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The True Feasibility Of Moving Away From Fossil Fuels

The True Feasibility Of Moving Away From Fossil Fuels Authored by Gail Tverberg via Our Finite World blog, One of the great misconceptions of our time is the belief that we can move away from fossil fuels if we make suitable choices on fuels. In one view, we can make the transition to a low-energy economy powered by wind, water, and solar. In other versions, we might include some other energy sources, such as biofuels or nuclear, but the story is not very different. The problem is the same regardless of what lower bound a person chooses: our economy is way too dependent on consuming an amount of energy that grows with each added human participant in the economy. This added energy is necessary because each person needs food, transportation, housing, and clothing, all of which are dependent upon energy consumption. The economy operates under the laws of physics, and history shows disturbing outcomes if energy consumption per capita declines. There are a number of issues: The impact of alternative energy sources is smaller than commonly believed. When countries have reduced their energy consumption per capita by significant amounts, the results have been very unsatisfactory. Energy consumption plays a bigger role in our lives than most of us imagine. It seems likely that fossil fuels will leave us before we can leave them. The timing of when fossil fuels will leave us seems to depend on when central banks lose their ability to stimulate the economy through lower interest rates. If fossil fuels leave us, the result could be the collapse of financial systems and governments. [1] Wind, water and solar provide only a small share of energy consumption today; any transition to the use of renewables alone would have huge repercussions. According to BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy data, wind, water and solar only accounted for 9.4% 0f total energy consumption in 2017. Figure 1. Wind, Water and Solar as a percentage of total energy consumption, based on BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy. Even if we make the assumption that these types of energy consumption will continue to achieve the same percentage increases as they have achieved in the last 10 years, it will still take 20 more years for wind, water, and solar to reach 20% of total energy consumption. Thus, even in 20 years, the world would need to reduce energy consumption by 80% in order to operate the economy on wind, water and solar alone. To get down to today’s level of energy production provided by wind, water and solar, we would need to reduce energy consumption by 90%. [2] Venezuela’s example (Figure 1, above) illustrates that even if a country has an above average contribution of renewables, plus significant oil reserves, it can still have major problems. One point people miss is that having a large share of renewables doesn’t necessarily mean that the lights will stay on. A major issue is the need for long distance transmission lines to transport the renewable electricity from where it is generated to where it is to be used. These lines must constantly be maintained. Maintenance of electrical transmission lines has been an issue in both Venezuela’s electrical outages and in California’s recent fires attributed to the utility PG&E. There is also the issue of variability of wind, water and solar energy. (Note the year-to-year variability indicated in the Venezuela line in Figure 1.) A country cannot really depend on its full amount of wind, water, and solar unless it has a truly huge amount of electrical storage: enough to last from season-to-season and year-to-year. Alternatively, an extraordinarily large quantity of long-distance transmission lines, plus the ability to maintain these lines for the long term, would seem to be required. [3] When individual countries have experienced cutbacks in their energy consumption per capita, the effects have generally been extremely disruptive, even with cutbacks far more modest than the target level of 80% to 90% that we would need to get off fossil fuels.  Notice that in these analyses, we are looking at “energy consumption per capita.” This calculation takes the total consumption of all kinds of energy (including oil, coal, natural gas, biofuels, nuclear, hydroelectric, and renewables) and divides it by the population. Energy consumption per capita depends to a significant extent on what citizens within a given economy can afford. It also depends on the extent of industrialization of an economy. If a major portion of industrial jobs are sent to China and India and only service jobs are retained, energy consumption per capita can be expected to fall. This happens partly because local companies no longer need to use as many energy products. Additionally, workers find mostly service jobs available; these jobs pay enough less that workers must cut back on buying goods such as homes and cars, reducing their energy consumption. Example 1. Spain and Greece Between 2007-2014 Figure 2. Greece and Spain energy consumption per capita. Energy data is from BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy; population estimates are UN 2017 population estimates. The period between 2007 and 2014 was a period when oil prices tended to be very high. Both Greece and Spain are very dependent on oil because of their sizable tourist industries. Higher oil prices made the tourism services these countries sold more expensive for their consumers. In both countries, energy consumption per capita started falling in 2008 and continued to fall until 2014, when oil prices began falling. Spain’s energy consumption per capita fell by 18% between 2007 and 2014; Greece’s fell by 24% over the same period. Both Greece and Spain experienced high unemployment rates, and both have needed debt bailouts to keep their financial systems operating. Austerity measures were forced on Greece. The effects on the economies of these countries were severe. Regarding Spain, Wikipedia has a section called, “2008 to 2014 Spanish financial crisis,” suggesting that the loss of energy consumption per capita was highly correlated with the country’s financial crisis. Example 2: France and the UK, 2004 – 2017 Both France and the UK have experienced falling energy consumption per capita since 2004, as oil production dropped (UK) and as industrialization was shifted to countries with a cheaper total cost of labor and fuel. Immigrant labor was added, as well, to better compete with the cost structures of the countries that France and the UK were competing against. With the new mix of workers and jobs, the quantity of goods and services that these workers could afford (per capita) has been falling. Figure 3. France and UK energy consumption per capita. Energy data is from BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy; population estimates are UN 2017 population estimates. Comparing 2017 to 2004, energy consumption per capita is down 16% for France and 25% in the UK. Many UK citizens have been very unhappy, wanting to leave the European Union. France recently has been experiencing “Yellow Vest” protests, at least partly related to an increase in carbon taxes. Higher carbon taxes would make energy-based goods and services less affordable. This would likely reduce France’s energy consumption per capita even further. French citizens with their protests are clearly not happy about how they are being affected by these changes. Example 3: Syria (2006-2016) and Yemen (2009-2016) Both Syria and Yemen are examples of formerly oil-exporting countries that are far past their peak production. Declining energy consumption per capita has been forced on both countries because, with their oil exports falling, the countries can no longer afford to use as much energy as they did in the past for previous uses, such as irrigation. If less irrigation is used, food production and jobs are lost. (Syria and Yemen) Figure 4. Syria and Yemen energy consumption per capita. Energy consumption data from US Energy Information Administration; population estimates are UN 2017 estimates. Between Yemen’s peak year in energy consumption per capita (2009) and the last year shown (2016), its energy consumption per capita dropped by 66%. Yemen has been named by the United Nations as the country with the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” Yemen cannot provide adequate food and water for its citizens. Yemen is involved in a civil war that others have entered into as well. I would describe the war as being at least partly a resource war. The situation with Syria is similar. Syria’s energy consumption per capita declined 55% between its peak year (2006) and the last year available (2016). Syria is also involved in a civil war that has been entered into by others. Here again, the issue seems to be inadequate resources per capita; war participants are to some extent fighting over the limited resources that are available. Example 4: Venezuela (2008-2017) Figure 5. Energy consumption per capita for Venezuela, based on BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy data and UN 2017 population estimates. Between 2008 and 2017, energy consumption per capita in Venezuela declined by 23%. This is a little less than the decreases experienced by the UK and Greece during their periods of decline. Even with this level of decline, Venezuela has been having difficulty providing adequate services to its citizens. There have been reports of empty supermarket shelves. Venezuela has not been able to maintain its electrical system properly, leading to many outages. [4] Most people are surprised to learn that energy is required for every part of the economy. When adequate energy is not available, an economy is likely to first shrink back in recession; eventually, it may collapse entirely. Physics tells us that energy consumption in a thermodynamically open system enables all kinds of “complexity.” Energy consumption enables specialization and hierarchical organizations. For example, growing energy consumption enables the organizations and supply lines needed to manufacture computers and other high-tech goods. Of course, energy consumption also enables what we think of as typical energy uses: the transportation of goods, the smelting of metals, the heating and air-conditioning of buildings, and the construction of roads. Energy is even required to allow pixels to appear on a computer screen. Pre-humans learned to control fire over one million years ago. The burning of biomass was a tool that could be used for many purposes, including keeping warm in colder climates, frightening away predators, and creating better tools. Perhaps its most important use was to permit food to be cooked, because cooking increases food’s nutritional availability. Cooked food seems to have been important in allowing the brains of humans to grow bigger at the same time that teeth, jaws and guts could shrink compared to those of ancestors. Humans today need to be able to continue to cook part of their food to have a reasonable chance of survival. Any kind of governmental organization requires energy. Having a single leader takes the least energy, especially if the leader can continue to perform his non-leadership duties. Any kind of added governmental service (such as roads or schools) requires energy. Having elected leaders who vote on decisions takes more energy than having a king with a few high-level aides. Having multiple layers of government takes energy. Each new intergovernmental organization requires energy to fly its officials around and implement its programs. International trade clearly requires energy consumption. In fact, pretty much every activity of businesses requires energy consumption. Needless to say, the study of science or of medicine requires energy consumption, because without significant energy consumption to leverage human energy, nearly every person must be a subsistence level farmer, with little time to study or to take time off from farming to write (or even read) books. Of course, manufacturing medicines and test tubes requires energy, as does creating sterile environments. We think of the many parts of the economy as requiring money, but it is really the physical goods and services that money can buy, and the energy that makes these goods and services possible, that are important. These goods and services depend to a very large extent on the supply of energy being consumed at a given point in time–for example, the amount of electricity being delivered to customers and the amount of gasoline and diesel being sold. Supply chains are very dependent on each part of the system being available when needed. If one part is missing, long delays and eventually collapse can occur. [5] If the supply of energy to an economy is reduced for any reason, the result tends to be very disruptive, as shown in the examples given in Section [3], above. When an economy doesn’t have enough energy, its self-organizing feature starts eliminating pieces of the economic system that it cannot support. The financial system tends to be very vulnerable because without adequate economic growth, it becomes very difficult for borrowers to repay debt with interest. This was part of the problem that Greece and Spain had in the period when their energy consumption per capita declined. A person wonders what would have happened to these countries without bailouts from the European Union and others. Another part that is very vulnerable is governmental organizations, especially the higher layers of government that were added last. In 1991, the Soviet Union’s central government was lost, leaving the governments of the 15 republics that were part of the Soviet Union. As energy consumption per capita declines, the European Union would seem to be very vulnerable. Other international organizations, such as the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, would seem to be vulnerable, as well. The electrical system is very complex. It seems to be easily disrupted if there is a material decrease in energy consumption per capita because maintenance of the system becomes difficult. If energy consumption per capita falls dramatically, many changes that don’t seem directly energy-related can be expected. For example, the roles of men and women are likely to change. Without modern medical care, women will likely need to become the mothers of several children in order that an average of two can survive long enough to raise their own children. Men will be valued for the heavy manual labor that they can perform. Today’s view of the equality of the sexes is likely to disappear because sex differences will become much more important in a low-energy world. Needless to say, other aspects of a low-energy economy might be very different as well. For example, one very low-energy type of economic system is a “gift economy.” In such an economy, the status of each individual is determined by the amount that that person can give away. Anything a person obtains must automatically be shared with the local group or the individual will be expelled from the group. In an economy with very low complexity, this kind of economy seems to work. A gift economy doesn’t require money or debt! [6] Most people assume that moving away from fossil fuels is something we can choose to do with whatever timing we would like. I would argue that we are not in charge of the process. Instead, fossil fuels will leave us when we lose the ability to reduce interest rates sufficiently to keep oil and other fossil fuel prices high enough for energy producers. Something that may seem strange to those who do not follow the issue is the fact that oil (and other energy prices) seem to be very much influenced by interest rates and the level of debt. In general, the lower the interest rate, the more affordable high-priced goods such as factories, homes, and automobiles become, and the higher commodity prices of all kinds can be. “Demand” increases with falling interest rates, causing energy prices of all types to rise.   Figure 6.   The cost of extracting oil is less important in determining oil prices than a person might expect. Instead, prices seem to be determined by what end products consumers (in the aggregate) can afford. In general, the more debt that individual citizens, businesses and governments can obtain, the higher that oil and other energy prices can rise. Of course, if interest rates start rising (instead of falling), there is a significant chance of a debt bubble popping, as defaults rise and asset prices decline. Interest rates have been generally falling since 1981 (Figure 7). This is the direction needed to support ever-higher energy prices. Figure 7. Chart of 3-month and 10-year interest rates, prepared by the FRED, using data through March 27, 2019. The danger now is that interest rates are approaching the lowest level that they can possibly reach. We need lower interest rates to support the higher prices that oil producers require, as their costs rise because of depletion. In fact, if we compare Figures 7 and 8, the Federal Reserve has been supporting higher oil and other energy prices with falling interest rates practically the whole time since oil prices rose above the inflation adjusted level of $20 per barrel! Figure 8. Historical inflation adjusted prices oil, based on data from 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy, with the low price period for oil highlighted. Once the Federal Reserve and other central banks lose their ability to cut interest rates further to support the need for ever-rising oil prices, the danger is that oil and other commodity prices will fall too low for producers. The situation is likely to look like the second half of 2008 in Figure 6. The difference, as we reach limits on how low interest rates can fall, is that it will no longer be possible to stimulate the economy to get energy and other commodity prices back up to an acceptable level for producers. [7] Once we hit the “no more stimulus impasse,” fossil fuels will begin leaving us because prices will fall too low for companies extracting these fuels. They will be forced to leave because they cannot make an adequate profit. One example of an oil producer whose production was affected by an extended period of low prices is the Soviet Union (or USSR). Figure 9. Oil production of the former Soviet Union together with oil prices in 2017 US$. All amounts from 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy. The US substantially raised interest rates in 1980-1981 (Figure 7). This led to a sharp reduction in oil prices, as the higher interest rates cut back investment of many kinds, around the world. Given the low price of oil, the Soviet Union reduced new investment in new fields. This slowdown in investment first reduced the rate of growth in oil production, and eventually led to a decline in production in 1988 (Figure 9). When oil prices rose again, production did also. Figure 10. Energy consumption per capita for the former Soviet Union, based on BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy data and UN 2017 population estimates. The Soviet Union’s energy consumption per capita reached its highest level in 1988 and began declining in 1989. The central government of the Soviet Union did not collapse until late 1991, as the economy was increasingly affected by falling oil export revenue. Some of the changes that occurred as the economy simplified itself were the loss of the central government, the loss of a large share of industry, and a great deal of job loss. Energy consumption per capita dropped by 36% between 1988 and 1998. It has never regained its former level. Venezuela is another example of an oil exporter that, in theory, could export more oil, if oil prices were higher. It is interesting to note that Venezuela’s highest energy consumption per capita occurred in 2008, when oil prices were high. We are now getting a chance to observe what the collapse in Venezuela looks like on a day- by-day basis. Figure 5, above, shows Venezuela’s energy consumption per capita pattern through 2017. Low oil prices since 2014 have particularly adversely affected the country. [8] Conclusion: We can’t know exactly what is ahead, but it is clear that moving away from fossil fuels will be far more destructive of our current economy than nearly everyone expects.  It is very easy to make optimistic forecasts about the future if a person doesn’t carefully examine what the data and the science seem to be telling us. Most researchers come from narrow academic backgrounds that do not seek out insights from other fields, so they tend not to understand the background story. A second issue is the desire for a “happy ever after” ending to our current energy predicament. If a researcher is creating an economic model without understanding the underlying principles, why not offer an outcome that citizens will like? Such a solution can help politicians get re-elected and can help researchers get grants for more research. We should be examining the situation more closely than most people have considered. The fact that interest rates cannot drop much further is particularly concerning. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 22:10.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 26th, 2021

Interview With John Doerr and Ryan Panchadsaram From CNBC’s ESG Impact Conference

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Kleiner Perkins Chair & “Speed & Scale” Co-Author John Doerr and Fmr. Deputy CTO of the United States & “Speed & Scale” Co-Author Ryan Panchadsaram at CNBC’s ESG Impact conference, which took place today, Thursday, October 28th. Video from the interview will be available at […] Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Kleiner Perkins Chair & “Speed & Scale” Co-Author John Doerr and Fmr. Deputy CTO of the United States & “Speed & Scale” Co-Author Ryan Panchadsaram at CNBC’s ESG Impact conference, which took place today, Thursday, October 28th. Video from the interview will be available at cnbc.com/esg-impact/. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get Our Icahn eBook! Get our entire 10-part series on Carl Icahn and other famous investors in PDF for free! Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet or print it! Sign up below. NO SPAM EVER (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Interview With John Doerr and Ryan Panchadsaram ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: Thank you, sir and it is great to see both of you. We are, we are with two legends, if you will, for this important conversation about climate and what are really the opportunities to get there. Yeah, John? JOHN DOERR: We're, we're with three legends Andrew. You're one also. SORKIN: You know, I'm just pretending to to be here with you. Let's talk about this because both of you have written a book that's about to come out called “Speed & Scale” and John, you talk about the plan to cut carbon emissions and reach net zero of course by 2050. Everybody's trying to do it. Everybody wants that to be the goal. The question, of course, is how do you get there and you have some ideas. Top level, what's the most important thing that that investors and the folks who are listening need to be thinking about? DOERR: The most important thing that we need is a plan. There are lots of goals. There's lots of ambition. We, we are not on track to meet a net zero goal by 2050. The UN Emissions Gap Report just out in the last couple of days said that if we achieve the pledges from the world's countries, will reduce emissions by 2030 by just 7%. We need to reduce them by 50% to get to a one and a half degrees C world. So this is an existential crisis. It's an economic, unparalleled economic opportunity. And it's, it's really the challenge of our lifetimes. SORKIN: Ryan, you've said that currently the plan doesn't really even begin to get to there to maybe 2070 at best. In terms of the, the public private role that we can have here given your experience in Washington and the valley now, how do you see it what, what is the opportunity set in front of us? RYAN PANCHADSARAM: Totally. So when you look at the plan, right, the book outlines a plan that has six big solutions you know to get to net zero but the plan also includes four different levers that we can pull on, right, everything from winning the policy and politics, right. Government set the direction for how a country should like the future for essentially giving businesses confidence, consumer confidence, but governments have to make those hard commitments Andrew and then follow through on them, but that's just one of the many levers. We have to also turn movements into action from the ballot box to the corporate boardroom, as well as invest and innovate. So these are the four levers that we have. We've got to pull on all four equally. And if we do, we can get to net zero not in 2070, but in that 2050 timeframe. SORKIN: Okay, but John, you break down the, the climate action as far as I can tell in six parts, electrifying transportation, decarbonizing the grid with alternatives like wind, solar nuclear, fixing food, the food industry, protecting nature, cleaning up businesses and removing carbon. You got, you have a slide better yet you brought props. So okay, but let's talk about what's doable in terms of the priority there on that, on that sheet. How you do it, what's, what's the low hanging fruit? What's the hard stuff? DOERR: So this whole plan for our audience is available for free. It fits on one page. It's at speedandscale.com. And the biggest single thing we can do is decarbonize the grid around the world. That'll eliminate 24 gigatons out of our 59 gigaton target. And that means moving to zero emissions technologies across the board like wind and solar instead of coal and gas. But the key to these six objectives is the magic, the power is in the key results. So for each of these, there's a concrete measurable time bound goal which must be achieved. If we don't achieve that goal, we'll find out early on that we're off track and we can make adjustments. None of these are going to be easy and each of them is a realm all unto itself but the difference between goals and having an action plan is having real key results. SORKIN: Ryan maybe help us with this with it, with his prop as well though. In term he said sort of the low hanging fruit was that was the grid perhaps I don't know how low hanging fruit that is. Let's also talk about the hard stuff on that list. What is the hardest thing on that list in your mind? PANCHADSARAM: Totally. The hardest stuff is actually objective number six, right, removing the carbon that's left but like the 1, 2, 3 punch that gets us almost 80% of the way there is that switching to clean energy, getting gas out of our buildings, switching to electric vehicles, stopping deforestation, right, those just three very concrete things reduce the emissions aggressively but in writing the book, looking at the models, whether it's the IPCC work or our work, we're still gonna be left with five to 10 gigatons of emissions a year in 2050. And so we've got to do the hard thing which is carbon removal, both nature based as well as engineered, and we've got to start doing that now and doing it well. But it shouldn't be the crutch Andrew, right, like companies today, they're making net zero commitments. They can't say, Well, I'm buying offsets. I'm doing carbon removal. For those companies, they first have to look at their emissions, their carbon footprint and say, how do we cut? Then how do we conserve and then and then they can leave on the, lean on the carbon removal pieces. SORKIN: John, I saw a tweet of yours. You said, “In the course of writing this book, I was reminded of a quote that helped inspire the green growth fund.” The quote, “The green economy is poised to be the mother of all markets. It's the economic investment opportunity of a lifetime.” It very well may be one of the great opportunities of a lifetime. The question though is how do you pick which ones are the right opportunities? Because as you know, over the last 20 years, there have been a lot of people who've invested in this space and unfortunately for them, they have lost. DOERR: Well, I think the crucial thing is to be data driven and to go for the gigatons, go for the largest economic opportunities that exist. One of my favorite ones is electrification of transportation and in particular, the holy grail of that revolution is advanced batteries, battery breakthroughs. That's the equivalent of the microprocessor for this new clean energy future. Some estimates are that market is $400 billion per year for 20 years to replace all the internal combustion engines with electric vehicles. If that's not a monster market, I don't know what is. But Larry Fink is on record. He's, he's forecasting that there will be 1,000 unicorns coming out of the climate clean tech energy revolution. I agree with that. SORKIN: Hey Ryan, one of the things I want to ask is effectively a public policy question. PANCHADSARAM: Oh, yeah. SORKIN: One is the question, one is the question of what do you do about China, India and other places that are not doing this let's just say as fast as we may be doing it? The other is, and we're already seeing it right now, the price of oil today is going up materially and there's a debate and discussion now that that may be a function of the fact that we are not either investing fast enough in some of these renewables or we're moving too fast to effectively de-invest in fossil fuels. PANCHADSARAM: Yeah, I’ll take the last one than the first one. So, when you look at oil prices, the fluctuation in gas, that's always what's happened with scarce resources, right. If we invest in more solar and more wind and more battery storage, those are things that are predictable, right. We've gone to wars over the price fluctuations of oil and gas and so to kind of blame it on renewables is pretty unfair. And so when we think about how we navigate this energy crisis, we're going to have to navigate it well, but when you think the 2022 and beyond, it's not about drilling more or finding more gas, it's deploying more clean energy because we can rely on it. On the first piece about the US, China, India and other countries, I think there's something that's pretty clear is that the alpha emitters, like ourselves in the US, we've got to go first, right. We've got to show the world it's possible and in the course of that, and by deploying more clean energy, we get to drive down the costs. The wealthy nations like China and Europe, they got to be on that train as well too, right. There's no more excuses. We've got to lead and the kind of competitive nature here too from a policy side is likely the countries that lead on this transition are going to create the businesses that matter the most around them, right, the valuable ones. And so it is effectively a race. A race who can create and own these markets of the future. SORKIN: Right. Hey John, I noticed it seemed like you wanted to jump in on this very issue and debate around whether we are either de-investing too quickly or investing too slowly. Steve Schwarzman runs Blackstone just warned yesterday he said that he believes this energy shortage, he believes is gonna ultimately lead to unrest and call for government, it will, will result in government intervention perhaps on the other side of the green debate. DOERR: Well, this is a revolution, this and in revolutions, there are winners and there are losers. It's not some kind of green kumbaya party that we're having among all the, all the participants. China made a strategic decision. They said they wanted to own the solar photovoltaic future. And so as a matter of policy, internal demand and global economic leadership, they funded solar manufacturers in every province and in every region and the result today is that they're 80% of the solar market. Now hot on their heels is India. Modi has declared he wants to install 450 gigawatts of solar by 2030. That would make him as large as the US market is for solar and they intend to distribute that globally to be a global supplier and powerhouse. So the energy transition will be rugged. We must though pay attention to environmental justice to make sure that populations that historically have been left behind in this transition have an opportunity to participate in the jobs of the new clean energy future. SORKIN: Right. John, you've always invested in some of the great entrepreneurs of our time so I have an investment and valuation question which is here we have Tesla, which just this week surpassed a trillion dollars in valuation that after Hertz announced it was going to be ordering 100,000 vehicles and I'm curious how you see that valuation. There's a lot of people that are buying into Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and buying into other companies that are in this space because there are so few of them. DOERR: Well, I think the fundamental driving this is the size of the market and the excellence of the product. If you haven't driven a Tesla, people aren't buying Tesla because it's green. They're buying it because it's a great automobile and the powerful thing that Tesla has done beyond creating a trillion dollar company that's worth as much as their next four competitors is they've put the global auto industry on notice that the future of electric transportation is what consumers will demand when we get cost and prices to be competitive globally. For an electric vehicle to prosper in India, you've got to displace an internal combustion vehicle with an average price of $12,000 to $14,000. We are not there yet in terms of batteries and we are not there yet today in terms of the market penetration. Globally, electric vehicles are about 4% of the worldwide fleet. That gives you a sense of how far we have to go and why I think the Tesla bulls are probably right. SORKIN: Probably right so I was gonna ask you is the valuation right that you know you often talk about being a first mover. Their first mover 5, 10 years from now, you want to hope that lots of other automobile makers are also following that lead but the question is how big, how big will the market ultimately be? DOERR: I think ultimately transportation will be electric globally. That's what the Speed & Scale plan calls for. As an anecdote, I think it was just a week ago that Elon was the guest of the leadership of Volkswagen. They want to know how that company moves so nimbly and they are committed to being a global leader. I believe they will be in the transportation future. SORKIN: Ryan, you said that the hardest piece of this is going to be the carbon capture piece and, and it's critical to so many of the plans that are out there to getting us to 2050 the right way. A number of major corporations have also made some pretty ambitious plans that require carbon capture. What are the most promising technologies that you found thus far in that space? PANCHADSARAM: Yeah, the most promising technologies in the carbon removal space, right, like using engineer mechanisms to pull carbon from the sky. You got the direct air capture world, right. This is climate works, carbon engineering, you've got other companies like Charm and Heirloom that are using other approaches as well too. I mean this market is so young Andrew, right, there are barely 4,000 tones that have been actually pulled out from the sky and we've got to get to 5 billion tons. And so the market opportunity here over the course of the next you know two decades is going to be quite incredible. But it's got to start now, right. That market needs to be instigated and the work you're seeing from Microsoft and Stripe and others to pay ahead, right, to pay that green premium for carbon removal because the cost something on the order of like 600 bucks a ton today is what's getting things kick started. We're going to need things like a price on carbon to actually make it, to drive down that actual cost from 600 to 100 to maybe 50 as time goes on and people start to scale these things up. But that's the kind of nut of it, we're going to need it. There's going to be a market there. The companies that are paying ahead are doing the right thing they're instigating but there's also going to have to be truly a cost on polluting carbon that goes towards carbon removal. DOERR: So Andrew, besides— SORKIN: Yes sir. Go ahead. DOERR: I was just gonna say besides, besides the mechanical or engineered approaches, there are natural approaches to remove carbon such as growing greater kelp forests which can rely on the awesome powers of nature to capture and sequester this stubborn carbon that will be leftover. SORKIN: Gentlemen, I want to thank— PANCHADSARAM: One thing I— SORKIN: Go ahead. We're gonna leave it there in about a second but, but let's, tell us the one thing about technology. PANCHADSARAM: Oh yeah, the one thing though to look at too is there are carbon capture technologies when in the use of natural gas and other places but always look at those with a skeptical eye because of the added cost of that compared to the renewable option, the cleaner one, and the truth is you're going to find that the market wins on that side, Andrew. SORKIN: Okay, Ryan and John. The book is called “Speed & Scale.” Appreciate it. Congratulations on the on the book. Hope to see you guys in person very, very soon. Thanks. DOERR: Let's do that. Updated on Oct 28, 2021, 3:34 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 29th, 2021

ExxonMobil CEO Denies Spreading Disinformation on Climate Change at House Hearing

The congressional hearing comes after months of efforts to obtain information on the oil industry’s role in climate change (WASHINGTON) — ExxonMobil’s chief executive said Thursday that his company “does not spread disinformation regarding climate change″ as he and other oil company chiefs countered congressional allegations the industry concealed evidence about the dangers of it. In prepared testimony at a landmark House hearing, CEO Darren Woods said ExxonMobil “has long acknowledged the reality and risks of climate change, and it has devoted significant resources to addressing those risks.″ The oil giant’s public statements on climate “are and have always been truthful, fact-based … and consistent” with mainstream climate science, Woods said. Woods was among top officials at four major oil companies set to testify as congressional Democrats investigate what they describe as a decades-long, industry-wide campaign to spread disinformation about the role of fossil fuels in causing global warming. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] The much-anticipated hearing before the House Oversight Committee comes after months of public efforts by Democrats to obtain documents and other information on the oil industry’s role in stopping climate action over multiple decades. The appearance of the four oil executives — from ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP America and Shell — has drawn comparisons to a high-profile hearing in the 1990s with tobacco executives who famously testified that they didn’t believe nicotine was addictive. “The fossil fuel industry has had scientific evidence about the dangers of climate change since at least 1977. Yet for decades, the industry spread denial and doubt about the harm of its products — undermining the science and preventing meaningful action on climate change even as the global climate crisis became increasingly dire,” said Reps. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Ro Khanna, D-Calif. “For far too long, Big Oil has escaped accountability for its central role in bringing our planet to the brink of a climate catastrophe. That ends today,” said Maloney, who chairs the Oversight panel. “This hearing is just the start of our investigation,” added Khanna, who leads a subcommittee on the environment. “These companies must be held accountable.” Read More: Why Coal Shortages in Asia Might Be Good News for Clean Energy The committee released a memo Thursday charging that the oil industry’s public support for climate reforms has not been matched by meaningful actions, and that the industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years to block reforms. Oil companies frequently boast about their efforts to produce clean energy in advertisements and social media posts accompanied by sleek videos or pictures of wind turbines. “Today’s staff memo shows Big Oil’s campaign to ‘greenwash’ their role in the climate crisis in action,” Maloney said. “These oil companies pay lip service to climate reforms, but behind the scenes they spend far more time lobbying to preserve their lucrative tax breaks.” Maloney and other Democrats have focused particular ire on Exxon, after a senior lobbyist for the company was caught in a secret video bragging that Exxon had fought climate science through “shadow groups” and had targeted influential senators in an effort to weaken President Joe Biden’s climate agenda, including a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a sweeping climate and social policy bill currently moving through Congress. Keith McCoy, a former Washington-based lobbyist for Exxon, dismissed the company’s public expressions of support for a proposed carbon tax on fossil fuel emissions as a “talking point.” McCoy’s comments were made public in June by the environmental group Greenpeace UK, which secretly recorded him and another lobbyist in Zoom interviews. McCoy no longer works for the company, an Exxon spokesperson said last month. Read More: Meet the Man Who Defines the Energy Markets—And Wants the World to Go Clean Woods, Exxon’s chairman and chief executive, has condemned McCoy’s statements and said the company stands by its commitment to work on finding solutions to climate change. Woods is among the chief executives set to testify Thursday, along with BP America CEO David Lawler, Chevron CEO Michael Wirth and Shell president Gretchen Watkins. Casey Norton, an ExxonMobil spokesperson, said the company has cooperated with the Oversight panel and turned over thousands of documents. Maloney and Khanna compared tactics used by the oil industry to those long deployed by the tobacco industry to resist regulation “while selling products that kill hundreds of thousands of Americans.″ The oil industry’s “strategies of obfuscation and distraction span decades and still continue today,″ Khanna and Maloney said in calling the hearing last month. The five largest publicly traded oil and gas companies reportedly spent at least $1 billion from 2015 to 2018 “to promote climate disinformation through ‘branding’ and lobbying,” the lawmakers said. Bethany Aronhalt, a spokeswoman for API, said the group’s president, Mike Sommers, welcomes the opportunity to testify and “advance our priorities of pricing carbon, regulating methane and reliably producing American energy.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 28th, 2021

3 Ways ESG Regulation May Aid the Financial Industry

Environment, Social, Governance. These words have become rather ubiquitous in recent years, with just about every firm or financial institution touting their ESG practices. The United States ESG investment market alone grew 42% from 2018 to 2020, contributing $17.1 trillion of the $35.3 trillion total across five major investment markets. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, […] Environment, Social, Governance. These words have become rather ubiquitous in recent years, with just about every firm or financial institution touting their ESG practices. The United States ESG investment market alone grew 42% from 2018 to 2020, contributing $17.1 trillion of the $35.3 trillion total across five major investment markets. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Unfortunately, these claims of sustainability or social consciousness can be shallow at best, deliberately misleading at worst, and governing bodies are starting to intervene. In the EU, for example, the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) went into effect in March, 2021, requiring more detailed data reporting to add clarity for inventors when assessing the sustainability of investments. The U.S. is also considering similar regulations and penalties for false or inaccurate claims. While many firms may initially look at such policies as an administrative burden, increased ESG regulation could have numerous benefits for firms, investors, and the communities they serve. We’ll take a look at the existing and forecasted regulations on ESG investing and how such policies can benefit the industry moving forward. What Is ESG Finance? Before we dive into the regulations and their impacts, a note on terminology. ESG may have become somewhat of a buzzword, but what does it actually mean? Or rather, what is it supposed to mean? ESG as a concept has been around since at least the 1960s, though the name was coined in the early 2000s as an umbrella term for socially responsible investing practices. The E, S, and G refer to the following: Environment: This area is concerned with resource usage, pollution, and climate change. For example, how do companies perform on things like greenhouse gas emissions and waste reduction across the supply chain. Social: This refers to how companies interact with and impact the communities in which they operate. It includes everything from the health and safety of their employees and their suppliers’ employees to involvement in conflict regions. Governance: By this, we mean corporate governance - how are companies investing in diversity, ethics, etc. through their internal decision making. For example, equal pay, diversity of board members, and auditing for corruption would all be necessary for strong corporate governance. Where Do ESG Regulations Currently Stand? The European Union has taken a number of concrete steps to regulate sustainable investing. The aforementioned SFDR imposes mandatory disclosure obligations for asset managers and investment firms. It introduces the term Principal Adverse Impacts (PAIs) as a unit of sorts, defined as the negative impacts on sustainability that an investment decision could have. In other words, if a firm advises a client to invest in a certain stock, how harmful could that decision be in terms of the environment, society, employees, human rights, corruption, etc. With that in mind, the regulation mandates data disclosures including: How an entity integrates sustainability risks into their investment decision‐making or advising A statement of their policies on PAIs Proof that remuneration policies are made with sustainability risks in mind Evidence of pre-contractual disclosures on sustainability risk integration The EU is also implementing the Sustainable Finance Action Plan, aiming to redirect capital towards sustainable companies and green bonds and away from sectors involved with fossil fuels and other unsustainable practices. Finally, there is the EU Taxonomy Regulation which went into force in July, 2020, providing a classification system of conditions companies must meet to be considered environmentally sustainable. From January, 2022 onward, companies will be required to report how their financial products align with the Taxonomy. The US Securities and Exchange Commission has committed to developing similar regulations in the future, though what exactly those will contain has not been formalized. All in all, these types of regulations formalize requirements for ESG finance much like GDPR’s impact on data collection and PCI-DSS’s impact on the payment card industry. Any future regulations will only add more nuance to these broad regulations, further holding firms accountable for proving sustainable practices. How ESG Regulations Can Help SFDR and similar policies are not the first example of increasing government oversight of industry giants in recent years, and it will not be the last. So, it’s in the best interest of stakeholders to consider how such regulations can benefit their companies and their customers. Decrease Greenwashing There is no doubt that erroneously claiming ESG practices is a form of greenwashing, a harmful practice of overestimating the sustainability or eco-friendliness of a product or company. The ethical implications of this are hopefully obvious, both in terms of misleading clients and of the environmental and societal determinants. Therefore, a cultural shift to decrease financial greenwashing is ultimately beneficial because it gives credit where credit is due. If firms who are inflating their ESG compliance are called out, it will highlight the ones who are taking legitimate efforts to consider PAIs in their financial advising and internal decision-making. Over the longer term, clients will recognize this differentiating factor and align themselves accordingly. Force Firms To Look Internally While mandated ESG reporting will require additional input at the outset, it can also help firms reevaluate some of their current practices. For example, some firms may realize that investor relations are not prioritized in their current operations. Similarly, preparing for ESG data reporting will highlight the importance of maintaining transparent, responsible accounting practices, including using software that comes with critical features such as transaction monitoring and comprehensive reporting. Without using the right tools, firms will have a more difficult time assessing and proving their ESG compliance. Take the new regulations as an opportunity to develop an in-depth roadmap of your business risks, opportunities, partners, etc. Look at who you work with and how it reflects on your business. By auditing yourself and your partners before regulations become fully mandatory, you will be better situated to meet industry standards and improve your reporting, data management, risk management, investor relations, and more. Improve Outlooks In The Long Run When it comes to the finance market, while there are some more consistent trends, there is also a lot of uncertainty. That’s because market fluctuations are largely based on future trends - in a sense, attempting to predict the future. And lately, it appears that one of those trends is an increasing push for making ESG mandatory. Over the past 50 years or so, it has been a voluntary action, but with regulations increasing, it is becoming less so. This means there will only be greater scrutiny towards unsustainable sectors moving forward, and companies will need to respond if they hope to survive. For example, the tech sector has been criticized by environmental groups and even their own customers and investors for high consumption levels due to the electricity needed for data storage and processing. This and other industries are now pushing to reduce their carbon emissions. Many companies are also making other ESG steps a priority, such as increasing the diversity of the still overwhelmingly white, male leadership of the sector. These efforts show that companies will respond to pressure, even if change can be slow. Reporting these efforts is important to encourage firms to factor in ESG risk as a determining factor in how investors can find value in a company. What’s more, firms should take note that younger generations - namely Millenials and Gen Z - are increasingly socially conscious consumers. According to industry expert Alex Williams of Hosting Data, savvy investors are now taking advantage of online trading to educate themselves and invest responsibility. “It's not possible to make a stock exchange without a broker,” says Williams. “There's nowhere to visit to make a trade yourself. Most trading is done this way, even though - on television - you see people making purchases in New York's financial district.” Younger generations are well aware of this, and they are starting to invest earlier in life than their parents and grandparents, aided by digital resources. Therefore, ESG reporting will encourage increased accountability, which could in turn reward sustainable companies with new customers and growth potential in the future. Conclusion What the EU has started will undoubtedly spread elsewhere. This means, along with recent trends like increased cryptocurrency regulation and similar government interventions, ESG regulations may be the next policy surge for firms to comply with. What began with data disclosure could end in even more significant policy shifts across the finance sector. Firms must be ready to adapt if they hope to be compliant and competitive in an increasingly socially conscious market. Updated on Oct 27, 2021, 5:17 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 27th, 2021

Green Energy: A Bubble In Unrealistic Expectations

Green Energy: A Bubble In Unrealistic Expectations Authored by David Hay via Everegreen Gavekal blog, “You see what is happening in Europe. There is hysteria and some confusion in the markets. Why?…Some people are speculating on climate change issues, some people are underestimating some things, some are starting to cut back on investments in the extractive industries. There needs to be a smooth transition.” - Vladimir Putin (someone with whom this author rarely agrees) “By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of its citizens.” – John Maynard Keynes (an interesting observation for all the modern day Keynesians to consider given their support of current inflationary US policies, including energy-related) Introduction This week’s EVA provides another sneak preview into David Hay’s book-in-process, “Bubble 3.0” discussing what he thinks is the crucial topic of “greenflation.”  This is a term he coined referring to the rising price for metals and minerals that are essential for solar and wind power, electric cars, and other renewable technologies. It also centers on the reality that as global policymakers have turned against the fossil fuel industry, energy producers are for the first time in history not responding to dramatically higher prices by increasing production.  Consequently, there is a difficult tradeoff that arises as the world pushes harder to combat climate change, driving up energy costs to painful levels, especially for lower income individuals.  What we are currently seeing in Europe is a vivid example of this dilemma.  While it may be the case that governments welcome higher oil and natural gas prices to discourage their use, energy consumers are likely to have a much different reaction. Summary BlackRock’s CEO recently admitted that, despite what many are opining, the green energy transition is nearly certain to be inflationary. Even though it’s early in the year, energy prices are already experiencing unprecedented spikes in Europe and Asia, but most Americans are unaware of the severity. To that point, many British residents being faced with the fact that they may need to ration heat and could be faced with the chilling reality that lives could be lost if this winter is as cold as forecasters are predicting. Because of the huge increase in energy prices, inflation in the eurozone recently hit a 13-year high, heavily driven by natural gas prices on the Continent that are the equivalent of $200 oil. It used to be that the cure for extreme prices was extreme prices, but these days I’m not so sure.  Oil and gas producers are very wary of making long-term investments to develop new resources given the hostility to their industry and shareholder pressure to minimize outlays. I expect global supply to peak sometime next year and a major supply deficit looks inevitable as global demand returns to normal. In Norway, almost 2/3 of all new vehicle sales are of the electric variety (EVs) – a huge increase in just over a decade. Meanwhile, in the US, it’s only about 2%. Still, given Norway’s penchant for the plug-in auto, the demand for oil has not declined. China, despite being the largest market by far for electric vehicles, is still projected to consume an enormous and rising amount of oil in the future. About 70% of China’s electricity is generated by coal, which has major environmental ramifications in regards to electric vehicles. Because of enormous energy demand in China this year, coal prices have experienced a massive boom. Its usage was up 15% in the first half of this year, and the Chinese government has instructed power providers to obtain all baseload energy sources, regardless of cost.  The massive migration to electric vehicles – and the fact that they use six times the amount of critical minerals as their gasoline-powered counterparts –means demand for these precious resources is expected to skyrocket. This extreme need for rare minerals, combined with rapid demand growth, is a recipe for a major spike in prices. Massively expanding the US electrical grid has several daunting challenges– chief among them the fact that the American public is extremely reluctant to have new transmission lines installed in their area. The state of California continues to blaze the trail for green energy in terms of both scope and speed. How the rest of the country responds to their aggressive take on renewables remains to be seen. It appears we are entering a very odd reality: governments are expending resources they do not have on weakly concentrated energy. And the result may be very detrimental for today’s modern economy. If the trend in energy continues, what looks nearly certain to be the Third Energy crisis of the last half-century may linger for years.  Green energy: A bubble in unrealistic expectations? As I have written in past EVAs, it amazes me how little of the intense inflation debate in 2021 centered on the inflationary implications of the Green Energy transition.  Perhaps it is because there is a built-in assumption that using more renewables should lower energy costs since the sun and the wind provide “free power”.  However, we will soon see that’s not the case, at least not anytime soon; in fact, it’s my contention that it will likely be the opposite for years to come and I’ve got some powerful company.  Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, a very pro-ESG* organization, is one of the few members of Wall Street’s elite who admitted this in the summer of 2021.  The story, however, received minimal press coverage and was quickly forgotten (though, obviously, not be me!).  This EVA will outline myriad reasons why I think Mr. Fink was telling it like it is…despite the political heat that could bring down upon him.  First, though, I will avoid any discussion of whether humanity is the leading cause of global warming.  For purposes of this analysis, let’s make the high-odds assumption that for now a high-speed green energy transition will continue to occur.  (For those who would like a well-researched and clearly articulated overview of the climate debate, I highly recommend the book “Unsettled”; it’s by a former top energy expert and scientist from the Obama administration, Dr. Steven Koonin.) The reason I italicized “for now” is that in my view it’s extremely probable that voters in many Western countries are going to become highly retaliatory toward energy policies that are already creating extreme hardship.  Even though it’s only early autumn as I write these words, energy prices are experiencing unprecedented increases in Europe.  Because it’s “over there”, most Americans are only vaguely aware of the severity of the situation.  But the facts are shocking…  Presently, natural gas is going for $29 per million British Thermal Units (BTUs) in Europe, a quadruple compared to the same time in 2020, versus “just” $5 in the US, which is a mere doubling.  As a consequence, wholesale energy cost in Great Britain rose an unheard of 60% even before summer ended.  Reportedly, nine UK energy companies are on the brink of failure at this time due to their inability to fully pass on the enormous cost increases.  As a result, the British government is reportedly on the verge of nationalizing some of these entities—supposedly, temporarily—to prevent them from collapsing.  (CNBC reported on Wednesday that UK natural gas prices are now up 800% this year; in the US, nat gas rose 20% on Tuesday alone, before giving back a bit more than half of that the next day.) Serious food shortages are expected after exorbitant natural gas costs forced most of England’s commercial production of CO2 to shut down.  (CO2 is used both for stunning animals prior to slaughter and also in food packaging.)  Additionally, ballistic natural gas prices have forced the closure of two big US fertilizer plants due to a potential shortfall of ammonium nitrate of which “nat gas” is a key feedstock.  *ESG stands for Environmental, Social, Governance; in 2021, Blackrock’s assets under management approximated $9 ½ trillion, about one-third of the total US federal debt. With the winter of 2021 approaching, British households are being told they may need to ration heat.  There are even growing concerns about the widespread loss of life if this winter turns out to be a cold one, as 2020 was in Europe.  Weather forecasters are indicating that’s a distinct possibility.   In Spain, consumers are paying 40% more for electricity compared to the prior year.  The Spanish government has begun resorting to price controls to soften the impact of these rapidly escalating costs. (The history of price controls is that they often exacerbate shortages.) Naturally, spiking power prices hit the poorest hardest, which is typical of inflation whether it is of the energy variety or of generalized price increases.  Due to these massive energy price increases, eurozone inflation recently hit a 13-year high, heavily driven by natural gas prices that are the equivalent of $200 per barrel oil.  This is consistent with what I warned about in several EVAs earlier this year and I think there is much more of this looming in the years to come. In Asia, which also had a brutally cold winter in 2020 – 2021, there are severe energy shortages being disclosed, as well.  China has instructed its power providers to secure all the coal they can in preparation for a repeat of frigid conditions and acute deficits even before winter arrives.  The government has also instructed its energy distributors to acquire all the liquified natural gas (LNG) they can, regardless of cost.  LNG recently hit $35 per million British Thermal Units in Asia, up sevenfold in the past year.  China is also rationing power to its heavy industries, further exacerbating the worldwide shortages of almost everything, with notable inflationary implications. In India, where burning coal provides about 70% of electricity generation (as it does in China), utilities are being urged to import coal even though that country has the world’s fourth largest coal reserves.  Several Indian power plants are close to exhausting their coal supplies as power usage rips higher. Normally, I’d say that the cure for such extreme prices, was extreme prices—to slightly paraphrase the old axiom.  But these days, I’m not so sure; in fact, I’m downright dubious.  After all, the enormously influential International Energy Agency has recommended no new fossil fuel development after 2021—“no new”, as in zero.  It’s because of pressure such as this that, even though US natural gas prices have done a Virgin Galactic to $5 this year, the natural gas drilling rig count has stayed flat.  The last time prices were this high there were three times as many working rigs.  It is the same story with oil production.  Most Americans don’t seem to realize it but the US has provided 90% of the planet’s petroleum output growth over the past decade.  In other words, without America’s extraordinary shale oil production boom—which raised total oil output from around 5 million barrels per day in 2008 to 13 million barrels per day in 2019—the world long ago would have had an acute shortage.  (Excluding the Covid-wracked year of 2020, oil demand grows every year—strictly as a function of the developing world, including China, by the way.) Unquestionably, US oil companies could substantially increase output, particularly in the Permian Basin, arguably (but not much) the most prolific oil-producing region in the world.  However, with the Fed being pressured by Congress to punish banks that lend to any fossil fuel operator, and the overall extreme hostility toward domestic energy producers, why would they?  There is also tremendous pressure from Wall Street on these companies to be ESG compliant.  This means reducing their carbon footprint.  That’s tough to do while expanding their volume of oil and gas.  Further, investors, whether on Wall Street or on London’s equivalent, Lombard Street, or in pretty much any Western financial center, are against US energy companies increasing production.  They would much rather see them buy back stock and pay out lush dividends.  The companies are embracing that message.  One leading oil and gas company CEO publicly mused to the effect that buying back his own shares at the prevailing extremely depressed valuations was a much better use of capital than drilling for oil—even at $75 a barrel. As reported by Morgan Stanley, in the summer of 2021, an US institutional broker conceded that of his 400 clients, only one would consider investing in an energy company!  Consequently, the fact that the industry is so detested means that its shares are stunningly undervalued.  How stunningly?  A myriad of US oil and gas producers are trading at free cash flow* yields of 10% to 15% and, in some cases, as high as 25%. In Europe, where the same pressures apply, one of its biggest energy companies is generating a 16% free cash flow yield.  Moreover, that is based up an estimate of $60 per barrel oil, not the prevailing price of $80 on the Continent. *Free cash flow is the excess of gross cash flow over and above the capital spending needed to sustain a business.  Many market professionals consider it more meaningful than earnings.  Therefore, due to the intense antipathy toward Western energy producers they aren’t very inclined to explore for new resources.  Another much overlooked fact about the ultra-critical US shale industry that, as noted, has been nearly the only source of worldwide output growth for the past 13 years, is its rapid decline nature.  Most oil wells see their production taper off at just 4% or 5% per year.  But with shale, that decline rate is 80% after only two years.  (Because of the collapse in exploration activities in 2020 due to Covid, there are far fewer new wells coming on-line; thus, the production base is made up of older wells with slower decline rates but it is still a much steeper cliff than with traditional wells.)  As a result, the US, the world’s most important swing producer, has to come up with about 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of new output just to stay even.  (This was formerly about a 3 million bpd number due to both the factor mentioned above and the 2 million bpd drop in total US oil production, from 13 million bpd to around 11 million bpd since 2019).  Please recall that total US oil production in 2008 was only around 5 million bpd.  Thus, 1.5 million barrels per day is a lot of oil and requires considerable drilling and exploration activities.  Again, this is merely to stay steady-state, much less grow.  The foregoing is why I wrote on multiple occasions in EVAs during 2020, when the futures price for oil went below zero*, that crude would have a spectacular price recovery later that year and, especially, in 2021.  In my view, to go out on my familiar creaky limb, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!  With supply extremely challenged for the above reasons and demand marching back, I believe 2022 could see $100 crude, possibly even higher.  *Physical oil, or real vs paper traded, bottomed in the upper teens when the futures contract for delivery in April, 2020, went deeply negative.  Mike Rothman of Cornerstone Analytics has one of the best oil price forecasting records on Wall Street.  Like me, he was vehemently bullish on oil after the Covid crash in the spring of 2020 (admittedly, his well-reasoned optimism was a key factor in my up-beat outlook).  Here’s what he wrote late this summer:  “Our forecast for ’22 looks to see global oil production capacity exhausted late in the year and our balance suggests OPEC (and OPEC + participants) will face pressures to completely remove any quotas.”  My expectation is that global supply will likely max out sometime next year, barring a powerful negative growth shock (like a Covid variant even more vaccine resistant than Delta).  A significant supply deficit looks inevitable as global demand recovers and exceeds its pre-Covid level.  This is a view also shared by Goldman Sachs and Raymond James, among others; hence, my forecast of triple-digit prices next year.  Raymond James pointed out that in June the oil market was undersupplied by 2.5 mill bpd.  Meanwhile, global petroleum demand was rapidly rising with expectations of nearly pre-Covid consumption by year-end.  Mike Rothman ran this chart in a webcast on 9/10/2021 revealing how far below the seven-year average oil inventories had fallen.  This supply deficit is very likely to become more acute as the calendar flips to 2022. In fact, despite oil prices pushing toward $80, total US crude output now projected to actually decline this year.  This is an unprecedented development.  However, as the very pro-renewables Financial Times (the UK’s equivalent of the Wall Street Journal) explained in an August 11th, 2021, article:  “Energy companies are in a bind.  The old solution would be to invest more in raising gas production.  But with most developed countries adopting plans to be ‘net zero’ on carbon emissions by 2050 or earlier, the appetite for throwing billions at long-term gas projects is diminished.” The author, David Sheppard, went on to opine: “In the oil industry there are those who think a period of plus $100-a-barrel oil is on the horizon, as companies scale back investments in future supplies, while demand is expected to keep rising for most of this decade at a minimum.”  (Emphasis mine)  To which I say, precisely!  Thus, if he’s right about rising demand, as I believe he is, there is quite a collision looming between that reality and the high probability of long-term constrained supplies.  One of the most relevant and fascinating Wall Street research reports I read as I was researching the topic of what I have been referring to as “Greenflation” is from Morgan Stanley.  Its title asked the provocative question:  “With 64% of New Cars Now Electric, Why is Norway Still Using so Much Oil?”  While almost two-thirds of Norway’s new vehicle sales are EVs, a remarkable market share gain in just over a decade, the number in the US is an ultra-modest 2%.   Yet, per the Morgan Stanley piece, despite this extraordinary push into EVs, oil consumption in Norway has been stubbornly stable.  Coincidentally, that’s been the experience of the overall developed world over the past 10 years, as well; petroleum consumption has largely flatlined.  Where demand hasn’t gone horizontal is in the developing world which includes China.  As you can see from the following Cornerstone Analytics chart, China’s oil demand has vaulted by about 6 million barrels per day (bpd) since 2010 while its domestic crude output has, if anything, slightly contracted. Another coincidence is that this 6 million bpd surge in China’s appetite for oil, almost exactly matched the increase in US oil production.  Once again, think where oil prices would be today without America’s shale oil boom. This is unlikely to change over the next decade.  By 2031, there are an estimated one billion Asian consumers moving up into the middle class.  History is clear that more income means more energy consumption.  Unquestionably, renewables will provide much of that power but oil and natural gas are just as unquestionably going to play a critical role.  Underscoring that point, despite the exponential growth of renewables over the last 10 years, every fossil fuel category has seen increased usage.  Thus, even if China gets up to Norway’s 64% EV market share of new car sales over the next decade, its oil usage is likely to continue to swell.  Please be aware that China has become the world’s largest market for EVs—by far.  Despite that, the above chart vividly displays an immense increase in oil demand.  Here’s a similar factoid that I ran in our December 4th EVA, “Totally Toxic”, in which I made a strong bullish case for energy stocks (the main energy ETF is up 35% from then, by the way):  “(There was) a study by the UN and the US government based on the Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse Gasses Induced Climate Change (MAGICC).  The model predicted that ‘the complete elimination of all fossil fuels in the US immediately would only restrict any increase in world temperature by less than one tenth of one degree Celsius by 2050, and by less than one fifth of one degree Celsius by 2100.’  Say again?  If the world’s biggest carbon emitter on a per capita basis causes minimal improvement by going cold turkey on fossil fuels, are we making the right moves by allocating tens of trillions of dollars that we don’t have toward the currently in-vogue green energy solutions?” China's voracious power appetite increase has been true with all of its energy sources.  On the environmentally-friendly front, that includes renewables; on the environmentally-unfriendly side, it also includes coal.  In 2020, China added three times more coal-based power generation than all other countries combined.  This was the equivalent of an additional coal planet each week.  Globally, there was a reduction last year of 17 gigawatts in coal-fired power output; in China, the increase was 29.8 gigawatts, far more than offsetting the rest of the world’s progress in reducing the dirtiest energy source.  (A gigawatt can power a city with a population of roughly 700,000.) Overall, 70% of China’s electricity is coal-generated. This has significant environmental implications as far as electric vehicles (EVs) are concerned.  Because EVs are charged off a grid that is primarily coal- powered, carbon emissions actually rise as the number of such vehicles proliferate. As you can see in the following charts from Reuters’ energy expert John Kemp, Asia’s coal-fired generation has risen drastically in the last 20 years, even as it has receded in the rest of the world.  (The flattening recently is almost certainly due to Covid, with a sharp upward resumption nearly a given.) The worst part is that burning coal not only emits CO2—which is not a pollutant and is essential for life—it also releases vast quantities of nitrous oxide (N20), especially on the scale of coal usage seen in Asia today. N20 is unquestionably a pollutant and a greenhouse gas that is hundreds of times more potent than CO2.  (An interesting footnote is that over the last 550 million years, there have been very few times when the CO2 level has been as low, or lower, than it is today.)  Some scientists believe that one reason for the shrinkage of Arctic sea ice in recent decades is due to the prevailing winds blowing black carbon soot over from Asia.  This is a separate issue from N20 which is a colorless gas.  As the black soot covers the snow and ice fields in Northern Canada, they become more absorbent of the sun’s radiation, thus causing increased melting.  (Source:  “Weathering Climate Change” by Hugh Ross) Due to exploding energy needs in China this year, coal prices have experienced an unprecedented surge.  Despite this stunning rise, Chinese authorities have instructed its power providers to obtain coal, and other baseload energy sources, such as liquified natural gas (LNG), regardless of cost.  Notwithstanding how pricey coal has become, its usage in China was up 15% in the first half of this year vs the first half of 2019 (which was obviously not Covid impacted). Despite the polluting impact of heavy coal utilization, China is unlikely to turn away from it due to its high energy density (unlike renewables), its low cost (usually) and its abundance within its own borders (though its demand is so great that it still needs to import vast amounts).  Regarding oil, as we saw in last week’s final image, it is currently importing roughly 11 million barrels per day (bpd) to satisfy its 15 million bpd consumption (about 15% of total global demand).  In other words, crude imports amount to almost three-quarter of its needs.  At $80 oil, this totals $880 million per day or approximately $320 billion per year.  Imagine what China’s trade surplus would look like without its oil import bill! Ironically, given the current hostility between the world’s superpowers, China has an affinity for US oil because of its light and easy-to-refine nature.  China’s refineries tend to be low-grade and unable to efficiently process heavier grades of crude, unlike the US refining complex which is highly sophisticated and prefers heavy oil such as from Canada and Venezuela—back when the latter actually produced oil. Thus, China favors EVs because they can be de facto coal-powered, lessening its dangerous reliance on imported oil.  It also likes them due to the fact it controls 80% of the lithium ion battery supply and 60% of the planet’s rare earth minerals, both of which are essential to power EVs.     However, even for China, mining enough lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper, aluminum and the other essential minerals/metals to meet the ambitious goals of largely electrifying new vehicle volumes is going to be extremely daunting.  This is in addition to mass construction of wind farms and enormously expanded solar panel manufacturing. As one of the planet’s leading energy authorities Daniel Yergin writes: “With the move to electric cars, demand for critical minerals will skyrocket (lithium up 4300%, cobalt and nickel up 2500%), with an electric vehicle using 6 times more minerals than a conventional car and a wind turbine using 9 times more minerals than a gas-fueled power plant.  The resources needed for the ‘mineral-intensive energy system’ of the future are also highly concentrated in relatively few countries. Whereas the top 3 oil producers in the world are responsible for about 30 percent of total liquids production, the top 3 lithium producers control more than 80% of supply. China controls 60% of rare earths output needed for wind towers; the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 70% of the cobalt required for EV batteries.” As many have noted, the environmental impact of immensely ramping up the mining of these materials is undoubtedly going to be severe.  Michael Shellenberger, a life-long environmental activist, has been particularly vociferous in his condemnation of the dominant view that only renewables can solve the global energy needs.  He’s especially critical of how his fellow environmentalists resorted to repetitive deception, in his view, to undercut nuclear power in past decades.  By leaving nuke energy out of the solution set, he foresees a disastrous impact on the planet due to the massive scale (he’d opine, impossibly massive) of resource mining that needs to occur.  (His book, “Apocalypse Never”, is also one I highly recommend; like Dr. Koonin, he hails from the left end of the political spectrum.) Putting aside the environmental ravages of developing rare earth minerals, when you have such high and rapidly rising demand colliding with limited supply, prices are likely to go vertical.  This will be another inflationary “forcing”, a favorite term of climate scientists, caused by the Great Green Energy Transition. Moreover, EVs are very semiconductor intensive.  With semis already in seriously short supply, this is going to make a gnarly situation even gnarlier.  It’s logical to expect that there will be recurring shortages of chips over the next decade for this reason alone (not to mention the acute need for semis as the “internet of things” moves into primetime).  In several of the newsletters I’ve written in recent years, I’ve pointed out the present vulnerability of the US electric grid.  Yet, it will be essential not just to keep it from breaking down under its current load; it must be drastically enhanced, a Herculean task. For one thing, it is excruciatingly hard to install new power lines. As J.P. Morgan’s Michael Cembalest has written: “Grid expansion can be a hornet’s nest of cost, complexity and NIMBYism*, particularly in the US.”  The grid’s frailty, even under today’s demands (i.e., much less than what lies ahead as millions of EVs plug into it) is particularly obvious in California.  However, severe winter weather in 2021 exposed the grid weakness even in energy-rich Texas, which also has a generally welcoming attitude toward infrastructure upgrading and expansion. Yet it’s the Golden State, home to 40 million Americans and the fifth largest economy in the world, if it was its own country (which it occasionally acts like it wants to be), that is leading the charge to EVs and seeking to eliminate internal combustion engines (ICEs) as quickly as possible.  Even now, blackouts and brownouts are becoming increasingly common.  Seemingly convinced it must be a role model for the planet, it’s trying desperately to reduce its emissions, which are less than 1%, of the global total, at the expense of rendering its energy system more similar to a developing country.  In addition to very high electricity costs per kilowatt hour (its mild climate helps offset those), it also has gasoline prices that are 77% above the national average.  *NIMBY stands for Not In My Back Yard. While California has been a magnet for millions seeking a better life for 150 years, the cost of living is turning the tide the other way.  Unreliable and increasingly expensive energy is likely to intensify that trend.  Combined with home prices that are more than double the US median–$800,000!–California is no longer the land of milk and honey, unless, to slightly paraphrase Woody Guthrie about LA, even back in the 1940s, you’ve got a whole lot of scratch.  More and more people, seem to be scratching California off their list of livable venues.  Voters in the reliably blue state of California may become extremely restive, particularly as they look to Asia and see new coal plants being built at a fever pitch.  The data will become clear that as America keeps decarbonizing–as it has done for 30 years mostly due to the displacement of coal by gas in the US electrical system—Asia will continue to go the other way.  (By the way, electricity represents the largest share of CO2 emission at roughly 25%.)  California has always seemed to lead social trends in this country, as it is doing again with its green energy transition.  The objective is noble though, extremely ambitious, especially the timeline.  As it brings its power paradigm to the rest of America, especially its frail grid, it will be interesting to see how voters react in other states as the cost of power leaps higher and its dependability heads lower.  It’s reasonable to speculate we may be on the verge of witnessing the Californication of the US energy system.  Lest you think I’m being hyperbolic, please be aware the IEA (International Energy Agency) has estimated it will cost the planet $5 trillion per year to achieve Net Zero emissions.  This is compared to global GDP of roughly $85 trillion. According to BloombergNEF, the price tag over 30 years, could be as high as $173 trillion.  Frankly, based on the history of gigantic cost overruns on most government-sponsored major infrastructure projects, I’m inclined to take the over—way over—on these estimates. Moreover, energy consulting firm T2 and Associates, has guesstimated electrifying just the US to the extent necessary to eliminate the direct consumption of fuel (i.e., gasoline, natural gas, coal, etc.) would cost between $18 trillion and $29 trillion.  Again, taking into account how these ambitious efforts have played out in the past, I suspect $29 trillion is light.  Regardless, even $18 trillion is a stunner, despite the reality we have all gotten numb to numbers with trillions attached to them.  For perspective, the total, already terrifying, level of US federal debt is $28 trillion. Regardless, as noted last week, the probabilities of the Great Green Energy Transition happening are extremely high.  Relatedly, I believe the likelihood of the Great Greenflation is right up there with them.  As Gavekal’s Didier Darcet wrote in mid-August:  ““Nowadays, and this is a great first in history, governments will commit considerable financial resources they do not have in the extraction of very weakly concentrated energy.” ( i.e., less efficient)  “The bet is very risky, and if it fails, what next?  The modern economy would not withstand expensive energy, or worse, lack of energy.”  While I agree this an historical first, it’s definitely not great (with apologies for all the “greats”).  This is particularly not great for keeping inflation subdued, as well as for attempting to break out of the growth quagmire the Western world has been in for the last two decades.  What we are seeing in Europe right now is an extremely cautionary case study in just how disastrous the war on fossil fuels can be (shortly we will see who or what has been a behind-the-scenes participant in this conflict). Essentially, I believe, as I’ve written in past EVAs, we are entering the third energy crisis of the last 50 years.  If I’m right, it will be characterized by recurring bouts of triple-digit oil prices in the years to come.  Along with Richard Nixon taking the US off the gold standard in 1971, the high inflation of the 1970s was caused by the first two energy crises (the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo and the 1979 Iranian Revolution).  If I’m correct about this being the third, it’s coming at a most inopportune time with the US in hyper-MMT* mode. Frankly, I believe many in the corridors of power would like to see oil trade into the $100s, and natural gas into the teens, as it will help catalyze the shift to renewable energy.  But consumers are likely to have a much different reaction—potentially, a violently different reaction, as I noted last week.  The experience of the Yellow Vest protests in France (referring to the color of the vest protestors wore), are instructive in this regard.  France is a generally left-leaning country.  Despite that, a proposed fuel surtax in November 2018 to fund a renewable energy transition triggered such widespread civil unrest that French president Emmanuel Macron rescinded it the following month. *MMT stands for Modern Monetary Theory.  It holds that a government, like the US, which issues debt in its own currency can spend without concern about budgetary constraints.  If there are not enough buyers of its bonds at acceptable interest rates, that nation’s central bank (the Fed, in our case) simply acquires them with money it creates from its digital printing press.  This is what is happening today in the US.  Many economists consider this highly inflationary. The sharp and politically uncomfortable rise in US gas pump prices this summer caused the Biden administration to plead with OPEC to lift its volume quotas.  The ironic implication of that exhortation was glaringly obvious, as was the inefficiency and pollution consequences of shipping oil thousands of miles across the Atlantic.  (Oil tankers are a significant source of emissions.)  This is as opposed to utilizing domestic oil output, as well as crude from Canada (which is actually generally better suited to the US refining complex).  Beyond the pollution aspect, imported oil obviously worsens America’s massive trade deficit (which would be far more massive without the six million barrels per day of domestic oil volumes that the shale revolution has provided) and costs our nation high-paying jobs. Further, one of my other big fears is that the West is engaging in unilateral energy disarmament.  Russia and China are likely the major beneficiaries of this dangerous scenario.  Per my earlier comment about a stealth combatant in the war on fossil fuels, it may surprise you that a past NATO Secretary General* has accused Russian intelligence of avidly supporting the anti-fracking movements in Western Europe.  Russian TV has railed against fracking for years, even comparing it to pedophilia (certainly, a most bizarre analogy!).  The success of the anti-fracking movement on the Continent has essentially prevented a European version of America’s shale miracles (the UK has the potential to be a major shale gas producer).  Consequently, the European Union’s domestic natural gas production has been in a rapid decline phase for years.  Banning fracking has, of course, made Europe heavily reliant on Russian gas shipments with more than 40% of its supplies coming from Russia. This is in graphic contrast to the shale output boom in the US that has not only made us natural gas self-sufficient but also an export powerhouse of liquified natural gas (LNG).  In 2011, the Nord Stream system of pipelines running under the Baltic Sea from northern Russia began delivering gas west from northern Russia to the German coastal city of Greifswald.  For years, the Russians sought to build a parallel system with the inventive name of Nord Stream 2.  The US government opposed its approval on security grounds but the Biden administration has dropped its opposition.  It now appears Nord Stream 2 will happen, leaving Europe even more exposed to Russian coercion.  Is it possible the Russian government and the Chinese Communist Party have been secretly and aggressively supporting the anti-fossil fuel movements in America?  In my mind, it seems not only possible but probable.  In fact, I believe it is naïve not to come that conclusion.  After all, wouldn’t it be in both of their geopolitical interests to see the US once again caught in a cycle of debilitating inflation, ensnared by the twin traps of MMT and the third energy crisis? *Per former NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasumssen:  Russia has “engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organizations—environmental organizations working against shale gas—to maintain Europe’s dependence on imported Russian gas”. Along these lines, I was shocked to listen to a recent podcast by the New Yorker magazine on the topic of “intelligent sabotage”.  This segment was an interview between the magazine’s David Remnick and a Swedish professor, Adreas Malm.  Mr. Malm is the author of a new book with the literally explosive title “How To Blow Up A Pipeline”.   Just as it sounds, he advocates detonating pipelines to inhibit fossil fuel distribution.  Mr. Remnick was clearly sympathetic to his guest but he did ask him about the impact on the poor of driving energy prices up drastically which would be the obvious ramification if his sabotage recommendations were widely followed.  Mr. Malm’s reaction was a verbal shrug of the shoulders and words to the effect that this was the price to pay to save the planet. Frankly, I am appalled that the venerable New Yorker would provide a platform for such a radical and unlawful suggestion.  In an era when people are de-platformed for often innocuous comments, it’s incredible to me this was posted and has not been pulled down.  In my mind, this reflects just how tolerant the media is of attacks on the fossil fuel industry, regardless of the deleterious impact on consumers and the global economy. Surely, there is a far better way of coping with the harmful aspects of fossil fuel-based energy than this scorched earth (literally, in the case of Mr. Malm) approach, which includes efforts to block new pipelines, shut existing ones, and severely restrict US energy production.  In America’s case, the result will be forcing us to unnecessarily and increasingly rely on overseas imports.  (For example, per the Wall Street Journal, drilling permits on federal land have crashed to 171 in August from 671 in April.  Further, the contentious $3.5 trillion “infrastructure” plan would raise royalties and fees high enough on US energy producers that it would render them globally uncompetitive.) Such actions would only aggravate what is already a severe energy shock, one that may be worse than the 1970s twin energy crises.  America has it easy compared to Europe, though, given current US policy trends, we might be in their same heavily listing energy boat soon. Solutions include fast-tracking small modular nuclear plants; encouraging the further switch from burning coal to natural gas (a trend that is, unfortunately, going the other way now, as noted above); utilizing and enhancing carbon and methane capture at the point of emission (including improving tail pipe effluent-reduction technology); enhancing pipeline integrity to inhibit methane leaks; among many other mitigation techniques that recognize the reality the global economy will be reliant on fossil fuels for many years, if not decades, to come.  If the climate change movement fails to recognize the essential nature of fossil fuels, it will almost certainly trigger a backlash that will undermine the positive change it is trying to bring about.  This is similar to what it did via its relentless assault on nuclear power which produced a frenzy of coal plant construction in the 1980s and 1990s.  On this point, it’s interesting to see how quickly Europe is re-embracing coal power to alleviate the energy poverty and rationing occurring over there right now - even before winter sets in.  When the choice is between supporting climate change initiatives on one hand and being able to heat your home and provide for your family on the other, is there really any doubt about which option the majority of voters will select? Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 19:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 26th, 2021

Investing In America’s New Electric Power Grid

For weekend reading, while commenting on investing in America’s new electric power grid, Louis Navellier offers the following commentary: Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Electricity Demand To Double If We Shift All Transport To Electric This past weekend, MarketWatch ran an article titled “Tesla’s Musk Says U.S. Electric Production Needs to Double to […] For weekend reading, while commenting on investing in America’s new electric power grid, Louis Navellier offers the following commentary: if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Electricity Demand To Double If We Shift All Transport To Electric This past weekend, MarketWatch ran an article titled “Tesla’s Musk Says U.S. Electric Production Needs to Double to Power Transition to EV Vehicles” (October 3, 2021). At CodeCon, a conference held at the Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills, Musk said, “If we shift all transport to electric, then electricity demand approximately doubles… this is going to create a lot of challenges with the grid.” The article laid out some key facts that are compelling, like: “Today, there are about 276 million cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles on U.S. roads. About 1% of them are all-electric.” So far, most of the attention in green transportation is paid towards companies manufacturing EV vehicles and to battery manufacturers, but there is little attention paid to how transforming the transportation industry from internal combustion engines to electricity will stress the existing electric grid. If EV proponents get their way – starting with 50% of all new sales in the U.S. being all-electric by 2030 – the number of all-electric vehicles will be roughly 15% of vehicles on the road, implying it will take the better part of a generation to convert the majority of gas and diesel-powered vehicles to electric power. The U.S. consumes roughly 19 million barrels of oil per day. That’s seven billion barrels per year. About 40% or 50% of these barrels are used to power cars, according to BP’s annual energy report. Considering the massive changeover required, the idea that renewables will generate the majority of America’s electric power by 2035, as the Biden administration states, is just fanciful thinking. The Energy Crisis The current energy crisis was brought on by President Biden and the green lobby, which have failed miserably to manage the transition to renewables in an intelligent way. A year ago, the U.S. was energy independent, but recently Biden was on the phone with OPEC begging them to increase production because of all the curbs being placed on the domestic oil and gas industry. No wonder CEOs of U.S. energy producers are bristling as crude oil prices continue to climb to seven-year highs. The Energy Information Agency (EIA) reported in July that electricity demand is growing faster than renewables, driving strong demand for fossil fuels. “Renewable power is growing impressively in many parts of the world, but it still isn’t where it needs to be to put us on a path to reaching net-zero emissions by mid-century,” said Keisuke Sadamori, IEA’s Director of Energy Markets and Security. “As economies rebound, we’ve seen a surge in electricity generation from fossil fuels. To shift to a sustainable trajectory, we need to massively step-up investment in clean energy – especially renewables and energy efficiency.” The electrification of America by renewables is a generational task, where the largest utility companies will still be the primary providers of power to homes and businesses, requiring expansion of green power plants and distribution networks. To this end, the market might warm back up to the utility sector following a sharp pullback during the month of September against a backdrop of rising bond yields. Quite simply, if Musk is right, and he probably is, then a case for accelerating sales and earnings growth can be made for the utility sector, as gas stations close – or convert to charging stations with coffee bars while customers wait 20 minutes for a full charge. It’s going to be a new growth phase for the nation’s utility sector and one that might make investible sense for what should be robust future dividend growth. XLU's Performance Currently, the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU) pays a dividend yield of 3.12% as of its closing price of $63.88 last Friday, down from its near all-time high of $70.07 on September 1. History would indicate that investors dump utilities when rates rise, but that also assumes the transportation industry isn’t going through a gigantic transformational change, requiring massive new electrical output. XLU has grown its dividend payout by 36% from 2012 to 2020, which is modest for what is a steady but stodgy industry and market sector. Here is the nearly-10-year track record (2021 data is incomplete): However, if the sector is about to experience a long runway of faster growth, the current selling pressure could test the $57-$59 area (if the 10-year Treasury challenges 2.0%) creating a place to give XLU a look. Federal Government Spending It is hard to imagine the Fed letting Treasury yields get too elevated before they would go on a bond-buying binge to tamp down rates. Here’s why. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) states that, “The federal government spends more on interest than on science/space/technology, transportation and education combined. This cost will worsen dramatically if interest rates rise. Each one percent rise in the interest rate would increase FY 2021 interest spending by roughly $225 billion at today’s debt levels. The U.S. national debt stands at $28.8 trillion as of October 1, 2021.” How this federal spending and debt service gets settled is a moving target of unknown factors. It seems that no career politician wants to address reducing the debt or ask Fed Chair Powell what higher rates mean to carrying this debt load. The Fed alone has exploded its balance sheet to $8.4 trillion from $3.7 trillion in the past two years, so interest rate manipulation is probably in store if yields rise much further. What is known is that the power grid has to grow rapidly to manage the future surge in electrical demand. This argues for the nation’s utilities as sound investments, the timing of which may depend on when bond yields plateau. That might sound futuristic now, but in a couple of years, it might look rather savvy. Navellier & Associates does own Tesla (TSLA), for one client, per client request, in managed accounts. Updated on Oct 8, 2021, 5:21 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 8th, 2021

How to Invest in Companies That Are Actually Helping the Environment

ESG funds—investment funds that are supposed to include companies that score the highest marks in environmental, social and governance factors—have become increasingly popular as more people look to put their money where their environmental concerns are. When BlackRock debuted a new ESG-aligned fund in April, investors couldn’t get enough. They poured $1.25 billion into the… ESG funds—investment funds that are supposed to include companies that score the highest marks in environmental, social and governance factors—have become increasingly popular as more people look to put their money where their environmental concerns are. When BlackRock debuted a new ESG-aligned fund in April, investors couldn’t get enough. They poured $1.25 billion into the U.S. Carbon Transition Readiness ETF (stock ticker LCTU) on its first day. No ESG fund, or any type of exchange-traded fund (ETF) for that matter, had ever received that much investment so quickly. But this wasn’t entirely a feel good story about investors betting on a more environmentally-sound future. BlackRock’s ETF included the pipeline company Kinder Morgan and oil and gas companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] It wasn’t all that unusual for an ESG. The story of LCTU and the companies within it is representative of both the immense popularity and the confusing and controversial nature of ESG funds. The amount handled by money managers in these funds has risen from roughly $569 billion in 2010 to $16.5 trillion last year, according to the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment. Yet ESG funds have risen to prominence without much regulation or requirements from the SEC, which has only recently started to develop a framework for handling ESG funds. So a company’s presence in an ESG fund does not guarantee it is a top steward of the environment, just as a fund being billed as an ESG does not guarantee it is filled with environmentally sound companies. “There’s a fundamental problem, which is the SEC allows you to name funds that don’t necessarily reflect what’s inside the fund,” said Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow, a nonprofit shareholder advocacy group. So how can you tell whether you’re truly making a sustainable, green investment? TIME spoke with a variety of investment fund managers and presidents to get a sense of how they operate. Here’s a guide to help you learn the different ways various funds define ESG, how companies get vetted, and which companies are reaching the highest standards. The limits of ESG funds ESG generally entails “investing in the best of everything,” according to Leslie Samuelrich, president of Green Century Funds. Asset managers attempt to package a few dozen companies that rate better than their peers in various characteristics, ranging from greenhouse gas emissions to environmental racism, and have trustworthy corporate governance. Many funds use ESG ratings from MSCI to make determinations. ESG does not automatically mean certain types of companies are excluded even if, Samuelrich adds, they are “what you would sort of think of as ‘oh those are dangerous companies.’” That’s why companies like ExxonMobil, which engages in activities like flaring and emits loads of greenhouse gases but is working to reduce its carbon footprint, can be found in BlackRock’s LCTU fund. BlackRock has specific funds that eliminate fossil fuel companies, but its general ESG-aligned funds contain fossil fuel companies it believes will most benefit from a transition to a low carbon economy. Funds with ESG or sustainability in the name from State Street, Fidelity, Vanguard, and other asset managers, also feature fossil fuel companies or utilities powered by fossil fuels. It’s up to the asset managers to determine whether they want to screen out companies involved in fossil fuels, tobacco, guns, or other investment areas generally considered harmful to people or the environment. Green Century Funds, for instance, does not allow any fossil fuel companies in its funds, and Trillium Asset Management and Parnassus Investments have the same prohibition. While ESG funds are based on relativity, Matthew Patsky, CEO and lead portfolio manager of Trillium, doesn’t believe companies like ExxonMobil and Occidental Petroleum should ever be included in funds billed as being good for the environment, regardless of how they stack up against competitors. “The small independent is likely the dirtiest,” Matt said. “ExxonMobil is going to be cleaner than that.” But, he added, “You can see they funded more of the misinformation campaign to declare that climate change was a hoax than any other corporate entity globally. Well, for me, that’s a non-starter. I don’t want to ever see it in a portfolio.” How companies get vetted by ESG fund managers Although standards for environmental care differ across industries, there are a few benchmarks ESG fund managers typically consider when vetting companies for the environment. For carbon emissions, for instance, they seek companies that have science based targets vetted by outside experts. They look for absolute goals because relative goals — such as reducing emissions on a per customer basis — don’t give a full picture. And when it comes to net zero emissions promises, Julie Gorte, senior vice president for sustainable investing at Impax Asset Management, says there is “a ton of fairy dust,” referring to companies that claim they will eliminate carbon based on technologies that don’t exist yet. Gorte says companies that are the most serious about reducing emissions lay out specific plans for cutting not just their own direct and indirect emissions but for emissions created by other companies along its value chain, which are known as Scope 3 emissions. “And if a target doesn’t say that then they’re probably just blowing smoke and hoping no one will notice,” Gorte said. Gorte added that emission reductions were most important for a company trying to reach net zero, before carbon offsets, which can sometimes be used as a cover for keeping harmful environmental practices. Fund managers typically delve deeper than the numbers available on public reports. Before Parnassus invested in Digital Realty Trust, director of research Lori Keith visited some of their data centers with a few of her colleagues. The company, which has around 300 data centers worldwide, has set the goal of reducing its direct and indirect emissions by 68% by 2030 and increased their usage of renewable energy. At the data centers, Keith inspected Digital Realty Trust’s operations for herself and interviewed executives and frontline employees to validate whether the company was truly making progress and came away satisfied. “Those (visits and interviews) are really important for us to make sure that anything that they’re putting out there is of serious intent and that they are genuinely moving towards those targets,” said Keith, who is also portfolio manager of Parnassus’s $8 billion Mid Cap Fund. At Vanguard, Yolanda Courtines, portfolio manager of the Vanguard Global ESG Select Stock Fund, says she tries to meet with the executive team and board of every company on her fund at least once a year and sometimes five or six times. “It’s asking simple questions. ‘Are you working with your supply chain? How are you helping them reduce their environmental footprint? Are you putting solar panels on the roofs of your suppliers?,’” she said. “That’s the sort of questioning level that you kind of really want to get into to understand what’s happening.” Relying purely on data, according to Patsky, does not always provide an adequate portrayal of a company. And he admits that Trillium’s vetting process, which involves everything from talking to current and former employees to checking with NGOs familiar with companies’ labor conditions in China, still can’t uncover everything. “I don’t want to lead you to believe that we have perfect insight, because if we had perfect insight, we’d have the equivalent of inside information that we don’t,” Patsky said. The companies that stand out to fund managers There are no perfect companies in ESG funds, either. Fund managers think of them as leaders and laggards, with plenty of space in the middle. Investors who are conscious about the environment will likely find their best choices in leaders who are making environmental gains beyond most of their peers but still have flaws. Behar, the CEO of As You Sow, gave Kellogg’s as an example of a leader on the food supply chain. Like most companies, it used wheat and oat crops that had been treated with the herbicide glyphosate, a known carcinogen. After being pressured by lawsuits and activists that included As You Sow, Kellogg’s made a plan in 2020 to phase out glyphosate by 2025. Companies like General Mills and PepsiCo have also recently made regenerative agriculture plans. “A company like Kellogg’s is being a leader. General Mills is also being a leader,” Behar said. “And now the whole industry has to follow because of competitive pressure.” Courtines highlights Michelin, the tire company. “That’s a tough industry to be in,” she said, “but they are very, very responsible owners of managing the rubber supply chain and in helping build the tires that are going to be the best tires for electric vehicles that will help reduce carbon footprint on the roads in the future.” Two companies that came up in conversations with multiple fund managers were Microsoft and Google. Both are already carbon neutral. Google has eliminated legacy carbon, and Microsoft has a plan to do the same by 2050. “Their initiative is to remove everything that they’ve emitted since they started, and hopefully that leads to other companies taking a similar approach,” said Iyassu Essayas, director of ESG at Parnassus. But, as Patsky points out, Google is being investigated for anti competitive practices. Still, he believes its environmental record outweighs those concerns enough to include in Trillium’s funds, highlighting Google’s 100% usage of renewable energy and even its purchase of the smart thermostat company Nest. “That’s just one of their many products, but it’s one of the products where I’m like, ‘All right, that’s just brilliant,’” he said. “It’s like a self learning device that’s trying to improve environmental outcomes by moving people toward recognizing that they can be comfortable with the temperature being a little warmer in the summer and colder in the winter.” How to examine companies and ESG funds yourself Retail investors can investigate specific funds by reading through their prospectuses. Of course, that involves lots of fine print. As You Sow has an online tool that provides more digestible information on where dozens of ESG funds stand on fossil fuels, guns, gender equality, and other issues. To study individual companies, fund managers recommend average investors research annual sustainability reports, which you can usually find by searching the internet for a company’s name and “sustainability report.” Companies with legitimate environmental progress will have reports with absolute goals and statistics and not just anecdotes. (Look for concrete numbers with specific deadlines.) Average investors could also check whether the corporate governance structure has enough people concerned with the environment, by searching for whether board members and upper level executives have ever talked about prioritizing the environment or come from previous jobs and companies concerned with the environment. It can get complicated, so Samuelrich, from Green Century, recommends investors first consider a company’s core business. “What is the company sort of set up to do, and is it doing something this harmful? Is it doing something that’s neutral? Or is it doing something that’s inherently positive?” Samuelrich said. From there she said investors should hone in on one or two issues most important to them and search for information in news articles or on companies’ websites and in their sustainability reports. “What you’re looking for is things like, are they trying to reduce their carbon emissions? Do they say that on their website? Are they trying to reduce their plastics use? Are they trying to minimize their water use? Do they have a policy around supply chain labor standards, for example?…Do they have women or people from diverse backgrounds on their board?”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 5th, 2021

The "Great Game" Moves On

The 'Great Game' Moves On Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, Following America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, her focus has switched to the Pacific with the establishment of a joint Australian and UK naval partnership. The founder of modern geopolitical theory, Halford Mackinder, had something to say about this in his last paper, written for the Council on Foreign Relations in 1943. Mackinder anticipated this development, though the actors and their roles at that time were different. In particular, he foresaw the economic emergence of China and India and the importance of the Pacific region. This article discusses the current situation in Mackinder’s context, taking in the consequences of green energy, the importance of trade in the Pacific region, and China’s current deflationary strategy relative to that of declining western powers aggressively pursuing asset inflation. There is little doubt that the world is rebalancing as Mackinder described nearly eighty years ago. To appreciate it we must look beyond the West’s current economic and monetary difficulties and the loss of its hegemony over Asia, and particularly note the improving conditions of the Asia’s most populous nations. Introduction Following NATO’s defeat in the heart of Asia, and with Afghanistan now under the Taliban’s rule, the Chinese/Russian axis now controls the Asian continental mass. Asian nations not directly related to its joint hegemony (not being members, associates, or dialog partners of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) are increasingly dependent upon it for trade and technology. Sub-Saharan Africa is in its sphere of influence. The reality for America is that the total population in or associated with the SCO is 57% of the world population. And America’s grip on its European allies is slipping. NATO itself has become less relevant, with Turkey drawn towards the rival Asian axis, and its EU members are compromised through trading and energy links with Russia and China. Furthermore, France is pushing the EU towards establishing its own army independent of US-led NATO — quite what its role will be, other than political puffery for France is a mystery. It is against this background that three of the Five Eyes intelligence partnership have formed AUKUS – standing for Australia, UK, and US — and its first agreement is to give Australia a nuclear submarine capability to strengthen the partnership’s naval power in the Pacific. Other capabilities, chiefly aimed at containing the Chinese threat to Taiwan and other allies in the Pacific Ocean, will surely emerge in due course. The other two Five Eyes, Canada and New Zealand, appear to be less keen to confront China. But perhaps they will also have less obvious roles in due course beyond pure intelligence gathering. The US, under President Trump, had failed to contain China’s increasing economic dominance and its rapidly developing technological challenge to American supremacy. Trump’s one success was to peel off the UK from its Cameron/Osbourne policy of strengthening trade and financial ties with China by threatening the UK’s important role in its intelligence partnership with the US. For the UK, the challenge came at a critical time. Brexit had happened, and the UK needed global partners for its future trade and geopolitical strategies, the latter needed to cement its re-emergence onto the world stage following Brexit. Trump held out the carrot of a fast-tracked US/UK trade deal. The Swiss alternative of neutrality in international affairs is not in the UK’s DNA, so realistically the decision was a no-brainer: the UK had to recommit itself entirely to the Anglo-Saxon Five-Eyes partnership with the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and turn its back on China. But gathering intelligence and building naval power in the Pacific won’t defeat the Chinese. All simulations show that the US, with or without AUKUS, cannot win a military conflict against China. But AUKUS is not a formal model on NATO lines which commits its members by treaty to aggression against a common enemy. While Taiwan remains a specific problem, the objective is almost certainly to discourage China from territorial expansion and protect and give other Pacific nations on the Asian periphery the security to be independent from the SCO behemoth. The trade benefits of closer relationships with these independent nations are also an additional reason for the UK to join the CPTPP — the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It qualifies for membership through its sovereignty over the Pitcairn Islands. And that is why China has also applied to join. Therefore, AUKUS’s importance is in the signal sent to China and the whole Pacific region, following the abandonment of land-based operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The maritime threat to China is a line which must not be crossed. We are entering a new era in the Great Game, where the objective has changed from dominance to containment. Having lost its position of ultimate control in the Eurasian land mass America has selected its partners to retain control over the high seas. And the UK has found a new geopolitical purpose, re-establishing a global role now that it is independent from the EU. The French cannot join the CPTPP being bound into the common trade policies of the EU. Seeing the British escape the strictures of the EU and rapidly obtain more global influence than France could dream of has touched a raw nerve. Mackinder vindicated The father of geopolitics, Halford Mackinder, is frequently quoted and his theories are still relevant to the current situation. Much has been written about Mackinder’s prophecies. His concept of the World Island was first mentioned in his 1904 presentation to the Royal Geographic Society in London: “a pivot state, resulting in its expansion over the marginal lands of Euro-Asia”. In 1943 he updated his views in an article for the Council on Foreign Relations, adding to his heartland theory. Written during the Second World War, his commentary reflected the combatants and their positions at that time. But despite this, he made a perceptive comment relative to the situation today and AUKUS: “Were the Chinese for instance organised by the Japanese to overthrow the Russian Empire and conquer its territory they might constitute the yellow peril to the world’s freedom just because they would add an oceanic frontage to the resources of the great continent.” When Mackinder wrote his article the Japanese had already invaded Manchuria, but their subsequent defeat removed them from an active geopolitical role, and in place of a Soviet defeat China has entered a peaceful partnership with Russia that extends to all its old Central Asian soviet satellites. It is the focus on the ocean frontage that matters, upon which the maritime silk road depends. The article brings into play another aspect mentioned by Mackinder, and that is the Heartland’s tremendous natural resources, “…including enough coal in the Kuznetsk and Krasnoyarsk basins capable of supplying the requirements of the whole world for 300 years”. And: “In 1938 Russia produced more of the following food stuffs than any other country in the world: wheat, barley, oats, rye, and sugar beets. More manganese was produced in Russia than in any other country. It was bracketed with United States in the first place as regards iron and it stood second place in production of petroleum”. Through its partnership with Russia all these latent resources are available to the Chinese and Russian partnership. And the real potential for industrialisation, held back by communism and now by Russian corruption, has barely commenced. After presciently noting that one day the Sahara may become the trap for capturing direct power from the sun (foreseeing solar panels), Mackinder’s article ended on an optimistic note: “A thousand million people of ancient oriental civilisation inhabit the monsoon lands of India and China [today 3 billion, including Pakistan]. They must grow to prosperity in the same years in which Germany and Japan are being tamed to civilisation. They will then balance that other thousand million who live between the Missouri and the Yenisei [i.e., Central and Eastern America, Britain, Europe and Russia beyond the Urals]. A balanced globe of human beings and happy because balanced and thus free.” Both China and now India are rapidly industrialising, becoming part of a balanced globe of humanity. While the West tries to hang on to what it has got rather than progressing, China and India along with all of under-developed Asia are moving rapidly in the direction of individual freedom of economic choice and improvements in living conditions, to which Mackinder was referring. Obviously, there is some way for this process yet to go, displacing western hegemony in the process. America particularly has found the political challenges of change difficult, with its deep state unable to come to terms easily with the implications for its military and economic power. We must hope that Mackinder was right, and the shift of economic power is best to be regarded as the pains of geopolitical evolution rather than conditions for escalating conflict. But in pursuing its green agenda and eschewing carbon fuels, the West is unwittingly handing a gift to Mackinder’s Heartland, because despite diplomatic noises to the contrary China, India and all the SCO membership will continue to use cheap coal, gas, and oil which Asia has in abundance while Western manufacturers are forced by their governments to use expensive and less reliable green energy. Green obsessions and global trade Meanwhile, the West has gone green-crazy. Banning fossil fuels without there being adequate replacements must be a new definition of insanity, for which the current fuel crises in Europe attest. With over 95% of European logistics currently being shifted by diesel power, switching to battery power or hydrogen by 2030 by banning sales of new internal combustion engine vehicles is a hostage to fortune. While it is hardly mentioned, presumably the Western powers think that by banning carbon fuels they will take the wind out of Russia’s energy quasi-monopoly, because including gas Russia is the largest exporter of fossil fuels in the world. Instead, the West is creating an energy shortage for itself, a point driven home by Gazprom withholding gas flows through its pipelines to Europe, thereby driving up Europe’s energy costs sharply and ensuring a far more severe energy crisis this winter. Even if Russia turns on the taps tomorrow, there is insufficient gas storage in reserve for the winter months. And Europe and the UK have got ahead of themselves by decommissioning coal and gas-fired electricity. In the UK, a massive undersea gas storage facility off the Yorkshire coast has been closed, leaving precious little national storage capacity. As we have seen with the post-covid supply chain chaos, energy problems will not only become acute this winter, but are likely to persist through much of next year. And even that assumes Russia relents and moderates its energy stance to European customers. By way of contrast, though its partnership with Russia China is gifted unlimited access to all carbon fuels. She is still building coal-fired electricity power stations at an extraordinary rate — according to a BBC report there are 61 new ones being commissioned. A further 51 outside China are planned. As a sop to the West China has only said she won’t finance any more outside her territory. And India relies on coal for over two-thirds of its electrical energy. While Europe and America through their green obsessions are denying themselves the availability and technologies that go with carbon fuels, the Russian/Chinese axis will continue to reap the full benefits. The West’s response is likely to be to decry Chinese pollution and its contribution to global warming, but realistically there is little it can do. Demand for Chinese-manufactured goods will continue because China now has a quasi-monopoly on global manufacturing for export. In the unlikely event western consumers become avid savers while their governments continue to run massive budget deficits, their trade deficits will rise even more, allowing Chinese exporters to increase prices for consumers and intermediate goods without losing export sales. While there is nothing it can do about China’s production methods, AUKUS members will undoubtedly lean on other exporting CPTPP members to comply with global green policies. But they will be competing with China, and while they may pay lip service to the climate change agenda, in practice they are unlikely to implement it without holding out for unrealistic subsidies from the western nations driving the climate change agenda. Under current circumstances, it seems unlikely that China’s CPTPP application will lead to membership, given the CPTPP requirement for China’s central government to relinquish ownership of its SOEs and to permit the free flow of data across its borders. In any event, China is focused on developing its Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement with ratification signed so far by China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. It will come into effect when ratified by ten out of the fifteen signatories, likely to be in the first half of 2022, and in terms of population will be two and a half times the size of the EU and the US/Mexico/Canada (USMCA) trade agreements combined. With four out of five of the signatories being American allies, RCEP demonstrates that the AUKUS defence partnership is an entirely separate issue from trade. While the US may not like it, if RCEP goes ahead freer trade will almost certainly undermine a belligerent stance in due course. Despite hiccups, the progression of trade dealing in the Pacific region promises to prove Mackinder right about the prospect of a more balanced world. All being well and guaranteed by a balance of naval capabilities between AUKUS and China, a free-trading Pacific region will render the European and American trade protectionist policies an anachronism. But the threat is now from another direction: financial instability, with western nations pulling in one direction and China in another. Since the Lehman collapse and the ensuing financial crisis, China has been careful to prevent financial bubbles. Figure 1 shows that the Shanghai Composite Index has risen 82% since 2008, while the S&P500 rose 430%. While the US has seen financial asset values driven by a combination of QE and investor speculation, these factors are absent and discouraged in China. Government debt to GDP is about half that of the US. It is true that industrial debt is high, like that of the US. But the difference is that in China debt is more productive while in America there has been a growing preponderance of debt zombies, only kept solvent by zero interest rate policies. China’s policy of ensuring that the expansion of bank credit is invested in production and not speculation differs fundamentally from the US approach, which is to deliberately inflate financial assets to perpetuate a wealth effect. China avoids the destabilising potential of speculative flows unwinding because it lays the economy open to the possibility that America will use financial instability to undermine China’s economy. In a speech to the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee in April 2015, Major-General Qiao Liang, the People’s Liberation Army strategist, identified a cycle of dollar weakness against other currencies followed by strength, which first inflated debt in foreign countries and then bankrupted them. Qiao argued it was a deliberate American policy and would be used against China. In his words, it was time for America to “harvest” China. Drawing on Chinese intelligence reports, in early 2014 he was made aware of American involvement in the “Occupy Central” movement in Hong Kong. After several delays, the Fed announced the end of QE the following September which drove the dollar higher, and “Occupy Central” protests broke out the following month. To Qiao the two events were connected. By undermining the dollar/yuan rate and provoking riots, the Americans had tried to crash China’s economy. Within six months the Shanghai stock market began to collapse with the SSE Composite Index falling from 5,160 to 3,050 between June and September 2015. One cannot know for certain if Qiao’s analysis was correct, but one can understand the Chinese leadership’s continued caution based upon it. For this and other reasons, the Chinese leadership is extremely wary of having dollar liabilities and the accumulation of unproductive, speculative money in the economy. It justifies their strict exchange control regime, whereby dollars are not permitted to circulate in China, and all inward capital flows are turned into yuan by the PBOC. Furthermore, domestic monetary policy appears deliberately different from that of America and other western nations. While everyone else has been inflating their way through covid, China has been restricting domestic credit expansion and curtailing shadow banking. The discount rate is held up at 2.9% with market rates slightly lower at 2.2%, and the only reason it is that low is because alternative dollar rates are at zero and EU and Japanese rates are negative. It is this restrictive monetary policy that has led to the current crisis in property developers, with the very public difficulties of Evergrande. Far from being a surprise event, with cautious monetary policies it could have been easily foreseen. Moreover, the government has a sensible policy of not rescuing private sector businesses in trouble, though it is likely to take steps to limit financial contagion. In their glass houses, Western critics continually throw stones at China. But at least her policy makers have attempted to avoid contributing to the global inflation cycle. With prices beginning to rise at an accelerating pace in western currencies, a new global financial crash is in the making. China and her SCO cohort would be adversely affected, but not to the same extent. The fruits of China’s policies of restricting credit expansion are showing in the commodity prices she pays, which in her own currency have increased by ten per cent less than for dollar-based competition, judging by the exchange rate movements since the Fed reduced its funds rate to the zero bound and instigated monthly QE of $120bn on 19-23 March 2020 (see Figure 2). And while both currencies have moved broadly sideways since January, there is little doubt that the fundamentals point to an even stronger yuan and weaker dollar. The domestic benefits of a relatively stronger yuan outweigh the margin compression suffered by China’s exporters. It is worth noting that as well as moderating credit demand, China is attempting to increase domestic consumer spending at the expense of the savings rate, so consumer demand will begin to matter more than exports to producers. It is in line with a long-term objective of China becoming less dependent on exports, and exporters will benefit from domestic sales growth instead. Furthermore, with China dominating global exports of intermediate and consumer goods and while western budget deficits are increasing and leading to yet greater trade deficits, Chinese exporters should be able to secure higher prices anyway. There can be little doubt that the budget deficits financed by monetary inflation in America, the EU, Japan and the UK, plus central bank stimulus packages are now undermining the purchasing power of all the major currencies. The consequences for their purchasing powers are now becoming apparent and attempts to calm markets and consumers by describing them as transient cuts little ice. In terms of their purchasing powers, these currencies are now in a race to the bottom. Not only are the costs of production rising sharply, but following a brief pause of three months, commodity and energy prices look set to rise sharply. Figure 3 shows the Invesco commodity tracker, which having almost doubled since March 2020 now appears to be attempting a break out on the upside. Since global competitiveness is no longer a priority, China would be sensible to let its yuan exchange rate rise against western currencies to help keep a lid on domestic prices and costs. It is, after all, a savings driven economy, with the sustainable characteristics of a strong currency relative to the dollar. Conclusions Having failed in their land-based military objectives, America’s undeclared tariff and financial wars against China are also coming to an end, to be replaced by a policy of maritime containment through the AUKUS partnership. Attempts to stem strategic losses in Asia have now ended with the withdrawal from Afghanistan and from other interventions.The change in geopolitical policy is not yet widely appreciated. But the parlous state of US finances, dollar market bubbles, persistent and increasing price inflation and the inevitability of interest rate increases will make a policy backstop of maritime containment the only geostrategic option left to America. By pursuing more cautious monetary policies, China is less exposed to the inevitable consequences of global monetary inflation. While yuan currency rates are managed instead of set by markets, it is now in China’s interest to see a stronger yuan to contain domestic price and cost inflation. Even though fiat currencies could be destroyed by imploding asset bubbles, these factors contribute to a set of circumstances that appear to lead to a more peaceable outcome for the world than appeared likely before America and NATO withdrew from Afghanistan. There’s many a slip between cup and lip; but it was an outcome forecast by Halford Mackinder nearly eighty years ago. Let us hope he was right. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 08:10.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 26th, 2021

Stellantis (STLA) Inks Deal With Vulcan on Lithium Supply

The agreement with Vulcan demonstrates Stellantis' (STLA) efforts to achieve its carbon-neutrality goals in a sustainable manner. Stellantis STLA recently inked a five-year deal with lithium developer Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd to supply battery-grade lithium hydroxide in Europe.Per the agreement, Vulcan will supply between 81,000 and 99,000 metric tons of lithium hydroxide to Stellantis for use in electric vehicles (EVs) during the five-year tenure of the deal. Shipments are scheduled to begin in 2026. Financial details of the agreement are yet to be disclosed.Australia-listed Vulcan aims to accelerate the transition to electric mobility through its World’s first Zero Carbon Lithium project for EV batteries and its renewable energy business. Vulcan’s Zero Carbon Lithium business in the Upper Rhine Valley in Germany uses the direct lithium extraction method that requires no evaporation ponds, mining or fossil fuels and creates battery-quality lithium hydroxide from brine with zero carbon footprint.The latest deal is a win for both Stellantis and Vulcan as both are ecstatic to join the forces to achieve their shared sustainability and decarbonization ambitions.For Vulcan, the deal with Stellantis is in sync with its mission to decarbonize the lithium-ion battery and EV supply chain. Further, the proximity of its location to Stellantis’ European gigafactories will also aid the company in reducing the transport distance of lithium chemicals, in line with the intentions of the Vulcan Zero Carbon Lithium project.For Stellantis, the latest agreement demonstrates its efforts to achieve its carbon-neutrality goals in a sustainable manner and forms part of its long-term electrification strategy, per which the automaker has committed to invest more than 30 billion euros ($35.54 billion) by 2025 in software development and electrification of its vehicle lineup, aiming to be 30% more efficient than the industry with respect to its total capex and R&D expenses. The commitment marks a historic step for STLA to bring together and electrify 14 brands under one roof. Further, Stellantis aspires to transit more than 70% of its vehicle sales in Europe and more than 40% of vehicle sales in the United States to low emission vehicles (LEV) by 2030.Stellantis currently sports a Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.EV Push by Stellantis’ PeersFord F is also committed toward its goal of providing carbon-free transportation in the upcoming years and is boosting the company’s electrification efforts to attain this target. The automaker has always been at the forefront of the automotive revolution and is focused on its vision of an all-electric future, including fifth-generation lithium-ion batteries and preparing for the transition to solid-state batteries, which warrant longer ranges, reduced costs and safer EVs for customers.Ford has committed to invest more than $30 billion by 2025 for the electrification of its commercial and retail fleet by capitalizing on its strength, starting with the EV versions of the company’s most popular models. F recently announced its plans of investing $11.4 billion for building two new environmental-friendly and technologically-advanced campuses in Tennessee and Kentucky that will produce next-generation electric F-Series trucks and batteries to power the future electric Ford and Lincoln vehicles.General Motors’ GM big push toward EVs is also commendable. The automaker has committed to invest $35 billion to EVs and autonomous vehicles by the end of 2025, marking a 75% jump from its initial $20-billion plan. At the heart of this strategy lies the automaker’s Ultium battery platform, which will power everything from mass market to high-performance vehicles. The company is also moving ahead with the construction of two U.S-based Ultium battery cell plants along with the battery cell plants currently under construction in Tennessee and Ohio.In October, General Motors also announced plans to invest in the next-generation battery facility – Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center – that will significantly expand GM's battery technology operations and boost the development of longer range and more affordable EV batteries. Tech IPOs With Massive Profit Potential: Last years top IPOs surged as much as 299% within the first two months. With record amounts of cash flooding into IPOs and a record-setting stock market, this year could be even more lucrative. See Zacks’ Hottest Tech IPOs Now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Ford Motor Company (F): Free Stock Analysis Report General Motors Company (GM): Free Stock Analysis Report Stellantis N.V. (STLA): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 30th, 2021

Transcript: Edwin Conway

   The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Edwin Conway, BlackRock Alternative Investors, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS:… Read More The post Transcript: Edwin Conway appeared first on The Big Picture.    The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Edwin Conway, BlackRock Alternative Investors, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, man, I have an extra special guest. Edwin Conway runs all of alternatives for BlackRocks. His title is Global Head of Alternative Investors and he covers everything from structured credit to real estate hedge funds to you name it. The group runs over $300 billion and he has been a driving force into making this a substantial portion of Blackrock’s $9 trillion in total assets. The opportunity set that exists for alternatives even for a firm like Blackrock that specializes in public markets is potentially huge and Blackrock wants a big piece of it. I found this conversation to be absolutely fascinating and I think you will also. So with no further ado, my conversation with Blackrock’s Head of Alternatives, Edwin Conway. MALE VOICEOVER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: My extra special guest this week is Edwin Conway. He is the Global Head of Blackrock’s Alternative Investors which runs about $300 billion in assets. He is a team of over 1,100 professionals to help him manage those assets. Blackrock’s Global alternatives include businesses that cover real estate infrastructure, hedge funds private equity, and credit. He is a senior managing director for BlackRock. Edwin Conway, welcome to Bloomberg. EDWIN CONWAY, GLOBAL HEAD OF ALTERNATIVE INVESTORS, BLACKROCK: Barry, thank you for having me. RITHOLTZ: So, you’ve been in the financial services industry for a long time. You were at Credit Suisse and Blackstone and now you’re at BlackRock. Tell us what the process was like breaking into the industry? CONWAY: It’s an interesting on, Barry. I grew up in a very small town in the middle of Ireland. And the breakthrough to the industry was one of more coincident as opposed to purpose. I enjoyed the game of rugby for many years and through an introduction while at the University, in University College Dublin in Ireland, had a chance to play rugby at a quite a – quite a decent level and get to know people that were across the industry. It was really through and internship and the suggestion, I’ve given my focus on business and financing things that the financial services sector may be a great place to traverse and get to know. And literally through rugby connections, been part of a good school, I had an opportunity to really understand what the service sector, in many respects, could provide to clients and became absolutely intrigued with it. And what – was it my primary ambition in life to be in the financial services sector? I can definitively say no, but through the circumstance of a game that I love to play and be part of, I was introduced to, through an internship, and actually fell in love with it. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. And alternative investments at Blackrock almost seems like a contradiction in terms. Most of us tend to think of Blackrock as the giant $9 trillion public markets firm best known for ETFs and indices. Alternatives seems to be one of the fastest-growing groups within the firm. This was $50 billion just a few years ago, it’s now over 300 billion. How has this become such a fast-growing part of BlackRock? CONWAY: When you look at the various facets which you introduced at the start, Barry, we’ve actually been an alternatives – will be of 30 years now. Now, the scale, as you know, which you can operate on the beta side of business, far surpasses that on the alpha side. For us, throughout the years, this was very much about how can we deliver investment excellence to our clients and performance? Therefore, going an opportunity somewhere else to explore an alpha opportunity in alternatives. And I think being so connected to our clients understanding, that this pivots was absolutely taking place at only 30 years ago but in a very pronounced way today, you know, we continue to invest in this business to support those ambitions. They’re clearly seeing this as the world of going through a tremendous amount of transformation and with some of the challenges, quite frankly, in the traditional asset classes, being able to leverage at BlackRock, the Blackrock muscle to really explore these alpha opportunities across the various alternative asset classes that in our mind wasn’t imperative. And the imperative, really, is from the firm’s perspective and if you look at our purpose, it’s to serve the client. So the need was coming from them. The necessity to have alternatives and their whole portfolio was very – was very much growing in prominence. And it’s taken us 30 years to build this journey and I think, Barry, quite frankly, we’re far from being done. As you look at the industry, the demand is going to continue to grow. So, I think you could expect to see from us a continued investment in the space because we don’t believe you can live without alternatives in today’s world. RITHOLTZ: That’s really – that’s really interesting. So let’s dive a little deeper into the product strategy for alternatives which you are responsible for at BlackRock. Our audiences is filled with potential investors. Tell them a little bit about what that strategy is. CONWAY: So we’re – I think as you mentioned, we’re in excess of 300 billion today and when we started this business, it was less about building a moat around private equity or real estate. I think Larry Fink’s and Rob Kapito’s vision was how do we build a platform to allow us to be relevant to our clients across the various alternative asset classes but also within the – within the confines of what they are permitted to do on a year-by-year basis. So, to always be relevant irrespective of where they are in their journey from respect of liabilities, demand for liquidity, demand for returns, so we took a different approach. I think, Barry, to most, it was around how do we scale into the business across, like you said, real estate equity and debt, infrastructure equity and debt. I mean, we think of that as the real assets platform of our business. Then you take our private equity capabilities both in primary investing, secondary et cetera, and then you have private credits and a very significant hedge fund platforms. So we think all of these have a real role and depending on clients liquidities and risk appetite, our goal was, to over the years, really build in to this to allow ourselves for this challenging needs that our clients have. I think as an industry, right, and over the many years alternatives have been in existence, this is been about return enhancement initially. I think, fundamentally, the changes around the receptivity to the role of alternatives in a client’s portfolio has really changed. So, we’ve watched it, Barry, from this is we’re in the pursuit of a very total return or absolute return type of an objective to now resilience in our portfolio, yield an income. And so things that probably weren’t perceived as valuable in the past because the traditional asset classes were playing a more profound role, alternatives have stepped up in – in many respects in the need to provide more than just total return. So, we’re taking the approach of how do you have a more holistic approach to this? How do we really build a global multi-alternatives capability and try to partner and I think that’s the important work for us. Try to partner with our clients in a way that we can deliver that outperformance but delivered in a way that probably our clients haven’t been used to in this industry before. Because unfortunately, as we know, it has had its challenges with regard to secrecy, transparency, and so many other aspects. We need to help the industry mature. And really that was our ambition. Put our client’s needs first, build around that and really be relevant in all aspects of what we’re doing or trying to accomplish on behalf of the people that they support and represent. RITHOLTZ: So, we’ll talk a little bit about transparency and secrecy and those sorts of things later. But right now, I have to ask what I guess is kind of an obvious question. This growth that you’ve achieved within Blackrock for nonpublic asset allocation within a portfolio, what is this coming at expense of? Are these dollars that are being moved from public assets into private assets or you just competing with other private investors? CONWAY: It’s really both. What – what you are seeing from our clients – if I take a step back, today, the institutional client community and you think about the – the retirement conundrum we’re all facing around the world. It’s such an awful challenge when you think how ill-prepared people are for that eventual stepping back from the workplace and then you know longevity is your friend, but can also be a very, very difficult thing to obviously live with if you’re not prepared for retirement. The typical pension plan today are allocating about 25 percent to 28 percent in alternatives. Predominantly private market. What they’re telling us is that’s increasing quite substantially going forward. But you know, the funding for that alpha pursue for that diversification and that yield is coming from fixed-income assets. It’s coming from equity assets. So there’s a real rebalancing that’s been taking place over the past number of years. And quite frankly, the evolution, and I think the innovation that’s taken place particularly in the past 10 years, alternatives has been really profound. So the days where you just invest in any global funds still exist. But now you can concentrate your efforts on sector exposure, industry exposures, geographic exposures, and I think the – the menu of things our clients can now have access to has just been so greatly enhanced at and the benefit is that but I think in some – in some respects, Barry, the next question is with all of those choices, how do you build the right portfolio for our client’s needs knowing that each one of our client’s needs are different? So, I would say it absolutely coming from the public side. We’re very thankful. Those that had a multiyear journey with us in the public side are now allocating capital to is now the private side to because I do think the – the industry given that change, given that it evolution and given the complexity of these private assets, our clients are looking to, quite frankly, do more with fewer managers because of the complexion of the industry and complexity that comes with it. RITHOLTZ: Quite – quite interesting. (UNKNOWN): And attention RIA’s. Are your clients asking for crypto? At interactive brokers, advisers can now offer crypto to their clients and you could trade stocks, options, futures currencies, bonds and more from the same platform. Commissions on crypto are just 12-18 basis points with no hidden spreads or markups and there are no ticket charges, custody fees, minimums platform or reporting fees. Learn more at IBKR.com/RIA crypto. RITHOLTZ: And I – it’s pretty easy to see why large institutions might be rotating away from things like treasuries or tips because there’s just no yield there. Are you seeing inflows coming in from the public equity side also? The markets put together a pretty good string of years. CONWAY: Yes. It absolutely has. And many respects, I think, we’ve had a multiyear where there was big questions around the alpha that can be generated, for example, from active equities? The question was active or passive? I think what we’ve all realized is that at times when volatility introduces itself which is frequent even independent of what’s been done from a fiscal and monetary standpoint, that these Alpha speaking strategies on the traditional side still make a lot of sense. And so, as we think about what – what’s happening here, the transition of assets from both passive and active strategies to alternative, it – it’s really to create better balance. It’s not that there’s – there’s a lack of relevance anymore in the public side. It’s just quite frankly the growth of the private asset base has grown so substantially. I moved, Barry, to the U.S. in 1998. And it’s interesting, when you look back at 1998 to today, you start to recognize the equity markets and what was available to invest in. The number of investable opportunities has shrunk by 40 plus percent which that compression is extraordinarily high. But yet you’ve seen, obviously, the equity markets grow in stature and significance and prominence but you’re having more concentration risk with some of the big public entities. The converse is true, though on the – on the private side. There’s this explosion of enterprise and innovation, employment creation, and then I believe opportunities has been real. So, I look at the public side, the investable universe is measured in the thousands and the private side is measured in the millions. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: And I think part of the – part of the part of the thing our clients are not struggling with but what we’re really recognizing with – with enterprises staying private for longer, if not forever, and with his growth of the opportunities that open debt and equity in the private market side, you really can’t forgo this opportunity. It has to be part of your going forward concerns and asset allocation. And I think this is why we’re seeing that transformation. And it’s not because equities on fixed income just aren’t relevant anymore. They’re very relevant but they’re relevant now in a total portfolio or a whole portfolio context beside alternatives. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s discuss this opportunity set of alternatives where you guys at Blackrock scene demand what sectors and from what sorts of clients? Is this demand increasing? CONWAY: We’re very fortunate, Barry. Today, there isn’t a single piece of our business within – within Blackrock alternatives that isn’t growing. And quite frankly too, it’s really up to us to deliver on the investment objectives that are set forth for those clients. I think in the back of strong absolute and relative performance, thankfully, our clients look to us to – to help them as – as they think about what they’re doing and as they’re exploring more in the alternatives areas. So, as you know, certainly, the private equity and real estate allocations are quite mature in many of our client’s portfolios but they’ve been around for many decades. I think that the areas where we’re seeing – that’s called an outside demand and opportunity set, just but virtue of the small allocations on a relative basis that exist today is really around infrastructure, Barry, and its around private credits. So, to caveat that, I think all of the areas are certainly growing, and thankfully, for us that’s true. We’re looking at clients who we believe are underinvested, we believe they’re underinvested in those asset classes infrastructure both debt and equity and in private credit. And as you think about why that is, the attributes that they bring to our client is really important and in a world where your correlation and understanding those correlations is important that these are definitely diversifying assets. In a world where you’re seeing trillions of dollars, quite frankly, you’re providing little to no or even there’s negative yield. Those short falls are real and people need yield than need income. These assets tend to provide that. So the diversification, it comes from these assets. The yield can come from these assets and because of the immaturity of the asset classes, independence of the capital is flowing in, we still consider them relatively white space. You’re not crowded out. There’s much room for development in the market and with our client’s portfolios. And to us, that’s exciting because it presents opportunities. So, at the highest level, they’re the areas where I believe are most underdeveloped in our clients. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk about both of those areas. We’ll talk about structured credit in a few minutes. I think everybody kind of understands what – what that is. What – when you see infrastructure as a sector, how does that show up as an investment are – and obviously, I have infrastructure on the brink because we’re recording this not too long after the giant infrastructure bill has been passed, tell us a little bit about what alternative investments in infrastructure looks like? CONWAY: Yes. It’s really in its infancy and what the underlying investments look like. I think traditionally, you would consider it as – and part of the bill that has just been announced, roads, bridges, airports. Some of these hard assets, some of the core infrastructure investments that have been around for actually some time. The interesting thing is the industry has evolved so much and put the need for infrastructure. It’s so great across both developed and emerging economies. It’s become something that if done the right way, the attributes we just spoke of can really have a very strong effect on our client’s portfolios. So, beyond the core that we just mentioned, well, we’ve seen a tremendous demand as a result of this energy transition. You’re really seeing a spike in activity and the necessity transition industry to cleaner technologies, a movement, not away completely from fossil fuel but integrating new types of clean energy. And as a result, you’ve seen a lot of demand on a global basis for wind and solar. And quite frankly, that’s why even us at BlackRock, albeit, 10-12 years ago, we really established a capability there to help with that transition to think about how do we use these technologies, solar panels, wind farms, to generate clean forms of energy for utilities where in some cases they’re mandated to procure this type of this type of – this type of power. And when you think about pre-contracting with utilities for long duration, that to me spells, Barry, good risk mitigation and management and ability to get access to clean forms of energy that throw off yield that can be very complementary to your traditional asset classes but for very long periods of time. And so, the benefits for us of these – these assets is that they are long in duration, they are yield enhancing, they’re definitely diversifying. And so, for us, where – we’ve got about, let’s call this 280 assets around the world that we’re managing that literally generate this – this clean electricity. I think to give the relevance of how much, I believe today, it’s enough to power the country of Spain. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: And that’s really that’s really changing. So you’re seeing governments – so from a policy standpoint, you’re seeing governments really embracing new forms of energy, transitioning out of bunker fuels, for example, you know, burning diesels which really spew omissions into the – into the into the environment. But it’s really around modernizing for the future. So, developed and emerging economies alike, want to retain capital. They want to attract new capital and by having the proper infrastructure to support industry, it’s a really, really important thing. Now, on the back of that too, one things we’ve learned from COVID is that the necessity to really bring e-commerce into how you conduct your business is so important and I think from the theme of digitalization within infrastructure to is a huge part. So, it’s not just the energy transition that you’re seeing, it’s not just roads and bridges, but by allowing businesses to connect to a global consumer, allowing children be educated from home, allowing experiences that expand geographies and boundaries in a digital form is so important not just for commerce but in so many other aspects. And so, you think about cable, fiber optics, if you think about all the other things even outside of power, that enable us to conduct commerce to educate, there are many examples where, Barry, you can build resilience into your portfolio because that need is not measured in years. Actually, the shortfall of capital is measured in the trillions so which means this is – this is a multi-decade opportunity set from our vantage point and one of which our clients should really avail of. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. And I mentioned in passing, structured credit, tell us a little bit about what that opportunity looks like. I think of this as a space that is too big for local banks but too small for Wall Street to finance. Is that an oversimplification? What is going on in that space. CONWAY: I probably couldn’t have set it better, Barry. It’s – if we go back to just the even the investable universe, in the tens of thousands of companies, just if we take North America that are private, that have great leadership that really have strategic vision under – at the – in some cases, at the start of their growth lifecycles are even if they maintain, they have a very credible and viable business for the future they still need capital. And you’re absolutely right. With the retreat of the banks from the space to various regulations that have come after the global financial crisis, you’re seeing the asset managers in many respects working behalf of our clients both wealth and institutional becoming the new lenders of choice. And – and when we – when we think about that opportunity set, that is really understanding the client’s desire for risk or something maybe in a lower risk side from middle-market lending or midmarket enterprises where you can support that organization through its growth cycle all the way to some higher-yielding, obviously, with more risk assets on the opportunistic or even the special situations side. But it – it expands many things. And going back of the commentary around the evolution of the space, private credit today and what you can do has changed so profoundly, it expands the liquidity spectrum, it expands the risk spectrum. And the great news is, with the number of companies both here and abroad, the opportunities that is – it’s being enriched every single day. And were certainly seeing, particularly going back to the question are some of these assets coming from the traditional side, the public side. When we think of private credit, you are seeing private credit now been incorporated in fixed-income allocations. This is a – it’s a yelling asset. This is – these are debt instruments, these are structures that we’re creating. We’re trying to flexible and dynamic with these clients. But it really is an area where we think – it really is still at its – at its infancy relevant to where it can potentially be. RITHOLTZ: That’s really quite – quite interesting. (UNKNOWN): It’s Rob Riggle. I’m hosting Season 2 of the iHeart radio podcast, Veterans You Should Know. You may know me as the comedic actor from my work in the Hangover, Stepbrothers or 21 Jump Street. But before Hollywood, I was a United States Marine Corps officer for 23 years. For this Veterans Day, I’ll be sitting down with those who proudly served in the Armed Forces to hear about the lessons they’ve learned, the obstacles they’ve overcome, and the life-changing impact of their service. Through this four-part series, we’ll hear the inspiring journeys of these veterans and how they took those values during their time of service and apply them to transition out of the military and into civilian life. Listen to Veterans You Should Know on the iHeart radio app, Apple Podcast or wherever you get your podcast. RITHOLTZ: Let’s stick with that concept of money rotating away from fixed income. I have to imagine clients are starved for yields. So what are the popular substitutes for this? Is it primarily structured credit? Is it real estate? How do you respond to an institution that says, hey, I’m not getting any sort of realistic coupon on my bonds, I need a substitute? CONWAY: Yes. It’s all of those in many respects. And I think to the role, even around now a time where people have questions around inflation, how do substitute this yield efficiency or certainly make up for that shortfall, how do you think about a world where increasingly seeing inflation, not of the transitory thing it feels certainly quasi-permanent. These are a lot of questions we’re getting. And certainly, real estate is an is important part of how they think about inflation protection, how client think about yield, but quite frankly too, we’ve – we’ve gone through something none of us really had thought about a global pandemic. And as I think about real estate, just how you allocate to the sector, what was very heavily influenced with retail assets, high street, our shopping behaviors and habits have changed. We all occupied offices for obviously many, many years pre the pandemic. The shape of how we operate and how we do that has changed. So, I think some of the underlying investment – investments have changed where you’ve seen heavily weighted towards office space to leisure, travel in the past. Actually, now using a rotation in some respects out of those, just given some of the uncertainties around what the future holds as we come – come through a really difficult time. But the great thing about this sector is between senior living, between student housing, between logistics and so many other parts, there are ways in real estate to capture where there’s – where there’s demand. So still a robust opportunity set and it – and we do think it can absolutely be yield enhancing. We mentioned infrastructure. Even if you think about – and we mention OECD and non-OECD, emerging and developed, when I think about Asia, in particular, just as a subset of the world in which we’re living in, that is a $2.6 trillion alternative market today growing at a 15 percent CAGR. And quite frankly, the old-growth is driven by the large economic growth in the region. So, even from a regional perspective, if we pivot, it houses 57 percent of the world’s population and yet delivers 47 percent of the world’s economic growth. So, think of that and then with regard to infrastructure and goes back to that, this is truly a global phenomenon. So if we just even take that sector, Barry, you’ll realize that the way to maintain that type of growth, to attract capital, to keep capital, it really requires an investment of significant amount of money to be able to sustain that. And when you have 42 million people in a APAC migrating to cities in the year going back to digitalization, that’s an important thing. So, when I say we’re so much at the infancy in infrastructure, I really mean it. It can be water, it can be sewer systems, it can be digital, it can be roads, there’s so much to this. And then even down to the regional perspective, it’s a – it’s a need that doesn’t just exist in the U.S. So, for these assets, this tend to be long in duration. There’s both equity and debt. And on the debt side, quite frankly, very few outside of our insurance clients and their general account are taking advantage of the debt opportunity. And – and as we both know, to finance these projects that are becoming more plentiful every single day, across the world, including like, I said, in APAC in scale, there’s an opportunity in both sides. And I think that’s where the acid mix change happen. It’s recognizing that the attributes of these assets can have a role, the attributes of these assets can potentially replace some of these traditional assets and I think you’re going to see it grow. So, infrastructure to us, it’s really equity and debt. And then on the credit side, like I mentioned, again, too, it’s a very, very big and growing market. And certainly, the biggest area today from our vantage point is middle-market lending from a scale opportunity standpoint. So, we think much more to come in all of those spaces. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. And let’s just stay with the concept of public versus private. That line is kind of getting blurred and the secondary markets is liquidity coming to, for lack of a better phrase, pre-public equities, tells little bit about that space. Is that an area that is ripe for growth for BlackRock? CONWAY: Yes. We absolutely think it is and you’re absolutely correct. The secondary market is – has grown quite substantial. If you even look at just the private equity secondary market and what will transact this year, I think it will be potentially in excess of 100 billion. And that’s what were clear, not to mention what will be visible and what will be analyzed. And that speaks to me what’s really happening and the innovation that we mentioned earlier. It’s no longer about just primary exposure. It’s secondary exposure. When we see all sort of interest and co-investment opportunities as well, I think the available sources of alpha and the flexibility you can now have, albeit if directed and advised, I believe the right way, Barry, can be very helpful and in the portfolio. So, your pre-IPO, it is a big part of actually what we do and we think about growth equity. There is – it’s a significant amount of capital following that space. Now, from our vantage point, as one of the largest investors in the public equity market and now obviously one of the largest investors and they in the private side, the bridge between – between private to public – there’s a real need. IPOs are not going away. And I think smart, informed capital to help with this journey, this journey is really – is really a necessity and a need. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about this recent restructuring. You are first named Global Head of Blackrock Alternative Investors in April 2019, the entire alternatives business was restructured, tell us a little bit about how that restructuring is going? CONWAY: Continues to go really well, Barry. When you look at the flow of acid from our clients, I think, hopefully, that’s speaks to the performance we’ve been generating. I joined the firm, as you know, albeit, 11 years ago and being very close to the alternative franchise as a critical thing for me and running the institutional platform. To me, when you watched this migration of asset towards alternatives, it was obviously very evident for decades now that this is a critical leg of the stool as our clients are thinking about their portfolios. We’re continuing to innovate. We’re continuing to invest, and thankfully, we’re continuing to deliver strong performance. We’re growing at about high double digits on an annual basis but we’re trying to purposeful too around where that growth is coming from. I think the reality is when you look at the competitive universe, I think the last number I saw, it was about 38,000 alternative asset managers out there today, obviously, coming from hedge funds all the way to private credits and private equity. So, competition is real and I do think the outcomes for our clients are starting to really grow. Unfortunately, some – in some cases, obviously, very good, and in some cases, actually not great. So our focus, Barry, is really much on how can we deliver performance, how can we be a partner? And I think we been rewarded with a trust and the faith our clients have in us because they’re seeing something different, I think, from us. Now, the scale of the business that you mentioned earlier really gives us tentacles into the market that I believe allows us to access what I think is the new alpha which is in many respects, given the heft of competition sourcing and originating new investments is certainly harder but for us, sitting in or having alternative team, sitting in 50 offices around the world, really investing in the markets because that – the market they grew up with and have relationships within, I think this network value that we have is something that’s quite special. And I think in the world that’s becoming increasingly competitive, we’re going to continue to use and harness that network value to pursue opportunities. And thankfully, as a result of the partnership we’ve been pursuing with her clients, like, we’ve – we’re certainly looking for opportunities and investments in our funds. But because of the brand, I think because of the successes, opportunities seeks us as much as we seek opportunity and that has been something that we look at an ongoing basis and feel very privileged to actually have that inbound flow as well. RITHOLTZ: Really quite interesting. There was a quote of yours I found while doing some prep for this conversation that I have to have you expand on. Quote, “The relationship between Blackrock’s alternative capabilities and wealth firms marked a large opportunity for growth in the coming years.” This was back in 2019. So, the first part of the question is, was your expectations correct? Did you – did you see the sort of growth you were hoping for? And more broadly, how large of an opportunity is alternatives, not just for BlackRock but for the entire investment industry? CONWAY: Yes. It’s been very much an institutional opportunity set up until now. And there’s so much to be done, still, to really democratize alternatives and we certainly joke around making alternatives less alternative. Actually, even the nomenclature we use and how we describe it doesn’t kind of make sense anymore. It’s such a core – an important allocation to our clients, Barry, that just calling it alternative seems wrong. Just about the institutional clients. It ranges, I think, as I mentioned on our – some of our more conservative clients which would be pension plans which really have liquidity needs on a monthly basis because of the liabilities they have to think about. At about 25 plus percent in private markets, to endowments, foundations, family offices, going to 50 percent plus. So, it’s a really important part and has been for now many years the institutional client ph communities outcomes. I think the thing that we, as an industry, have to change is alternatives has to be for the many, not for the few. And quite frankly, it’s been for the few. And as we talked about some of the attributes and the important attributes of these asset classes to think that those who have been less fortunate in their careers can’t access, things they can enrich their future retirement outcomes, to me, is a failing. And we have to address that. That comes from regulation changes, it comes from structuring of new products, it comes from education and it comes from this knowledge transmission where clients in the wealth segment can understand the role of alternatives and the context of what can do as they invest in equities and fixed income too. And we think that’s a big shortfall. So, the journey today, just to give you a sense, as we look at her clients in Europe on the wealth side, on average, as you look from what we would call the credited investors all the way through to more ultra-high-net worth individuals, their allocation to alternatives, we believe, stands at around two to three percent of their total portfolio. In the U.S., we believe it stands at three to five. So, most of those intermediaries, we speak to our partners who were more supporting and serving the wealth channel. They have certainly an ambition to help their clients grow that to 20 percent and potentially beyond that. So, when I look at that gap of let’s call it two to three to 20 percent in a market that just given the explosion in wealth around the world, I think the last numbers I saw, this is a $65 trillion market. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: That speaks to the shortfall relative to the ambition. And how’s it been going? We have a number of things and capabilities we’ve set up to allow for this market to experience, hopefully, private equity, hedge funds, credit, and an infrastructure in ways they haven’t in the past. We’ve done this in the U.S., we’re doing it now in Europe, but I will say, Barry, this is still very much at the start of the journey. Wealth is a really important part of our future given our business, quite, frankly is 90 plus percent institutional today, but we’re looking to change that by, hopefully, democratizing these asset classes and making it so much more accessible in that of the past. RITHOLTZ: So, we hinted at this before but I’m going to ask the question outright, how significant is interest rates to client’s risk appetites, how much of the current low rate environment are driving people to move chunks of their assets from fixed income to alternatives? CONWAY: It’s really significant, Barry. I think the transition of these portfolios is quite profound, So you – and I think the unfortunate thing in some respects as this transition happens that you’re introducing new variables and new risks. The reason I say it’s unfortunate and that I think as an industry, this goes back to the education around the assets you own, understanding the role, understanding the various outcomes. I think it’s so incredibly important and that this the time where complete transparency is needed. And quite frankly, we’re investing capital that’s not ours. As an industry, we’re investing our client’s assets and they need to know exactly the underlying investments. And in good and bad times, how would those assets behave? So certainly, interest rates are driving a flow of capital away from these traditional assets, fixed-income, and absolutely in towards real estate, infrastructure, private creditors, et cetera, in the pursuit of this – this yield. But I do – I do think one of the things that’s critically important for the institutional channel, not just the wealth which are newer entrants is this transmission of education, of data because that’s how I think you build a better balanced portfolio and that’s a – that’s a real conundrum, I think, that the industry is facing and certainly your clients too. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. So let’s talk a little bit about the differences between investing in the private side versus the public markets, the most obvious one has to be the illiquidity. When you buy stocks or bonds, you get a print every microsecond, every tick, but most of these investments are only marked quarterly or annually, what does this illiquidity do when you’re interacting with clients? How do you – how do you discuss this with them in and how do perceive some of the challenges of illiquid investments? CONWAY: Over the – over the past number of decades, I think our clients have largely held too much liquidity in their portfolios. Like, so what we are finding is the ability to take on illiquidity risk. And obviously, in pursuit of that premium above, the traditional markets, I mean, I think the sentiment they are is it an absolute right one. That transition towards private market exposure, we think is an important one just given the return objectives, the majority of our clients’ need but then also again, most importantly now, with geo policy, with uncertainty, with interest rate uncertainty, inflation uncertainty, I mean, the – going back to the resilience point, the characteristics now by introducing these assets into the mix is important. And I think that’s – that point is maybe what I’ll expand on. As were talking to clients, using the Aladdin systems, and as you know, we bought eFront technologies, albeit a couple of years ago, by allowing, I think, great data and technology to help our clients understand these assets and the context of how they should own them relative to other liquidity needs, their risk tolerances, and the return expectations are really trying to use tech and data to provide a better understanding and comprehension of the outcomes. And as we continue to introduce these concepts and these approaches, by the way, that there is, as you know, so used to in the traditional side, it – it gives them more comfort around what they should and can expect. And that, to me, is a really important part of what we’re doing. So, we’ve released recently new technology to the wealth sector because, quite frankly, we mentioned it before, the 60-40 portfolio is a thing of the past. And that introduction of about 20 percent into alternatives, we applaud our partners who are – who are suggesting that to their clients. We think it’s something they have to do. What we’re doing to support that is really bringing thought leadership, education, but also portfolio construction techniques and data to bear in that conversation. And this goes back to – it’s no longer an alternative, right? This is a core allocation so the comprehension of what it is you own, the behavior of the asset in good and bad times is so necessary. And that’s become a very big thing with regard to our activities, Barry, because your clients are looking to understand better when you’re talking about assets that are very complex in their nature. RITHOLTZ: So, 60-40 is now 50-30-20, something along those lines? CONWAY: Yes. RITHOLTZ: Really, really intriguing. So, what are clients really looking for these days? We talked about yield. Are they also looking for downside protection on the equity side or inflation hedges you hinted at? How broad are the demands of clients in the alternative space? CONWAY: Yes. It ranges the gamut. And even – we didn’t speak to even hedge funds, we’ve had differing levels of interest in the hedge fund world for years and I, quite frankly, think some degree of disappointment too, Barry, with regard to the alpha, the returns that were produced relevant to the cost. RITHOLTZ: It’s a tough space to say the very least exactly. CONWAY: Exactly right. But when you start to see volatility introducing itself, you can really see where skill plays a critical factor. So, we are absolutely seeing, in the hedge fund, a resurgence of interest and demand by virtue of those who really have honed in on their scale, who have demonstrated an up-and-down markets and ability to protect and preserve capital, but importantly, in a low uncorrelated way build attractive risk-adjusted returns. We’re starting to see more activity there again too. I think with an alternatives, you’ve really seen a predominant demand coming from privates. These private markets, like a set of growths so extraordinarily fast and the opportunities that is rich, the reality too on the public side which is where our hedge funds operate, they continue to, in large part, do a really good job. The issue with our industry now with these 38,000 managers is how do you distill all the information? How do you think about your needs as a client and pick a manager who can deliver the outcomes? And just to give you a sense, the difference now between a top-performing private equity manager, a top quartile versus the bottom quartile, the difference can be measured in tens of percent. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: Whereas if you look at the public equity side, for example, a large cap manager, top quartile versus bottom quartile is measured in hundreds of basis points. So, there is definitely a world that has started where the outcomes our clients will experience can be great as they pursue yield, as they pursue diversification, inflation protection, et cetera. I think the caveat that I would say is outcomes can vary greatly. So manager underwriting and the importance of it now, I think, really is this something to pay attention to because if you do have that bottom performing at the bottom quartile manager, it will affect your outcomes, obviously. And that’s what we collectively have to face. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about real estate. There are a couple of different areas of investment on the private side. Rent to own was a very large one and we’ve seen some lesser by the flip algo-driven approaches. Tell us what Blackrock is doing in the real estate space and how many different approaches are you bringing to bear on this? CONWAY: Yes, we think it’s both equity and debt. Again, no different to the infrastructure side, these projects need to be financed. But on the – as you think about the sectors in which you can avail of the opportunity, you’ve no doubt heard a lot and I mentioned earlier this demand for logistics facilities. The explosion of shopping online and having, until we obviously have the supply chain disruption, an ability to have nearly immediate satisfaction because the delivery of the good to your home has become so readily available. It’s a very different consumer experience. So the explosion and the need for logistics facilities to support this type of behavior of the consumer is really an area that will continue to be of great interest too. And then you think about the transformation of business and you think about the aging world. Unfortunately, you can look at various economies where our populations are decreasing. And quite frankly, we’re getting older. And so, were you’re thinking of the context of that senior living facilities, it becomes a really important part, not just as part of the healthcare solution that come with it, but also from living as well. So, single-family, multifamily, opportunities continue to be something that the world looks at because there is really the shortfall of available properties for people to live in. And as the communities evolve to support the growing age of the population, tremendous opportunity there too. But we won’t give up on office space. It really isn’t going away. Now, if you even think about our younger generation here in BlackRock, they love being in New York, they love being in London, they love being in Hong Kong. So, the shape and the footprint may change slightly. But the necessity to be in the major financial centers, it still exists. But how we weighed the risks has definitely changed, certainly, for the – for the short-term and medium-term future. But real estate continues to be, Barry, a critical part of how we express our thought around the investment opportunity set. But clients largely do this themselves too. The direct investing from the clients is quite significant because they too see this as still as a rich investment ground, albeit, one that has changed quite a bit as a result of COVID. RITHOLTZ: Well, I’m fascinated by the real estate issue especially having seen some massive construction take place in cities pre-pandemic, look over in Manhattan at Hudson Yards and look at what’s taking place in London, not just the center of London but all – but all around it and I’m forced to admit the future is going to look somewhat different than the past with some hybrid combination of collaborative work in the office and remote work from home when it’s convenient, that sort of suggests that we now have an excess of capacity in office space. Do you see it that way or is this just something that we’re going to grow into and just the nature of working in offices is changing but offices are not going away? CONWAY: Yes. I do think there’s – it’s a very valid point and that in certain cities, you will see access, in others we just don’t, Barry. And quite frankly, as a firm, too, as you know, we have adopted flexibility with our teams that were very fortunate. The technologies in which we created at BlackRock has just become such an amazing enabler, not just to help us as we mention manage the portfolios, help us a better portfolio construction, understand risks, but also to communicate with our clients. I think we’ve all witnessed and experienced a way to have connectivity that allows them to believe that commerce can exist beyond the boundaries of one building. However, I do look at our property portfolios and even the things that we’re doing. Rent collections still being extraordinarily high, occupancy now getting back up to pre-pandemic levels, not in all cities, but in many of the major ones that have reopened. And certainly, the demand for people to just socialize, that the demand for human connectivity is really high. It’s palpable, right? We see it here too. The smiles on people’s faces, they’re back in the office, conversing together, innovating together. When people were feeling unsafe, unquestionably, I think the question marks around the role of office space was really brought to bear. But as were coming through this, as you’ve seen vaccine rates change, as you’ve seen the infection rates fall, as you’ve seen confidence grow, the return to work is really happening and return to work to office work is really happening, albeit, now with degrees of flexibility. So, going back to the – I do believe in certain areas. You’re seeing a surplus. But in many areas you’re absolutely seeing a deficit and the reason I say that, Barry, is we are seeing occupancy in certain building at such a high level. And frankly, the demand for more space being so high, it’s uneven and this goes back to then where do you invest our client’s capital, making sense of those trends, predicting where you will see resilience versus stress and building that into the portfolio of consequences as you – as you better risk manage and mitigate. RITHOLTZ: Very interesting. And so, we are seeing this transition across a lot of different segments of investing, are you seeing any products that were or – or investing styles that was once thought of as primarily institutional that are sort of working their way towards the retail side of things? Meaning going from institutional to accredited to mom-and-pop investors? CONWAY: Well, certainly, in the past, private equity was really an asset class for institutional investors. And I think that’s – that has changed in a very profound way. I mentioned earlier are the regulation has become a more adaptive, but we also have heard, in many respects, in providing this access. And I think the perception of owning and be part of this illiquid investment opportunity set was hard to stomach because many didn’t understand the attributes and what it could bring and I think we’ve been trying to solve for that and what you’re seeing now with – with regulators, understanding that the difference between if we take it quite simply as DD versus DC, the differences between the options you as a participant in a retirement plan are so vastly different that – and I think there’s a broad recognition now that there needs to be more equity with regard to what happens there. And private equity been a really established part of the alternatives marketplace was once, I think, really believed to be an institutional asset class, but albeit now has become much more accessible to wealth. We’ve seen it by structuring activities in Europe working with the regulators. Now, we’re able to provide private equity exposure to clients across the continent and really getting access to what was historically very much an institutional asset class. And I do think the receptivity is extraordinarily high just throughout people’s careers, they have seen wealth been created as a result of engineering a great outcome with great management teams integrate business. And I do believe the receptivity towards private equity is high as an example. In the U.S., too, working with the various intermediaries and being able to wrap now private equity in a ’40 Act fund, for example, is possible. And by being able to deliver that to the many as opposed to the few, we think has been a very good success story. And I think, obviously, appreciated by our clients as well. So, I would look at that were seeing across private equity as well as private credit and quite frankly infrastructure accuracy. You’re seeing now regulation that’s becoming more appreciative of these asset classes, you’re seeing a more – a greater level of openness and willingness to allow for these assets to be part of many people’s experiences across their investment portfolio. And now, with innovation around structures, as an industry, were able to wrap these investments in a way that our clients can really access them. So, think across the board, it probably speaks the innovation that’s happening but I do think that accessibility has changed in a very significant way. But you’ve really seen it happen in private equity first and now that’s expanding across these various other asset classes. RITHOLTZ: Quite intriguing. I know I only have you for a relatively limited period of time, so let’s jump to our favorite questions that we ask all of our guests. Starting with tell us what you’ve been streaming these days. Give us your favorite Netflix or Amazon Prime shows. CONWAY: That is an interesting question, Barry. I don’t a hell of a lot of TV, I got to tell you. I am – I keep busy with three wonderful children and a beautiful wife and between the sports activities. When I do watch TV, I have to tell you I’m addicted to sports and having – I may have mentioned earlier, growing up playing rugby which is not the most common sport in the U.S., I stream nonstop the Six Nations that happens in Europe where Ireland is one of those six nations that compete against each other on an annual basis. Right now, they’re playing a lot of sites that are touring for the southern hemisphere. And to me, the free times I have is either enjoying golf or really enjoying rugby because I think it’s an extraordinary sport. Obviously, very physical, but very enjoyable to watch. And that, that truly is my passion outside of family. RITHOLTZ: Interesting stuff. Tell us a bit about your mentors, who helped to shape your early career? CONWAY: Well, it even goes back to some of the aspects of sports. Playing on a team and being on a field where you’re working together, there’s a strategy involved with that. Now, I used to really appreciate how we approach playing in the All-Ireland League. How we thought about our opponents, how we thought about the structure, how we thought about each individual with on the rugby field and the team having a role. They’re all different but your role. And actually, even starting from an early age, Barry, thinking about, I don’t know, it’s sports but how to build a great team with those various skills, perspective, that can be a really, really powerful combination when done well. And certainly, from an early age, that allowed me to appreciate that – actually, in the work environment, it’s not too different. You surround yourself with just really great people that have high integrity that are empathetic and have a degree of humility that when working together, good things can happen. And I will say, it really started at sports. But I think of today and even in BlackRock, how Larry Fink thinks about the world and I think Larry, truly, is a visionary. And then Rob Kapito who really helps lead the charge across our various businesses. Speaking and conversing with them on a daily basis, getting their perspectives, trying to get inside your head and thinking about the world from their vantage point. To me, it’s a huge thing about my ongoing personal career and development and I really enjoy those moments because I think what you recognize is independent of how much you think you know, there’s so much more to know. And this journey is an ever evolving one where you have to appreciate that you’ll never know everything and you need to be a student every single day. So, I’d probably cite those, Barry, as certainly the two most important mentors in my life today, professionally and personally quite frankly. RITHOLTZ: Really. Very interesting. Let’s talk about what you’re reading these days. Tell us about some of your favorite books and what you’re reading currently? CONWAY: Barry, what I love to read, I love to read history, believe it or not. From a very small country that seems to have exported many, many people, love to understand the history of Ireland. So, there’s so many books. And having three children that have been born in the U.S. and my wife is a New Yorker, trying to help them understand some of their history and what made them what they are. I love delving into Irish history and how the country had moments of greatness and moments of tremendous struggle. Outside of that, I really don’t enjoy science fiction or any of these books. I love reading, you name any paper and any magazine on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I wake at about 4:30, 5 o’clock every day. I spent my first two hours of the day just consuming as much information as possible. I enjoy it. But it’s all – it’s really investment-related magazines, not books. It’s every paper that you could possibly imagine, Barry, and I just – I have a great appreciation for certainly trying to be a student of the world because that’s what we’re operating in an I find it just a very interesting avenue to get an appreciation to for the, not just the opportunities, but the challenges we’re collectively facing as a society but also as a business. RITHOLTZ: I’m with you on that mass consumption of investing-related news. It sounds like you and I have the same a morning routine. Let’s talk about of what sort of advice you would give to a recent college graduate who was interested in a career of alternative investments? CONWAY: Well, the industry has – it’s just gone through such extraordinary growth and the difference, when I’ve started versus today, the career opportunity set has changed so much. And I think I try to remind anyone of our analysts who come into each one of our annual classes, right, as we bring in the new recruits. I think about how talented they are for us, Barry, and how privileged we all are to be in this industry and work for the clients that we do. It’s just such an honor to do that. But I kind of – I try to remind them of that. At the end of the day, whether you’re supporting an institution, that institution is the face of many people in the background and alternatives has really now become such an important part of their experience and we talked about earlier just this challenge of retirement, if we do a good job, these institutions that support the many, they can have, hopefully, a retirement that involves dignity and they can have an ability to do things they so wanted to do as they work so hard over their lives. Getting that that personal connection and allowing for those newbies to understand that that’s the effect that you can have, an alternatives whether it’s private equity, real estate, infrastructure, private credit, hedge funds, all of these now, with the scale at which they’re operating at can allow for a great career. But my advice to them is always don’t forget your career is supporting other people. And that comes directly to how we intersect with wealth channel, it comes indirectly as a result of the institutions. And it’s such a privilege to do that. I didn’t envision when I grew up, as I mentioned, my first job, milking cows and back in a small town in the middle of Ireland that I would be one day leading an alternatives business within BlackRock. I see that as a great privilege. So, for those who are joining afresh, hopefully, try to remind them that it is for all of us and show up with empathy, dignity, compassion, and do the best you can, and hopefully, these people be sure will serve them well. RITHOLTZ: And our final question, what you know about the world of alternative investing today you wish you knew 25 years or so ago when you were first getting started? CONWAY: I think if we had invested much more heavily as an industry in technology, we would not be in the position we are today. And I say that, Barry, from a number of aspects. I mentioned in this shortfall of information our clients are dealing with today. They’re making choices to divest from one asset class to invest in another. To do that and do that effectively, they need great transparency, they needed real-time in many respects, it can’t be just a quarterly line basis. And if we had been better prepared as an industry to provide the technology and the data to help our clients really appreciate what it is they own, how we’re managing the assets on their behalf, I think they would be so much better served. I think we’re very fortunate at this firm to have built a business on the back of technology for albeit 30 plus years and were investing over $1 billion a year in technology as I’m sure you know. But we need to see more of that in the industry. So, the client experience is so important, stop, let’s demystify alternatives. It’s not that alternative. Let’s provide education and data and it’s become so large relative to other asset classes, the need to support, to educate, and transmit information, not data, information, so our client understand it, is at a paramount now. And I think it certainly as an industry, things have to change there. If I knew how big the growth would have been and how prominent these asset classes were becoming, I would oppose so much harder on that front 30 years ago. RITHOLTZ: Thank you, Edwin, for being so generous with your time. We’ve been speaking with Edwin Conway. He is the head of Blackrock Investor Alternatives Group. If you enjoy this conversation, please check out all of our prior discussions. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, wherever you get your podcast at. We love your comments, feedback and suggestions. Write to us at MIB podcast@Bloomberg.net. You can sign up for my daily reads at ritholtz.com. Check out my weekly column at Bloomberg.com/opinion. Follow me on Twitter, @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack team that helps put these conversations together each week. Mohammed ph is my audio engineer. Paris Wald is my producer, Michael Batnick is my head of research, Atika Valbrun is our project manager. I’m Barry Ritholtz, you’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio.   ~~~   The post Transcript: Edwin Conway appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureNov 22nd, 2021

Americans Panic-Buy Firewood And Stoves Amid Energy Crisis

Americans Panic-Buy Firewood And Stoves Amid Energy Crisis The global energy crisis has led to a spike in natural gas, heating oil, propane, and power prices, making the cost of heating a home this fall/winter very expensive. As a result, Americans are panic buying cords of wood and stoves to deflect soaring fossil fuel prices.  Bloomberg spoke with US firewood vendors who said sales are booming ahead of winter. They reported the price of a cord of wood is skyrocketing.  At Firewood By Jerry in New River, Arizona, a cord of seasoned firewood -- roughly 700 pieces or so -- goes for $200 today. That's up 33% from a year ago. At Zia Firewood in Albuquerque, the price is up 11% since the summer to $250. And at Standing Rock Farms in Stone Ridge, a bucolic, little town in the Hudson Valley that's become popular with the Manhattan set, the best hardwoods now fetch $475 a cord, up 19% from last year. - Bloomberg  Randy Hornbeck, the owner of Standing Rock Farms in Stone Ridge, New York, said his sales are already 27% higher than all of last season. "Everybody wants firewood," he said, calling the start of the cold season a "crazy one."  Some of the increased demand Hornbeck is speaking about comes from white-collar workers moving out of metro areas to suburban or rural locations over the last 18 or so months and have discovered their homes are outfitted with stoves and or fireplaces. The price for heating a suburban home is much higher than an apartment in the city, and perhaps with soaring energy inflation, wood is the cheapest way to heat a home (at the moment).  Besides the price jump in firewood, wood stove dealers are reporting overwhelming demand. "You can't get a stove until at least April," Lakin Frederick, an employee at Central Arkansas Fireplaces in Conway, a suburb of Little Rock.  Customers have told Frederick that the spike in energy prices, such as heating oil, natural gas, and propane, is the reason why they're resorting to woodburning this year. He added wood has become scarce in his area because "there are not enough people who are cutting and supplying wood right now."  Bloomberg points out several firewood booms in US history:  Over the course of American history, there have been any number of booms in the firewood business. One of the earliest episodes came during the British siege of Boston at the outset of the Revolutionary War. That winter, the price of a cord -- a centuries-old benchmark measuring 128 cubic feet -- soared to $20, the historian David McCullough documented in his book "1776." That's the equivalent of some $635 in today's dollars, according to calculations by the website in2013dollars.com. In more recent times, just about every major spike in energy prices in the past half century has triggered a rush into woodburning among some segments of the population. These fevers invariably fade as soon as the energy crisis does. -Bloomberg Today, the energy crisis is felt worldwide will inflict more financial pain on working poor families as cold weather sets in. The Biden administration is attempting to cool red hot inflation by releasing strategic petroleum reserves to arrest crude prices, which is likely to backfire.  "Everyone is extremely concerned about how they are going to pay for the cost of home heating," said Brian Pieck, the owner of House of Warmth Stove and Fireplace Shop in New Milford, a town in rural western Connecticut. He said that concern had led people to panic buying woodstoves, adding his sales for woodstoves over $2,800 are up 50%. "Our manufacturer is working feverishly around the clock."  Hornbeck's wealthier customers in the Hudson Valley are buying firewood no matter the cost. He has already sold 3,300 cords of hardwood and will deplete reserves by February. Some of his clients are already locking in orders for next season.  According to EIA figures, just 1% of US households use firewood or wood pellets as their primary heating source, and about 8% use them as their secondary heating source.  A global energy crisis has metastasized and pushed the world into panic buying fossil fuels ahead of the Northern Hemisphere winter thanks to ambitious green policies.  Tyler Durden Sun, 11/21/2021 - 09:55.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 21st, 2021

Ever Thought About Biofuels To Diversify Your Portfolio?

How do you feel about adding a broader range of stocks to our energy investment portfolio watchlist? Let’s see what we can do! Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more By the way, feel free to send us your questions or topics that you would like us to write about in the forthcoming editions, […] How do you feel about adding a broader range of stocks to our energy investment portfolio watchlist? Let’s see what we can do! if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more By the way, feel free to send us your questions or topics that you would like us to write about in the forthcoming editions, so we’ll try our best to answer them! Trading positions are available to our premium subscribers. First, Let’s Quickly Define What Biofuels Are A biofuel is a liquid or gaseous fuel derived from the transformation of non-fossil organic matter from biomass, for example, plant materials produced by agriculture (beets, wheat, corn, rapeseed, sunflowers, potatoes, etc.). So, it is considered a source of renewable energy. The combustion of biofuels produces only carbon dioxide (CO2) and steam (H2O) and little or no nitrogen and sulfur oxides. Therefore, biofuels – as being at the crossroads between energy and agricultural commodities – respond to economic drivers (crops/supply, demand, dollar strength, reserves, etc.) and geopolitics of both industrial sectors. Furthermore, they allow their producing countries to reduce their energy dependence on fossil fuels. Key Reasons To Invest In These Alternative Energy Sources Given the recent surge of oil and gas prices, biofuels have become somehow more attractive, and consequently one could witness a slight shift in demand from fossil to non-fossil fuels. This was also a central topic of talks during the recent United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP26), which recently took place in Glasgow (Scotland), and where world leaders finally agreed to preliminary rules for trading carbon emissions credits. In addition, as we all know, the combustion of fossil fuels contributes to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Regarding biofuels - the carbon emitted to the atmosphere during their combustion has been previously fixed by plants during photosynthesis. Thus, the carbon footprint seems to be a priori neutral. Stock Watchlist (Continued) In the first article, we started a watchlist with some major energy stocks. In the second article, we added some more spicy assets (MLPs). Today, let’s update it with some biofuel-based stocks! As usual, our stock picks will be shared through that link to our dynamic watchlist which will be updated from time to time, as we progress through this portfolio construction process... Below is an example of some indicative metrics: Daily Technical Charts Figure 1 – Green Plains Inc (NASDAQ:GPRE) Stock (daily chart) Figure 2 – Aemetis Inc (NASDAQ:AMTX) Stock (daily chart) Figure 3 – Tantech Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ:TANH) Stock (daily chart) In summary, those biofuel-related stocks may present some benefits to diversifying your energy portfolio while covering some alternative fuels as well. As always, we’ll keep you, our subscribers well informed. Like what you’ve read? Subscribe for our daily newsletter today, and you'll get 7 days of FREE access to our premium daily Oil Trading Alerts as well as our other Alerts. Sign up for the free newsletter today! Thank you. Sebastien Bischeri Oil & Gas Trading Strategist The information above represents analyses and opinions of Sebastien Bischeri, & Sunshine Profits' associates only. As such, it may prove wrong and be subject to change without notice. At the time of writing, we base our opinions and analyses on facts and data sourced from respective essays and their authors. Although formed on top of careful research and reputably accurate sources, Sebastien Bischeri and his associates cannot guarantee the reported data's accuracy and thoroughness. The opinions published above neither recommend nor offer any securities transaction. Mr. Bischeri is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading Sebastien Bischeri’s reports you fully agree that he will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make regarding any information provided in these reports. Investing, trading, and speculation in any financial markets may involve a high risk of loss. Sebastien Bischeri, Sunshine Profits' employees, affiliates as well as their family members may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in any of the reports or essays, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice. Updated on Nov 19, 2021, 1:58 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 19th, 2021

Cargo ship queues have been pushed 150 miles off the coast of Southern California

The traffic jam in Southern California was pushed seven times further out to sea this week, as a part of a bid to improve air quality and safety. Halbergman/Getty Images Cargo ships in California began queuing further out to sea this week. The new policy is part of a bid to address safety and environmental concerns from the traffic jam. One expert told Insider this policy is likely to reduce harmful emissions on the coastline.  Cargo ships queues for the nation's largest ports were pushed over 100 miles further out to sea this week, as a part of a bid to improve air quality and safety along the California coast.Over 100 ships, which have been waiting to dock in Los Angeles and Long Beach for as long as 2 months, will now wait about 150 miles outside of the port, or seven times further away from the coast than previously, according to a new policy from the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, the Pacific Maritime Association, and the Marine Exchange of Southern California."Certainly moving those ships farther offshore will have the effect of diluting emissions before they reach the coastline," Michael Kleeman, a civil and environmental engineering professor at the University of California Davis, told Insider. "This will offset the effects that idling ships could have on air quality."Los Angeles has been plagued with hazy skies and poor air quality that some speculate could be caused in part by the crowds of idling ships, and Kleeman said the new policy may help clear the Los Angeles skies if idling ships are in fact causing the haze. The new policy went into effect on Wednesday. The day before, the port backlog broke another record. 179 ships were recorded at the locations — the majority of which are waiting to dock and unload.Satellite data from Spire Global shows how the new guidelines will push the traffic jam much further out to sea. Previous standard allowed the ships to lurk around 23 miles outside of the ports.Courtesy of Spire GlobalThe maritime groups said in the announcement that the new process will reduce safety hazards by allowing the vessels to slow their speed and spread out, as well as reduce emissions near the coastline.The environmental hazards poised by the port backlogs have been under increased scrutiny in recent months. In October, a major oil pipeline leak in Southern California waters devastated local wildlife and caused several nearby beaches to temporarily close. Following the incident, investigators said they believe the leak was likely caused by a cargo ship's anchor."Any time you burn fuel you're going to have pollution resulting from that," Kleeman said. "All particulate matter in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels is harmful."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 19th, 2021

Cargo ships queues have been pushed 150 miles off the coast of Southern California

The traffic jam in Southern California was pushed seven time further out to sea this week, as a part of a bid to improve air quality and safety. Halbergman/Getty Images Cargo ships in California began queuing further out to sea this week. The new policy is part of a bid to address safety and environmental concerns from the traffic jam. One expert told Insider this policy is likely to reduce harmful emissions on the coastline.  Cargo ships queues for the nation's largest ports were pushed over 100 miles further out to sea this week, as a part of a bid to improve air quality and safety along the California coast.Over 100 ships, which have been waiting to dock in Los Angeles and Long Beach for as long as 2 months, will now wait about 150 miles outside of the port, or seven times further away from the coast than previously, according to a new policy from the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, the Pacific Maritime Association, and the Marine Exchange of Southern California."Certainly moving those ships farther offshore will have the effect of diluting emissions before they reach the coastline," Michael Kleeman, a civil and environmental engineering professor at the University of California Davis, told Insider. "This will offset the effects that idling ships could have on air quality."Los Angeles has been plagued with hazy skies and poor air quality that some speculate could be caused in part by the crowds of idling ships, and Kleeman said the new policy may help clear the Los Angeles skies if idling ships are in fact causing the haze. The new policy went into effect on Wednesday. The day before, the port backlog broke another record. 179 ships were recorded at the locations — the majority of which are waiting to dock and unload.Satellite data from Spire Maritime shows how the new guidelines will push the traffic jam much further out to sea. Previous standard allowed the ships to lurk around 23 miles outside of the ports.Courtesy of Spire MaritimeThe maritime groups said in the announcement that the new process will reduce safety hazards by allowing the vessels to slow their speed and spread out, as well as reduce emissions near the coastline.The environmental hazards poised by the port backlogs have been under increased scrutiny in recent months. In October, a major oil pipeline leak in Southern California waters devastated local wildlife and caused several nearby beaches to temporarily close. Following the incident, investigators said they believe the leak was likely caused by a cargo ship's anchor."Any time you burn fuel you're going to have pollution resulting from that," Kleeman said. "All particulate matter in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels is harmful."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 19th, 2021

Shellenberger: Why $6 Billion Won"t Solve World Hunger

Shellenberger: Why $6 Billion Won't Solve World Hunger Authored by Michael Shellenberger via michaelshellenberger.substack.com (emphasis ours), In late October, David Beasley, the Director of the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) urged billionaires Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk to “step up now, on a one-time basis” to address hunger globally. “Six billion [dollars] to help 42 million people that are literally going to die if we don’t reach them. It’s not complicated.”  But would you be surprised to learn that saving those 42 million lives is, in fact, complicated?   Part of the problem is how the money is spent. Musk tweeted back, “If WFP can describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6B will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it.” Musk added, “it must be open source accounting, so the public sees precisely how the money is spent.” Beasley responded, “I can assure you that we have the systems in place for transparency and open-source accounting.”  If WFP can describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6B will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 31, 2021 There have been problems in the past with the financial accounting and transparency of WFP and other United Nations agencies, but the larger problem is with food aid itself. After WFP won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020, it should have been a time of self-celebration. Instead, it enabled longtime critics of food aid to renew their criticisms of the WFP for dumping food on poor nations, driving down prices and bankrupting farmers, ultimately making it harder for poor nations to become self-sufficient.  This scenario has happened time and again around the world. In the 1950s and 1960s, surplus wheat from the US was sent to India, undermining local farmers. In 1976, the US sent wheat to Guatemala, in response to an earthquake, even though the country had just produced record yields. The decline of prices was so harmful to farmers that the government banned grain imports. Six years later, the Peruvian government asked the US government to stop dumping rice on the country, given its impact on poor farmers.   In 2002, Michael Maren, a former food aid monitor for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Somalia published a book called “The Road to Hell,” documenting how food aid prolonged that nation’s civil war in three ways.  First, much of the food aid was stolen and sold to buy arms, furthering the conflict.  Second, the food aid helped destroy the centuries-old credit system that allowed pastoral farmers to borrow money during droughts to pay for food, which they repaid later during good times. By undermining the credit system, foreign food aid had helped undermine the social ties that had kept the nation together.  And third, the food aid undermined the very incentive to farm. The WFP says it has learned from the past by giving one-third of its support in the form of cash aid, which is viewed as both more efficient, and more likely to avoid bankrupting small farmers. But cash aid can also fuel corruption, as I discovered the hard way 30 years ago when attempting to support a small, worker-owned coffee cooperative in Nicaragua.  My friends and I raised a few thousand dollars and gave it to the coop’s leaders. One year later, we returned to see how the money was spent. We were told one night by the coop’s angry cook that the coop’s all-male leadership had spent the money on alcohol and partying. None had gone towards upgrading the coop’s infrastructure. Naturally, the coop’s leaders denied it all, and said the money wasn’t sufficient, and they needed more. The lesson? When there is poor governance, aid money makes the situation worse, not better. An even bigger problem is that what causes hunger in most cases is not the absence of food but the presence of war and political instability.  A few days after his Twitter exchange with Elon musk, the WFP’s Beasley released a list of recipient nations and how much they would each receive in food aid and cash aid if Musk, Bezos, or someone else ponied up the more than $6 billion WFP said was needed to save 42 million lives. The list included the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Yemen, Ethiopia, Sudan, Venezuela, Haiti and Syria. Notice anything in common between them? They are all at war or in political turmoil, which is preventing farming and the transportation of food. Not all nations suffering from hunger and famine are at war. Some, like Madagascar, are suffering from drought. But we have known since economist Amartya Sen published his landmark 1981 book, “Poverty and Famines,” that most famines are deliberately caused as a weapon of war. They weren’t, for the most part, the result of food supplies in general or drought in particular, which farmers and societies have learned to deal with for millennia. Today, the world produces a 25 percent surplus of food, the most in recorded human history. To his credit, Beasley acknowledged that “$6 billion will not solve world hunger,” adding that that “it WILL prevent geopolitical instability [and] mass migration.”  If that were true, then that $6 billion would be the greatest philanthropic investment in human history. Unfortunately, it’s not.  Just look at Democratic Republic of the Congo, the eastern region of which is again at war. In the 1990s and again in the early 2000s, Congo was the epicenter of the Great African War, the deadliest conflict since World War II, which involved nine African countries and resulted in the deaths of three to five million people, mostly because of disease and starvation. Another two million people were displaced from their homes or sought asylum in neighboring countries. Hundreds of thousands of people, women and men, adults and children, were raped, sometimes more than once, by different armed groups.  When I was there in 2014, armed militias roaming the countryside had been killing villagers, including children, with machetes. Some blamed Al-Shabaab terrorists coming in from Uganda, but nobody took credit for the attacks. The violence appeared unconnected to any military or strategic objective. The national military, police and United Nations Peacekeeping Forces, about 6,000 soldiers, were either unable or unwilling to do anything about the terrorist attacks.  The sad truth is that wars are rarely settled from the outside and, when they are, it’s through long-term military occupation, not food aid. Even 20 years is not long enough, as the US failure to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan shows. We have known for more than two centuries that almost every nation escapes hunger and famine in the same way. First, there is sufficient stability to allow farmers to produce and transport their crops to the cities, and for businesses in the cities to operate without being bombed or shelled. The ugly truth is that such stability is often won the hard way, after years or decades of war and even genocide. Stability allows farmers to become more productive, and cities to develop new industries, such as manufacturing. Rising farm productivity means fewer people are required to work in farms, and many of them move to the city for work in factories and other industries. In the cities, the workers spend their money buying food, clothing and other consumer products and services, resulting in a workforce and society that is wealthier and engaged in a greater variety of jobs.  The use of modern energy and machinery means a declining number of workers required for food and energy production, which diversifies the workforce and grows the economy. During the last 200 years, poor nations found that they didn’t need to end corruption or educate everyone to develop. As long as factories were allowed to operate freely, and the politicians didn’t steal too much from their owners, manufacturing could drive economic development. And, over time, as nations became richer, many of them, including the US, became less corrupt.  While a few oil-rich nations like Saudi Arabia have achieved very high standards of living without ever having embraced manufacturing, almost every other developed country in the world, from Britain and the United States to Japan to South Korea and China, has transformed its economy with factories.  This remains the case today. Ethiopia had to end and recover from a bloody 17-year civil war, which resulted in at least 1.4 million deaths, including one million from famine, before its government could invest in infrastructure. Today, factory workers in the capital city of Addis Ababa continue to make clothing for Western labels including Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and H&M. Ethiopia has been competitive both because of its low wages compared to places like China and Indonesia, where they have risen in recent years, as well as its investments in hydroelectric dams, the electricity grid and roads. As a result, Ethiopia has seen more than 10 percent annual growth over the last decade. But all of that is now in jeopardy. There is a growing war in the northern Tigray region, and the Ethiopian government has blocked aid from being delivered, which has resulted in nearly a half million people suffering from famine. Now, the US and other nations are considering imposing trade sanctions in response, putting in jeopardy the livelihoods of factory workers in Addis Ababa. The reason for continuing famines in a world of plenty is not just complicated but also tragic. Over the last 20 years, economists and other experts have criticized development aid for being counterproductive, making nations dependent upon outsiders, and undermining efforts at internal development. Those complaints have mostly been ignored. Today, many developed nations continue to see charitable aid as an alternative to economic development. The latest guise to sell charity as development comes in the form of “climate adaptation.” The idea is that poor nations should forgo the use of fossil fuels, a necessary ingredient to industrialization and development, and instead rely on foreign hand-outs to adapt to higher temperatures. For poor nations to finally free themselves from the clutches of would-be rescuers from the rich world, they will need to defend their right to develop, including through the use of fossil fuels, and seek to trade with rich nations on equal terms. That may be starting to happen. In response to calls by rich world leaders that Africa not use fossil fuels, South Africa’s energy minister on Wednesday called for united resistance. “Our continent collectively is made to bear the brunt for polluters,” complained Gwede Mantashe. “We are being pressured, even compelled, to move away from all forms of fossil fuels… a key resource for industrialization.”  He’s right. From climate change to food aid, rich nations are demanding the poor nations develop in ways radically different from the way they developed centuries ago, without agricultural self-sufficiency, industrialization and fossil fuels. It can’t work. The harsh truth is that poor nations must go through the same, often painful steps toward development, including, often civil war, in order to achieve the political stability they need to develop. Rich nations can be partners to poor nations. But we should stop trying to be their saviors. Michael Shellenberger is author of Apocalypse Never (Harper Collins 2020), San Fransicko(HarperCollins 2021), and President of Environmental Progress. He lives in Berkeley, California. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/18/2021 - 21:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 18th, 2021

A Food Industry Reset Can Cut At Least 10% Of Global Emissions

S&P Global Ratings’ most recent report has found that the food system is responsible for about one-third of global GHG emissions, including up to 10% from lost or wasted food. Food supply disruptions due to the pandemic and extreme weather have further brought this issue into the spotlight. However, if it optimises its food production […] S&P Global Ratings’ most recent report has found that the food system is responsible for about one-third of global GHG emissions, including up to 10% from lost or wasted food. Food supply disruptions due to the pandemic and extreme weather have further brought this issue into the spotlight. However, if it optimises its food production and supply chain by adopting more efficient systems, the food industry could reduce food waste which would, in turn, help pave the way to a more sustainable future. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Key Takeaways Each year, a staggering one-third of food produced globally--worth almost $1 trillion--is lost or wasted, with unconsumed food contributing up to 10% of global greenhouse gases (GHG) in addition to emissions from farming, processing, and other activities. More efficient food systems will help eliminate food loss and waste while reducing the impact on the environment, especially since about 14% of the world's food is lost before reaching supermarket shelves. With the U.N.'s 2030 target for halving per capita food waste fast approaching, we believe the food industry can create a path to more sustainable food production and supply through closer collaboration and process integration. Companies able and willing to adjust their business models and adopt sustainable agronomic practices can strengthen their resilience to operating setbacks and reduce food-related emissions, while delivering higher margins through value-added product offerings. Studies suggest that the food system is responsible for about one-third of global GHG emissions, including up to 10% from lost or wasted food. This stands out when compared with about 12% from manufacturing and construction and 14% for the transportation sector, according to data from the World Resources Institute (WRI). Food supply disruptions, especially over the past two years due to the pandemic and extreme weather, have brought this issue further into the spotlight. Last year, for example, one of the warmest on record according to the World Meteorological Organization, thunderstorms, wildfires, plagues, and drought destroyed millions of hectares of crops and displaced thousands of people. In addition, COVID-19-related restrictions severely hampered the transport of agricultural commodities over air, land, and sea. This increased the amount of food lost or wasted at the production and retail stages, already vulnerable to storage capacity, freight availability, and political instability among other factors. S&P Global Ratings believes agribusinesses can strengthen the food production and supply chain through closer collaboration at every stage, both downstream and upstream. There are meaningful gains to be had, for example by companies expanding into advanced food ingredient technologies to improve product shelf life, or by integrating transport with processing and sales. Some companies are already rethinking their long-term strategies, putting greater emphasis on managing environmental and social risks. We believe they stand to gain a competitive advantage using this approach. The big question is whether they can do enough to have a visible impact on food-related emissions by 2030. The High Cost Of Food Loss Although limited data is available, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates (2016) show that, excluding retail and households, about 14% of the world's food is lost between the harvest and retail stages. Before and during consumption, the highest food loss and waste per capita occurs in Asia, according to a World Economic Forum report, followed by North America and Europe. The report states that "if food waste were a country, it would rank behind only the U.S. and China for greenhouse gas emissions." The UN Environment Program (UNEP)'s Food Waste Index indicates that, in 2019, 61% of food waste came from households, 26% from food service, and 13% from retail. A large share of food waste stems from consumers, food providers, and retailers in developed markets. In North America, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that, in 2010, 31% of the domestic food supply was lost, to the tune of about $161 billion. Seven years later, a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures showed that about 40% of food produced in the U.S. is wasted throughout the supply chain, from farms to households, while 41 million Americans faced food insecurity in 2016. In the U.K., despite considerable progress in this area, estimates show that households and businesses still waste around 9.5 million tonnes (mt) of food per year (70% intended for human consumption) valued at over £19 billion. The edible portion of this food (6.4 mt) would have been enough to feed the entire U.K. population three meals a day for 11 weeks. Food is wasted in many ways. Here are just three of them: Edible fresh produce not meeting certain criteria, for example in terms of shape, size, and color, is dumped during sorting operations. Foods that are close to, at, or beyond the "best before" date are often discarded by retailers and consumers. Large quantities of edible food not eaten by households and restaurants are often thrown away. More Businesses Need To Focus On Sustainability While the world is focusing on the energy transition, the U.N.'s 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) are keeping the attention on issues such as hunger, poverty, climate action, and sustainable cities and communities. Resolving these clearly also support the reduction of GHG emissions. In particular, SDG 12 is to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, including a target (SDG 12.3) to halve--by 2030--per capita food waste at the retail and consumer levels, while reducing food losses during production and supply. Over 190 countries formally agreed to the SDGs, set in 2015, as part of the U.N.'s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Yet only 1% of food companies' business models support responsible consumption and production, according to a September 2020 Trucost survey of 3,500 companies representing 85% of global market capitalization. And not much time is left before 2030. The Trucost report also states that about 90% of the companies it examined provide products and services related to food logistics, including taking products from harvest through to consumption. Among the largest global food corporations working with farmers, retailers, and other organizations in support of the SDGs are market leader Cargill, which has launched several initiatives under its Sustainable Supply Chains program (beef, cocoa, corn, and cotton, among others). Similarly, ADM (food and beverage ingredients) has SDG-aligned environmental targets it aims to achieve by 2035, including a 25% drop in GHG emissions. Nestle (more than 2,000 food and beverage brands) has committed to tackling emissions through 100% deforestation-free supply by 2022, 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025, and food loss/waste reduction targets. Bunge (the world's largest oilseed processor) has an ambitious goal that includes a deforestation-free supply chain by 2025. Mondelez (brands include Cadbury, Philadelphia, and Oreo) reports that it's on track with its 2022-2025 sustainable-ingredients targets. Danone (including Activia, Alpro, and Silk) has pledged a 50% reduction of food waste from the 2016 level, plus 100% next-generation, recyclable, biodegradable packaging by 2025. There Are Many Possible Solutions Several global companies plan to effect changes to reduce the environmental impact of their own activities, but this is not enough to transform the entire food production and supply chain. Successful collaboration and consolidation won't be easy, but food companies have several options open to them. Support for farmers and the local salesforce through better data, technology, and training. We believe direct links with farmers and closer relationships with salespeople where crops are grown are increasingly important to limit loss at production. In large crop-producing regions such as the eastern coast of Latin America, South East Asia, and the Black Sea, local currency inflation and volatility often mean that farmers make storage, sale, and process decisions every week, depending on trading data. Such fragmented decision-making means that transport companies operating with long-term contracts might see their freight capacity underutilized if farmers renege on supply contracts. This is a particular risk if the monetary penalty for farmers is small relative to the potential gain of diverting the sale. Value-added products in food processing can help reduce waste further down the line and offer agribusinesses opportunities for profitable growth. Innovative technologies can help reduce waste at consumer level by improving the shelf life and appearance of staple foods. In addition, they can promote more efficient crop use by improving the taste and texture of more environmentally friendly plant-based food. Many companies are investing in this are also looking at new materials, to be used, among other things, in food handling and packaging. Collaboration with retailers is key to cutting distribution inefficiencies and food waste at households. This will enable large agribusinesses and consumer product companies to reap the full benefits of their measures to tackle food waste. Grocers, for instance, can play a huge role in influencing consumers' food choices and attitude toward waste. In recognition of this, leading agribusinesses, consumer products groups, and food retailers have joined the WRI's "10x20x30" initiative since it launched in 2019. The program aims to drive progress on SDG 12.3, using a "whole chain" approach, with participating companies pledging to engage with at least 20 of their suppliers and--together--halve their food loss and waste by 2030. Adoption of the "Target-Measure-Act" strategy can help track sources of waste/loss, find solutions, and record progress. The strategy was launched by U.K. sustainable resources advocate WRAP and the IDG (Institute of Grocery Distribution) in 2018 as part of the country's Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, which is geared toward the U.N.'s SDG 12.3 target. Three years into the program, nearly 200 companies, including top global names like Unilever, Nestle, Mondelez, and PepsiCo have committed to using the Target-Measure-Act method to speed up food loss/waste reduction in their operations, and make the results public. U.K.-based Tesco was the first retailer to use the approach, inviting 27 suppliers to take part in 2017. WRAP has also called on COP26 delegates to adopt to Target-Measure-Act to tackle climate change. The U.K.'s September 2021 Food Waste Reduction Roadmap progress report showed that businesses had lowered food waste by an estimated 17%--worth £365 million--over the previous year. The U.K. is the first nation to create a plan to achieve SDG 12.3's target of reducing food loss and waste by 50% by 2030. Increased use of processed food byproducts and restaurant waste for renewable fuels. Animal fats and meal resulting from meat processing, well as cooking oils from food-service establishments, are increasingly being used to produce renewable fuel, thereby reducing the amount of waste as well as reliance on fossil fuel. Under initiatives such as the U.S. National Renewable Fuel Standard Program, gasoline refiners are required to increase their blend of such biofuels into the gasoline supply, with production mandates for renewable and biofuels expected to increase by more than 20% in 2022 compared with 2020 levels. Continued biofuel demand growth will also increase the economic value of such byproducts for recycling into fuels. In fact, a market for various grease grades (for example yellow grease, choice white grease, and poultry grease) already exists, with prices rising more than 100% year over year in the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2021, according to the Jacobson Index. What Food Companies Are Already Doing We see global agri-commodity companies consolidating their agricultural platforms (such as for grain, coffee, and cotton), while pursuing geographic expansion and shifting their product mix toward more sustainable alternatives. Scale and cost efficiencies should enable them to deliver affordable products. However, they are increasingly recognizing that to improve supply chain sustainability, they have to invest upstream as well as downstream to reduce reliance on less sustainable food inputs even though they may be more cost effective. The related investments typically stop short of direct ownership of farmland and crop production, but look at all parts of the food system's infrastructure. This includes partnering with growers and supporting them with new sustainable technologies and processes. Such an approach could entail optimizing drying, storage, and quality controls, land transit, and the high volume of crops passing through port terminals. Article by S&P Global Ratings Updated on Nov 17, 2021, 11:56 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 17th, 2021

Chinese Power Crunch Shaking Up Market, Solaris Resources Powers Through

China has seen a dip in the demand for some metals, and it’s affecting the demand for metals — especially copper. Many large factories and producers are slowing down production to conserve energy. Meanwhile, global copper inventories have been falling at an unprecedented pace to reach near record lows. As a result, copper prices will average […] China has seen a dip in the demand for some metals, and it’s affecting the demand for metals — especially copper. Many large factories and producers are slowing down production to conserve energy. Meanwhile, global copper inventories have been falling at an unprecedented pace to reach near record lows. As a result, copper prices will average more than $4 a pound this year, Diego Hernandez, Head of Chilean Mining Society Sonami, told Bloomberg in an interview. “The supply-demand equation for copper is very tight, even amid market-wide uncertainties fueled by Chinese property turmoil and a global energy crunch,” said Hernandez, a former chief executive of Codelco and Antofagasta Plc., “Supply and demand in the coming years should remain fairly tight so prices should be not extraordinary, but good — higher than long-term projections.” After the next few years, however, firms like Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, and BMO see a structural supply deficit opening and then widening due to rapid growth in demand from electric vehicles, renewables, and grid expansions to drive the global transition from fossil fuels and a lack of supply preparation due to chronic underinvestment over the last decade. Hernandez doesn’t see any imminent risks for the Chilean copper industry, although rising diesel could push up costs. Some copper companies haven’t been overly affected by the drop in price, like Solaris Resources (TSX:SLS and OTC:SLSSF), an exploration company with a portfolio of copper and gold assets in the Americas which has been driving rapid growth through ongoing exploration success at its flagship Warintza copper and gold project in Ecuador. Warintza is thought by industry observers to be emerging as a generational discovery in a sector where large-scale deposits with high grades at the surface have become increasingly rare. By focusing on copper, the company is exploring a metal that will experience growing demand and becoming increasingly strategic to countries hoping to dominate the technologies underpinning the global energy transition. Nickel, lithium, and cobalt have experienced increased investor attention in this regard, but copper is the most fundamental metal to electrification and is expected to come into focus as structural deficits begin to open up in the next few years. Additionally, Ecuador’s government is emphasizing foreign investment in the mining sector through robust support for responsible mining development, creating a pro-mining and investment-friendly environment isolated from many of the issues currently faced in countries like Chile. Solaris has demonstrated the highest commitment to ESG principles in Ecuador, making the Warintza project a successful example for Latin America and one that is frequently singled out by the Ecuadorian government as the model for mining in the country. China’s situation will likely create opportunities for Solaris to fill the supply gaps as the company continues exploring one of the world’s greatest copper discoveries hitting intercepts over 1km and up to 1% copper equivalent from the surface. An updated mineral resource estimate is expected to be completed in the coming months along with a PEA in 2022, anticipated to showcase a high-grade starter pit distinguishing Warintza as one of the best global copper developments projects available globally. China’s top copper smelters recently set floor treatment and refining charges (TC/RCs) for the fourth quarter at $70 per tonne and 7 cents a pound, three sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. The fourth-quarter floor decided at a meeting of the state-backed members of the China Smelters Purchase Team (CSPT) in Shanghai, is up 27.3% from $55 per tonne and 5.5 cents a pound in the third quarter and up from $58 per tonne and 5.8 cents per pound a year earlier. Smelters are paid by the miners to process copper concentrate into refined metal, offsetting the cost of the ore. When more supply is available, smelters can demand better terms because the charges rise and contribute to the profits for the smelters and miners. “The global concentrate market shifted to a surplus in the second half of this year, with mine projects commissioned and ramping up production,” said Wang Ruilin, a senior copper analyst at CRU Group. “This supported spot TCs in China to increase rapidly in July and August.” China is taking steps to ease an electricity shortage, though, more policies are needed, state media reported Tuesday. The tight supply situation is likely to ease gradually due to measures by authorities to ensure power production and avoid cuts, the official Economic Information Daily said in a front-page report, citing unnamed industry experts. However, longer-term the country is expected to become increasingly desperate for copper supply as it aims to achieve peak emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. China has targeted over $4 trillion in new investment with a strategy of transitioning the country from fossil fuels to electricity and dominating the key technology sectors, such as electric vehicles, which are expected to account for 50% of new sales by 2030, renewables, and grid technologies. Updated on Nov 16, 2021, 3:32 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 16th, 2021

The Southern California Port Restrictions Are Affecting Other Areas

In his Daily Market Notes report to investors, while commenting on the the Southern California port restrictions, Louis Navellier wrote: Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Retail Sales Surprise The consumer has the economy’s back. October US retail sales beat forecasts and was the best increase since March, breeding confidence that the Christmas season […] In his Daily Market Notes report to investors, while commenting on the the Southern California port restrictions, Louis Navellier wrote: if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Retail Sales Surprise The consumer has the economy’s back. October US retail sales beat forecasts and was the best increase since March, breeding confidence that the Christmas season will be good, albeit some bears believe part of October's positive surprise was consumers doing early Christmas shopping due to concerns of inventory stuck on container ships.  Walmart & Home Depot beat estimates and both forecast a strong Christmas season.  Consumer Discretionary indexes hit new all-time highs.  US factory output also surprised to the upside perhaps an indication that logistics bottlenecks are finally starting to ease.  Combined with the infrastructure bill getting signed yesterday, there’s enough good news to get stocks off to a positive start. The U.S. economy's GDP growth is forecasted to reaccelerate from an estimated 2% annual pace in the third quarter to a whopping 8.2% annual pace in the fourth quarter according to the Atlanta Fed.  Although the Atlanta Fed can be too optimistic early in a quarter sometimes, there is no doubt the economic growth is reaccelerating.  Believe it or not, inflation is sparking economic growth and there are plenty of indications of inflation lately. Thanksgiving Chicken Inflation makes retirement much more difficult.  The poor and middle class are increasingly frustrated every time they go to the gas station or the grocery store.  Due to a turkey shortage, many Americans are going to be eating chicken for Thanksgiving, but the price of chicken has risen as well.  It will be interesting how long consumers will tolerate inflation eroding their wealth. Port Restrictions Major ports on the East Coast and Gulf Coast, are suffering from the Southern California port restrictions, which are exasperated by restrictions on what type of trucks can transport containers, which cannot the stacked higher than two containers versus six containers at most other ports.  Even though the Biden Administration has asked the Longshoremen Union to work 24 hours at the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports, the number of containerships stranded off the coast is getting worse, which will just exasperate shortages and boost inflation. At COP26, the U.S. agreed to stop using fossil fuels for electricity generation by 2035.  Folks, this is not going to happen, since we will still need lots of natural gas in 2035.  The California war against natural gas is stupid.  The federal government declaring to the world that they will stop using natural gas by 2035 is even more stupid.  The Build Back Better bill that includes money to cap natural gas wells leading methane in the Permian Basin that were caused by the Biden Administration’s drilling ban on federal land is beyond stupid. In this inflationary environment, millions of Americans are pouring money into the stock market seeking higher yields and protection from inflation.  Also notable is that gold is at a 5-month high.  Internationally, the Chinese economy is now in disarray and Europe is struggling with another Covid-19 outbreak.  The truth is as you look around the world, the U.S. is looking better due to higher interest rates, a capitalistic culture, and 50 states that compete with each other for business. Heard & Notable A record number of 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. The number of Americans quitting has now exceeded pre-pandemic highs for six straight months. Source: Statista Updated on Nov 16, 2021, 1:49 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 16th, 2021

Inflation Is Sparking Economic Growth

In his Daily Market Notes report to investors, while commenting on inflation sparking growth, Louis Navellier wrote: Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Equities continue to blithely scale the Wall of Worry. The S&P 500 is now up 20 of the last 24 days. This is despite the highest inflation report in 30 years, […] In his Daily Market Notes report to investors, while commenting on inflation sparking growth, Louis Navellier wrote: if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Equities continue to blithely scale the Wall of Worry. The S&P 500 is now up 20 of the last 24 days. This is despite the highest inflation report in 30 years, surging pandemic numbers in Europe, continued logistics bottlenecks, fears of defaults in China’s property developers, and cracks appearing in the US Treasury market as the Fed begins to taper its QE.  Stocks are near all-time highs around the world as living with the pandemic and a return to a new normal takes hold. Morgan Stanley wrote a report that concludes both stocks and bond prices in the US will be lower this time next year thanks to lower pandemic support spending and the wind-down of QE.  They suggest better returns should be found in Europe and Japan. Global Asset Bubble McKinsey reported that worldwide net worth tripled in the last two decades to $514 trillion with China grabbing a third, going from $7 trillion to $120 trillion, and now stands over the US whose net worth doubled to $90 trillion.  In both countries, more than two-thirds of the wealth is held by the top 10% of households, a number that has been growing.  A problem here is that over two-thirds of wealth is held in real estate which has ballooned on the back of falling interest rates.  Asset prices are now 50% above their long-term average relative to income.  This is what fuels the fears of a global asset bubble.   The best solution is to grow GDP through investments in profitable enterprises.  Hopefully, governments will see the light and incentivize rather than discourage continued investments in the stock market and business formation.  As it is, the stock market is trying its best to catch up with soaring real estate values.  Perhaps another solution would be for governments to discourage real estate speculation while encouraging business investment.  That could give a major unexpected boost to equity investment and lead to more jobs, higher wages, and higher tax receipts.  Growing income would be a whole lot better than deflating the asset bubble, we all know that. Inflation Sparks Growth Even though economic growth remains strong, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index recently fell to a 10-year low and both inflation and shortages are making folks angry.  When President Biden cites robust economic growth for the surge in inflation and shortages, no one believes him.  It is obviously very odd for a President’s popularity to plunge when economic growth is resurging, but that is exactly what is happening. The U.S. economy's GDP growth is forecasted to reaccelerate from an estimated 2% annual pace in the third quarter to a whopping 8.2% annual pace in the fourth quarter according to the Atlanta Fed.  Although the Atlanta Fed can be too optimistic early in a quarter sometimes, there is no doubt the economic growth is reaccelerating.  Believe it or not, inflation is sparking economic growth and there are plenty of indications of inflation lately. Inflation makes retirement much more difficult.  The poor and middle class are increasingly frustrated every time they go to the gas station or the grocery store.  Due to a turkey shortage, many Americans are going to be eating chicken for Thanksgiving, but the price of chicken has risen as well.  It will be interesting how long consumers will tolerate inflation eroding their wealth. No Fossil Fuels by 2035? At COP26, the U.S. agreed to stop using fossil fuels for electricity generation by 2035.  Folks, this is not going to happen, since we will still need lots of natural gas in 2035.  The California war against natural gas is stupid.  The federal government declaring to the world that they will stop using natural gas by 2035 is even more stupid.  The Build Back Better bill that includes money to cap natural gas wells leading methane in the Permian Basin that were caused by the Biden Administration’s drilling ban on federal land is beyond stupid. The Biden Administration is not expected to get the Senate to pass the House of Representatives’ proposed infrastructure spending.  After the outcomes of the Virginia and New Jersey elections, many politicians are tacking to the center like Senator Manchin or hiding.  Already, many members of the House of Representatives are not running for re-election in anticipation of a defeat, so a big leadership change in Congress is anticipated next November.  It will be interesting if the Biden Administration tacks to the center like Bill Clinton did, which in turn boosted his popularity.  Wall Street likes a “balanced” government, so the latest political developments are being well received and boosting investor confidence. In this inflationary environment, millions of Americans are pouring money into the stock market seeking higher yields and protection from inflation.  Also notable is that gold is at a 5-month high.  Internationally, the Chinese economy is now in disarray and Europe is struggling with another Covid-19 outbreak.  The truth is as you look around the world, the U.S. is looking better due to higher interest rates, a capitalistic culture and 50 states that compete with each other for business. Heard & Notable: After a 52-year chase, authorities ID the man behind an infamous Ohio bank heist. Theodore John Conrad was only 20 years old when he robbed the Society National Bank in Cleveland on July 11, 1969. U.S. Marshals based in Cleveland made the discovery after matching paperwork that Conrad had filled out in the 1960s with documents that he had filled out later in life using his new identity, Thomas Randele. Source: NPR Updated on Nov 15, 2021, 2:36 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 15th, 2021

Visualizing The World’s Largest Sovereign Wealth Funds

Did you know that some of the world’s largest investment funds are owned by national governments? Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Known as sovereign wealth funds (SWF), these vehicles are often established with seed money that is generated by government-owned industries. If managed responsibly and given a long enough timeframe, an SWF […] Did you know that some of the world’s largest investment funds are owned by national governments? if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Known as sovereign wealth funds (SWF), these vehicles are often established with seed money that is generated by government-owned industries. If managed responsibly and given a long enough timeframe, an SWF can accumulate an enormous amount of assets. In this infographic, we’ve detailed the world’s 10 largest SWFs, along with the largest mutual fund and ETF for context. The Big Picture Data collected from SWFI in October 2021 ranks Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (also known as the Norwegian Oil Fund) as the world’s largest SWF. The world’s 10 largest sovereign wealth funds (with fund size benchmarks) are listed below: Country Fund Name Fund Type Assets Under Management (AUM)  Norway Government Pension Fund Global SWF $1.3 trillion U.S. Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Mutual fund $1.3 trillion China China Investment Corporation SWF $1.2 trillion Kuwait Kuwait Investment Authority SWF $693 billion United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi Investment Authority SWF $649 billion Hong Kong SAR Hong Kong Monetary Authority Investment Portfolio SWF $581 billion Singapore Government of Singapore Investment Corporation SWF $545 billion Singapore Temasek SWF $484 billion China National Council for Social Security Fund SWF $447 billion Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia SWF $430 billion U.S. State Street SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust ETF $391 billion United Arab Emirates Investment Corporation of Dubai SWF $302 billion SWF AUM gathered on 10/08/2021. VTSAX and SPY AUM as of 09/30/2021. So far, just two SWFs have surpassed the $1 trillion milestone. To put this in perspective, consider that the world’s largest mutual fund, the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSAX), is a similar size, investing in U.S. large-, mid-, and small-cap equities. The Trillion Dollar Club The world’s two largest sovereign wealth funds have a combined $2.5 trillion in assets. Here’s a closer look at their underlying portfolios. Government Pension Fund Global – $1.3 Trillion (Norway) Norway’s SWF was established after the country discovered oil in the North Sea. The fund invests the revenue coming from this sector to safeguard the future of the national economy. Here’s a breakdown of its investments. Asset Class % of Total Assets Country Diversification Number of Securities Public Equities 72.8% 69 countries 9,123 companies Fixed income 24.7% 45 countries 1,245 bonds Real estate 2.5% 14 countries 867 properties As of 12/31/2020 Real estate may be a small part of the portfolio, but it’s an important component for diversification (real estate is less correlated to the stock market) and generating income. Here are some U.S. office towers that the fund has an ownership stake in. Address Ownership Stake 601 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 45.0% 475 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 49.9% 33 Arch Street, Boston, MA 49.9% 100 First Street, San Francisco, CA 44.0% As of 12/31/2020 Overall, the fund has investments in 462 properties in the U.S. for a total value of $14.9 billion. China Investment Corporation (CIC) – $1.2 Trillion (China) The CIC is the largest of several Chinese SWFs, and was established to diversify the country’s foreign exchange holdings. Compared to the Norwegian fund, the CIC invests in a greater variety of alternatives. This includes real estate, of course, but also private equity, private credit, and hedge funds. Asset Class % of Total Assets Public equities 38% Fixed income 17% Alternative assets 43% Cash 2% As of 12/31/2020 A primary focus of the CIC has been to increase its exposure to American infrastructure and manufacturing. By the end of 2020, 57% of the fund was invested in the United States. “According to our estimate, the United States needs at least $8 trillion in infrastructure investments. There’s not sufficient capital from the U.S. government or private sector. It has to rely on foreign investments.” – Ding Xuedong, Chairman, China Investment Corporation This has drawn suspicion from U.S. regulators given the geopolitical tensions between the two countries. For further reading on the topic, consider this 2017 paper by the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Preparing for a Future Without Oil Many of the countries associated with these SWFs are known for their robust fossil fuel industries. This includes Middle Eastern nations like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Oil has been an incredible source of wealth for these countries, but it’s unlikely to last forever. Some analysts believe that we could even see peak oil demand before 2030—though this doesn’t mean that oil will stop being an important resource. Regardless, oil-producing countries are looking to hedge their reliance on fossil fuels. Their SWFs play an important role by taking oil revenue and investing it to generate returns and/or bolster other sectors of the economy. An example of this is Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which supports the country’s Vision 2030 framework by investing in clean energy and other promising sectors. Article by Visual Capitalist Updated on Nov 15, 2021, 5:03 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 15th, 2021

As More Companies Make Net-Zero Pledges, Some Aren’t as Good as They Sound

As companies scramble to declare their commitments to a net-zero future, greenwashing strategies will likely become more commonplace At COP26, the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, governments and businesses put forward ambitious-sounding plans to de-carbonize. But a closer look beneath the surface shows many corporate “net-zero” plans are not nearly as good as they sound. The Net Zero Tracker, compiled by a team of non-profit organizations and research labs, assesses companies’ environmental commitments based on information made publicly available by businesses themselves. It recently found that 622 of the 2,000 largest publicly-traded companies in the world by revenue have technically committed to a net-zero strategy. However, the Net Zero Tracker team also found that the actual policies of many of these companies undermine any real change at achieving zero-carbon operations. Often, that’s because they do not count emissions produced by their supply chains (which can be significant) or because they depend on unreliable or unproven strategies to offset their carbon production. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] To understand the first of these, you need to understand the standard framework to measure emissions, called the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, which defines three broad categories of emissions associated with business operations: Scope 1 covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources, such as company delivery trucks. Scope 2 covers indirect emissions—say, the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling consumed by a company. Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain, anything from supplier waste to the use of the products it sells. If a company does not include Scope 3 emissions in its carbon accounting, it’s essentially useless. For example, Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has an official strategy to reach zero emissions by 2040. Yet, its plan excludes Scope 3 emissions—despite the fact that they make up 95% of the company’s emissions, according to the company. “A lot of businesses and investors are setting these kinds of targets, and they’re doing it, arguably, for PR reasons,” says Thomas Hale, an Oxford University professor and contributor to the Net Zero Tracker. It can often be a form of greenwashing: a marketing strategy to convince the public that an organization’s products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly, when they are often far from it. A Walmart spokesperson said in an emailed statement that the company was working with its suppliers on a project to “avoid a gigaton of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.” More than 3,100 of Walmart’s suppliers have formally signed onto the project and “avoided a cumulative total of more than 416MMT of CO2e since the program’s inception in 2017,” the spokesperson said. Read more: The World’s Top Carbon Emitters Now All Have Net Zero Pledges. Most of Them Are Too Vague Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil exporter, and one of the biggest companies on the Net Zero Tracker, also did not include Scope 3 emissions in the 2050 net-zero pledge it announced last month. “Scope 3 is the responsibility of end users, regulators, policymakers and governments around the world,” Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said Oct. 23 at the Saudi Green Initiative conference. Aramco did not respond to a request for comment for this article. Even companies that do include Scope 3 emissions sometimes do not fully account for them. For example, another oil major—and the second-largest company on the Net Zero Tracker list—Royal Dutch Shell, has a net-zero plan which includes Scope 3 emissions from the fuel it sells, but does not include Scope 3 emissions from its non-energy products, like chemicals, lubricants, and bitumen. A spokesperson for the company (soon to be known as Shell) said it plans to become a net-zero emissions energy company by 2050. “Achieving this target means we will be net-zero across all of our operations in the future, including the manufacturing of non-energy products such as lubricants and chemicals.” Then there are the issues with offsetting. Many companies attempt to continue doing business as usual and then offsetting their carbon footprint by paying third parties to plant trees that, in theory, sequester carbon, or investing in emerging carbon-capture-and-storage technologies. But these both have their flaws. A report released in October by campaigning group Friends of the Earth argues that “nature-based solutions” to offset carbon emissions are founded on a flawed assumption that it is possible to trade off harm in one place with good intentions elsewhere. Each habitat is unique and irreplaceable, the report argues, and forms of short-term carbon storage like trees or peatlands are inadequate substitutes for leaving fossil fuels in the ground—a more permanent form of carbon sequestration. Some studies have found that planting nonnative trees in Canada and China on a large scale, for example, has disturbed natural ecosystems, worsened wildfires and depleted groundwater levels. Read more: Can ‘Rewilding’ Land Help Address Climate Change? Moreover, offsetting is hard to regulate. As part of Shell’s “drive CO2 neutral” scheme, customers can choose to pay extra when filling their tanks. The company uses the extra money to buy carbon credits which offset the emissions produced. But in August, the Netherlands’ advertising watchdog ruled that Shell’s advertising campaign was misleading, because it could not prove the scheme fully offset emissions. And then, an investigation by Greenpeace and Source Material last month revealed that two of Shell’s most prominent offsetting projects, which rely on reforesting initiatives in Peru, Indonesia and Scotland, do not demonstrate a clear benefit to the climate. Contradictions like these can also be found within the financial system that supports the fossil fuel and other polluting industries. On the third day of COP26, a coalition of 450 financial firms—including such influential names like J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Santander—pledged $130 trillion of private capital to invest in reaching global net-zero by 2050. But many of these financial companies don’t appear to be cleaning up their own houses. J.P. Morgan Chase last month announced it would make its lending and investment portfolio net-zero by 2050—however, according to Net Zero Tracker, the bank’s pledge only partially covers Scope 3 emissions. Santander’s publicly available plan, according to the Net Zero Tracker, is incomplete, as it does not make clear how proposed measures will reduce CO2 emissions, and it lacks formal accountability strategies. Goldman Sachs has publicly committed to reaching net-zero supply chain emissions by 2030 and financed emissions by 2050, but it relies on offsetting to reach its goals. The bank’s CEO David Solomon has previously said Goldman Sachs would set interim business-related climate targets by the end of 2021, a spokesperson said. A spokesperson for J.P. Morgan said in an emailed statement that it was setting carbon reduction targets for “key sectors” of its financing portfolio as part of its “Paris-aligned strategy.” Steps it is taking include “Scope 3 targets for Oil and Gas, and Auto Manufacturing; announcing a $2.5 trillion, 10-year sustainable financing target to support the development and scaling of the innovative technologies that we need to get the world on a path to net zero, and achieving carbon neutrality in our operations every year starting in 2020,” the statement said. A Santander spokesperson said in an emailed statement: “Santander’s climate finance report provides detailed disclosures regarding our climate targets and strategy. We are committed to playing our part in achieving the objectives of the Paris agreement and will continue to provide regular, transparent updates on our progress.” As companies scramble to declare their commitments to a net-zero future, greenwashing strategies will likelt become more commonplace as the global economy moves towards green energy, finance, and tech—and may be harder to detect. What might help to make it easier to identify them is a new U.N. group to police net-zero commitments. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said last week at the COP26 summit that the group would be making recommendations to him next year. “We need to hold each other accountable—governments, non-state actors and civil society.” Guterres said on Nov. 11. “Only together can we keep 1.5 degrees within reach and the equitable and resilient world we need.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 15th, 2021