Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Economic Case for Divesting from Fossil Fuels (White Paper)

There is a powerful argument that can be made for divesting from fossil fuels. Investments free from fossil fuels are not only environmentally and socially responsible, they are part of a bottom line oriented investment strategy. This view is eloquently expressed in a new white paper which explains the strategy behind divesting from fossil fuels and and replacing them with low carbon investments like renewable energy. "The Economic Case for Divesting from Fossil Fuels" is authored by the fund portfolio manager Garvin Jabusch of Boulder-based Green Alpha Advisors. Here are a few excerpts:

"Economically, oil in particular is restraining the global economy due to its price volatility and difficulty of growing supply at viable cost levels."

"A divestiture campaign to get money out of fossil fuels stocks has emerged, indicating an emerging popular awareness that we must and will transform our energy society into one that can coexist with and even thrive on a finite earth. That a massive global transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energies, led by solar, also means that there are and will continue to be competitive investment returns earned from carefully selected investment exposure to renewables."

"To minimize the systemic risks around resource scarcity, greenhouse gas emissions, toxic emissions, degradation of water and other resources, fossil fuels now clearly have to be replaced everywhere that they practically can be...And this transition is already well underway: oil has lost global share of energy mix 15 years in a row."

Ten reasons why fossil fuels are not an attractive investment option

1. Fossil fuels have the capacity to threaten basic systems.
2. Fossil fuel assets present asset abandonment risk.
3. Renewables are becoming too competitive for fossil fuels.
4. Fossil fuels firms are beginning to have to pay for their externalities.
5. Fossil fuels are likely to face carbon taxes.
6. Fossil fuels will soon face diminishing governmental subsidies and benefits.
7. There is growing global institutional belief that transition to renewables solves climate AND economy.
8. Fossil fuels are the ultimate non-circular: they’re completely consumed upon first use, so more primary source extraction is required.
9. Distributed renewable energy grid is more secure than traditional hub and spoke systems, even those powered by domestic fossil fuels.
10. Renewables will counter fossil fuels’ endless ‘boom and bust’ economic cycles.

Click here to download the white paper and learn more about the philosophy behind Green Alpha investing.

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