Human’s Methane Contribution Far Greater Than Thought; Signs Wall St. Might Take Action

With reports of devastating financial losses being imminent, the largest Wall St. investor in the world demands a change in corporate policy and investment. As usual, this is all about profit, not the planet.

Retake Our Democracy on KSFR 101.1 FM, Saturday 8:30am– 9 am. On February 29, Tabatha Hirsch, SF Prep student who led a student-driven process to develop HB 173, a remarkable gas tax bill. Joining her will be Marc Reynolds, SF Prep teacher who supported the work. The week prior, Roxanne and I did our annual Roundhouse Roundup with the full 45-minute podcast available at the link below.

You can access any of our podcasts by clicking here.

Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA), Saturday, Feb 29, 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm, Center for Progress & Justice. Action Planning Meeting. Action planning for April 22 Earth Day, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Groups worldwide are calling for a massive student strike and three days of direct action. Be part of YUCCA planning for this. They will be discussing how to build the capacity to mobilize our communities — to take to the streets, to take to the polls, to develop community-driven policy proposals, and to hold our elected officials accountable once they are in office — whether they are the candidates we campaigned for, or their opposition.

We can only win progressive policies like the Green New Deal and YUCCA’s state-level demands if our politicians have no choice but to enact them. YUCCA needs all hands on deck. Please come on Saturday and please personally invite 3-5 friends to join you in forming a strike circle or affinity group. Click here for more info and to RSVP on Facebook. Please share this with others and bring a crowd.

It’s Zen Time. We usually try to write blogs the day before they are published to ensure the content is current, but Roxanne and I began a 4-day Zen retreat yesterday, so we have prepared posts for today and Saturday on Tuesday afternoon. I suspect that despite the early preparation there will still be a climate crisis (today’s post) and a contentious primary season on Saturday (the subject for Saturday), so we shouldn’t be too passe. We are not allowed to access any devices while in retreat, so the first time we will find out anything, even the South Carolina primary results, with be Sunday afternoon. But I expect we will return to the battle refreshed, reinvigorated, and focused.

Good News, Bad News: Human Methane Emission Contribution Far Larger Than Thought

Is it possible that a combination of disconnected events and reports could lead to an abrupt change in Wall St’s posturing on the climate crisis? Today we report on three developments that may just augur a sudden spike in Wall St’s commitment to fighting the climate crisis instead of fighting against the change required.

  • A recent study from Nature has found that human activity’s contribution to methane emission is 25-40% larger than previously thought;
  • A separate study from New York economist Oliver Wyman projected that credit defaults across industries due to the impact of climate change could result in $1 Trillion in losses; and
  • The CEO for BlackRock, the largest investment firm in the world, managing over $7 Trillion in assets, sent several signals that the gas & oil industry party is over and investors need to seriously consider climate impact, asset vulnerability, and profit in making investments. This is an especially big deal, as BlackRock has turned a blind eye to gas and oil’s impact on the climate crisis and has not been predisposed to significant investment in renewable energy.

Human Contribution to Methane Emissions Underestimated; That Is Both the Good News & the Bad

Human-released methane makes up a much bigger slice of those emissions than people originally thought, the study’s findings suggest. They found that human-caused methane emissions might be 25 to 40 percent higher than prior estimates. Previous measurements of how much naturally occurring methane is heating up the planet were an order of magnitude too big, the researchers found. “

Verve: “Humans Put Out More Methane Than Previously Thought”

Why is this possibly good news? Well, the more methane release that is human-generated means that changes in human behavior could have an even larger impact on warming. Given that humans don’t appear to be on the verge of a renewable revolution, the “good” news is significantly mitigated, but it could contribute to more efforts to contain methane.

Since methane is roughly 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide, finding ways to curb methane emissions could significantly impact warming. New Mexicans don’t need to be told that most human-caused methane is leaked while producing and transporting gas and oil. As a result, this should provide an incentive for the state of NM to redouble their efforts in forcing the gas and oil industry to get serious about methane capture.

Click here to read the full Verve report. The report outlines the calculations done in order to arrive at these new findings.

Huge financial losses projected due to climate change could trigger corporate and investor action

As we have seen in NM, when coal became uneconomical, investments moved away and coal plants closed in San Juan and Escalante. Investors do not like to lose money. A Reuters report focused upon a new study from New York economist Oliver Wyman predicts that Wall St. is headed towards some crippling losses if it doesn’t disinvest in gas and oil.

The world’s financial services sector risks losses of up to $1 trillion if it fails to respond quickly to climate change and is hit by policy shifts such as the introduction of a carbon tax, a new report shows. “

Reuters: “World’s financial firms risk $1 trillion in losses if slow to act on climate change: report”

The report also pointed to the opportunity for investment in renewable energy technology with that industry projected to grow by leaps and bounds. Nothing like a little profit to stimulate capitalist action.

Click here to read the full Reuters Report

Largest Investor In the World Issues Startling Report: Time To Invest In Renewables, Turn From Gas & Oil

Another greed story, as it becomes clear that Wall St is not enamored with bleeding money. The Wall St. Journal has published a report describing how the largest investment firm in the world, BlackRock, Inc., has joined Climate Action 100+, the world’s largest group of investors pressuring companies to act on climate change.

Given that BlackRock manages over $7 Trillion in investments worldwide, this is a very big deal, especially given that BlackRock has come under criticism for assets invested in fossil fuels and how it engages with polluters. Ceres, a nonprofit that organizes investors on climate change, ranked BlackRock 43 of 48 among asset managers when it comes to backing climate-related shareholder resolutions at companies. Lest you think that BlackRock has suddenly developed a social conscience, the Wall St. Journal reports that:

A report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis estimated that BlackRock has lost investors $90 billion over the past decade due to poor performing investments in fossil fuel companies. “

Wall St. Journal: ” BlackRock Joins World’s Largest Investor Group on Climate Change”

Click here to read the WSJ story on BlackRock.

While it is hard to feel too much enthusiasm for capitalist investors shifting investments from coal and gas to renewables in search of profit, it is better than having those same investors pouring funds into that industry and into “research” describing how the climate crisis is a fabricated crisis concocted by left-wing tree huggers. One less entrenched opponent to overcome.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

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1 reply

  1. Prudence, sometimes described as ‘enlightened self-interest,’ can be one road taken to discover the behavior known as altruism. This is a core premise of Thomas Nagel, a professor of philosophy from NYU that I first used in my masters thesis on bioethics in 1979.

    Like you, I mistrust all capitalist motives, but since capitalism is nothing more than an emotional response to fear, it has the same potential for mortality as the belief in gods. And imbedded in the distortion of capitalism is the kernel of the balance sheet of ecology, first posited by Thoreau in his essay on Economy. Reading On Walden Pond was an epiphany for me, direct from the lips of the god of environmentalism to my eager ears.

    Nagel is definitely worth the read, as are Teilhard de Chardin and Henri Bergson, both French philosophers who posited the ideas that Nature is the essence of the natural mind of evolution. These observers, along with Loren Eiseley and Jacque Cousteau, helped me comprehend my own multiple personalities of wolf and owl, preferring the dark of night to listen, watch, and hunt for nourishment and solutions.

    Can we actually evolve our thinking and behaviors before we kill off all biotic life? We have to make the effort.

    Mick Nickel

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