By Dr. John Happs
If you want to witness cases of scientific illiteracy, selfishness and hypocrisy, look no further than the attitudes, actions and comments from a number of banking personnel. When it comes to uninformed opinions about climate change and the lack of concern about delivering affordable energy to the poor in developing countries, some of them appear to have no equal.
Judge for yourself.
Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England in his (29th September, 2015) speech on climate change said:
“There is a growing international consensus that climate change is unequivocal.”
A silly statement about the obvious. He then added:
“In the Northern Hemisphere the last 30 years have been the warmest since Anglo-Saxon times; indeed, eight of the ten warmest years on record in the UK have occurred since 2002.”
Except that, looking a little further back, the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period and the Minoan Warm Period were all significantly warmer than anything experienced in recent times.
Perhaps Carney can tell us what caused those 3 global warming episodes. But then, I’m wondering if Carney has even heard of those historic periods.
Perhaps Carney can draw on his knowledge of climate science and tell us WHY the Earth warmed during the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period and the Minoan Warm Period and WHY the Earth has been cooling since the end of the Cretaceous period, around 65 million years ago:
But again, I’m left wondering if Carney even knows about this long-term cooling trend.
I’m also wondering if Carney knows that the alarmist Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has now acknowledge the temperature stasis over the last 20 years.
Mark Carney went on to say:
“Atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are at levels not seen in 800,000 years.”
Except that current levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, at 400 ppm are amongst the lowest in 500 million years.
Carney added to the drama:
“The rate of sea level rise is quicker now than at any time over the last 2 millennia.”
Except that Dr. Nils-Axel Morner, a world authority on sea levels, points out that:
“Many key sites and test sites show little or no rise at all.”
“Nowhere do we find records of true “acceleration.”
“Satellite altimetry show a mean rise of 0.5 ±0.1 mm/yr.”
“Past sea level oscillations have been faster and steeper that in the last century.”
I’m also wondering if Carney, or any other bankers, realise that the Earth is currently experiencing a carbon dioxide famine:
No surprise then that the UN’s socialist Secretary General and serial climate alarmist Antonio Guterres announced at the “failed-again” 2019 COP 25 meeting:
“I’m pleased to announce that Mr. Mark Carney, who is presently the Governor of the Bank of England and a remarkable pioneer in pushing the financial sector to act on climate, has accepted to be my Special Envoy on Climate Action and Climate.”
Well we can hardly expect the UN’s “Special Envoy on Climate Action and Climate” to be measured in his comments about climate change. Nor can we expect him to be measured about the use of hydrocarbon fuels since he has already espoused the view that “fossil fuels are becoming stranded”.
Except that oil, gas and coal are seeing increasing production “due to increasing demand with no viable alternative in sight.”
Carney’s wife, Diana Fox Carney, is a well-known green activist who: “co-authored a report for a progressive policy think tank warning about potential climate change-related losses to Britain’s economy. The report argues that financial markets are failing to address the problem adequately and recommended steps to reduce climate-related risks.”
I suspect that the Carneys frequently discuss green ideology and what’s best for the world. Nigel Lawson certainly has his doubts.
In response to a number of dire climate-related predictions by Mark Carney, Lord Nigel Lawson of Blaby replied:
“Although the economy is now doing very much better, there are a whole lot of remaining problems in the financial sector – some of which you alluded to in your opening statements others of which we’ve discussed this afternoon.”
“Wouldn’t it be better if you focused your attention on those instead of engaging in green claptrap?”
Unfortunately for the developing world, other bank personnel have echoed the same climate pseudoscience as espoused by Mark Carney.
In 2015, the IMF/World bank Group, with President Jim Yong Kim, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, indicated a need to put a price on carbon (dioxide) whilst phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.
Jim Yong Kim said that the World Bank will stop all lending for oil and gas projects after 2019.
Rupert Darwall has shown how the World Bank’s policies are stifling development in poor countries whilst condemning their people to poverty and starvation. He describes the bank’s funding of inefficient, unreliable wind and solar power as:
“An inhumane and senseless attempt to try and save the planet on the backs of the world’s poor.”
Darwall argues that:
“The World Bank should lift its 2013 ban on financing coal-fired power stations and help the world’s poorest by supporting the next generation of low-emission power stations.”
The European Investment Bank (EIB) officials had already phased out lending to coal projects in 2013 and they agreed to phase out lending to oil and gas projects by the end of 2021. EIB president Werner Hoyer said the bank’s decision was:
“A quantum leap in its ambition. We will stop financing fossil fuels and we will launch the most ambitious climate investment strategy of any public financial institution anywhere.”
In 2018, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina sensibly said:
“The key challenge for Africa is the generation of power. The continent has the lowest electrification rate in the world. Power consumption per capita in Africa is estimated at 613 kWh per annum, compared to 6,500 kWh in Europe and 13,000 kWh in the United States. Power is the overriding African priority.”
But someone must have whispered in Adesina’s ear at the Climate Action Summit in New York (September 23, 2019). The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina appeared to make a U-turn and made clear that the AfDB would stop financing coal, oil and gas. He said:
“Coal is not the future and it is powerful that the AfDB has acknowledged this reality on a global stage. This is a critical step to clean renewable energy for frontline coal communities and a climate just future for all.”
“Continued finance for coal, oil, and gas are not in line with the Paris Agreement. We would also welcome an immediate end to AfDB finance for all fossil fuels, not just coal.”
In Australia, the Reserve Bank’s Deputy Governor, Guy Debelle said in a Public Forum, hosted by the Centre for Policy Development (12th march, 2019):
“The insurance industry has recognised that the frequency and severity of tropical cyclones (and hurricanes in the Northern Hemisphere) has changed.”
Indeed the frequency and severity have changed and a little due diligence from Debelle would have shown him that the change is for the better. Even the alarmist IPCC has acknowledged that extreme weather events have not increased in number or intensity.
“The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report documents that 1 degree of warming has already occurred from pre-industrial levels as a result of human activities.”
I doubt that Debelle or any banking officials have read (and understood) the IPCC technical reports. Rather they might have looked at the Summaries For PolicyMakers (SPM’s) that are produced specifically for gullible politicians, the media (and banking officials) and bear little resemblance to the information provided in the technical reports.
In 2019, the National Australia Bank’s chairman Philip Chronican told a parliamentary inquiry that the NAB would:
“Take no new thermal coal mining customers and wind down lending to existing customers to zero by 2035.”
“The bank’s exposure to thermal coal mining stands at $762 million and it would be phased down to about half by 2028 and effectively zero by 2035. The bank would not fund new coal-fired power generation or expansions to existing plants unless there was technology in place to materially reduce emissions.”
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has also accepted the junk science that is catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW), announcing plans to work towards exiting thermal coal by 2030, reaffirming its support for a “responsible transition to a net zero emissions economy by 2050.”
Westpac said it would remain in fossil fuel power generation but would transition away over time. It would support new coal mining in existing basins and where the quality of the coal was in the top 15 per cent.
We now have a “Network for Greening the Financial System” (NGFS), launched at the Paris One Planet Summit on the 12th December 2017. This is a group of 18 Central Banks that believe the carbon dioxide – driven global warming nonsense and agree to contribute to the analysis and management of climate and environment-related risks in the financial sector. The NGFS aim to mobilize finance to support the transition toward a sustainable economy.
There are a number of other groups such as “Market Forces” that have brought pressure to bear on banks and organizations by actively encouraging people to lobby those banks that provide finance to companies producing hydrocarbon energy. The Market Forces website lists those banks that provide such finance and those who do not. Their website says:
“Market Forces is about “using your money as a force for good”. With our banks comparison table we aim to show people which banks are investing in the fossil fuel industry and enable individuals to take action, whether by calling for better action from a bank or finding an alternative bank that isn’t financing the coal, oil and gas industries. We’ve included over 120 banks, mutuals and credit unions in our table and tried to make it easy for you to find information and take action to change your bank’s behaviour, or just change your bank!”
The questions must be asked:
Do those banking officials that have decided to stop funding the mining of coal and the exploration for oil and gas really believe that their decision will make one iota of difference to global carbon dioxide emissions?
The sum total of human emissions is around 3% and, should the human race stop emitting carbon dioxide altogether, it would make absolutely no difference to atmospheric carbon dioxide levels since 97% of atmospheric carbon dioxide comes from natural sources that even bank officials cannot control.
Do those banking officials that have decided to stop funding the mining of coal and the exploration for oil and gas really believe that China, Indonesia, India and a host of other countries would be foolish enough to stop using inexpensive, high energy-density hydrocarbon fuels?
Countries such as China, Indonesia and India rightly want the lifestyle we enjoy and they will continue to lift their people out of poverty using hydrocarbon fuels. Virtue-signalling bankers need to understand the following facts:
1. There are over one trillion tonnes of proven coal reserves globally – enough to last for more than 150 years at current demand.
2. Those countries that have the largest coal reserves, such as China, India, Russia and the US will continue to use and export coal to those countries that need it. They don’t care one jot about any of the foolish, feel-good policies that Australian politicians and bankers might dream up.
3. Virtue-signalling policies from naïve bankers would hamstring our industries and energy market and do nothing to assist the poor in developing countries. The economies of India (with plans to build around 370 new coal-fired power plants), Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan and South Korea will grow their economies since they have plans to increase their combined coal-fired generating capacity by more than 60% by 2019.
4. China will start work on six to eight nuclear power plants annually for the next five years and operate 110 plants by 2030 to meet its energy needs.
China produces 5 times as much coal as the US and almost as much as the rest of the world combined. Additionally, the Chinese spent 15 billion USD building coal plants outside China between 2013 and 2016.
As President Xi Jinping said at the 19thNational Congress of the Communist Party of China:
“No one should expect China to swallow anything that undermines its interests.”
Apparently, Australian and other bankers will swallow anything that is even slightly green.
Globally, there are over 500 coal-fired power plants under construction with a further 2,000 planned in South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Mali, The Gambia, Morocco, Egypt, Indonesia, Phillippines, Vietnam, Burma, Kazakstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Armenia, Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica, Iran, Israel, Turkey, Greece, Hungary, Herzegovina, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, USA
It’s such a pity that banking officials don’t reflect and reject the ridiculous claims from environmental activists such as Dr. Tim Flannery who (amongst many other silly things) foolishly told Australian politicians that:
“The social licence of coal to operate is rapidly being withdrawn globally.”
Why would anyone believe this kind of activist nonsense?
As the Indian Minister for State Power, Piyush Goyai said:
“Just as in all other countries, including the developed world, coal will continue to remain the mainstay of our energy related needs for the foreseeable future. In all fairness, it would not be correct to say or to expect India to move away from coal when we are at the cusp of our developmental journey.”
Why don’t Australian bank personnel place our economy above pointless attempts to “save the planet” that are ham-stringing our industries when other countries have no intention of disadvantaging theirs?
Tragically, there are still more than 1 billion people around the world that have no access to affordable, reliable energy. In sub-Saharan Africa, for instance, only a mere 24% of the population has access to reliable electric power and hydrocarbon fuels will be essential to meet their needs.
South Africa is the most advanced and electrified nation in the sub-Saharan yet even that country does not have sufficient reliable power to prevent the blackouts that stop factory and mining production, school closures and the restriction of hospital operations.
Unlike unreliable, inefficient solar and wind sources, inexpensive, high-energy-density hydrocarbon fuels are essential for those countries wanting to lift their people out of poverty and to give them the quality lifestyle that we take for granted.
They need reliable, inexpensive electricity for cooling or heating their homes and for cooking, rather than having to burn wood or animal dung.
They need hydrocarbon fuels for their transport and for the production of raw materials for roads, buildings and all aspects of their life.
All bankers need to understand that energy poverty means real poverty, disease and malnutrition.
As African columnist Steven Lyazi says:
“But it is also because callous, imperialistic people in rich countries use exaggerated, imaginary or phony environmental concerns and fake disasters to justify laws, regulations and excuses not to let poor countries use fossil fuels or nuclear power or develop their economies.”
“They tell us we should only use renewable energy. They say nuclear power is dangerous, and oil, gas and coal are dirty and cause dangerous climate change. They don’t seem to think or care about the poverty, diseases and starvation that we suffer because we do not have fossil fuels.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that, in Africa:
“The primary causes of death in children under-5 include pneumonia, preterm birth complications, diarrhoea, birth asphyxia and malaria. Approximately one third of all childhood deaths are linked to malnutrition in the African Region.”
“Malnutrition makes newborns and children vulnerable to both infectious and non-infectious diseases through a weakened immune system.”
These people need inexpensive, reliable energy for their housing, hospitals, education, transportation and guaranteed food supplies yet thoughtless protesters opposing the Adani and other coal mines would deprive millions of people in developing countries of that inexpensive, reliable electricity supply.
Those selfish protesters call it “climate justice” and Greta Thunberg is one of them.
Greta is angry and wants coal, oil and gas left in the ground:
These African children are hungry and need coal, oil and gas to improve their life:
Dr. John Happs M.Sc.1st Class; D.Phil. John has an academic background in the geosciences with special interests in climate, and paleoclimate. He has been a science educator at several universities in Australia and overseas and was President of the Western Australian Skeptics for 25 years.