of its population. If this group were a country, it would be the world’s second-largest economy — behind the United States but ahead of China.

Why is the Paris Agreement so important? Climate change is a global challenge that requires a global response. Although the commitments are voluntary, the agreement sets a clear course toward a low-carbon future, with nearly 200 countries working together and playing by the same rules. The Paris Agreement provides the context for national and global policies in areas like agriculture and energy, which have direct implications for businesses with customers and suppliers around the world.

A decade ago, many people viewed climate action and economic growth as being in conflict. Now it’s clear that long-term growth and climate action are inextricably linked. For example, a report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate found that bold action on protecting the climate could generate over $26 trillion in benefits through 2030.”

Opinion | Climate Change Will Cost Us Even More Than We Think – By Naomi Oreskes and Nicholas Stern – The New York Times

By Naomi Oreskes and 

Dr. Oreskes is a professor of the history of science at Harvard. Professor Stern is chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

CreditMike McQuade

“For some time now it has been clear that the effects of climate change are appearing faster than scientists anticipated. Now it turns out that there is another form of underestimation as bad or worse than the scientific one: the underestimating by economists of the costs.

The result of this failure by economists is that world leaders understand neither the magnitude of the risks to lives and livelihoods, nor the urgency of action. How and why this has occurred is explained in a recent report by scientists and economists at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

One reason is obvious: Since climate scientists have been underestimating the rate of climate change and the severity of its effects, then economists will necessarily underestimate their costs.

But it’s worse than that. A set of assumptions and practices in economics has led economists both to underestimate the economic impact of many climate risks and to miss some of them entirely. That is a problem because, as the report notes, these “missing risks” could have “drastic and potentially catastrophic impacts on citizens, communities and companies.”

Opinion | Climate Change Will Cost Us Even More Than We Think – y Naomi Oreskes and Nicholas Stern -The New York Times

By Naomi Oreskes and 

Dr. Oreskes is a professor of the history of science at Harvard. Professor Stern is chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

CreditMike McQuade

“For some time now it has been clear that the effects of climate change are appearing faster than scientists anticipated. Now it turns out that there is another form of underestimation as bad or worse than the scientific one: the underestimating by economists of the costs.

The result of this failure by economists is that world leaders understand neither the magnitude of the risks to lives and livelihoods, nor the urgency of action. How and why this has occurred is explained in a recent report by scientists and economists at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

One reason is obvious: Since climate scientists have been underestimating the rate of climate change and the severity of its effects, then economists will necessarily underestimate their costs.

But it’s worse than that. A set of assumptions and practices in economics has led economists both to underestimate the economic impact of many climate risks and to miss some of them entirely. That is a problem because, as the report notes, these “missing risks” could have “drastic and potentially catastrophic impacts on citizens, communities and companies.”

World’s top three asset managers oversee $300bn fossil fuel investments | Environment | The Guardian

Data reveals crucial role of BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard in climate crisis

by 

“The world’s three largest money managers have built a combined $300bn fossil fuel investment portfolio using money from people’s private savings and pension contributions, the Guardian can reveal.

BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street, which together oversee assets worth more than China’s entire GDP, have continued to grow billion-dollar stakes in some of the most carbon-intensive companies since the Paris agreement, financial data shows.

The two largest asset managers, BlackRock and Vanguard, have also routinely opposed motions at fossil fuel companies that would have forced directors to take more action on climate change, the analysis reveals.”

Source: World’s top three asset managers oversee $300bn fossil fuel investments | Environment | The Guardian

If Seeing the World Helps Ruin It- Should We Stay Home? – By Andy Newman – The New York Times

“The glaciers are melting, the coral reefs are dying, Miami Beach is slowly going under.

Quick, says a voice in your head, go see them before they disappear! You are evil, says another voice. For you are hastening their destruction.

To a lot of people who like to travel, these are morally bewildering times. Something that seemed like pure escape and adventure has become double-edged, harmful, the epitome of selfish consumption. Going someplace far away, we now know, is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change. One seat on a flight from New York to Los Angeles effectively adds months worth of human-generated carbon emissions to the atmosphere.

And yet we fly more and more.

The number of airline passengers worldwide has more than doubled since 2003, and unlike with some other pollution sources, there’s not a ton that can be done right now to make flying significantly greener — electrified jets are not coming to an airport near you anytime soon.

Still, we wonder: How much is that one vacation really hurting anyone, or anything?

It is hard to think about climate change in relation to our own behavior. We are small, our effects are microscopically incremental and we mean no harm. The effects of climate change are inconceivably enormous and awful — and for the most part still unrealized. You can’t see the face of the unnamed future person whose coastal village you will have helped submerge.”

David Lindsay:  Amazing article, thank you Andy Newman. I loved the link at the end to the Openthefuture.com website, and the article there about the carbon footprint of a single cheeseburger, or the 50 to 150 cheeseburgers most Americans eats every year.

I liked the comments, about getting involved in politics and personal changes. I have upped my contributions to climate change hawks running for office, and added 46 solar panels to the roof of my house. We have upgraded our two gasoline autos to one electric Nissan Leaf and one Toyota Prius plug in hybrid. We are now converting the gas systems in the house with electric ones.  We replaced the old gas fired hot water heater with a heat pump electric water heater, and have installed 4 ductless splits, electric condenser heat pump room heaters and air conditioners by LG.

I remain as guilty as the rest, with my use of occasional air travel, which I will have to examine.

Here is one of many comments I liked:

Tom

Yes we should, and that is what my wife and I have done for the last 8 – 10 years when we quit flying. I’m in my late 60’s and everyone I know bridles at the mention of limiting travel. They feel they worked most of their life and this is their time to travel and see the world. I felt that way too until I learned about habitat loss, ocean pollution and climate change. My wife and I greatly limit our consumption due to the impact producing those goods has on the environment. We live by Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle. Our friends consider us anomalies, and our lives completely unreasonable. We won’t limit climate change significantly any other way. Renewables and electric cars are not nearly enough.

4 Replies119 Recommended

Climate Change – Building a Green Economy – by Paul Krugman – The New York Times Magazine

by Paul Krugman
APRIL 7, 2010
315
Photo
Credit Photograph by Yoshikazu Nema; Artwork by Yuken Teruya

“If you listen to climate scientists — and despite the relentless campaign to discredit their work, you should — it is long past time to do something about emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. If we continue with business as usual, they say, we are facing a rise in global temperatures that will be little short of apocalyptic. And to avoid that apocalypse, we have to wean our economy from the use of fossil fuels, coal above all.

But is it possible to make drastic cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions without destroying our economy?

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