By JAMES FORTIN
Paying for the important things first. As his company sped toward bankruptcy that jeopardized worker pension and health plans, the former chief executive of coal mining company Murray Energy set aside nearly $1 million for groups involved in climate change denial. Not knowing when he just might need a solid climate denialist on the corporate staff, he also paid himself $14 million in salary.
The folks at Inside Climate News may have it figured out. “When it comes to climate change, our problem isn’t just CO2. Our problem is lying. Persistent, deliberate lying to the American public about climate change.” Gee, you mean the fossil fuel companies, their lobbyists, and the government all lie?
Capital discovers wind turbines and oil rigs are a contradiction. The investment bankers at J.P. Morgan have recently determined and reported on a climate crisis investment conundrum to their billionaire clients. It seems that “the more people invest in climate change technologies, the easier their funding, the greater the gains to those holding green assets, and the worse the losses on non-green and brown assets.” Poor chaps. Where is a billionaire to invest these days?
Smelling the roses. In 2015 Bill Gates called the fossil fuel divestment movement a “false solution.” Hedging their bets however, Bill & Melinda Gates have now sold off 85% of the fossil fuel investments held by their $40 billion charitable Fund, joining a divestment group of 1,200 institutions and over 58,000 individuals representing $12 trillion in assets worldwide.
Fossil fuels keep providing more for the money. Just considering U.S. coal-fired power plants and setting aside the negative impact to the warming climate, it is estimated that fine particulate matter from their operations results in 13,200 deaths, 9,700 hospitalizations, and 20,000 heart attacks per year. Burning coal also is responsible for the largest source of airborne mercury emissions, which then move through the food chain, accumulate in the flesh of fish, and pose the greatest risk to pregnant women.
How perverse can it get? The U.S. Army is very concerned with the melting Arctic. Seems their base at Ft. Greely, Alaska, was built on permafrost, and that is now melting at a rapid pace. Worried about methane? Nope. Warming atmosphere? Nope. How about the 30 or so anti-ballistic missile launch pads there sinking into the ground? Might have to bring in the big air conditioners.