In this recent Bloomberg article, author Tom Randall shows how Wall Street is slowly waking up to the idea that fossil fuels are not only bad for the earth, they’re also bad for business. For years I’ve been asking why energy companies don’t jump onto the clean energy bandwagon more quickly. I suppose in my naive way of optimistic thinking, I figured they would easily see the vast profit potential such a move would represent. After all, who wouldn’t want an affordable new car that was efficient to run and didn’t pollute the planet at all? I know I sure would. Then again, I tend to be an early adopter when it comes to cool things like cars, computers, and high-tech juice making machines.
Apparently, many investors have been thinking and talking about this track for a long time, even before Al Gore pointed out his inconvenient truths:
Environmentalists see international climate talks — which continue this week for the, ahem, nineteenth year — as key to containing climate change. But even without a sweeping agreement, the global shift toward cleaner fuels and more-efficient gadgets is under way. That’s something investors were talking about even before environmentalists like Gore came into the conversation.
I suppose it is to be expected then that the business world would milk the current situation for as long as they could before switching to a whole new way of making money. So, while it doesn’t say much for humanity’s sense of principled decision-making, at least our survival seems to be assured now that Wall Street is starting to realise that they are actually part of the planet also, and that long-term investor goals require some inconvenient changes, which hopefully will lead to some very convenient financial returns.