The “climate conflict of interest” amongst South Africa’s largest banks would be amusing if it were not so unnecessary (Business Report, November 21).
Embarrassingly, Standard Bank finds that its group directors are at sixes and sevens in terms of their investments between fossil fuels and so-called renewables. One of Nedbank’s directors is involved with Sasol. Apart from Investec, the other banks appear to have a Janus outlook on the energy issue, which, in horse racing terms, means their investments are coupled on the tote.
It is difficult to accept that these financial tycoons are ignorant of the contrived controversy concerning climate change. Science and history prove that climate alarmism is baseless. Science also indicates that it is not possible to decarbonize the planet without catastrophic human consequences and that it is not possible to mine the minerals needed for renewables without fossil fuels.
Thus, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that bank policies on energy production are premised purely on the exploitation of circumstances for financial gain, to the exclusion of scientific and historical realities. Perhaps they should cast an eye on how some of their counterparts in the US and Europe are making out.
S&P’s 500 Energy index based on fossil fuels was 43% up last month. Shell stocks are at a record high. Ford in Michigan is laying off 700 workers at its electric truck plant because of falling demand. Bullish sentiment in renewables is souring on the back of their excessive cost and poor energy generation. As the prospects of exploiting the vast fossil fuel reserves off our west coast increase, it can be expected that the banks’ interest in wind and solar will diminish.
But in the meantime, by denying finance to new coal-fired power generation, our big banks are wittingly or unwittingly perpetuating the ongoing electricity shortage. That is so because there is no science in green energy investments, nor is there credibility in carbon being the cause of climate change.