Science Energy Oil Investments Are the New Tobacco By Lloyd Alter Design Editor University of Toronto Lloyd Alter is Design Editor for Treehugger and teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Lloyd Alter Updated February 28, 2020 ©. Teck Frontier mining process Share Twitter Pinterest Email Energy Fossil Fuels Renewable Energy The climate crisis and peak oil demand are making expensive projects like Alberta's Teck Frontier look like bad investments. Everybody in Canada is pointing fingers about Teck Resources cancelling its giant $20 billion open pit tar sands mine. Alberta's Premier Kenney blames "urban-green-left zealots" and says it will "further weaken national unity." Temporary leader of the opposition Andrew Scheer blames the Prime Minister, saying, "Justin Trudeau’s inaction has emboldened radical activists" and "Make no mistake: Justin Trudeau killed Teck Frontier." But the fact is that it made no economic sense in a world awash in cheap oil; Teck needed $95 a barrel to break even and Canadian oil is selling for $38. Permian Basin oil sells for $50. And who was going to lend Teck $20 billion, when the people who fund these projects are pulling out of the market? Many have joined Climate Action 100+, "an investor initiative launched in 2017 to ensure the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take necessary action on climate change." Larry Fink of Black Rock, controlling $7 trillion, recently wrote that "climate change will upend global finance sooner than they might think." According to Bloomberg, "Mark Carney and Christine Lagarde are once again pushing investors to take the climate crisis seriously and ensure they’re considering the risks from emissions and higher temperatures." And now, JPMorgan Chase is warning that climate change is a threat to "human life as we know it." According to Bloomberg, “The response to climate change should be motivated not only by central estimates of outcomes but also by the likelihood of extreme events,” bank economists David Mackie and Jessica Murray wrote in a Jan. 14 report to clients. “We cannot rule out catastrophic outcomes where human life as we know it is threatened.” This is from a company that has invested $75 billion in fracking and Arctic oil, and right now is demolishing a perfectly good, recently renovated building, with an upfront carbon load in replacing the square footage of about 63,971 tonnes of CO2. Even they are now talking climate crisis. According to the JP Morgan report leaked to the Guardian, "The climate crisis will impact the world economy, human health, water stress, migration and the survival of other species on Earth." Drawing on extensive academic literature and forecasts by the International Monetary Fund and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the paper notes that global heating is on course to hit 3.5C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century... The authors say policymakers need to change direction because a business-as-usual climate policy “would likely push the earth to a place that we haven’t seen for many millions of years”, with outcomes that might be impossible to reverse. “Although precise predictions are not possible, it is clear that the Earth is on an unsustainable trajectory. Something will have to change at some point if the human race is going to survive.” JP Morgan is backtracking a bit, telling the BBC that the report was “wholly independent from the company as a whole, and not a commentary on it,” but it is all part of a trend. "Fossil fuels are done!" Take that Mad Money guy, Jim Cramer, who is saying "fossil fuels are done." He doesn't mention climate change, but blames investor attitudes. Quoted by Nick Cunningham in Oilprice.com: “We’re starting to see divestment all over the world. We’re starting to see big pension funds say, ‘listen, we’re not going to own them anymore,’” Cramer said on CNBC. “The world’s changed. There’s new managers. They don’t want to hear whether these are good or bad.” Cunningham notes that companies are not suddenly getting concerned about sustainability, but see peak oil demand coming with the rise of electric vehicles. "It has become both a moral issue and a financial one." “We’re in the death knell phase. I know that’s very controversial. But we’re in the death knell phase,” Cramer warned. “The world has turned on them. It’s actually happening kind of quickly. You’re seeing divestiture by a lot of different funds. It’s going to be a parade that says, 'Look, these are tobacco. And we’re not going to own them'... "[Oil is now] tobacco. I think they’re tobacco. We’re in a new world.” I am sorry, but you cannot blame Justin Trudeau for that.