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Oil/coal reserves as stranded assets

October 13, 2014

I first heard about this reading Bill McKibben, but now the Bank of England has noticed.
Climate change constraints will prevent us from burning all the oil and coal that energy companies currently list as an asset.

And shares in those companies are probably in your retirement savings or pension fund, assuming you have one. Some of those companies are almost certainly customers of my (large) employer, perhaps yours too. The buggy-whip industry was nowhere near as important to our economy, and had nowhere near the financial reach or political power. There’s very many people whose salaries depend on not understanding the problem of these stranded assets.

Maybe we’ll get lucky and carbon capture will work for power plants, but as near as I can tell we should reserve liquid hydrocarbons for air travel, and do that as soon as we can.

One Response to “Oil/coal reserves as stranded assets”

  1. Zvi Leve Says:

    Given how crucial petroleum products are to so much of our economy, it it ludicrous that we simply ‘burn it’ for energy or propulsion purposes. You might appreciate George Monbiot’s book ‘Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning’ (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2006/sep/30/featuresreviews.guardianreview6). He comes up with creative solutions for radically reducing our carbon footprint across wide sectors of the economy, but the one area where he cannot find any solution is high-speed travel. There is no escaping physics – the faster we go, the more energy is needed.


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