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Is BlackRock Announcement "Beginning of the End for Fossil-fuel System?"

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/01/21/blackrock-announcement-beginning-end-fossil-fuel-system

Back in the day, Cesar Chavez led the migrant worker movement and called for a boycott of grapes. He was told that he was asking the impossible that people should care about the plight of these the lowest paid workers. While I don’t know exactly how much those grape growers lost in business but it was considerable and public opinion forced them to make changes. However, it also had a great effect on all grape growers by association. People stopped eating grapes grown everywhere and the industry knew it. That seems much like what is starting to happen here. The world, in this case investors, sense that fossil fuels is a losing proposition as public opinion turns against continuing fossil fuel use.

A crack in the dam is apparent. There hasn’t been a movement among investors to ‘stop eating grapes’ as it were but investors have started recognizing that public sentiment against these industries is growing and is already significant against continued fossil fuel use. The case of coal, once touted as the cheapest fuel (as Trump has recently maintained), has failed as a long term investment. Investors have watched as coal use disappears and the majority of coal mines have closed already. The disappearing ‘good investment’ in coal presages the disappearing ‘good investment’ in oil and gas that was once taken for granted. The writing is on the wall as to be sure the heavily entrenched fossil fuel industries (wars having even been fought over oil) are stunned by how fast such a reversal can happen.
But … ‘Something is happening here…Mr. Jones.’

Yeah Greta - the world’s spokesperson and conscience. Brava!

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I can concede that that is the case. I believe the other contributing factor may lie in the fact that climate disaster clean up is very expensive. The whole point of investing is to get return on your dollar. But when insurance companies have to pay…the long term profits disappear. These people are quite aware of the devastating effects of climate change. Coastal cities are going underwater around the world…fish are dying…storms are increasing. Who wants to invest in that? The smart money is pulling back…and if they were really smart, would begin to invest in universal solar energy. You see in the article the author says the decision is not for moral reasons…but for cold hard cash.

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