|Climate Change on Wall Street?|
In the first instance, did you know that there are in fact some wealthy people in the world with a conscience who are not opposed to paying their fair share. The group of 121 millionaires who signed their letter to the Davos Economic Forum “Millionaires against Pitchforks” called on world leaders to close the international loopholes which enable the super rich to avoid paying their taxes.
It reminds me of a man I met in Sweden many years ago when Swedes were among the most highly taxed. I asked him if he minded paying so much tax.
“Oh we grumble about it of course,“ he said, “But in the end I am lucky to be in a position to contribute. We have good schools with free education, good health care and low crime rates and so on. We wouldn’t have such a good society without those and my own life wouldn’t be better if I paid less tax. In fact, it could be considerably worse. Sweden wouldn’t be where it is today, without those things either and we all want to use the roads and be able to walk down our streets without fear.”
- In other good news electric car manufacturer Tesla's shares have gone up 36% in four days and may get state subsidies to set up a factory in Germany because the country is keen to encourage electrical vehicle and battery manufacture. Others can also apply.
- Also with respect to transport, Germany has
dropped the price on long distance train travel to encourage use of trains
rather than planes.
- Luxembourg is the first country to make public transport completely free.
- The UK meanwhile is banning the sale of new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars after 2035
- With respect to power generation Iceland already has 100% renewable energy, and Scotland is on target to reach 100% this year. It closed its last coal fired power station in 2016 and aggressively pursued the building of wind generators. It hopes to be completely Carbon Neutral by 2045.
- Not that the rest of the UK isn’t trying with wind power already providing energy for as much as 45% of households
- Even more astounding is that India is getting out of coal and into renewable energy. It has already doubled its capacity in three years and plans to increase it a further fivefold. As well as helping to solve its energy problems, the shift will help to reduce its massive air pollution and allow its economy to keep expanding without increasing emissions. It will also create more employment. Renewables have also put pressure on electricity prices reducing the cost per Kilowatt to approximately 3 US cents.
- Even stock markets are starting to care about Climate Change with Deutsche Bank reporting that companies with positive environmental news were up several percentage points.
From the above, it's evident that many countries far larger and far smaller than Australia are planning ahead and looking at ways to meet the coming challenges. They surely would not bother if they didn't believe that climate change existed, or that cutting emissions would not make any difference. Alas, in Australia climate change denialism still runs rife through much of our media, despite growing evidence to the contrary. Today it's cyclones in the North West , flooding in NSW and Queensland and more fires in the South West. [Please note that this fire was also started by lightning!]. Instead of planning for the future, our government insists on investing in and subsidising more coal and gas developments.
Since my faith in human nature has been sorely tested of late, let's finish with something nice. I have tried to embed this a couple of times without success, so you will have to click here and check it out for yourself. It will put a smile on your face.