Monday, May 27, 2024
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Big Finance bullies jump on the climate bandwagon


THE 6.20am BBC Radio 4 Business News may seem unlikely to raise blood pressure towards the red line, but to this listener it has achieved that feat twice this year.

First Aviva, then Legal & General, boasted about how they will sell stock in companies ‘not doing enough about climate change’. So they are acting as judge and jury without right of appeal.  

These giants wield enormous financial clout and can make or break a smaller company. What right have they to bully companies who may hold totally different views on climate? Indeed would such enterprises dare to express views contrary to the behemoths? 

Perhaps the target businesses have researched climate change more comprehensively than the finance giants. They might have discovered that 31,487 scientists including 9,029 PhDs, among their number some of the greatest names in post-war physics such as Edward Teller (since deceased), signed the 1997 Petition Project which stated there is no scientific evidence that human-originated gases cause climate warming. 

Or perhaps if 1997 is considered old news, although the laws of physics haven’t changed, they might have read the 2019 letter signed by 500 (now 914) professional scientists of the Climate Intelligence Foundation (Clintel) which stated there is no climate emergency and indeed the modest rise in carbon dioxide level has boosted plant growth and food output, elsewhere calculated at 14 per cent.  

Isn’t this a cause for celebration when there are six million more mouths to feed every month? As an aside, whoever heard of a union willing a 14 per cent pay cut on its members?  That is what the National Farmers Union is doing by joining the virtue-signalling stampede in declaring ‘zero carbon’, which in the unlikely event they achieved that target would deprive their members of the free fertiliser provided by higher CO2 levels. 

Managements of enterprises under threat might even have considered the implausibility of CO2 being a major driver of climate when the dinosaurs thrived for untold millions of years and saw ice ages come and go at levels of the gas ten or 15 times those of today. 

We might also ask the question, if the finance conglomerates research climate in such a superficial manner, how well do they examine the prospects of companies in which they invest our pensions? 

As individuals we can at least place our pensions elsewhere, albeit once in a company scheme it is difficult to change without massive penalty.  

But what about those the Government has pushed into auto-enrolment?  Let’s look at what Nest, the government auto-enrolment provider, says about climate policy. It features a display so infantile it looks pitched to ten-year-olds.

We learn puffins have declined by 42 per cent over five years due to climate change. Really, from a 0.08 degree rise in temperature?  

If Nest is worried about seabirds, perhaps it might direct its attention to the threat to kittiwakes – on the Red List of species at risk of extinction – from the next Hornsea wind farm, which the Government has approved over the heads of local planners who had refused it precisely because of the risk to the birds. 

One claim on the Nest site is diametrically the reverse of reality, that crop yields could fall by 15 per cent, while we have seen the opposite from the Clintel study and elsewhere.  

Other claims are equally farcical, and might even be amusing if nine million pension-holders weren’t relying on the soundness of Nest’s investments.  

Might Nest not spend its time more wisely safeguarding the interests of its pension-holders rather than promulgating this rubbish?  

Moreover, where does this leave employers? It is illegal to discourage staff from auto-enrolment, but if an employer feels the pensions will be badly handled where does he or she stand – break the law or allow staff to enter a bad deal? 

Do the finance giants consult scientists of calibre comparable to those who signed the Petition Project or the Clintel letter? Or do they prefer to listen to the politically-infiltrated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Extinction Rebellion, or a Swedish schoolgirl?  

But when we see the bullying tactics of the finance giants perhaps we could borrow three words from the aforementioned schoolgirl: ‘How dare they?’ 

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Ian Wilson
Ian Wilson
Ian Wilson trained as a scientist and had a former career with Rolls-Royce aero-engines. He is a former glider pilot with a good working understanding of meteorology and, by association, climate.

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