Not really. It’s merely that green issues are seen as an issue that is owned by the left and so to accept its possibility and it’s neccessity is seen to ‘give’ in to the left. It’s no surprise then, that an editorial by the Wall St. Journal is against such a deal. This is skewing their thinking on such global issues as climate change and by doing this, helping to misinform the public on this very issue by helping climate change denial. The Economist, after an one of hottest summers in Europe last year, threw in the towel, and wrote on their front page that climate change was for real. Eventually, I expect even the Wall St. Journal will be forced to acknowledge the urgency of the task at hand rather merely protecting its base - big business - and amongst them, the big energy firms.
It’s worth recalling here that big business is highly integrated. Which is exactly what we saw during the great crash a decade ago when the the entire banking industry looked like it could go under because suddenly the derivative trading bubble burst and they realised no-one could price them properly because they were too complicated to know what they were actually worth. For all anyone knew, they could be worthless. And much of it was worthless. Only Iceland had the guts to actually put a few of the ring-leaders into prison, no doubt because the financial industry was new to them and the banking industry hadn’t enough time to build up political protection for its culpably fraudulent behaviour. Still, fraud on such an enormous scale should not have brought down an entire industry, unless they were too highly integrated. The mantra was ‘they were too big to fail.’ Had no-one heard of anti-trust legislation? Which although it’s aim is to break up cartels and monopolies as they are against the public interest, could have been used to stop banking getting into such an incestuous relationship with each other.
Then of course they weren’t too proud to go to the government, with their cap in hand, for a big bail-out that amounted to two-thirds of a trillion dollars. Since the government is the representative of the people, we should say that they went to everyone asking for financial help to bail out the banking system. I mean, you, me and everyone else.
It should be seen as an opportunity rather than a threat. It’s only a threat to the fossil fuel industry, but there is such a thing called change management, usually applied to businesses that are being down-sized or under going technology change. The entire industry needs to be wound down, over time, whilst giving people to retrain or move into new jobs. Over a generation this should not cause too much disruption. The main difficulty is knowing what can be done in terms of engineering greener and cleaner energy resources. This is not something we can find out by simply putting our heads in the sand and pretending climate change is not happening. It requires funding on the right kind of scale to find the most appropriate solutions. Whilst the fossil fuel industry has had three hundred years to develop, the same kind of time framework isn’t possible for a new energy framework here, given the kind of warnings that have been given by climate science over the last thirty years.
This kind of technology change is possible, of course. After all, the global internet has been built up in thirty years. What’s required is vision, on the scale of the Manhattan project to build nuclear weapons or the Apollo project to put a man on the moon. It’s not something that business can deliver, their timescales are too small, and their thinking is generally too paraochial. It’s worth remembering that the technology behind the internet was originally all government funded for exactly the same reason. Business didn’t want to do it when it was difficult, but they all piled in when it was easy and they could make a fast buck from it. No doubt after it’s been done, business will want to take the credit for it all. But what else is new - everyone knows them to be boastful and greedy lot.
Business, after all is forever talking about investment. Foreign investment this and direct investment that. They have had thirty years to get their act together, and they haven’t. What little they have done they have been pushed, shoved and forced to. Look at the internet, no-one would allow the kind of pornography - including child porn - onto the high street, and nor the sheer, vast volume of unadulterated misinformation into the that is published there into their schools, colleges and universities, yet so long as these internet companies can make a fast buck of it, they will, they did and they still are. They would, rather you, me and everyone else clean up their mess for free. Apparently that’s not socialism. That’s making a fast buck. Socialise the costs, privatise the profits. That’s big business for you.
If they won’t invest, then it’s time for the money to be taken off them, so that it can be invested responsibly.