A FEW days ago we published Ben Pile’s alarming analysis of the true scale of the government’s net zero and green agenda on inflation and the cost of living crisis. Today we are republishing the film he made which illustrates and explains how misguided energy and climate policies have been contributing to this accelerating economic crisis for years. The full transcript, written and narrated by Ben Pile, follows the film he produced.
Narrator: In the last year, people around the world have suffered huge rises in the cost of energy. Petrol, diesel, and domestic electricity and natural gas prices are now past the point that many people can afford.
The problem is affecting all businesses, with consequences for the wider economy, jobs and the cost of living.
In poorer and developing economies, these problems are intensified, and are having deeper and tragic consequences.
There is a growing risk that the progress the world has seen in dealing with poverty, hunger and communicable diseases since the 1990s will be reversed.
So what is behind these problems, what caused them, what are governments doing about it, and when can we look forward to a return to normality?
While misguided energy and climate policies had been contributing to precisely this problem for years, it seemed to begin as the world emerged from the restrictions placed by governments on economic activity during the Covid-19 pandemic.
These restrictions had reduced global energy demand.
In Britain, this reduced demand resulted in the reduction of the price of natural gas.
As producers reduced their output and as Covid lockdowns were eased, the price began to recover.
But rather than stabilising, natural gas prices continued to rise. Prices spiked at over ten times higher than the average.
The main factor behind this rapid price rise is the rate at which governments printed money through the pandemic.
Economists warned that this extraordinary intervention was creating the problem of inflation.
The rise of the price of gas has increased the cost of fertiliser, and key crops on which the entire world depends. And the rising cost of energy has increased the cost of construction materials, transport and everyday goods and services.
This has highlighted the vital importance of affordable, reliable, and abundant energy and other resources.
DAVID MILIBAND: ‘This Bill is a world first. Britain has become the first country to set itself on the road to a legislative requirement to reduce its carbon emissions by sixty per cent by 2050 on 1990 levels. We need the choices that individuals make about electricity, about heat and about transport also to respect environmental limits and to ensure that we live within our means environmentally.’
Narrator: But in Britain, since the mid-2000s, politicians have been driven by the idea that people’s wellbeing depended on eliminating CO2 emissions, rather than on the energy that powered society and the economy.
ALOK SHARMA: ‘The UK is moving fast towards a clean energy transition and the many new jobs in renewables demonstrates that the opportunities are absolutely there as part of our green industrial revolution.’
Narrator: That meant that old power stations were closed, and were not replaced by equivalent capacity, but by ‘renewable’ sources – wind and solar – whose output is variable and unreliable.
CHRIS HUHNE: ‘Now I know that your investments are looking far beyond 2020. That is why we’re asking the Committee on Climate Change to consider higher targets for renewable energy generation beyond 2020, so that you can be sure of government’s long-term commitment to the renewables industry.’
Narrator: MPs believed that by setting targets for decarbonisation and by offering generous subsidies for renewable energy, domestic green manufacturing and energy-producing sectors would be created.
ANTI-FRACKING CAMPAIGNERS: ‘FRACKING IN THE UK? NO FRACKING WAY! FRACKING IN THE UK? NO FRACKING WAY! NO DASH FOR GAS! NO DASH FOR GAS!’
ANDREA LEADSOM: ‘Well, today I’m announcing that the government is putting a moratorium on any further shale gas exploration for the foreseeable future.’
Narrator: In Britain and Europe, green lobbying stopped new gas exploration. Fracking was banned entirely.
Rather than creating new industries based in Britain or Europe, green policies merely created a market for technologies that were largely manufactured in the East, where prices were much cheaper, thanks to the continued use of coal and the lower cost of labour.
And rather than creating domestic energy production, European countries simply increased their dependence on fossil fuels from foreign countries.
Green policies created an increased dependence on a single energy commodity – natural gas – to mitigate the problems of variability produced by renewable energy sources.
BORIS JOHNSON: ‘As Saudi Arabia is to oil, the UK is to wind.’
Narrator: This has left governments, not only with no idea about how to achieve net zero targets without huge expense…
BORIS JOHNSON: ‘Retrofitting homes. Ground-source heat pumps.’
… but unable to respond to rising energy prices.
But surely, all that it takes to correct these problems is for natural gas and oil producers to simply increase production?
There’s just one problem: money.
In order to increase production, large industrial operations must first find the capital required to pay for the hardware and other costs that are created, including re-hiring the many thousands of positions that were shut down during the pandemic.
But since the middle of the last decade, energy companies have been investing less on their operations.
This is because the cost of capital for fossil fuel companies has increased.
Even before the pandemic, the cost of financing oil and gas had doubled, making investment in new operations economically unviable.
This has left companies unable to respond to increasing demand. Despite profits rising from the increased price of oil and gas, they are unable to raise the capital necessary to increase production.
So what has caused this problem?
In the 2010s, the green lobby became frustrated with the slow pace of global and national climate policymaking.
BBC NEWS PRESENTER: ‘There we are. That is now statistically, mathematically there that the Leave campaign have won. And we’re expecting at the end of the count fifty-two per cent for Leave, forty-eight per cent for Remain.’
DONALD TRUMP: ‘So help me, God.’
INAUGURATOR: ‘Congratulations, Mr President!’
Narrator: Democratic politics was taking a different direction to the agenda that they had planned. And so they sought new ways to assert their power.
This new campaigning agenda sought to bypass democratic institutions, to attack fossil fuel production without the need for governments to create unpopular policies to ban it.
Hundreds of millions of dollars were pumped into campaigning organisations who, in addition to aiming their scaremongering at the public, specifically targeted investors, and financial institutions.
ORTAL ULLMAN: ‘Today, fittingly, a week before the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, we’re facing off between New York AG Tish James and ExxonMobil for defrauding the people of New York. And this is historic because it’s the first time that Exxon is really having to answer for its lies in court.’
Narrator: These campaigns frightened investors by telling them that their money was at risk. They claimed that the world was reducing its demand for oil and gas, and that fossil fuel companies would be found liable for causing catastrophic climate change in lawsuits.
Angry publics across the world would rise up to demand that governments take action against energy companies.
These risks were growing, and the assets investors had bought, campaigners told them, would become stranded, and worthless.
This new movement of terrified shareholder activists in turn demanded that companies were rated, not just according to their economic performance, but on climate risks, and metrics that measured their Environmental, Social and corporate Governance policies, or ESG for short.
SAY ON CLIMATE VIDEO: ‘Credible plans must clear targets, specific actions, strong governance and an annual shareholder vote. In the words of former Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, “this would establish a critical link between responsibility, accountability and sustainability”.’
Narrator: This encouraged investors to divest from fossil fuel companies, and to invest in companies with higher ESG scores, such as high tech and social media companies.
SAY ON CLIMATE VIDEO: ‘Adopting a strong accountability mechanism for your climate change plans demonstrates credibility to investors, employees and clients.’
Narrator: And the pressure put on financial institutions by shareholders forced them to withdraw financial services and loans from fossil fuel companies.
This is why the cost of capital for fossil fuel companies rose, why investment in infrastructure fell, and why the energy supply crisis that has caused prices to skyrocket cannot be solved.
But it was all based on lies.
Rather than falling, as campaigners had claimed, global demand for fossil fuels has increased.
The climate lawsuits against fossil fuel companies have failed in all but one case.
And far from the impacts of climate change forcing people to rise up to demand political action, there remains no actionable evidence of catastrophic climate change or a climate crisis.
And as the problems caused by inflation and high prices get worse, public concern about climate change has fallen, not increased.
And it has been ESG, not climate change and extreme weather that is now causing hardship.
In late 2021, pioneers of ESG rushed to take responsibility for the rising cost of energy.
According to one analyst, pressure from ESG investors explained rising prices. Fossil fuel companies were ‘finding it increasingly difficult to raise financing’, one expert admitted, adding that ‘banks are under pressure’ from investors ‘to reduce or eliminate financing’.
Green journalists celebrated the rise in prices, boasting that ‘Financial Markets May Kill Off Fossil Fuels Before Governments Do’.
Capital markets were helping to save the planet, claimed economic activists.
It was a good thing that prices were rising, claimed green journalists.
But as green activists and journalists cheered, the dark reality of what they were cheering emerged.
ESG investors had believed that they were making the world a better place using their money.
But the rising cost of energy was stalling the possibility of recovery from Covid.
Rather than saving the planet, they have contributed to a financial crisis that may have no end in sight, with consequences for people around the world, which are immediate, have no short-term remedy, and are far worse than any observable effects of climate change.
So who is behind ESG and this shareholder activism?
The main force driving organisations that campaign to scare investors and financial institutions away from fossil fuel companies are a small number of philanthropic foundations.
Operated as ‘charities’ and ‘civil society organisations’, these foundations’ beneficiaries are able to assert their influence in the political sphere without appearing to be serving the business interests of their funders.
One of the biggest funders of ESG lobbying organisations is British billionaire hedge fund manager Sir Christopher Hohn.
Hohn’s investment firm, The Children’s Investment Fund, or TCI is one such funder. Between 2006 and 2009, the current UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, was a director of the company.
TCI grants a small percentage of profits it makes from investing Hohn’s and other people’s wealth into the philanthropic foundation he also operates, called The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, or CIFF.
CIFF in turn makes large grants to organisations, some of which it founded, to promote ESG investing using scare tactics and misinformation.
CIFF is a major funder of organisations that attempt to use courts to force governments to implement and enforce green policies, and to sue energy companies for damages caused by climate change.
This creates the fear of investments losing their value that drives ESG campaigning.
And CIFF funds directly, and through subsidiary grant-making philanthropic foundations, hundreds of organisations that lobby governments, political parties, politicians, public bodies, private companies and global agencies.
In this way, CIFF’s and other philanthropic foundations’ funding has successful aligned nearly all of UK and global civil society’s stance on climate policy, completely displacing the public from politics and policymaking.
SKY NEWS PRESENTER: ‘The Police coming in, trying to talk people out of being arrested. They want people to move their demonstration to Marble Arch, which is the …’
Narrator: Though it may be presented as ‘charity’, intended to make the world a better place, this ‘philanthropy’ has been good business for Christopher Hohn.
In the first decade of its existence, TCI was a relatively small hedge fund, with a reputation for aggressive and reckless decisions, that struggled to maintain growth.
But in the era of ESG investing, as pressures from climate campaigning exploded, TCI’s fund grew from holdings worth around just one billion dollars in early 2014, to nearly $42billion dollars at the end of 2021 – an explosive growth of approximately 3,600 per cent.
The grants given by CIFF to campaigning organisations has had a profound impact on UK and global policy. Between 2013 and 2020, Christopher Hohn gave well over half a billion dollars to green campaigning and ESG lobbying organisations.
This is just a small fraction of the profits his hedge fund has made, making environmental activism the most successful and profitable financial services marketing campaign in history.
But Christopher Hohn is not the only supporter of ESG campaigns.
Central banks have become leading advocates of ‘responsible’ investment, with no democratic mandate.
The framework that ESG lobbying and campaigning organisations demand that companies adhere to was developed by a little-known organisation called the Task Force for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, or TCFD.
TCFD is run by the senior staff of the world’s most powerful firms. Its officers are drawn from Black Rock, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Swiss Re, Aviva, JP Morgan Chase, BNP and Unilever. And its chairman is the billionaire media tycoon, investor, anti-fossil fuel campaigner, and failed presidential candidate, Michael Bloomberg.
The TCFD itself was founded by another obscure intergovernmental agency, the Financial Stability Board, or FSB – an organisation established by members of the G20 and the European Union, their financial ministries and central banks.
MARK CARNEY: ‘And that’s why our goal for COP26 was to build a financial system in which every decision takes climate change into account.’
Narrator: As both governor of the Bank of England and Chair of the FSB, Mark Carney founded the TCFD and appointed Bloomberg as its chairman.
The TCFD, in collaboration with central banks and some of the world’s wealthiest people, supplied ESG campaigning organisations with recommendations on how companies should be rated, how companies should implement green policies, and how ESG investors should choose where to put their money.
And this takes us back to the question of why energy prices have risen, and the principal reason for the sudden rise seen over the last year…
It was the members of the Financial Stability Board – the central banks and financial ministries of G20 governments – that printed money throughout the pandemic.
They knew that this would create inflation.
And it was the FSB too, which knew of ESG campaigning organisations’ intentions to starve energy producing companies of capital, pushing up costs.
And they knew that this too would add to inflation and stall economic recovery from Covid.
RISHI SUNAK: ‘This is the first COP to bring together so many of the world’s finance ministers, businesses and investors with such a clear common purpose.’
Narrator: And as inflation hit, rather than acting to stop it, they have ensured it.
RISHI SUNAK: ‘The Glasgow Alliance for Net Zero has now brought together financial organisations with assets worth over $130trillion dollars of capital to be deployed.’
Narrator: As energy prices were rising, at the COP26 meeting in Glasgow, Rishi Sunak and Mark Carney, then UN special envoy on climate change announced a new phase in the financial sector’s war on reliable, abundant and affordable energy.
SKY NEWS INTERVIEWER: ‘You’re already talking about inflation getting up to over 10 per cent –highest level since the early eighties, as the Governor, you know, it’s your job to try and keep it at close to two per cent, I mean how does that feel, seeing it sky-high?’
ANDREW BAILEY: ‘It’s extremely uncomfortable. I don’t want to make any bones about it. But the fact of the matter is that we are being struck by historically large shocks. I mean, let’s face it, who of us though there would be a war in Europe of the sort that we’re seeing. It’s terrible.’
Narrator: Now that a cost of living crisis is undeniable, technocrats, journalists, campaigners and politicians, all of whom have pushed for ESG, are trying to blame other factors for price rises and inflation: the Covid-19 pandemic, and Russia’s war in Ukraine.
JOE BIDEN: ‘Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is pushing up gas prices and food prices all over the world. Seventy per cent of the increases of prices in March came from Putin’s price hike in gasoline.’
Narrator: But as the data and the historical record show, high prices and their inflationary effects were well understood, and were programmed to prevent economic recovery, before either event.
And just as the consequences of rising energy prices are clear, the results for those behind it are just as obvious: since the start of the pandemic, Bloomberg’s wealth increased from $55billion to $82billion.
MIKE BLOOMBERG: ‘Tackling the issue of climate change is going to require all of us to do a lot more work. We’ve got to take responsibility for what’s going on, on this planet.’
Narrator: This video has shown just a small slice of the true nature of global climate politics.
MIKE BLOOMBERG: ‘Fighting climate change is one of the biggest challenges we’ve ever faced. But it’s also an opportunity.’
Narrator: It shows that at the heart of the green agenda is not the desire to save the planet, but the desire for money and power.
ANTONIO GUTERRES: ‘We will soon be starting to defeat climate change. And it is possible thanks to the leadership of persons like Michael Bloomberg.’
Narrator: The governmental institutions and agencies that were seemingly established to protect the public’s interest are instead aligned to private interests.
Rather than working to create financial stability, they created instability – an inflation crisis that governments now have no ability to manage or mitigate.
They encouraged fear in investors, driving finance away from vital infrastructure and resources, and made no attempt to replace the capacity that was lost with secure sources of energy that were affordable.
They hid their influence behind organisations with charitable status, to convince the public, governments, and legitimate businesses and investors that they were acting in the world’s best interests.
MIKE BLOOMBERG: ‘Fighting climate change and growing the economy really go hand in hand.’
Narrator: The absence of cheap energy has caused the very same problems that climate change activists said would be caused by global warming and climate change: the loss of agricultural productivity, the return of hunger and poverty, and exposure to temperature extremes.
MIKE BLOOMBERG: ‘Our new goal is to close a quarter of all the world’s existing coal plants by 2025 and cancel all proposed new coal plants as well.’
Narrator: Their reckless search for power has caused an economic crisis that will harm many millions, perhaps billions of people.
The people behind this agenda style themselves as philanthropists. But as much of the world’s population suffered the consequences of lockdowns, high energy prices and war, these philanthropists increased their personal wealth by far more than they have given.
Reality has made it clear that green utopian designs for society are dangerous.
They have undermined democracy, destabilised economies, and allowed profiteering and power-grabbing to go unchecked.
But are Governments willing or able to tackle the problem?
Rather than admitting that the climate agenda has already failed, Governments in America, Europe and the UK have reaffirmed their commitments to Net Zero targets.
They say that in the meantime, they will increase domestic gas and oil production to try to dampen the supply crisis.
But will it be enough to supply households and businesses? Will it be enough to reduce prices?
With investors spooked by green fear and the contradiction with government’s commitments to Net Zero targets, where will the capital investment come from?
SKY NEWS PRESENTER: ‘Climate activists head for an oil terminal on the banks of the Thames in Essex.’
Narrator: Will energy companies be able to confront green organisations that have promised to obstruct them at sea, on land, and in the courts?
And will governments be able to release the economy from the policy trap created by them and the powerful and wealthy people who back green organisations, which destroyed domestic industries and energy production, and increased dependence on foreign suppliers?
There may be no end to this crisis until the undemocratic, unaccountable and self-serving influences that drive the green agenda are prevented from using their money to change society in this way.