World leaders meeting in Switzerland this week at the World Economic Forum have issued a call for $515 billion in “green” investments and released a report outlining the scale of spending needed to create a “clean energy infrastructure”.
The report is co-authored by some of the conference organizers and a renewable energy consultancy, and it appears on the Forum's Web page. According to the paper’s writers, an index of the world’s 90 leading “clean energy companies” had a five-year compounded annualized return of almost 10 percent, said to be “unmatched by the world’s major stock indices”.
The report had by virtue to ignore the fact that energy stocks of all types — especially oil and gas — have also consistently outperformed the world’s major indices.
Perhaps blending green energy, profit and morality just don’t work and should be stopped. Take this example: Connie Hedegaard, Minister of Climate and Energy for wind-energy powerhouse Denmark, was vocal in issuing a joint statement with Lord Nicholas Stern — the London School of Economics climate guru — that economic development and climate policy should be linked to include a focus on wind, solar, ethanol, biofuels and geothermal power ... but also "Large-scale activities in low-emitting technologies ... energy efficiency, building insulation, information and telecommunications and some low-carbon public procurement."
“These activities will provide jobs and market stimulus as well as quick economic returns and they will also help lay the foundations for a low-emissions future,” their statement said.
It is understood the low-emission technologies in question would be sold to countries now counting on hydrocarbons to lift them out of poverty.
To justify the spending, “jobs” has been added to “disastrous greenhouse effects” and “energy security” by some of the same interests seen in Budapest this past week backing the Nabucco gas pipeline while bashing gas supplies from energy giant Russia.
The questions that beg are many: Why is nipping Russian gas revenues in favor of one’s own gas revenues the same as funding a green tomorrow? Who still lives in the Cold War?
Who’s interests are served by backing renewables but only one pipeline? Where is the moderate voice for “clean gas” — everyone's clean gas?
It seems the world needs summits like "Davos" if only to understand parallel summits like "Nabucco" in Budapest. But, perhaps it's time to state economic interests aloud without the morality play.