[p2p-research] Fwd: article by Hazel Henderson

Michel Bauwens michelsub2004 at gmail.com
Thu Nov 26 04:51:08 CET 2009

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Uta Jehnich <uta at worldforum.org>
Date: Thu, Nov 26, 2009 at 3:10 AM
Subject: article by Hazel Henderson


By Hazel Henderson

The world's giant pension and institutional funds (university and foundation
endowments) are seeing the light on climate issues.  As governments wrangle
over how to cap carbon and other pollutants, how much it will cost and who
should bear the costs, private investors in North America, Europe, China,
India, Japan and Brazil have been quietly investing in the solution:
shifting to low-carbon, cleaner, renewable energy; smarter, more efficient
infrastructure and transportation.

The Global Climate Prosperity Scoreboard ®, a service of the Climate
Prosperity Alliance (a global network of financiers, businesses, scientists,
economic development authorities, NGOs) and Ethical Markets Media (USA and
Brazil), estimates that since 2007, almost $1 trillion has already been
privately invested in solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, ocean power, more
efficient buildings, batteries, energy storage, smart electrical grids and
urban redesign.

Now, the big pension funds and endowments are joining this climate
prosperity investing.  The Institutional Investor Group on Climate Change
(with $13 trillion), including the European Institutional Investors on
Climate Change, CERES, CalPERS, the Investor Group on Climate
Change/Australia and New Zealand, and the UNEP Finance Initiative announced
in September 2009 that they will lead in shifting their assets toward the
real solution to climate change: growing the green economy worldwide.

Their "triple bottom line" accounting for environmental, social and economic
performance enable trustees of these assets to see the longer-term advantage
of avoiding obsolete fossilized sectors.  Their ethical principles also
steer them away from the old formulas maximizing short-term returns, using
the now-failed ideas of market fundamentalists: "efficient markets" and
Modern Portfolio Theory.  These faulty asset pricing models led to the
excesses on Wall Street: over-leveraging, bets on risky derivatives and
speculation in oil, food and other vital resources.  Such portfolio managers
must now be re-trained or fired if we are to prevent further financial
crises and downsize these bloated sectors.

The climate prosperity strategy is the "win-win" that all countries meeting
in Copenhagen December 7-14, 2009, can agree on.  The wrangling between the
North's industrial countries whose many decades of burning fossil fuels has
caused the climate warming, versus the needs of the newly developing
countries of the South now can be bypassed.  As the private investors have
shown, shifting from the Fossil Fuel Age to the information-rich, green
economies of the Solar Age is the greatest opportunity for all countries and
all humanity.  Stock market newsletters, still below Wall Street's radar,
cover all of the cleaner, greener companies and stocks and see this historic
transition to the global green economy as a $45 trillion new market.
venture capitalist John Doerr says, "we are talking about nothing less than
the re-industrialization of the whole planet."

The Global Climate Prosperity Scoreboard (www.ethicalmarkets.com and
www.climateprosperity.com) will report regularly as new investments continue
to pour in to grow what the UN agencies: UNEP, UNDP and ILO call the "Green
Economy Initiative."  The UN General Assembly in June 2009 and its Expert
Committee on the Financial Crisis, chaired by Joseph Stiglitz, endorsed this
Global Green New Deal as the best approach to overcoming the global
financial crisis and creating millions of new jobs.

The Climate Prosperity Alliance uses the *Climate Solution 2* computer model
prepared by Climate Risk Pty of Australia and Britain (www.climaterisk.net)
which provides the roadmap on investing $1 trillion every year from 2010
until 2020 in energy efficiency (the earliest, biggest payoff), wind, solar,
geothermal, ocean and hydropower.  As economies of scale are reached in each
of these sectors, they will become cheaper than coal and oil and are already
cheaper than nuclear power (all create uncounted social costs and are
heavily subsidized by taxpayers in most countries).

By 2020, this $10 trillion ramp-up of the new sustainability sectors of the
Solar Age can prevent further global temperature from rising beyond
2˚Celsius which scientists say can avert runaway climate chaos.
Paybacks of up to $30 trillion by 2020 make laddered maturity climate bonds
suitable for pension funds.  Such bonds are designed by many experts,
including the global Network for Sustainable Financial Markets Climate Bonds
Initiative in association with the Carbon Disclosure Project and the Climate
Prosperity Alliance.

All the evidence now shows that there is no shortage of money to finance the
global green economy.  The only shortage is time, and we have all the
technology needed for this transition.  Re-deploying just 10%  of pension
and endowment funds away from fossilized sectors, hedge funds, oil and
commodities, derivatives and speculation on interest-rates can add over $10
trillion to the $1 trillion already invested.  Cutting wasteful subsidies to
fossil fuels and nuclear power, as reported by the International Institute
for Sustainable Development, would release additional trillions (
www.globalsubsidies.org).  McKinsey & Company's July 2009 Report on energy
efficiency shows that investments of $520 billion can yield $1.2 trillion by
2020, reducing US energy demand by 23%.

And, if the USA, Britain and other EU countries would stop spending their
taxpayers' money on bailing out zombie banks, Wall Street, insurance
companies and other failed financial speculators and re-direct stimulus
funds to small businesses and local economies, additional trillions can be
saved.  Meanwhile the big Wall Street recipients, rather than lending to
Main Street, are still speculating in derivatives, proprietary trading and
betting taxpayers' funds in the global casino – reaping huge profits and
paying executives even bigger bonuses.

Since politicians in the USA, Britain and Europe are too close and beholden
to their financial sectors, independent private sector investors are now
leading the way.  As new funds continue to pour into building the green
economy, governments may be shamed into following at least with guarantees.
A recent report from DeutscheBanke shows, the leading countries for green
investors are China, India, France, Germany and Brazil, while the USA and
Britain's political inertia make them less attractive.  UNEP-FI's 2009
Report on Catalyzing Low Carbon Growth shows how $1 of public investment can
leverage between $3 and $15 of private investment.

Those governments that do not oppose their financial, fossil fuel and
nuclear lobbies will lose the race for climate prosperity, wasting billions
on futile R&D for "clean" coal carbon sequestration and other un-needed
technologies.  As Dr. David Martin, patent expert, of the innovation firm
M-CAM points out, we have already invented all the technologies for the
transition to the Solar Age.  While on the Advisory Council of the US Office
of Technology Assessment, I learned how many of these technologies were
captured and patented by big fossil fuel and financial companies in order to
keep them off the market, as General Motors did with its early electric car.
Dr. Martin has launched the Global Innovation Commons and inventoried all
the needed technologies that are now freely in the public domain.

I have long held that it is unethical to speculate in oil, food and other
vital commodities, as well as forests and land, merely as "asset classes"
for big monetary returns.  No pension fund, foundation or university
endowment should speculate in such vital resources.  What better way for
such funds to provide for their beneficiaries than to re-deploy their assets
into directly stabilizing our climate and growing the cleaner, greener
global economy for our common human future.  Copenhagen may yet see a
victory for the planet, people an common sense.

* *
*Hazel Henderson, president of Ethical Markets Media (USA and Brazil),
authored The Politics of the Solar Age (1981), Ethical Markets: Growing the
Green Economy (2006) and the Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators,
updated regularly at www.calvert-henderson.com. She serves as one of the
global vice-chairs of the Climate Prosperity Alliance and can be reached at
www.ethicalmarkets.com and

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