“We have to have caution with any excitement about what leaders are saying on stage at this COP because it’s easy to say things.”
— Jason Hickel, economic anthropologist (sic)
There’s still more than a week left of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, better known as COP26.
COP apparently stands for “Conference of the Parties,” which makes it sound more like a college spring break event than a meeting of world leaders. Or maybe a soviet confab.
The 26 is only there as a reminder. These folks have streamlined around the globe 25 times previously to gather, drink champagne and talk about “saving the planet.” As we noted yesterday, nice gig while it lasts, eh?
There’s good money in a climate crisis.
John Englander would point out that polar ice is still melting, despite the Kyoto Protocols, Paris Accords and whatever other agreements have come out of COP.
Jim Rickards will tell you that all the efforts to fight climate change have done nothing more than put more burdens on the United States, sapping even more strength out of its industrial base.
COP26 will be no different. We’ll get a lot of non-binding promises, maybe even a global cap and trade system… which will just force companies to pay money for the privilege of polluting.
There will also be massive transfers of wealth, like the huge pool of money that the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) claims it has at its disposal.
A reader was skeptical about the $130 trillion figure we reported yesterday. “Who made these ridiculous promises?” he asks. “That is about 1.5 times global GDP and I don’t know of any country that is so swimming in wealth they can fling this sort of money around. Or are these promises to pay, say, in 25 years, kind of like Social Security?”
The money has been pledged — but not allocated — by “more than 450 banks, insurers and asset managers,” according to the Financial Times. Moreover, the $130 trillion figure includes the assets some of the signatories have on their books.
(If we had an audio track to go with this email, you’d now hear a shrill whisper: s-i-n-k h-o-l-e.)
It’s not liquid cash that can be deployed on a whim. Assuming the companies involved stick to their promises, they’ll have to start unloading some of their holdings. Easy to do when markets are soaring… less so if a recession hits.
When you’re flush, climate change seems like a good place to create a new market in, say, carbon credits.
Looking under the hood a little… saving the planet is beside the point. The new policies give the political class more political and legal control. And as we’ve been lamenting, more money to incentivize… and to skim off.
In a semi-delirium this morning, we envisioned Mark Carney, whom we wrote about yesterday, as a classic Bond villain. (C’mon, you’ve already thought about it, too.)
Alas, as Mark Moss, my Wiggin Session guest this week puts it, the empty promises from everyone else lets them pretend “to be virtuous, and good… without really doing anything.”
Mr. Moss goes on to point out that if the folks gathered in Glasgow really wanted to eliminate carbon emissions, there would be only one thing on the agenda — nuclear power.
Nuclear is “a perfect solution to give them what they say they want,” Mark says, “which is clean energy. Yet, they don’t want to accept it.”
That position has already proved costly. Germany, for instance, is “shutting down all of their nuclear reactors.” What’s been replacing them? It was supposed to be natural gas. The planners didn’t count on the covert war between Russia and the Ukraine, whose sovereign territory the natural gas pipeline must pass through before getting to the multitude of German wohnzimmer. So the country has seen its “energy prices go up like crazy.”
Next door, in France, the ouvriers have kept their reactors operational. Naturally, “their energy prices have remained stable and cheap.” Mr. Moss adds, “as a matter of fact, they’re over-supplying energy” — which is helping the United Kingdom through its own energy crisis.
Mark expects France’s proven and practical way of producing electricity will eventually win the day. That’s why he’s betting big on uranium — much as we suggested after talking with Uranium Insider’s Justin Kuhn in early July.
So far, the plan is working. “We’ve been doing really, really well in uranium,” Mark reports.
“I’m making more money,” he says, “and that money helps me offset those higher expenses” he expects COP26 to create.
You’ll get to hear my full conversation with Mark tomorrow. And don’t forget to claim your spot at his Market Disruptors Live 2021 event — even if you only plan on attending online.
Founder, The Financial Reserve