Thursday, October 09, 2014

Is this the end of fossil fuels?

No, of course not, at least not yet, but there are some interesting straws in the wind. Glasgow University has become the first in Europe to sell off its investments in fossil fuels. At £18 million that's not even a drop in the bucket. Insignificant in financial terms but much more important from a PR point of view is the deal between Lego and Shell. Lego carried the brand on many of its sets but following a campaign from Greenpeace with a video which went viral Lego has agreed to end its relationship with the oil company. The focus of the Greenpeace campaign was Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. It was both about putting the Arctic wilderness at risk and about producing more fossil fuels which lead to worsening climate change.

The most significant news is that the Rockefeller Foundation announced last month that it was going to sell off all its investments in fossil fuels. That's the Rockefeller that was founded on Standard Oil, ESSO in the UK. If they are now selling out of the fossil fuels which made their fortune maybe we should start to take notice. As professional investors they are likely to be selling out because they foresee a market decline.

So, is this the end of fossil fuels,? It could well be the beginning of the end. People, important people, are finally realising that we cannot exploit all the remaining fossil fuel reserves without setting off climate change which will make the world uninhabitable in a few short decades. However, we still need energy and it must be clean energy. The race is on to develop carbon-free alternatives. And no doubt that’s where the smart money will be going!