The Daily PlanetWatch for Monday, August 5

Thomas Schueneman

Thinking about the latest environmental news headlines every weekday afternoon from the Daily PlanetWatch
  • How to lose $90 billion: invest in fossil fuels. According to a report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, BlackRock, the world's largest fund manager, lost $90 billion of investor value in the past decade from their fossil fuel investments. The bulk of these losses came from multi-billion investments in large companies including, Exxon, Shell, Chevron, and BP. Large losses also came from investments in General Electric and the collapse of the coal mining company Peabody.  

    The combined assets of Peabody are larger than the Japanese economy, making it "the single largest investor in the global coal industry and one of the top three investors in most big oil companies," writes Jillian Ambrose in The Guardian.

    In the article, Tim Buckley, a director at IEEFA and co-author of the report said: “BlackRock wields an enormous amount of influence and shoulders a huge responsibility to the wider community. It has the power to lead globally to address climate risk, yet, to date, it remains a laggard,” 

    BlackRock claims it is not responsible for the losses, saying that investments are tied to investment indices controlled by third-parties. 

    Nonetheless, the losses highlight the looming financial risk from stranded assets in fossil fuel companies in a world faced with inevitable energy transition.  
  • Climate change. What can one person do? Talk about it with other people. Add climate change to reproductive rights and politics as topics not to discuss in polite company. And that's too bad. According to new research, "climate silence" reinforces the "dangerously wrong belief that climate change isn’t an existential threat requiring urgent action," writes Joe Romm in ThinkProgress.

    Entitled “Discussing global warming leads to greater acceptance of climate science,” the study published last month in the Proceeding of the National Academies of Science. 

    In an email interview environmental sociologist Robert Brulle told Romm that“meaningful discussions and dialogue is how humans learn”.

    “This study clearly shows that non-polarized discussions within a trusted social network can lead to increased understanding and acceptance of climate science,”
    Brulle said. “Engaging in, rather than avoiding, climate change discussions is something that we should all be doing.”

The Daily PlanetWatch is updated every 24 hours Monday through Friday. Here is our latest issue:

How you can support the Daily PlanetWatch