Having virtue-signaled his way around the world for the last 18 months or more, expounding omnisciently at the need for lowly peasant folk to divest their internal combustion engines, switch to EVs, embrace renewables (at whatever cost), and stop investing in fossil fuels, BlackRock's Larry Fink is suddenly seeing the massive hole in his, and Davos Man's, cunning plan to 'greenwash' the world.
The problem is simple - this anti-fossil-fuel virtue-signaling is leading to global energy shortages so severe they could cause social unrest.
As Blackstone Inc. co-founder Stephen Schwarzman warned this week at a conference in Saudi Arabia:
“We’re going to end up with a real shortage of energy,” he said.
“And when you have a shortage it’s just going to cost more and it’s probably going to cost a lot more. And when that happens you’re going to get very unhappy people around the world, in the emerging markets in particular.”
As Bloomberg reports, Schwarzmann's comments were echoed by Larry Fink, who said there’s a high probability of oil soon reaching $100 a barrel, especially with many governments and investors pushing back against investments in fossil fuels.
“Inflation, we are in a new regime,” said Fink, chairman of BlackRock Inc, the world’s biggest asset manager.
“There are many structural reasons for that. Short term policy related to environmentalism, in terms of restricting supply of hydrocarbons, has created energy inflation and we are going to be living with that for some time.”
This is quite a flip-flop back to reality for the BlackRock boss who devoted his annual letter to investors to explain that climate change has now put us “on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance,” reportedly marking a watershed moment in climate history.
Fink said in the letter that he would demand companies whose shares it holds disclose their plans to achieve net zero emissions, enabling BlackRock to then divest from polluting companies in its actively managed funds - which represent about a tenth of its assets - if they did not improve.
“I believe that the pandemic has presented such an existential crisis - such a stark reminder of our fragility - that it has driven us to confront the global threat of climate change more forcefully and to consider how, like the pandemic, it will alter our lives,” Fink wrote.
“No issue ranks higher than climate change on our clients’ lists of priorities.”
Well, a year later, with energy costs at record highs and shortages everywhere amid both post-COVID demand acceleration and supply-based issues due in large part to ESG-driven fossil-fuel investment contraction (that was pioneered proudly by Fink), the situation is not the Green Utopia he imagined.
Surging energy prices are currently playing out across the globe, with several European countries facing soaring energy bills amid a rise in commodities such as oil, natural gas, and coal. Gas prices rose by more than 35 percent in September amid lower supplies of natural gas and a surge in demand as pandemic-hit economies around the world reopen, prompting fears that there is simply not enough gas stored up for the winter if temperatures were to be particularly cold in the northern hemisphere. Lackluster output from Europe’s windmills and solar farms and maintenance work taking nuclear generators and other plans offline have also contributed to the energy price hike.
It now appears Fink is taking a more stoic perspective, realizing that pleasing the Gretas and AOCs of the world in the short-term with words and actions has severe real-world implications on peoples' lives
“We’re not focusing on long-term solutions, we’re not trying to change the world in a granular basis,” said Fink.
“We have these visions we could go from a brown world and we could wake up tomorrow there’d be a green world. That is not going to happen.”
And if that was not enough, we remind readers that neither China nor Russia will be attending COP26... thus making the climate change conference a total waste of time and money (and carbon credits for all those jets).