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View Full Version : Ireland votes to stop investing public money in fossil fuels


mattsmith48
February 11th, 2017, 01:23 PM
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/ireland-votes-divest-fossil-fuels-climate-change-world-first-country-parliament-renewable-energy-a7549121.html

bentheplayer
February 11th, 2017, 02:47 PM
This move is unlikely to have much impact considering that the fund is only worth around 8 bil euro and will most likely have less than 20% of the portfolio in fossil fuel related investments. They are just making a point really with no real impact.

mattsmith48
February 12th, 2017, 12:27 AM
This move is unlikely to have much impact considering that the fund is only worth around 8 bil euro and will most likely have less than 20% of the portfolio in fossil fuel related investments. They are just making a point really with no real impact.

It might not be something great like a ban on fossil fuel but its something now it would be great if other countries do it. It also shows that there is still some people left in this world with some common sense.

bentheplayer
February 12th, 2017, 12:49 AM
It might not be something great like a ban on fossil fuel but its something now it would be great if other countries do it. It also shows that there is still some people left in this world with some common sense.

Don't get me wrong. Its just that this action has very little value in terms of the fight against climate change. This is just merely a token act to show that they are concerned about the environment. Ethical investing has been around for quite some time but the global financial market is so huge that even if 70% choose not to fund those activities, there will still be enough cash for these companies.

It would be more beneficial if governments focused on shifting towards green energy as a matter of public policy. If I remembered correctly, a number of Nordic countries forced their sovereign/pension funds to not invest in the oil and gas industry a few years ago. Despite their divestment of more than 8bil euro, there doesn't seem to be much impact really.

mattsmith48
February 12th, 2017, 01:10 AM
Don't get me wrong. Its just that this action has very little value in terms of the fight against climate change. This is just merely a token act to show that they are concerned about the environment. Ethical investing has been around for quite some time but the global financial market is so huge that even if 70% choose not to fund those activities, there will still be enough cash for these companies.

It would be more beneficial if governments focused on shifting towards green energy as a matter of public policy. If I remembered correctly, a number of Nordic countries forced their sovereign/pension funds to not invest in the oil and gas industry a few years ago. Despite their divestment of more than 8bil euro, there doesn't seem to be much impact really.

If a shift to renewable energy and the fight against climate change is a priority of your government, like it should be, investing public money in fossil fuel kinda counter-productive and a waste of money. Its like here in Canada where the PM wants our country to be a leader in the fight against climate change but he's accepting every project to build new stupid pipelines.

bentheplayer
February 12th, 2017, 01:23 AM
If a shift to renewable energy and the fight against climate change is a priority of your government, like it should be, investing public money in fossil fuel kinda counter-productive and a waste of money. Its like here in Canada where the PM wants our country to be a leader in the fight against climate change but he's accepting every project to build new stupid pipelines.

You need to be realistic too. Economically, fossils are still the most cost efficient form of energy. However, even among fossils they have varying extent of polluting ability with oil the least polluting. Choosing nuclear or oil over coal is at least a start.

Investing money in fossils is not exactly a waste of money since the govt will be getting a return and if they own a significant proportion of the company, they can even dictate the direction of the company through board seats. Its not all evil but its not all good either. What is needed is balance in this aspect. In the mean time, they could try investing in green tech startups but VC is a pretty niche area and returns are not as stable as what people will expect from sovereign funds. Another main problem about green tech is that the process of manufacturing these green tech is usually highly damaging towards the environment.

mattsmith48
February 12th, 2017, 01:57 AM
You need to be realistic too. Economically, fossils are still the most cost efficient form of energy. However, even among fossils they have varying extent of polluting ability with oil the least polluting. Choosing nuclear or oil over coal is at least a start.

Nuclear is increadibly dangerous and can be as damaging to the enviroment and humans than fossil fuels.

Investing money in fossils is not exactly a waste of money since the govt will be getting a return and if they own a significant proportion of the company, they can even dictate the direction of the company through board seats. Its not all evil but its not all good either. What is needed is balance in this aspect. In the mean time, they could try investing in green tech startups but VC is a pretty niche area and returns are not as stable as what people will expect from sovereign funds. Another main problem about green tech is that the process of manufacturing these green tech is usually highly damaging towards the environment.

If you have a government that is investing money in fossil fuels it is not in their best economic interest to shift towards renewable energy. They would still make money from those companies through taxes, and the money not wasted on those companies can be invested in green tech not only to manufacture them but also to do research and develop new technology that is more environmentally friendly.

bentheplayer
February 12th, 2017, 02:16 AM
Nuclear is increadibly dangerous and can be as damaging to the enviroment and humans than fossil fuels.



If you have a government that is investing money in fossil fuels it is not in their best economic interest to shift towards renewable energy. They would still make money from those companies through taxes, and the money not wasted on those companies can be invested in green tech not only to manufacture them but also to do research and develop new technology that is more environmentally friendly.

Yea no doubt nuclear can be dangerous but sometimes its about trade offs. Nuclear is a tough one but if done right might be a net benefit.

Sovereign fund investments and government policies are meant to be done at arms length. Insider trading is a very serious financial crime and this applies to the government too. Anyways, most people will agree that green energy is still not viable for large scale deployment to the grid due to continuity issues of most forms of green energy. The goals of a sovereign fund is different from a govt budget. A sovereign fund is there to make money and at least preserve its capital while a budget is there to address problems a society face. While there have been compelling moral arguments for ethical investing, the effects are still controversial with seemingly no effect on industries apart from the fund being able to claim that they operate on a moral high ground.

To put things into perspective, there are many funds and families, that refuse to invest in vice goods like tobacco and gambling but will this deter others from investing in these industries? Not really.

mattsmith48
February 12th, 2017, 08:06 PM
Yea no doubt nuclear can be dangerous but sometimes its about trade offs. Nuclear is a tough one but if done right might be a net benefit.

Nuclear disasters can happen no matter how carefull you are about it, there is and there is also the issue of radioactive waste.

Sovereign fund investments and government policies are meant to be done at arms length. Insider trading is a very serious financial crime and this applies to the government too. Anyways, most people will agree that green energy is still not viable for large scale deployment to the grid due to continuity issues of most forms of green energy. The goals of a sovereign fund is different from a govt budget. A sovereign fund is there to make money and at least preserve its capital while a budget is there to address problems a society face. While there have been compelling moral arguments for ethical investing, the effects are still controversial with seemingly no effect on industries apart from the fund being able to claim that they operate on a moral high ground.

Yes they can be continuity issues with renewable energy sources but thats why we should use multiple forms of renewable energy and we have the technology to store that energy for when one source of energy its not available.

To put things into perspective, there are many funds and families, that refuse to invest in vice goods like tobacco and gambling but will this deter others from investing in these industries? Not really.

Your right when someone chooses to not invest in fossil fuel it won't stop others from doing it, but when the government does invest in fossil fuel, it deters the them from changing rules and regulations to stop those companies from killing all live on earth because its in their best economic interest that those companies succeed.

bentheplayer
February 13th, 2017, 02:10 AM
Nuclear disasters can happen no matter how carefull you are about it, there is and there is also the issue of radioactive waste.

Sometimes risk have to be taken when the negative effects are shown to be less than not taking the risk. There have been a number of papers that suggest nuclear is the best option in terms of public health and much of this nuclear dread is less than believed to be. Apart from climate change and environmental damage, public health has to be considered too.
http://www.thelancet.com/article/S0140-6736(07)61253-7/abstract
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05890.x/pdf
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(15)61106-0/abstract

While other sources like solar has a lesser effect on public health, there are severe limitations that prevent large scale global deployment.

Yes they can be continuity issues with renewable energy sources but thats why we should use multiple forms of renewable energy and we have the technology to store that energy for when one source of energy its not available.

The manufacture of batteries is also extremely polluting. That is also another reason my family didn't go fully solar then. We only use solar lights for our garden. Energy storage at least when I last assessed was more of a net loss than benefit towards the environment. Production of those lithium batteries are very damaging due to the mining process. This is the equivalent of looking at the end result but neglecting the negative effects from the process of achieving the end result. This is why we need a lot more research in the energy sector with a stronger focus on using energy efficiently.

Your right when someone chooses to not invest in fossil fuel it won't stop others from doing it, but when the government does invest in fossil fuel, it deters the them from changing rules and regulations to stop those companies from killing all live on earth because its in their best economic interest that those companies succeed.

As I have explained sovereign funds are supposed to be separate from the legislative branch of government. Fund managers are expected to react accordingly to government policies not the other way round. In any case I believe about 80% of sovereign funds by assets belong to Asia and Middle East countries.

Actually I am not surprised that you feel that these funds might affect government policies given that the US/Middle East sovereign funds focus solely on the oil and gas industries. I suppose you are not wrong to think so but since they have are oil production economies I doubt there will be any change even if their funds didn't invest in oil. My focus was more on diversified sovereign funds actually.

The best way to stop this reliance on fossils is to find a more efficient and cost effective form of fuel that makes fossils more expensive. If no one wants to buy oil, the oil production economy will naturally be destroyed.