Nothing perks up the ears of neoliberal politicians - like our very own - more than talk about money. And, today at the climate summit in Katowice, Big Money is telling them their economies face losing a lot of money, a lot, perhaps as much as 23 trillion dollars - a year, if they keep cowering before the threat of climate change.
Global investors managing $32tn issued a stark warning to governments at the UN climate summit on Monday, demanding urgent cuts in carbon emissions and the phasing out of all coal burning. Without these, the world faces a financial crash several times worse than the 2008 crisis, they said.
The investors include some of the world’s biggest pension funds, insurers and asset managers and marks the largest such intervention to date. They say fossil fuel subsidies must end and substantial taxes on carbon be introduced.
...“The long-term nature of the challenge has, in our view, met a zombie-like response by many,” said Chris Newton, of IFM Investors which manages $80bn and is one of the 415 groups that has signed the Global Investor Statement. “This is a recipe for disaster as the impacts of climate change can be sudden, severe and catastrophic.”The good news is that prime minister Trudeau has promised to end Canada's subsidies (whatever that means) to the Bitumen Barons eventually. Then again, that's a Trudeau promise so you'll have to take it for whatever you imagine it's worth. Canada admits subsidies of about two billion a year. The IMF says what we're really bestowing on the fossil fuel industry is more than $34 billion a year. Somebody is cooking the books and my money is on those building 60-year, multi-billion dollar bitumen pipelines.
Investment firm Schroders said there could be $23tn of global economic losses a year in the long term without rapid action. This permanent economic damage would be almost four times the scale of the impact of the 2008 global financial crisis. Standard and Poor’s rating agency also warned leaders: “Climate change has already started to alter the functioning of our world.”
Modern politics, however, is not concerned with the long term or your kids and certainly not your grandchildren. Their world is limited to the next electoral cycle, perhaps two at the outside. Trump speaks for many when he says, "yeah, I won't be here then." It's a contagion, like the 1918 Spanish flu. Funny how it sounds reprehensible coming out of Trump's mouth but we're fine with it so long as our leaders don't come right out and say it.