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Carney’s ‘net-zero’ investment firm has billions in coal and oil sands projects

March 1, 2021
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By Paul Homewood

h/t Dennis Ambler

We have an early candidate for hypocrite of the year award!

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A Canadian company that employs UN climate finance envoy Mark Carney as vice-chair has invested billions of dollars in fossil fuel projects, including a coal port and an oil sands pipeline.

Mark Carney, the former governor of the Bank of England, is now Boris Johnson’s finance adviser for the COP26 climate summit in addition to his high-profile role for the UN. He joined Brookfield Asset Management last August with special responsibility for environmental, social and governance issues.

Earlier this month, Carney told Bloomberg TV that Brookfield is “net zero across its $575 billion asset portfolio”. He said that although Brookfield owns companies “across the spectrum”, it has achieved net-zero status because “we have this enormous renewables business that we’ve built up and all of the avoided emissions that come with that.”

But an Unearthed analysis has identified five major fossil fuel infrastructure projects in which Brookfield is a leading shareholder, including significant projects in the highly polluting coal and oil sands sectors.

Bill Hare, director at Climate Analytics, an NGO, warned that offsetting fossil fuel projects against “avoided emissions”, as Carney appeared to do, was “not a reasonable definition of net zero”.

The fossil fuel projects identified by Unearthed are:

With a 49% stake worth an estimated $600 million, Brookfield is the largest shareholder in the coal terminal. The port primarily deals in coal burned for steelmaking, an industry which is harder to decarbonise than the power sector but Hare argued: “We know that metallurgical coal also needs to be phased out relatively quickly and replaced by clean alternatives using, for example, green hydrogen and that investments to increase the potential for this are badly needed.”

Alongside Kinder Morgan, Brookfield is the joint-largest shareholder in the Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America, which runs pipelines from the Gulf of Mexico and the Permian Basin in Texas to Chicago. The firm holds 37.5% of the company.

Brookfield reportedly currently owns 20% of the oil sands pipeline operator and is in the midst of a hostile takeover of the company, aiming to buy the remaining shares. The Financial Post said Brookfield is “spending billions of dollars buying up hydrocarbons infrastructure in Western Canada.” In 2020, Brookfield Infrastructure generated 15% of its cash flows from its midstream business, including the Inter Pipeline.

Brookfield is part of a consortium of financial institutions that have taken a 49% stake (worth $10 billion) in the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s gas infrastructure.

Brookfield acquired the pipeline – which carries gas from the country’s south east to Gujarat in the west – for $2 billion in 2019, taking 90% of the equity.

…………….

In his Bloomberg interview, Carney clarified: “Just because we’re net zero doesn’t mean everything’s green.”

“We have assets that span the spectrum and we have a commitment that we will manage those assets and work to decarbonise those assets over time very transparently and provide the information that the market needs in order to judge that.”

There is anxiety in the financial sector over Carney’s use of the term, concerned that other banks may use this disputed argument to make similar claims while continuing to fund projects that support the fossil fuel industry.

Hare concluded: “I don’t think this is a reasonable definition of net zero using avoided emissions from a counterfactual baseline to offset actual emissions. This could begin to look like a giant carbon Ponzi scheme.”

https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2021/02/26/mark-carney-brookfield-net-zero-cop-fossil-fuel-coal-oil-gas/

Unearthed is a Greenpeace project, and for once they are absolutely right. Carney has for years been urging the financial sector to cut back on investment in fossil fuels, for instance here. 

Simply because Brookfield also owns renewable assets does not mean they should be immune from divesting in oil and gas.

As for the ludicrous claim that these renewable assets make Brookfield “Net Zero”, surely this could apply to the UK too. We now have plenty of renewable energy, so can’t we call ourselves Net Zero, and save ourselves a fortune in future?

20 Comments
  1. mjr permalink
    March 1, 2021 2:36 pm

    off topic – as part of their “covid” home education BBC2 has just shown an episode of “Bang goes the theory ” from 2014 all about UK electricity supply.
    How nostalgic.. we still had coal power stations, fracking was a possibility and BBC was not being over political and indoctrinating
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03y65xx/bang-goes-the-theory-series-8-1-energy

  2. ianprsy permalink
    March 1, 2021 2:47 pm

    Clearly, nobody’s told Carney about the stranded sssets risk.

  3. It doesn't add up... permalink
    March 1, 2021 3:52 pm

    Seemingly Harrabun rang up some ambassador for a quote on the Cumbrian mine as an excuse to reprint his propaganda yet again. Utterly shameless.

  4. Mad Mike permalink
    March 1, 2021 3:54 pm

    I don’t know what projects Carney refers to as “renewable businesses” but, as we know, wind and solar are far from CO2 neutral. In any case, to offset the CO2 emissions from their fossil fuel businesses they would need to have projects that actually take CO2 out of the atmosphere, not just be “carbon neutral”.

    • Mack permalink
      March 1, 2021 4:03 pm

      Brookfield are big players in hydro and, in recent years, have piled into wind and solar. We all know how ‘green’ the latter aren’t and the construction of big hydro schemes are not renowned for their ‘light touch’ on the environment either. It’s probably not unfair to suggest that the company has the carbon footprint of a planetary sized sasquatch if it’s Co2 emissions were to be examined forensically by scientists who don’t have any skin in the game.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        March 1, 2021 8:04 pm

        Quite right, Mack. I’ve just read about the hydro dam project in BC Canada over at WUWT. Something like seven + times more expensive than CCGT for the same power generation where the gas from fracked wells is available and the greens are belly-aching about micro-tremors that might endanger the dam – but they won’t countenance gas.
        I hope it’s OK to cross-post: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/02/28/dammed-if-they-do-british-columbias-site-c-ironies/

  5. Francis permalink
    March 1, 2021 3:54 pm

    “This could begin to look like a giant carbon Ponzi scheme.”

    “This is just a giant carbon Ponzi scheme.”

    There. Fixed that.

  6. Jack Broughton permalink
    March 1, 2021 3:56 pm

    Looks like a good company: probably took Carney to look good eco-wise – an expensive and possibly bad decision. A bit like Facebook with Cleggo.

  7. March 1, 2021 4:34 pm

    I applauded their investment choices! Of course it is the shear hypocrisy which Paul is pointing out.

    I notice that the nasty green blob has seen that there is mileage in vilifying anyone who does not invest as they ordain…just like the ‘orrible little marxists they are, they love to give ultimatums to those who dare to disobey.

    I give wholehearted support to anyone intentionally or unintentionally wants to stall the current 160 million years and counting problem with the Carbon Cycle. Anyone else who wants to stave off the coming extinction event would be wise to do the same…. The irony of ironies is that an extinction is set to be caused not by too much CO2 but by too little, something they all should know if they bothered to look at the geological record.

    Interesting how the faux scientists quote 600K years as evidence for pending doom when the REAL problem has been developing for 160 million years. That is data aliasing on drugs!

    So “if” they are really interested in saving species and all the rest of that pious crapola then getting rid of that electric roller-skate and buying a big SUV would be a good start! As for the planet…it just goes on doing its own thing….

  8. Jack Broughton permalink
    March 1, 2021 4:44 pm

    While I’m sure we could easily manage a hypocrite of the day, it would be fun to have a hypocrite of the month competition, a bit like goal of the month!

  9. MrGrimNasty permalink
    March 1, 2021 6:58 pm

    Way off……

    Found this, it seems it’s harder to find a year in Texas without some ‘unprecedented’ deadly/economic weather disaster, than with.

    No wonder ‘climate attribution’ is such a rich vein of fool’s gold for the prophets of doom.

    And this is just one state, in an enormous world.

    https://texasalmanac.com/topics/environment/significant-weather-events-texas-history

  10. Vrager 1 permalink
    March 1, 2021 9:20 pm

    How these businesses have convinced governments and the media that “net zero” and “zero-carbon footprints” exist at all, because all of them are lies. A wind farm uses steel, concrete, copper, plastics and fibreglass – all made and transported using heat from fossil fuels. A hydro-electric dam uses huge amounts of cement made using heat from fossil fuels. A solar panel is made of silicon, gallium arsenide and cadmium telluride and has miles of copper wiring and steel – all made with heat from fossil fuels… the list goes on and on. Huge tonnages of CO2 are emitted making so-called green stuff and they have the temerity to call it “zero-carbon”.

    It’s time we understood that an electric car running on fossil fuel powered electricity will emit the equivalent of 120g/km CO2, which is more than most new petrol and diesel cars, plus the batteries are made with 10 tons of CO2 emissions in addition to the CO2 for a normal car of about 10 to 15 tons of CO2. There is nothing green about electric cars with the exhaust pipe a gas or coal fired power station. In fact they are worse than a normal car because of their weight and expensive use of rare metals and earths for their batteries.

    • March 1, 2021 10:05 pm

      They will also generate more road dust as their weight is constant, unlike fuelled cars which burn some of their weight off as they go, reducing tyre friction with the surface.

      • March 1, 2021 10:37 pm

        On the road dust issue..slightly into Left Field….. the greencrazies over here in Norway were trying to ban diesel cars for the winter months in Oslo.
        They tried to blame a pall of dust which formed over the city in the Winter during high pressure on diesels…”Diesel BAD, ban bad diesels”. Quick as a flash there was talk of doing that over on my side of the country also…yeah after persuading EVERYONE to buy a diesel you now threaten to tell them it has to sit in the car port for 4 months of the year!
        Anyway, a real scientist actually analysed the air and found it was full of not diesel soot but mica particles ripped off the road surface by the studded tyres causing the smog like conditions.
        The drum beaters went quiet for a while but every autumn since I hearing noises about banning the diesels again in winter with the same falsified argument produced… like “Threatened Polar Bears” and the “Dying” Barrier Reef” and Submarine Pacific Islands.

        It appears that critical mass is reached with these claims before any credible science to achieve an overarching understanding is performed. When the empirical data finally catches up with them, they go silent, regroup, wait 6 months to a years and then start churning out the propaganda again.

      • dave permalink
        March 2, 2021 9:06 am

        ‘pardonbreathmeforbreathing’ is right, of course. But the process works, because of the forgetfulness of the average human intellect.

        I have almost an eidetic memory (well, HAD actually, as I am nearly eighty now, but it is still pretty good.) When someone like Carney says anything I remember exactly what he said before, the body-language (if I accidentally glimpsed him on TV) the context, and the probable hidden agenda at the time. So I smile inwardly and say, “I know what your game is, matey!”

        Chancellor Osborne, in his role as Cameron’s puppet, imported Carney to be Osborne’s puppet, at a cost to the poor taxpayer of about a million a year.
        Any old Anglo-Saxon peasant could have done the “job” for much less.

        With respect to ‘retread’ stories about climate, by the time that they come around again, the public has forgotten that the story is wrong! Especially
        when it is tweaked a little. As for the believers, it is catnip for them.

  11. March 1, 2021 9:59 pm

    Paul this line “Simply because Brookfield also owns renewable assets does not mean they should be immune from divesting in oil and gas.”
    That statement assumes that divesting from oil and gas is a good thing
    That is a PR narrative view of the world rather than a truthful one.

    Greens are NOT Green most most of the time
    There are plenty of times their projects involve cutting down trees, building roads sticking turbines on peat bog, turbines which then slice birds in two.

    Whereas a a fracking project , might bring easy energy to a region.
    A good controllable source that can secure a region’s future.

    Coal has it’s place but there are plenty of occasions when investing a £1bn replacing a coal system with gas , can save way more CO2 than investing in solar/wind projects.

    Of course there can be bad gas/oil projects,
    but laws and enforcement that ensure investors can’t wiggle out of cleanup costs prevent this.

    It is certainly not a case of Green good , non-green bad

    I would say generally that a £1 invested in oil/gas doesmore overall good than a £1 invested in solar/wind gimmicks .

    • March 1, 2021 10:46 pm

      Ironically… Green needs CO2. If there is not enough CO2 (and the planet has been flirting with an extinction for most of the last 1 million years), then greentards get their dream but then the colour is not green, but BROWN.

      How ironic but then it fits with a marxist ideological basis for all of this. Everything is seen through a lens or a reflection in a mirror. Every word, every phase meant to disarm reasonable people actually means the total opposite. They say one thing and mean another. Everything is opposites.

      We have reached the time that George Orwell wrote about. “The time of universal deceit”.

  12. Joe Public permalink
    March 1, 2021 11:07 pm

    The Harrabin – Liebreich Twitter bunfight regarding Carney began on 19th Feb.

  13. Phoenix44 permalink
    March 2, 2021 9:13 am

    That’s not remotely ‘”net zero”. Just another lie. Renewables are not negative CO2, indeed the opposite – they are quite large emitters across their life.

    Carney’s marths was always dubious but this is just absurd. Some assets emit a kit, the others a fair bit. Net its large, not zero.

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