Al Gore keeps saying the most interesting things. I think he must read our website when surfing the internet late at night.
This week, speaking to financial leaders controlling $20 trillion in assets, Gore said “You need to really scrub your investment portfolios, because I guarantee you — as my longtime good redneck friends in Tennessee say, I guarandamntee you — that if you really take a fine-tooth comb and go through your portfolios, many of you are going to find them chock-full of subprime carbon assets.”
“Subprime carbon assets”, according to Gore, are the financial risks that investors in carbon intensive industry face when throwing billions into the fossil fuel infrastructure (ex:Citi and Bank of America). Gore compared carbon investments to the recent subprime mortgage crisis that has led to a meltdown in financial markets.
Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley just announced the “Carbon Principles.” Guidelines designed to scrutinize coal plant proposals more closely. Bank of America’s CEO is talking about treating carbon as a liability.
Maybe they are smartening up. Maybe they are getting nervous about rising tides and warming oceans. Or perhaps the shifting political winds led by global social-environmental movements.
Regardless, our pressure campaign is working, it’s even got Al Gore’s attention.
UPDATE: I just wanted to add one other thing. While the climate justice and global warming movements are building momentum and Mr. Gore is scolding Wall St. for their portfolios, we should be wary of false solutions. Carbon trading and carbon capture and storage are amongst the false solutions that they will be throwing at us in the coming years. An industry front group, Americans for Balanced Energy Choices is already promoting “clean coal” and lots of other greenwashing will be coming down pike as well.
We need to start re-thinking our entire fossil fuel structure and figure out how to uproot the system and build a better world. Mr. Gore may or may not be a leader in that, but millions of us are already part of the process.