By Fernando Franco
Five human carbon bubbles last month paid a surprise visit to the Bank of England to talk about how failure to divest from fossil fuels could bring the biggest financial crisis the world has seen to date: the so-called: “Carbon Bubble”.
The bubbles are members of 350.org’s‘Fossil Free’ campaign on fossil fuel divestment and are calling for the Financial Policy Committee (FPC), to investigate the financial impact of over vaulting oil and gas reserves.
The group is hoping to see divestment from fossil fuels across pensions and the investment community after a report found that these assets could be over-valued.
Susie Wheeldon, a spokesperson from the group said: “We are on the brink of the world’s largest ever financial crisis and it’s time to wake up. We simply can’t go through this again. The UK Pensions Minister, asset managers, investors and banks have expressed their concern about stranded carbon assets but there is no mandate in place to demand the fossil fuel industry disclose the emissions potential of their reserves.
“Pension, investment funds and institutions are pulling their money from fossil fuels faster than any other divestment action we’ve seen. We simply can’t afford to waste time.”
Charlotte Webster, a member of the group said “It is the responsibility of the FPC to protect the UK financial system and every person in this country, from the impending carbon bubble”.
According to scientific estimations, humans can pour approximately 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Current reserves of coal, oil and gas add up to around 2,795 gigatons of CO2, roughly five times more that what it is possible to burn to avoid dangerous and costly interference with the climate system.
350.org launched the divestment campaign last autumn and the movement is already spreading to over 300 colleges and universities and 100 cities in the United States, Australia and Canada.
Finally, 70 global investors managing assets worth over $3 trillion asked coal, oil and gas companies to assess the risks of climate change to their business plans.
The “Un-burnable Carbon” report from Carbon Tracker Initiative, a UK-based lobby group, can be seen here.
Fernando is a former Projects Officer at New Economy, the Manchester-based prosperity think tank. Prior to joining New Economy, Fernando gained a M.Sc. in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship at Manchester Business School in 2011, focusing on business creation and knowledge transfers.