& MELTING ICE CAPS - Wealth creation is making a desert of
planet earth and flooding island communities. Much of the money made by
corporations and banks is profiteering from those less fortunate, but
none of the great mountain of cash they accumulate finds its way back to
repairing the planet they helped to destroy. Let alone settle up for
taking and ruining the lives of millions of fellow humans.
IS MAKING EXTREME WEALTH A CRIME, A WAY TO AVOID CLIMATE BREAKDOWN?
According to the Guardian (and we agree with them) most of our dysfunctions are caused by pandering to the rich. The way governments have allowed democracy to be eroded by lobbyists (including politicians with lucrative private interests); the deregulation that lets corporations, oligarchs and landlords squeeze their workers and tenants, then dump their costs on society; the permissive environment for profiteering during the pandemic; the degradation of
health, education and other public services by the constant drive towards privatisation: all these are symptoms of the same condition.
The same applies to the worst of our predicaments: the destruction of our life-support systems. The very rich arrogate to themselves the lion’s share of the planetary space on which we all depend. It is hard to understand why we tolerate this attack on our common interests.
The richest 1% of the world’s people (those earning more than $172,000 a year) produce 15% of the world’s carbon emissions: twice the combined impact of the poorest 50%. On average, they emit over 70 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person every year, 30 times more than we can each afford to release if we’re not to exceed 1.5C of global heating. While the emissions of the world’s middle classes are expected to fall sharply over the next decade, thanks to the general decarbonisation of our economies, the amount produced by the richest will scarcely decline at all: in other words, they’ll be responsible for an even greater share of total
CO2. Becoming good global citizens would mean cutting their carbon consumption by an average of 97%.
Even if 90% of the population produced no carbon at all, the anticipated emissions of the richest 10% (those earning over $55,000) across the next nine years would use almost the entire global budget. The disparity in environmental impact mirrors a nation’s inequality. No wonder the prosperous people of the wealthy nations are so keen to seek to shift the blame to
China, or on to other people’s birthrates: sometimes it seems they will try anything before attending to their own impacts.
A recent analysis of the lifestyles of 20 billionaires found that each produced an average of over 8,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide: 3,500 times their fair share in a world committed to no more than 1.5C of heating. The major causes are their jets and yachts. A superyacht alone, kept on permanent standby, as some billionaires’ boats are, generates around 7,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.
Bill Gates, who has positioned himself as a climate champion, does not possess a yacht. Even so, he has an estimated footprint 3,000 times bigger than the good global citizen’s, largely as a result of his collection of jets and helicopters. He claims to “buy green aviation fuel”, but there is no such thing. Biofuels for jets, if widely deployed, would trigger an environmental catastrophe, as so much plant material is required to power a single flight. This means that crops or plantations must displace either
food production or wild ecosystems. No other “green” aviation fuels are currently available.
Gates seeks to resolve such conflicts by buying carbon offsets. But all available opportunities to draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are now required to reduce the impact of humanity as a whole. Why should they be captured by those who want to keep living like emperors?
We are often told by frequent flyers that we should overlook the climate impacts of aviation, as they amount to “just a few per cent”. But the only reason they remain relatively low is that flying is highly concentrated. Flying accounts for most of the
greenhouse gas emissions of the super-rich, which is why the wealthiest 1% generate roughly half the world’s aviation emissions. If everyone lived as they do, aviation would be the biggest of all the causes of climate breakdown.
But their carbon greed knows no limits: some of the super-rich now hope to travel into space, which means that they would each produce as much carbon dioxide in 10 minutes as 30 average humans emit in a year. The very rich claim to be wealth creators. But in ecological terms, they do not create wealth. They take it from everyone else.
Big money now buys everything: even access to the meetings that should address these dysfunctions. On some accounts,
Cop26 is the most exclusive of all climate summits. Delegates from poor nations have been thwarted by a cruel combination of byzantine visa requirements, broken promises to make Covid vaccines available, and the mad costs of accommodation, thanks to government failures to cap local prices, or make rooms available. Even when delegates from poorer nations can scale these walls, they often find themselves excluded from the negotiating areas, and therefore unable to influence the talks.
By contrast, more than 500 fossil fuel lobbyists have been granted access, more than the combined delegations of eight nations that have already been ravaged by climate breakdown: Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Mozambique, Myanmar, Haiti, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. The perpetrators are heard, the victims excluded.
There’s an oft-quoted axiom, whose authorship is obscure: it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. Part of the reason is that capitalism itself is difficult to imagine. Most people struggle to define it, and its champions have generally succeeded in disguising its true nature. So let’s begin by imagining something that’s easier to comprehend: the end of concentrated wealth. Our survival depends on it.
I’ve come to believe that the most important of all environmental measures are wealth taxes. Preventing systemic environmental collapse means driving extreme wealth to extinction. It is not humanity as a whole that the planet cannot afford. It’s the
FOR HONOURS - The luxury villa where Boris Johnson stayed on holiday October 2021 is linked to Costa del Sol property businesses owned by Zac Goldsmith’s family that engaged in a multimillion-pound tax evasion scheme, according to Spanish courts.
Court papers obtained by the Guardian show tax inspectors ordered two property companies owned by the Goldsmith family to pay €24m (£20m) in unpaid taxes and fines after investigating what they said was a suspicious property deal.
The revelation raises difficult questions for the prime minister, who has already faced criticism for refusing to declare his use of the luxury property in the MPs’ register of interests, which would require him to disclose the monetary value of the gift from the Goldsmith family.
Downing Street has insisted the holiday at the villa, which costs £25,000 a week to rent, was “unconnected with the PM’s parliamentary and political activities”. Zac Goldsmith, a Conservative minister, is a longstanding friend of Johnson and his wife, Carrie. In 2019, Johnson personally appointed Goldsmith to the House of Lords after his friend lost his seat as an MP.
The Goldsmith brothers inherited their wealth from their father, Sir James Goldsmith, who died in 1997 with a £1.2bn fortune. Goldsmith senior’s wealth now resides in a discretionary trust run for the benefit of his children.
fact that in the UK honours may be bought off the shelf, by simply
handing over a barrow load of cash, stinks to high heaven. Being the
bedrock of corruption, the fosters financial slavery and profiteering.
very rich are not so much creating wealth, as stealing from the poor.
Exactly the opposite of the people's champion; Robin Hood.
4 NOVEMBER 2021: FUNDING
CLIMATE REPAIR BY MOBILIZING CAPITAL
According to an article in Forbes, private money is out there, a lot of it. The Mark Carney-led Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), a coalition of finance providers including banks, insurers and pension funds, has a notional war chest of US$130 trillion to be spent on tackling climate change over the next three decades.
But how to make the most effective investments? The EU’s ‘taxonomy for sustainable activities’, in the process of being finalised, is designed to support the flow of capital into aligned, qualifying activities (we firmly believe gas and nuclear should be added to the list). The US is likely to draw up its own rules on taxonomy, but the EU’s framework is one others could usefully follow.
There will no doubt be unintended consequences. Will companies that have signed up to GFANZ continue to invest in
fossil fuels in parallel with low carbon and just deal with the inevitable stakeholder friction that will ensue? And does GFANZ risk leaving investment in oil and gas, still a necessity for years to come, increasingly in the hands of companies freer of ESG constraints?
MINING SCAMS &
In our view, there is no such thing as perpetual motion,
including in the world of money. It is utter nonsense to
suggest that money can be made, without someone somewhere
actually producing something. The suggestion that we can all
be $millionaires by operating supercomputers that warm the
planet without regulation is crazy and immoral. If all we need do is invest $180
dollars, as has been supported by the likes of Elon Musk, to
become wealthy, without lifting a finger. Then who is farming
our crops, building our homes and making our vehicles? Real
workers who provide real services should be rewarded with
security, against cyber-climate criminals and leaching
scammers. The energy used in
relation to rewards is set to derail
and follow on
conference negotiations. Like unregulated stock market
trading, Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies must be outlawed
to help combat global warming and destabilization of
WHAT IS ESG INVESTING?
ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance. Investors are increasingly applying these non-financial factors as part of their analysis process to identify material risks and growth opportunities. ESG metrics are not commonly part of mandatory financial reporting, though companies are increasingly making disclosures in their annual report or in a standalone sustainability report. Numerous institutions, such as the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) are working to form standards and define materiality to facilitate incorporation of these factors into the investment process.
As ESG investing accelerates in demand, several key trends are emerging – from climate change to social unrest.
makers could accelerate the move to green investing, by introducing tax
exemptions for investors and long holidays before taxation may be
applied - rather than a short period of unknown duration - that is
hardly conducive to confidence building.
mega rich could be subject to a Super Carbon Tax. Microsoft being one
such organization and Bill Gates a profiteering citizen. Mr Gates is of
course just one of the band of mega-rich brothers, whose consciences are
(by all accounts) not much bothered by what they see around them, driven
to continue with a climate unfriendly course of conduct.
OF HABIT - The
United Nations is an organization that is finding it hard to persuade
kleptocratic members to change their dirty energy
and intensive farming
habits that are collectively eroding soil for growing crops at an
alarming rate. The reason being that their
more prominent members are the biggest users of fossil
fuels, with so
much invested in oil and gas
production that they cannot
give up this source of wealth creation. Their shareholders want
their dividends no matter how much it hurts the planet,
so becoming climate