Third Act presents a webinar on Wednesday, May 25 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. The topic is climate justice and banking. We recently reported on a new study entitled “The Carbon Bankroll: The climate impact and untapped power of corporate cashwhich attempts to quantify the carbon emissions that big tech companies are indirectly responsible for when they use the traditional banking system. The order of progression is quite simple. GigaCorp made a billion dollar profit in the first quarter. He deposits this money with GigantaBank, which then uses the money to fund oil and gas exploration around the world.
The study suggests that all of these Big Tech companies could come together to organize their own banks and weed out the rapacious Wall Street lenders who only care about their fat bonus checks and would gladly sacrifice the entire human race on the altar of greed. It’s a controversial idea, this idea of disrupting Wall Street. It’s impossible, isn’t it? The current financial system is too powerful, too entrenched. It would never work.
Well, not too long ago some crazy-eyed radicals suggested that we could take a bunch of laptop batteries, shove them into the chassis of a car, and drive around with non-polluting electrons instead gasoline molecules. “That’s crazy talk!” people said. And yet, just over a decade later, the company that started it all has transformed the way C-suite suits from Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, GM, Ford and Stellantis think about the world of transportation. If such an earthquake could hit the transportation world, who’s to say something similar couldn’t happen in the financial community as well?
Bank and madness
The importance of disrupting the financial community was underscored recently by the words of Stuart Kirk, head of responsible investment for the asset management division at HSBC, one of the whales of the international banking industry. (HSBC stands for Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank.) Speaking at a forum organized by the FinancialTimesKirk’s speech was titled “Why Investors Don’t Need to Worry About Climate Risk.”
According to New York Times, Kirk told those present, “Who cares if Miami is six meters under water in 100 years? Amsterdam has been six meters under water for ages, and it’s a very beautiful place. We will face it. This echoes the words of former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, who dismissed the idea of climate change as a threat to the human species, saying that humans will just have to adapt. Easy for Tillerson to say with the billions he’s earned plundering the Earth to protect him. Not so easy for those suffocating in India and Pakistan and suffering from extreme heat right now.
Kirk further embellished his speech with this perfect complaint of a prototype plutocrat: “There’s always some crazy man talking to me about the end of the world.” What bothers me about this one is the amount of work these people make me do. The amount of regulation that goes down the pipes. The number of people in my team and at HSBC facing financial risk from climate change.
Oh poor little rich white boy bullied and harassed by those who seek to preserve the world as a place where humans can thrive. Boo hoo. Don’t forget that Kirk is the Head of Responsible Investment at HBSC! And we should give him and his coterie of fossil fuel apologists billions to fund new oil and gas developments because…why?
Who is the third act?
On his website, Third Act says, “We used to think that humans become more conservative as they age, perhaps because we have more to protect, or simply because we are used to things as they are. are. But our generations have seen huge positive changes early in our lives – the civil rights movement, for example, or the fight to end massive wars or secure women’s rights. And now we fear that the promise of these changes is dying, as the planet heats up and inequality increases.
“But as a generation, we have unprecedented skills and resources that we can put to use. Washington and Wall Street need to listen when we speak, because we vote, and because we own a large—perhaps an excessive—share of the country’s assets. And many of us have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We have, in other words, very real reasons to worry and work.
As part of the May 25 webinar, Bill McKibben will talk about the importance of “The Carbon Bankroll: The climate impact and untapped power of corporate cash“Report and show how the biggest and richest companies in the world – Google, Netflix, Amazon, Microsoft – emit more carbon pollution from the money they keep in the banking system than from their actual business operations. third act the webinar will discuss ways to leverage this new data to further push Wall Street to stop funding climate destruction.
Write in the New York Times, Paul Krugman castigates Stuart Kirk for these recent comments and shares with his readers Dornbusch’s law, which is well known in academic circles, especially among international economists. Rudiger Dornbusch was a prominent MIT economist who said, “The crisis takes a lot longer to come than you think, and then it happens a lot faster than you thought. Krugman writes,
“Modern societies – certainly high-income countries like America, and even lower-middle-income countries like India – have a lot more capacity to deal with problems than pre-industrial societies. They can help regions hit hard affected; they can adapt their agriculture and living conditions to climate change; they can probably maintain the appearance of a more or less normal life for years to come.
“What I fear – and, alas, I expect – is that for years, if not decades, we will avoid the worst climate catastrophe scenarios. Famines can kill millions of people, but not tens of millions, because food will arrive urgently when harvests fail. Incidents in which wet bulb temperatures – a measure of combined heat and humidity – exceed the limits of human endurance will remain rare for some time. Residents of towns overwhelmed by storm surges will be rescued.
“Through human ingenuity, we will cope – until we can’t anymore, because the scale of the crisis will exceed even the capacity of modern society to adapt. I think our response to climate change is like a rubber band that can be stretched a long distance until it suddenly breaks. And then the megadeaths will begin. I’d like to be hyperbolic, but I think I’m just being realistic.
“The tragedy here is that the climate crisis is perfectly solvable (emphasis added). Among other things, progress in renewable energy has been so dramatic that even a fairly modest policy push could still lead to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
“But none of this can happen without the participation of the United States, and sound climate policy in what is still the world’s essential nation is being held hostage by people more concerned with the imaginary threats of critical theory. of race and the swarming of immigrants than by the rapidly changing fate of the planet.”
Krugman’s rubber band analogy is apt – and terrifying. No one can say where the breaking point will be, but it can be said with reasonable certainty that it will be happen in the foreseeable future. It can also be said that the international banking community is playing a major role in pushing the agenda forward. However, there are alternatives, and the interest of third act webinar is to show how the Big Tech world could accelerate these alternatives.
For the record, HSBC suspended Stuart Kirk and issued a series of statements decrying his remarks and assuring the world that what he said in no way reflects the bank’s policies. We are asked to believe that this loose cannon has somehow worked its way up to become the responsible investment manager and no one knew his views on climate change or agreed with them? Do they really expect us to believe these fervent protests?
Yes, they do. Just like the fossil fuel companies expect us to swallow their cod line about “net zero” in 2050 and all the other lies they have been peddling for over half a century. Now is the time to act and that means no more “business as usual”. See you Wednesday night to learn more about the transition from a bank based on greed to a sustainable economy. It should be quite a show.
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