Tuesday, September 23, 2014

So the Upshot of the Marches and Demonstrations is Divestment?



As surely everyone on earth knows by now, there has been a vast outpouring of climate change activism in recent days, hundreds of thousands taking to the streets in New York alone, perhaps millions all over the world, showing solidarity with one another and demonstrating the breadth and depth of interest in doing something about the imminent peril represented by the specter of Climate Change.

And Behold: Our Betters have heard our cries.

There will be some changes made, starting with the divestment of dozens of investment funds and foundations (150 of them? More?) from fossil fuels.

That's a pretty big deal.

It seems to have come suddenly after decades of disinterest and denial by the high and the mighty regarding the constantly worsening climate chaos that has engulfed the world and already wiped out any number of species and plenty of the Rabble. Why now?

Perhaps they've been told forcefully enough for them to listen that there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and they had better get right with their minds or it's all over for them too?


Could be.

We'll see.

Meanwhile, Free the Polar Bear! Now!


  1. Well, Che,

    I will once again be the party-pooper. Guess it's my job description. First, none of these foundations and funds name an actual dollar amount. In each case (say, Stanford Univ. or the Rockefeller Inst., to name just two), you should note that they do not give specific amounts of divestiture nor do they specify any time-frame. It's all a vague promise of something they intend to do at some point. Stanford was particularly hypocritical, as in reading the fine print (difficult, since they offered scant details), it turns out there was not much "there" there. They aren't really divesting from fossil except in a most minimal and meaningless way.

    Second, it's easy to placate the public by talk of divestment when the fact is that we hit peak oil around '05 or '06, according to some oil experts. And the natural gas plays are a joke. The wells hit their peak almost immediately and the industry is running on borrowed money; they can't even meet expenses. They dig up the land, dump toxic waste into the groundstream, release methane all over the place, and then have to abandon the wells shortly after start-up. It's a good land-grab scheme, however, since companies like Halliburton either buy the land outright at below-market valuations or have 99-year leases. I think that is the whole point of the fracking craze - getting the hard asset. A significant number of fracking companies are abandoning the natural gas wells (turns out there is zero regulation on abandoned wells - those suckers might be leaking methane and fracking fluids until hell freezes over with no oversight), but they still hold rights to the land.

    These guys have to find something else to invest in for the long haul, and they might as well get their feet squarely on the ground floor of whatever the next profit-maker will be. Exxon, Ford Foundation, and Rockefeller, et. al., will be major shareholders of the green techs. They aren't stupid, and if that looks like where the next cash bonanza will be, they want their skim off the top first. Buy your solar cells from Shell, created with seed money from Rockefeller; why not?

    Third, the derivatives market for the green energies is just getting started. That'll be a fun ride.

    The assholes who own the universe are not so much divesting from fossil fuels as seeking prime ownership in the next idea.

    I think the best we can hope for is that what they do invest in is not Bill Fucking Gates' geo-engineering projects, but real solutions. We commoners might resent the Rockefellers making a few bucks off our electric bills if the product is at least not killing us, too.

    - Teri

    1. Well, I think you pooped on the party quite nicely, to tell the truth. As I say, this seemed to come out of the blue of nowhere, all of a sudden like, and it's a big splash of "look whut we're doing!!!!" but exactly what it is remains unstated.

      And we just know, deep in the marrow of our bones, that the burden, whatever it may be, is to be borne in the end by the proles.

      Always and forever, world without end...

      (And Yale isn't divesting, so there.)

      Meanwhile, doesn't this lead to even greater concentration of resources and power in fewer and fewer hands?

  2. Oops - "We commoners might resent the Rockefellers making a few bucks off our electric bills if the product is at least not killing us, too," should say "might NOT resent"....

    I need to use that preview button.

  3. "Meanwhile, doesn't this lead to even greater concentration of resources and power in fewer and fewer hands?"

    Yes. That is the point. There are very few small companies starting up now; they got wiped out from '08 on, the banks are not lending to them, and they can't find private investors. Congress won't pass any small-business investment funding (i.e., "subsidies", or low-interest governmental loans); the only idea in this field coming from Congress is public-private partnerships housed within a so-called Infrastructure Bank. This dreadful plan is brought to us courtesy of my pretend-Democrat rep, John Delaney. His crappy kiss-GoldmanSachs-ass-plan is now out of committee and going to the floor whenever those suckers decide to work again. His plan calls for the gov't to re-build infrastructure, energy sources, schools, etc. via a new investment bank fund, but the gov will be partnering with big companies and banks such as Walmart, Halliburton, Bechtel, Bank of America, and the like who will provide the upfront money. This is the same sort of bond investment schemes that have gotten so many cities and states in trouble already. The private companies are "incentivized" to invest in this Infrastructure Bank not only through the fees they can collect from us and the guaranteed profits, but also by the government forgiving a certain percentage of their overseas tax evasions. In other words, they get to "repatriate" some of their hidden profits tax-free if they invest in the Infrastructure Bank. Of course, the only companies big enough to qualify for the investment standards are the same companies that currently hold the cartels right now.

    It'll be sort of like Detroit. Only better (depending on your particular vantage point).

    I wrote a post on this some months ago: http://teri.nicedriving.org/2013/12/the-greecing-of-america/

    This is the sort of thing the big playa's will invest in if they decide to abandon fossil fuels. I think we should not make the mistake of underestimating the goal of these oligarchs and cartels: they are going for the hard assets. They want all of it. Nothing they do is out of interest for the common good. By casually mentioning divestiture from fossil now, they are simply playing the crowd at the suitable moment and blanketing their real intentions.

    1. Agreed. I've been skeptical (putting it mildly) of Our Betters' motives pretty much any time they launch an initiative for "change." In this case, it's pretty obvious that what's stated is unlikely to be the actual motivation.

      This is about power and control of the Future. They and their colleagues and peers want to make double-damn sure they are the ones with the power and in control, not us.

      I saw a surprising amount of negativity about the Climate March -- because of all the corporate participation and apparently massive funding among other things -- and I thought it was a bit odd to be so negative about something that was essentially benign and merely an expression of solidarity, even if corporations were funding it. It doesn't hurt to get together and get in the streets for something you care about. So why trash it?

      But with the Divestiture Reveal it became clear to me how manipulative the whole thing was. While people were expressing their genuine feelings about the lack of progress and demanding action from governments and the private sector, the powerful forces behind the March were using the Peoples' genuine sentiment to further their own ends, which is the further consolidation of power and resources into their own hands. They can point to the March and say, "See, millions of people around the world say they want this -- what we want."

      But millions of people around the world don't know what that is, do they?

      "By casually mentioning divestiture from fossil now, they are simply playing the crowd at the suitable moment and blanketing their real intentions."

      Yah. That's pretty much it.