Blackrock and the AAA rating

Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager has announced some big steps towards divestment from thermal coal. As I observe in this article in The Conversation, Blackrock’s shift marks the point at which divestment has become the norm for financial institutions, and continued involvement with coal a choice that must be justified in the face of the evidence.

As has already happened with Adani’s Carmichael project, thermal coal miners and power station developers will soon find it impossible to get external finance except from government and government-backed sources, such as China’s Belt and Road initiative. The Australian government is already pushing in this direction.

That brings us to the next step in divestment: government bonds. The Swedish central bank has already dumped Australian government bonds in protest against our climate vandalism. As with earlier rounds of divestment, this is a small start that is likely to accelerate quickly. A large-scale divestment from Australian government bonds would lead to the loss of our AAA rating, and an increase in interest rates across the board, including home mortgage rates. That might finally shock the quiet Australians into realising how disastrous the choices they’ve made have been.

53 thoughts on “Blackrock and the AAA rating

  1. The hydrogen aeroplane in the linked article is a four seater with a cruising speed of 145 km/h, a maximum speed of 200 km/h, and a range of between 750km and 1500 km. Good luck to the engineers who are developing it, but it would be wise not to hold one’s breath waiting for hydrogen aeroplanes to replace what we’ve got now. The commercial aircraft industry moves slowly. The last major innovation was the Boeing 747 in the 1960s.

  2. Sorry Prof Q, I don’t think those experimental aircraft count. I guess I’m using my engineer mind to say “that looks like a glider”, which means low power and thus low speed and low carrying capacity. While you could probably book a Sydney-London trip on one it would be like the very early Qantas version – insanely expensive and made up of a lot of short hops, and you’d probably want a seaplane for that reason.

    By “demonstration version” I was thinking of something that has the form if not the full functionality of a commercial vehicle. CCS plants work, they’re just not economic compared to wind and solar (plus they have the same waste storage problem as nuclear).

    I’m way more convinced by headlines like this:
    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/28/tesla-type-planes-to-be-developed-by-airbus-rolls-royce-and-siemens.html
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeremybogaisky/2019/03/26/the-first-electric-passenger-aircraft-could-be-50-year-old-canadian-seaplanes/

    But in the context of long-haul flights, we still don’t know what those might look like. Batteries with 1000x the power density? Hydrogen tanks with 100x the storage density? Beamed microwaves or lasers?

  3. Blackrock – says it is leaving coal while going for something worse. Of course.

    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/03/12/new-report-takes-aim-five-banking-institutions-backing-amazon-rainforest

    A new report from the group Amazon Watch shows how five of the world’s largest financial institutions are funding the exploitation of the Amazon Rainforest for oil—even as those firms claim to be on the side of mitigating the climate crisis.

    …The five banks—Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, and BlackRock—”have made available tens of billions of dollars for oil companies operating in the Amazon, including GeoPark, Amerisur, Frontera, and Andes Petroleum,” according to the report.

    ..The five firms have enjoyed good press recently for their stated commitment to curbing the climate crisis and making investment choices around saving the planet.

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