Climate change and toxic assets

Climate change and toxic assets

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By Fander Falconí *

Let us remember that, prior to the great crisis of central capitalism in 2008, the banks created the so-called financial bubbles, when they granted large loans to people with little probability of repayment. North American banks, to expand the market, created subprime mortgages, known as “subprime” options, with the backing of the Community Reinvestment Act, which is a law that forced banks to lend to people who did not have a good record credit. Risk was systematically circumvented, expanding demand for real estate and increasing home prices. This was the cause for the housing bubble, both in the United States and in Europe, to explode.

Now, other toxic assets appear. These originate from the enormous investments of the oil companies related to the increasing costs because the maximum rate of global oil extraction would have already been reached and therefore we would be in a decline of the hydrocarbon deposits.

To this oil peak (or zenith) is added another factor: the impossibility of extracting all the oil reserves in the future due to the serious environmental impacts that the burning of fossil fuels would cause.

Already in the last three decades, alerts have been lit about what is happening in the world, due to the obvious manifestations of natural phenomena as expressions of climate change. Scientific research on environmental transformations and their causes, gained importance because these are the ideal means to understand the evolution process of the behavior of the planet, and determine the degree of interference and responsibility that human societies have with respect to the issue. that we treat.

The information that we now have is decisive and allows us to start from a finding based on reality and not on mere speculation.

For the first time in human history, the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) - one of the main gases that cause the greenhouse effect? in the atmosphere, it has already exceeded the 400 parts per million frontier forever or for many years. This was announced on May 9, 2013, from Mauna Loa, Hawaii, the oldest CO2 measurement station, since it began operating in 1958. When the study of the phenomenon began, around 1900, the concentration was 300 parts per million (ppm). According to measurement records, it now increases 2 ppm every year. The data we have and the criteria of the scientists, have already warned about the unpredictable climatic consequences that it would have on our planet, if a quantity of CO2 exceeds 450 ppm were produced. [2]

Based on information from the International Energy Agency, Evans-Pritchard says that global investments in fossil energy supply have doubled, in real terms, in the period 2000-2008, to reach 900 billion dollars (a trillion equals one billion). In 2013, investments reached 950 billion dollars. Heavy investments are in the exploration and extraction phases of oil and gas.

The Economist magazine published an article in 2013, echoing the research carried out by the Carbon Tracker organization and the Grantham Institute of the London School of Economics, in which it ensures that the amount of carbon dioxide that can be put into the atmosphere (if we do not exceed two degrees of increase in the temperature of the planet in relation to pre-industrial levels) it is nine times less than what it would produce when the coal, gas and oil reserves already declared by private or state companies were burned. The implication of this research is that oil companies carry toxic accounting assets in themselves, and therefore financial balances are questioned.

As such, we are faced with several future problems: an oil peak that requires high investments due to the increasing costs of extraction, but at the same time the impossibility of removing all the reserves, unless we collapse as humanity. The stakes at stake are enormous. If there is a cap on microparticles in the atmosphere, in order not to pass the fatal threshold of 2 degrees Celsius, the fossil energy industry could lose no less than 28 trillion (trillion) dollars of gross profit in the next few two decades, according to the article in The Telegraph.

"Only the dose makes the poison," said Paracelsus. It would seem that we accumulate a civilizing toxic dose, whose pernicious results could be observed in the medium and long term.


Video: How We Can Keep Plastics Out of Our Ocean. National Geographic (June 2022).