The opportunity of the Carbon Bubble: making the low carbon transition now through 3 ‘e’s
Jonathan Silver and Adam Bumpus
We are at a peculiar time in the history of the idea of climate change, when we constantly hear that unplugging our GDP from oil will prematurely prune the shoots of any economic growth. This is shown by the many Republican white house contenders who are disregarding any dalliance they may have previously had with environmentalist fancies pretty sharpish, yet this seems contradictory when even big oil companies are finally admitting the end of cheap and easy oil is coming. Perhaps with Brent Crude at $100-a-barrel it is already here? The rapid and dramatic price rise an illustration that the market thinks any return to former levels is unlikely. Business as usual ends here.So from where we are standing this is the perfect opportunity to brush away the stuffy old cobwebs and spring clean the whole system. Those who lead in any field will be duly rewarded. If the current stock market is to crash because of the carbon bubble, then we need to look to new places to allocate our capital. That means inherently non-carbon industries, such as renewables, but also less carbon intensive businesses. Those reducing intensity are not necessarily the ones that will ultimately last (after all if intensity goes down but output up, we are no better off). But businesses taking this action now represent those taking the stepping-stones to the low carbon future and represent the best place to invest both institutional (i.e. investment) and personal (i.e. consumer) capital. This is why we do what we do at greeenstar*. If businesses make a real effort to curb emissions, they will earn consumer trust, and greeenstars will lend them desirable credibility. Besides leading to obvious cost cutting advantages, this will also strengthen consumer trust. But if we think more broadly – there is going to be a carbon-constrained future – reducing now makes simple long-term business sense. Companies will be doing themselves long-term favours if they live up to the 3 e’s: . Elimination. Efficiency. Energy.
We have reached a fork in the road, linking economics to climate change like never before. There is a chance to take advantage and adapt to energy volatility by eliminating unnecessary emissions, increasing efficiency and investing in clean technologies (3 e’s), instead of careering down the same old path and setting ourselves up for a nasty fall. The long-term benefits of this will far outstrip any negative ones. While no one is saying that there is a brilliant one-size-fits-all solution yet, we believe everyone should be taking positive steps, and showing you the companies that are sensibly looking after themselves, and thereby looking after our environment providing for our future economic success will let the positive companies continue to make the transition to a low carbon economy.