Hide your dirty oil and money

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

There have been a number of campaigns of late to persuade investment funds to disinvest from oil, gas and coal industries.  The motivation, as I understand it, was to reduce the flow capital to these industries and hence to speed their demise.  There was an educational component to this as disinvestment as an idea and a strategy was promoted as a good awareness- and consciousness-raising exercise.  Additionally, having your money in a green/lean outfit which is environmentally and socially ethical can make you feel better about yourself.  The results have been mixed.

It's certainly the case that a number of high-profile organisations have been selling their most polluting assets in order to please clean/green investors.  Shell is a case in point.  But these assets are merely being sold not shut down.  And in being sold to private equity firms (as many are – according to the Economist such outfits have acquired $60bn of coal/oil assets since 2020) they have simply disappeared from public view.  The more private you are, the less accountable you become, and you make your money and pollution out of the public gaze.

I cannot recall anyone who was keen on such divestment ever anticipating that this was a possibility.  It is surely an outcome that no-one welcomes (unless you're private equity).  This is the sort of case study which ought to be a feature of any good sixth-form general studies programme that focuses on net zero issues – as all good general studies programmes surely already do.

There's chapter and verse here from the Economist.


Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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