Well, a concerted campaign for divestment of South African company shares may have contributed to the end of the Apartheid regime there. Now some are trying to push a similar strategy for divestment in fossil fuel companies.
As a political choice I think it’s certainly legitimate, if not likely to prove as effective as it was in South Africa. If you don’t want to own Exxon, sell your shares. Someone will be happy to buy them at the right price.
What’s coming up on the horizon is more hard ball, however. A report from The Center for International Environmental Law basically accuses the credit rating agencies (Standard & Poors, Moody’s and others) of ignoring the impact of attempts to curb climate change on the value of fossil fuel companies. They think that fossil fuel companies are riskier than they appear.
They appear to want to drive down the share prices of fossil fuel companies. I wonder if they’ve thought this through. If they want people to divest their shares in oil companies, do they want to drive the price down first? Hmmm.
Certainly, if we stopped burning fossil fuels their producers would be in a bit of a quandary.
But we already know that is not going to happen. As I wrote on 3000Quads, the companion blog to my efforts here, “The five top fuel consuming (and CO2 emitting, for those keeping score) countries are China, the U.S., India, Russia and China will consume about 60% of the world’s energy in 2040 (and account for a similar percentage of emissions. The second five countries account for about 10%, so it really is the top 5 countries that matter.