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Thinking about moving your money out of a big bank and into a local credit union? Get the low down on their differences in this two minute video.
Divest from Fossil Fuels
What is fossil fuel divestment?
Divestment is the opposite of investment – it is the removal of your investment capital from stocks, bonds or funds. The global movement for fossil fuel divestment (sometimes also called disinvestment) is asking institutions to move their money out of oil, coal and gas companies for both moral and financial reasons. These institutions include universities, religious institutions, pension funds, local authorities and charitable foundations. It is the fastest-growing divestment campaign in history and could cause significant damage to coal, gas and oil companies, according to a study by Oxford University. Previous divestment campaigns have targeted the tobacco and gambling industries and companies funding the violence in Darfur. Divestment is perhaps most well known for its role in the fight against apartheid in South Africa.
What is the case for divestment?
Almost all of the arguments in favor of fossil fuel divestment fit into two categories: moral and financial. First, the moral argument, which is rooted in basic math. Scientific research shows that in order to keep to international targets to limit global warming to a 2C rise and thus prevent catastrophic levels of climate change, between two-thirds and four-fifths of fossil fuels need to remain in the ground. But fossil fuel companies are currently banking on these targets not being met so are extracting these reserves and selling them – and are actively prospecting for more. In doing so they are setting the human race on a route to irreversible climate change that will cause rising seas, flooding, droughts, rising disease, increased conflicts and refugee crises. What is fossil fuel divestment and why does it matter? The UN has lent its “moral authority” to the divestment campaign, while Desmond Tutu has said that “people of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change”. Second is the financial argument, which rests on the premise that if international agreements on climate change are met, the investments will become worthless. The theory that these “stranded assets” are creating a trillion dollar “carbon bubble” that could plunge the world into another economic crisis is now the subject of an investigation by the Bank of England, after Governor Mark Carney said publicly that “the vast majority of reserves are unburnable.” The World Bank has come out in support of the financial argument for divestment, with president Jim Yong Kim stating that: “every company, investor and bank that screens new and existing investments for climate risk is simply being pragmatic”. Although the impact of divestment on share prices may be relatively small, the reputational damage can have serious financial consequences. Further reading: 10 myths about fossil fuel divestment put to the sword Alan Rusbridger: the argument for divesting from fossil fuels is becoming overwhelming Leave fossil fuels buried in the ground to prevent climate change, study urges
What is the carbon budget?
The carbon budget is the amount of greenhouse gas that can still be released into the atmosphere without exceeding dangerous levels of climate change – the 2C target agreed by governments. In 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) put a figure on the carbon budget for the first time, announcing that the world burns through about 50bn tonnes of greenhouse gases every year. It is also very likely that more than 20% of emitted CO2 will remain in the atmosphere longer than 1,000 years after manmade emissions have stopped. This means that if we continue to emit at current levels, we will “spend” the carbon budget within 15 to 25 years. Given that we have already used two-thirds of the budget, the IPCC have urged governments to act quickly, using the carbon budget as the basis for international negotiations.
What is the carbon bubble?
The “carbon bubble” is a term that has been used by regulators, financial companies and campaigners to describe the over-valuation of stocks in coal, gas and oil reserves owned by fossil fuel companies around the world. If governments pursue international targets on carbon emissions in order to curb climate change, then between two-thirds and four-fifths of these reserves cannot be used, rendering them worthless. As fossil fuel companies are among the richest in the world these “stranded assets” have the potential to trigger a new global economic crisis if investors pull out in quick succession. The carbon bubble could be inflating stocks worth trillions of dollars, according to a study published in 2013 by thinktank Carbon Tracker and economist Lord Nicholas Stern. He authored an eponymous 2006 report commissioned by Gordon Brown, then UK chancellor of the exchequer, into the economic consequences of climate change. Shell has refuted the concept, predicting in a letter to its shareholders that fossil fuels would account for between 40% and 50% of the energy supply in 2050 and beyond. The Bank of England is currently conducting an investigation into the potential of a “carbon bubble” to damage the economy.
Who has divested?
More than 220 institutions around the world have now committed to some form of fossil fuel divestment, including pension funds, foundations, universities, faith organisations and local authorities. A coalition of philanthropic foundations, including the heirs to the Rockefeller oil fortune, started to pull out their investments last year, while cities divesting include San Francisco, Seattle and Oslo. The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), recently revealed it had dropped 114 companies, including tar sands producers, on climate grounds. The Church of England has divested from the most heavily polluting fossil fuels, while the World Council of Churches, which represents half a billion Christians worldwide, has ruled out all fossil fuel investments. In October 2014, Glasgow University became the first in Europe to make the commitment. In the US, Syracuse University is the largest to divest from coal, oil and gas while Stanford University is removing its assets from coal companies. On 23 June, the Lutheran World Federation of churches said it would divest from fossil fuel companies, which would affect current and future investments, though it did not yet know the value of funds that would be divested. Further reading: The rise and rise of the fossil fuel divestment movement
Is there a difference between divesting from coal, oil and gas?
Opinion is divided between campaigners and institutions on what level and type of divestment is necessary. According to Liberal Democrat peer Lord Dick Taverne, the Keep it in the Ground campaign “ignores the need to discriminate between [fossil fuels]. The greatest threat of a dangerous rise in global temperatures comes from the world’s reliance on burning coal … In the short or medium term, the most effective substitute for coal is gas. The US has recently reduced its carbon emissions more than any other major country, because it has switched from coal to gas.” Several institutions have taken a similar line in their divestment decisions. Stanford university in the US and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine are two that have divested from coal alone, while the Church of England has specified thermal coal and tar sands oil, on the basis that these fuels are the most polluting in terms of carbon emissions. It is important that institutions divest from coal, oil and gas: “none of [these fuels] are compatible with a liveable future. Coal is an easy target. Most coal industry stocks are so low that if you’re still holding on to them at this point, you’re either stupid or just spiteful. Divesting is just good common sense. That said, the commitments still make a huge impact, since they hasten the industry’s decline and help push governments to take action. “Coal does the most to pollute our climate, but it’s the oil industry that does the most to corrupt our politics. They’re the major power players we need to stigmatize in order to make the space for progress,” he says. Some, such as author and activist Naomi Klein, have called for the plummeting oil and coal price to be used as an opportunity to tackle climate change and “kick oil while the price is down.” Content Source: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/23/a-beginners-guide-to-fossil-fuel-divestment
Steps to Divest and Reinvest
Contact: CEOs and Executives
- Wells Fargo* CEO John Stumpf John.G.Stumpf@wellsfargo.com BoardCommunications@wellsfargo.com 866-249- 3302 Corporate Office: Wells Fargo 420 Montgomery Street San Francisco, CA 94104
- BNP Paribas* CEO Jean-Laurent Bonnafe email@example.com Corporate Office: 3 rue d’Antin 75002 Paris, France 00-33-157-082-200 U.S. Office: 787 Seventh Avenue – The Equitable Tower New York, NY 10019 212-841-3000
- SunTrust* CEO William H. Rodgers Jr. Corporate Office: 303 Peachtree Street NE Atlanta, GA 30308 800-786-8787 Chief Communications Officer: Sue Mallino 404-813-0463 firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ* Chairman Nobuyuki Hirano CEO and President Takashi Oyamada Corporate Office: 2-7-1, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo, Japan 81-3-3240-8111 U.S. Office: 1251 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020-1104 212-782-4000
- Mizuho Bank* President and CEO Nobuhide Hayashi Corporate Office: Otemachi Tower 1-5-5, Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8176, Japan 81-3-3214-1111 U.S. Office: 1251 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020 212-282-3000
- Citibank (CitiGroup)* CEO Michael Corbat email@example.com 212-793-1201 Corporate Office: 388 Greenwich Street New York, NY 10013 Phone: 800-285-3000 and 212-793-0710
- TD Securities* Chairman, CEO, and President Bob Dorrance Corporate Office: P.O. Box 1, TD Bank Tower 66 Wellington Street W Toronto, Ontario M5K 1A2 Investment Banking: 416-307-8500 Equity Research: 416-307-9360 Trading Floor Enquiries: 416-944-6978 U.S. Office: 31 West 52nd Street New York, NY 10019-6101 212-827-7000
- Credit Agricole* CEO Jean-Paul Chifflet Office: 12, Place des Etats-Unis Montrouge, France 92545 33-1-43-23-52-02 U.S. Office: 1301 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Intesa SanPaolo* CEO Carlo Messina Corporate Office: Piazza San Carlo, 156 10121 Torino, Italy 39-011-555-1 Corporate Social Responsibility Unit: 39-02-8796-3435 CSR@intesasanpaolo.com email@example.com
- ING Bank* CEO and Executive Board Chairman Ralph A.J.G Hamer Wholesale Banking, Operations & IT, Sustainability, Corporate Governance: Carolien van der Giessen firstname.lastname@example.org 31-20-576-63-86 Head of Media Relations: Raymond Vermuelen email@example.com 31-20-576-63-69 Corporate Office: Amsterdamse Poort Bijlmerplein 888 1102 MG Amsterdam The Netherlands 31-20-5639111 Mailing Address: ING Bank N.V. P.O. Box 1800 1000 BV Amsterdam The Netherlands U.S. Office: ING Financial Holdings LLC 1325 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10019 646-424-6000
- Natixis* CEO Pierre Servant Corporate Office: Natixis Global Asset Management, S.A. 21 quai d’Austerlitz 75634 Paris Cedex 13, France 33-1-78-40-90-00 U.S. Office: Natixis Global Asset Management, L.P. 399 Boylston Street Boston, MA 617-449-2100
- BayernLB* CEO Johannes-Jorg Riegler Head of Communications: Matthias Priwitzer Matthias.Priwitzer@bayernlb.de 49-89-2171-21255 Corporate Office: Brienner Straße 18 80333 Munich 49-89-2171-27176 U.S. Office: 560 Lexington Avenue New York City, NY 10022 212-310-9800
- BBVA Securities* CEO Carlos Torres Villa Executive Chairman Francisco Gonzalez Rodriguez Corporate Office: Calle Azul, 4 28050 Madrid, Spain 34-902-22-44-66
- DNB First Bank* CEO and President William J. Hieb 610-269-1040 Main Branch: 4 Brandywine Avenue Downingtown, PA 19335 484-691-3621 ICBC London* CEO and Managing Director Jin Chen Corporate Office: 20 Gresham Street London EC2V 7JE, United Kingdom 44-203-145-5000 U.S. Office: 520 Madison Avenue 28th Floor New York, NY 10022 212-407-5000
- SMBC Nikko Securities* President and CEO Yoshihiko Shimizu Corporate Office: 3-1, Marunouchi 3-chome, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 100-8325, Japan 81-3-5644-3111 Societe General CEO Frederic Oudea https://www.linkedin.com/in/fredericoudea Chiarman of the Board Lorenzo Bini Smaghi firstname.lastname@example.org Corporate Office: 29 boulevard Haussmann 75009 Paris, France 2.0@societegenerale 33-1-42-14-20-00 U.S. Office: 245 Park Avenue New York City, NY 10167 212-278-6000 The following banks are involved in funding for the entire Bakken pipeline:
- Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Ross McEwan email@example.com Director of Media Relations: Chris Turner 44-20-7672-4515 Corporate Office: Gogarburn 175 Glasgow Road Edinburgh, United Kingdom 44-131-626-3263 U.S. Office: 600 Washington Boulevard Stamford, CT 06901 203-897-2700
- ABN Amro Capital Chairman of the Board Gerrit Zalm Corporate Office: ABN AMRO Bank N.V. Gustav Mahlerlaan 10 1082 PP Amsterdam The Netherlands 31-10-241-17-2 U.S. Office: 100 Park Avenue, 17th floor New York, NY 10017 917-284-6800
- Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) CEO and President Brian J. Porter Corporate Office: Scotia Plaza 44 King Street W Toronto, Ontario Canada M5H 1H1 416-866-6161 firstname.lastname@example.org U.S. Office: 250 Vesey Street, 23rd and 24th floors New York, NY 10281 212-225-5000 Scotia Howard Weil (“Energy Investment Boutique”): Energy Centre 1100 Poydras Street Suite 3500 New Orleans, LA 70163 504-582-2500 and 800-322-3005 email@example.com
- Citizens Bank Chairman and CEO Bruce Van Saun Head of Media Relations: Peter Lucht Peter.Lucht@citizensbank.com 781-655-2289 Consumer Lending, Business Banking, Wealth Management, Corporate: Lauren DiGeronimo Lauren.Digeronimo@citizensbank.com 781-471-1454 Corporate Office: 1 Citizens Plaza Providence, RI 02903 401-456-7000
- Comerica Bank Chairman and CEO Ralph W. Babb Jr. Investor Relations: 214-462-6831 Corporate Contacts: Wendy Bridges firstname.lastname@example.org 214-462-4443 Wayne Mielke email@example.com 214-462-4463 Corporate Office: Comerica Bank Tower 1717 Main Street Dallas, TX 75201 800-521-1190 U.S. Bank Chairman and CEO Richard K. Davis firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Dana Ripley email@example.com 612-303-3167 Brand, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sponsorships: Susan Beatty firstname.lastname@example.org 612-303-9229 Corporate Office: U.S. Bancorp Center 800 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55402 800-685-5065 and 651-466-3000
- PNC Bank Chairman, President, and CEO William S. Demchak Media Relations: Fred Solomon email@example.com 412-762-4550 Investor Relations: Bryan K. Gill firstname.lastname@example.org 412-768-4143 Corporate Office: 300 Fifth Avenue The Tower at PNC Plaza Pittsburgh, PA 15222 412-762-2000
- Barclays Chairman John McFarlane email@example.com CEO Jes Staley Corporate Office: Barclays Bank PLC 1 Churchill Place London E14 5HP, United Kingdom 44-20-7116-1000 U.S. Office: Barclays 745 7th Avenue New York, NY 10019 212-526-7000 Press Office: 212-526-7000 CorporateCommunicationsAmericas@barclays.com
- JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon firstname.lastname@example.org 212-270-1111 Corporate Contacts: Andrew Gray email@example.com Jennifer Lavoie firstname.lastname@example.org Brian Marchiony email@example.com Corporate Office: 270 Park Avenue New York, NY 10017-2014
- Bank of America President, CEO, and Chairman Brian Moynihan firstname.lastname@example.org Executive Relations, Office of the CEO: Matthew Task 813-805-4873 Corporate Office: 100 N Tryon Street Charlotte, NC 28255
- Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan Corporate Contact: Renee Calabro email@example.com 212-250-5525 Corporate Address: Deutsche Bank AG Taunusanlage 12 60325 Frankfurt Am Main (for letters and postcards: 60262) Germany 49-69-910-00 U.S. Office: Deutsche Bank AG 60 Wall Street New York, NY 10005 212-250-7171
- Compass Bank Chairman and CEO Manolo Sanchez Director of External Communications: Christina Anderson firstname.lastname@example.org Communications: Al Ortiz email@example.com 281-433-5640 Corporate Office: 15 S 20th Street Birmingham, AL 35233 205-297-1986
- Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam Board Chairman Urs Rohner Suisse Banking Ombudsman: Bahnhofplatz 9 P.O. Box 1818 CH 8021 Zurich, Switzerland 41-43-266-14-14 Corporate Office: Uetlibergstrasse 231 P.O. Box 700 CH 8070 Zurich, Switzerland 41-44-333-11-11 U.S. Office: 650 California Street San Francisco, CA 94108 Phone: 415-249-2100
- DNB Capital/ASA CEO Rune Bjerke https://www.linkedin.com/in/rune-bjerke-0471463 Chairwoman of the Board Anne Carine Tanum 47-915-04800 Executive Vice President Communications Even Westerveld 47-400-16-744 Corporate Address: Dronning Eufemias Gate 30 0191 Oslo, Norway
- Sumitomo Mitsui Bank President and CEO Takeshi Kunibe Corporate Office: 1-1-2, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo, Japan 81-3-3282-8111 U.S. Office: 277 Park Avenue New York, NY 10172 212-224-4000
- Royal Bank of Canada CEO David I. McKay CEO and Board Communications: Paul French firstname.lastname@example.org 416-974-3718 Corporate Media Relations: Catherine Hudon email@example.com 416-974-5506 Corporate Address: 200 Bay Street P.O. Box 1 Royal Bank Plaza Toronto, Canada 416-974-5151 and 416-842-2000
- UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti https://www.linkedin.com/in/sergiopermotti Head Group External Communications: Mark Hengel firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 41-44-234-32-21 Chief Communication Officer-Americas: Marsha Askins email@example.com 212-713-6151 office and 917-226-4743 cell Corporate Office: Bahnhofstrasse 45, CH-8098 8001 Zurich, Switzerland 41-44-234-11-11 U.S. Office: 1285 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10019 212-713-2000
- Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein firstname.lastname@example.org 917-743-0939 and 212-902-0593 Media Contacts Americas: 212-902-5400 Corporate Address: Goldman, Sachs & Co. 200 West Street New York, NY 10282 212-902-1000
- Morgan Stanley CEO James P. Gorman email@example.com 212-761-4000 Corporate Office: Morgan Stanley 1585 Broadway New York, NY 10036 212-761-4000
- Community Trust Bank Chairman, President, and CEO Jean R. Hale Senior Vice President, Investments: . Christopher Meng firstname.lastname@example.org 859-389-5300 Corporate Office: 346 N Mayo Trail Pikeville, KY 41501 606-432-1414
- HSBC Bank Chairman Douglas Flint Group Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver email@example.com Corporate Address: 8 Canada Square London E14 5HQ, United Kingdom 44-20-7991-8888 U.S. Office: HSBC Headquarters 425 5th Avenue New York, NY 10018 212-525-5600 Head of Media Relations, HSBC USA: Rob Sherman 212-525-6901 The information compiled here is from the latest information reported by the banks. This article was written for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas and practical actions.
Licensed under a Creative Commons http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/10/28/how-contact-17-banks-funding-dakota-access-pipeline
Change Your Bank - Information and Steps
- Spending Money. Take out enough cash that you can live on for a few days, plus $50 to $100 dollars that you’ll need to open a new account.
- Minimum Balance. Pay attention to any fees you might get charged for dropping below a certain minimum balance, and stay above that minimum.
- Use Cash. Stop writing checks, don’t use your debit card, and cancel any automatic payments that get withdrawn from your account.
- Keep an Eye on Your Account. Track your account to make sure all payments have cleared (this should only take about three days).
For the time being, leave your direct deposit, Paypal account, and other online payment systems tied to your bank account.
2. Find a New Bank or Credit Union
To make the process of moving your money go smoothly, do this before closing your existing account. In other words, don’t get upset about the poor customer service at your current Big Bank, pull your money in a fit of anger, and then wonder what you’re going to do with the wad of cash in your hand. (Because, you know, the big bank didn’t even give you an envelope when you made your withdrawal). Do your homework and select a bank that has the features that are most important to you. Moving to a smaller bank may require some sacrifices, like the lack of a branch on every corner, an ATM in every city, or 10 different rewards credit cards to choose from. But you’ll also discover that online banks and credit unions have many benefits including:
- Lower fees
- Higher interest rates (for savings)
- Lower loan rates
- Convenient, no fee ATM network that provides service in as many locations as a big bank
Rest assured that every bank, regardless of size, is FDIC insured. Credit unions have the same backing, up to the same amounts, through the NCUA (National Credit Union Association).
3. Find Out What the New Bank Requires
Once you find a new bank or credit union, make sure you look into their account requirements and deposit preferences. Two of the most important things you need to know are:
- How to Make Deposits. This is especially applicable with online banks, which may permit you to transfer money through Paypal, a check, a wire transfer, or directly from your existing bank account.
- Minimum Balances and Monthly Fees. These are things you’ll want to be aware of from the get go. You don’t want to be hit with any surprise fees after doing all of this work!
4. Open Your New Account
Now that you know the types of deposits preferred by your new institution, you can begin the process of opening your account. Either transfer the funds or make a cash deposit, leaving just enough in your old account to keep it open until the new one is set up.
5. Set Up Automatic Payments and Direct Deposit
Getting this taken care of will be a huge monkey off your back. Make sure you dot all your i’s and cross your t’s with this part of the process.
- Direct Deposit. Your employer should have an easy form you can fill out to change your direct deposit information. This usually can be done by the next pay cycle, but make sure to ask how long it will take to process.
- Automatic Payments. Things can get a little tricky here. Make a list of all of your payments that are automatically debited from your account. Then figure out which ones were set up through the company you’re paying, and which were set up through the Bill Pay system at your old bank. Be sure to set up the proper online payments through your new bank, and change the account information for payments automatically debited by companies.
- Paypal. Last, but not least, switch your banking information in any online payment systems you have set up.
6. Close Your Old Account
Now, it’s time to take one last look and make sure everything in your old bank account has cleared. If you have no outstanding payments or credits, make a trip to the bank and close your account. Call the bank ahead of time to find out what forms of ID you should bring. Keep in mind that there may be a fee to close your account – which is just one more reason you’re leaving your bank!
7. Be Wary of Enticing Offers
Your old bank will probably make a last ditch effort to convince you to stay. Stick to your guns! After all, your accounts are already transferred and your automatic bill pay is set up. Nothing your bank offers you can be better than the great deal you’ve shopped around to find!
Credit Score Concerns
You might be concerned that closing a bank account might end up hurting your credit score. Don’t be! It’s not like a credit card. The only way your credit score will take a hit from all this money-moving activity is if you apply for overdraft checking. More information links can be found here: http://www.moneycrashers.com/how-to-switch-banks-accounts-change/
1. Divestment from fossil fuels will result in the end of modern civilisation
It is true that most of today’s energy, and many useful things such as plastics and fertilisers, come from fossil fuels. But the divestment campaign is not arguing for an end of all fossil fuel use starting tomorrow, with everyone heading back to caves to light a campfire. Instead it is arguing that the burning of fossil fuels at increasing rates is driving global warming, which is the actual threat to modern civilisation. Despite already having at least three times more proven reserves than the world’s governments agree can be safely burned, fossil fuel companies are spending huge sums exploring for more. Looked at in that way, pulling investments from companies committed to throwing more fuel on the climate change fire makes sense.
2. We all use fossil fuels everyday, so divestment is hypocritical
Again, no-one is arguing for an overnight end of all fossil fuel use. Instead, the 350.org group which is leading the divestment campaign calls for investors to commit to selling off their coal, oil and gas investments over five years. Fossil fuel burning will continue after that too, but the point is to reverse today’s upward trend of ever more carbon emissions into a downward trend of ever less carbon emissions. Furthermore, some of those backing a “divest-invest” strategy move money into the clean energy and energy efficiency sectors which have already begun driving the transition to a low-carbon world.
3. Divestment is not meaningful action – it’s just gesture politics
The dumping of a few fossil few stocks makes no immediate difference at all to the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere. But this entirely misses the point of divestment, which aims to remove the legitimacy of a fossil fuel industry whose current business model will lead to “severe, widespread and irreversible” impacts on people. Divestment works by stigmatising, as pointed out in a report from Oxford University: “The outcome of the stigmatisation process poses the most far-reaching threat to fossil fuel companies. Any direct impacts pale in comparison.” The “gesture politics” criticism also ignores the political power of the fossil fuel industry, which spent over $400m (£265m) on lobbying and political donations in 2012 in the US alone. Undercutting that lobbying makes it easier for politicians to take action and the Oxford study showed that previous divestment campaigns – against apartheid South Africa, tobacco and Darfur – were all followed by restrictive new laws. Those comparisons also highlight the moral dimension at the heart of the divestment campaign. Another dimension is warning investors that their fossil fuel assets may lose their value, if climate change is tackled. Lastly, backing divestment does not mean giving up putting direct pressure on politicians to act or any other climate change campaign.
4. Divestment is pointless – it can’t bankrupt the coal, oil and gas companies
More organisations are divesting all the time, from Oslo city council to Stanford University to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, but the sums are indeed relatively small when compared to the huge value of the fossil fuel companies. But the aim of divestment is not to bankrupt fossil fuel companies financially but to bankrupt them morally. This undermines their influence and helps create the political space for strong carbon-cutting policies – and that could have financial consequences. Investors are already starting to question the future value of the fossil fuel companies’ assets and, for example, it is notable that no major bank is willing to fund the massive Galilee basin coal project in Australia. This myth can also be turned on its head by considering the risk of fossil fuel companies bankrupting their investors. Many authoritative voices, such as the heads of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, and the Bank of England, Mark Carney, have warned that many fossil fuel reserves could be left worthless by action on climate change. If the retreat from fossil fuels does not happen in a gradual and planned way investors could lose trillions of dollars as the “carbon bubble” bursts.
5. Divestment means stocks will be picked up cheaply by investors who don’t care about climate change at all
To sell a stock you have to have a buyer. But the amounts being divested are too small to flood the market and cut share prices, so they won’t be going cheap. Also, the buyers of the stock are taking on the risk that the fossil fuel stocks may tank in the future, if the world’s nations fulfil their pledge to keep global warming below 2C by sharply cutting carbon emissions. If these stocks are risky, then the public and value-based institutions primarily targeted by the divestment movement should not be holding them. The argument that owning a stock gives you influence over a company leads us neatly into the next divestment myth.
6. Shareholder engagement with fossil fuel companies is the best way to drive change
This argument would have merit if there was much evidence to support it. When, for example, the Guardian asked the Wellcome Trust to give instances where engagement had produced change, it could not. And as campaigner Bill McKibben has pointed out, engagement is unlikely to persuade a company to commit to eventually putting itself out of business. In fact some market regulators, such as in the US, do not allow this kind of engagement. The leading environmentalist Jonathon Porritt spent years engaging with fossil fuel companies only to conclude recently that such efforts were futile. Nonetheless, serious engagement could drive some change and 2015 has seen both BP and Shell having to support such shareholder resolutions. But such resolutions need specific changes and deadlines to be effective. Whatever your view, remember this is not an either/or situation. Many campaigners view divestment as the stick and engagement as the carrot, with both aiming for the same ultimate goal.
7. Divestment means investors will lose money
Many of those who have divested so far are philanthropic organisations, universities and faith groups who use their endowments to fund their good works. Selling out of fossil fuels would cut their income, say critics, as those companies have been very profitable investments over the last few decades. The first response to this is money does not trump morality for many of these groups. But the second is that when it comes to investments, the past is no guide to the future. Coal stocks have plummeted in value in recent years, as has the oil price in recent months, meaning recently divested funds have actually avoided losses. Furthermore, a series of analyses have suggested divestment need not dent profits. Of course, oil prices might rebound, possibly even coal prices. But such volatility is unwelcome for investors looking for steady incomes. And for long-term investors, major financial institutions including HSBC, Citi, Goldman Sachs and Standard and Poor’s have all warned of the risks posed by fossil fuel investments, particularly coal. Perhaps the best response to this myth is that the proof of the pudding is in the eating: over 180 organisations have already asked themselves if divestment would help or hinder their missions and then gone ahead and done it. The most notable is the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, founded on a famous oil fortune. Valerie Rockefeller Wayne noted that funding companies that cause the problems being tackled by their programmes is pretty dumb: “We had investments that were undermining our grants.”
8. Fossil fuels are essential to ending world poverty
Fossil fuel supporters often argue that coal, oil and gas made the modern world and is vital to improving the lives of the world’s poorest citizens. It is an emotive argument. But the most recent report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, written and reviewed by thousands of the world’s foremost experts and approved by 195 of the world’s nations, concluded the exact opposite. Climate change, driven by unchecked fossil fuel burning, “is a threat to sustainable development,” the IPCC concluded. It warned that global warming is set to inflict severe and irreversible impacts on people and that “limiting its effects is necessary to achieve sustainable development and equity, including poverty eradication”. The IPCC went even further, stating that climate change impacts are projected “to prolong existing and create new poverty traps”. That could not really be clearer. The challenge is to ensure poverty is ended by the large-scale deployment of clean technology, and shifting money out of fossil fuels by divesting could help that. Content Source
Banks Financing Climate Chaos
The Carbon Underground 200
The Carbon Underground 200TM
The Carbon Underground 200TM identifies the 100 largest public coal and 100 largest public oil and gas reserve owners based on the potential CO2 emissions of their reported reserves.
From Climate Risk to Portfolio Risk
The 17 banks financing the DAPL project have not yet disbursed all the loan funds they’ve committed. These banks now face a clear opportunity to reconsider further funding a project steeped in controversy and demonstrating material loss.
Public pressure is forcing DAPL’s lenders to confront the reality that they are backing companies who are openly defying the rule of law, undermining the regulatory process and authority of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and setting a dangerous precedent. Now these lenders must take a stand.
It is time for these banks to cut their losses and for us to turn up the heat.
Sign this petition to support the sovereignty and rights of Indigenous peoples and hold DAPL banks accountable.