By Alan Singer
The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland kicked off last Sunday and will run through November 12. Attendees will include more than 190 government officials and business leaders who are expected to discuss efforts to ensure countries and businesses are climate friendly. change the agreements reached at the Paris climate conference in 2015.
Former Secretary of State John Kerry, now the president’s special envoy for climate change, heads the U.S. delegation, which includes several members of President Biden’s cabinet. Biden, who is also expected to attend, reportedly intends to call on countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius – a still devastating number.
Long Islanders should pay special attention to this conference, as climate change is likely to have a profound effect here, given that it raises sea levels and we live on an island.
Sadly, the Biden administration has so far been unable to push its ambitious climate agenda through the Senate. Climate baddies include Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, and virtually every Republicans in the Senate and House. Manchin’s political career is largely funded by fossil fuel companies and he owns millions of dollars in shares of coal companies. He’s trying to force the Biden administration to remove renewable energy subsidies from the federal budget.
American companies often claim that they are good environmental citizens. According to Alberto Carrillo Pineda of the Science Based Targets initiative, however, “you can go to a company’s website and see their sustainability report and it will look great, but when you look at what’s behind it you’ll see. that there is not a lot of substance behind these commitments, or the commitments are not comprehensive enough. “
A recently released report by the Private Equity Stakeholder Project highlights how short-term profit hunting and market manipulation are making American finance one of the world’s biggest weather baddies. As countries, including the United States, grapple with droughts, wildfires and hurricanes as a result of climate change, the secret private equity sector has invested more than $ 1 trillion over the course of the last decade in fossil fuel companies. Virtually on its own, the industry retains some of the most polluting oil wells, natural gas-leaking towers, and coal-fired power plants that pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Blackstone Group, KKR & Co. and Carlyle / NGP Energy Capital Group are three of the business players highlighted in the Private Equity Stakeholder project report. Blackstone is the world’s largest “alternative” asset manager. While its ClearGen grant commits to promoting “sustainable energy infrastructure,” Blackstone is investing in 25 fossil fuel companies. Among its recent acquisitions is the pipeline company Tallgrass Energy, which is developing an “oil export terminal in Louisiana that would emit more than 500,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year.” Tallgrass is also responsible for releasing thousands of gallons of oilfield sewage contaminating farmland in North Dakota. And Blackstone is known to invest heavily “in polluting factories located near communities of color.”
KKR plans to partner with renewable energy consulting firm Crossover Energy Partners to develop solar and wind power projects. However, it is also partnering with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company to produce and distribute petroleum products, and is expanding its natural gas fracking projects in Wyoming. In total, KKR invests in 28 fossil fuel companies. The Carlyle Group / NGP Energy Capital plans to invest in Amp Solar Group, “a global energy transition platform based in Canada”, but it is also investing in the expansion of oil production in Colombia and Ghana. In total, it owns assets in 68 fossil fuel companies.
While the capitalists pollute the Earth and accelerate global warming, theoretically socialist countries like China are not doing much better and are on the list of climate bad guys. Chinese leader Xi Jinping promises he will start reducing greenhouse gases by 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2060. In the meantime, he is increasing coal production and use. of coal-fired power plants. Factories benefit from tax deductions and receive the green light for bank loans.
The list of climate villains is also to include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Libya, Argentina, Colombia and Brazil, all of the nations expected to attend the Glasgow conference. Saudi Arabia’s national oil company Aramco, the world’s largest oil producer, recently announced plans to increase production by at least one million barrels per day by the 2030s. State-owned oil companies other countries are also planning to increase their production. The United Arab Emirates was the first country in the Persian Gulf to commit to emitting net zero carbon emissions by 2050. At the same time, it is investing more than $ 100 billion in new oil and gas projects.
Dr Alan Singer is Professor of Teaching, Learning and Technology and Director of Social Science Education Programs at Hofstra University. He is a former New York City high school social studies teacher and editor of Social Science Docket, a joint publication of the New York and New Jersey Social Studies Councils. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AlanJSinger1.