Are we observing the early stages of worldwide resistance against the constraints of net zero policies?
Investors are ditching renewable energy faster than any other funds on record.
Reuters reports that renewable energy funds suffered a net outflow of $1.4 billion in the July to September 2023 quarter.
LSEG Lipper data shows this to be the largest-ever quarterly outflow. There was also a 23 percent decline from the end of June of the total assets under management in the sector—now valued at $65.4 billion.
The S&P Global Clean Energy Index (.SPGTCLEN), is also down by 30 percent this year with most of the decline occurring since July. This Index comprises major solar and wind power companies and other renewables-related businesses.
Yet in contrast, the S&P 500 Energy Index (.SPNY), which is oil and gas-heavy, has increased slightly this year.
It is not just investors who are exiting net zero. Politicians are also raising concerns.
Australian Nationals Senator Matt Canavan said net zero has “absolutely carked it.”
His position is that net zero is a “soundbite” and “totally insane.” It is unachievable because people will starve if it is enforced.
“Almost everything we grow, we make, we do in our society relies on the use of fossil fuels,” he said.
Patrick Moore, the co-founder of Greenpeace agrees.
He told Tucker Carlson, “If we banned fossil fuels, agricultural production would collapse in a very short period of time. People will begin to starve … and half the population will die in a very short period of time.”
Governments Across the World Bucking the Net Zero Trend
Politicians around the world are also raising concerns.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has delayed banning new petrol and diesel cars and residential gas heating until 2035. This has been previously delayed twice with deadlines moved from 2025 to 2030.
He said, “We’re not going to save the planet by bankrupting the British people.”
France’s President Macron has said that gas boilers will not be banned. He has also been shy about declaring a date for phasing out fossil fuels.
The polls are showing that New Zealand’s government is heading for opposition in this weekend’s election.
The taxing of livestock for methane emissions and transforming sheep and cattle farms into pine plantations has caused a revolt among rural voters.
In the Netherlands, the Farmer-Citizen movement is the dominant party in the Dutch Senate and every provincial assembly.
Germany is planning to resurrect its coal plants and some of Germany’s large corporations such as Volkswagen, Siemens, and BASF are leaving their homeland for better business climates after the increasing local cost of pushing for net zero.
U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. believes that real environmentalism is about protecting natural habitats, sustaining ecosystems, and reducing pollution and deforestation. It’s not about net zero, he said.
Even Bill Gates now says that “no temperate country is going to become uninhabitable.”
This is quite different from his earlier statement on Fox News two years ago when he said, “The migration that we saw out of Syria for their civil war, which was somewhat weather dependent, we’re going to have 10 times as much migration because the equatorial areas will become unliveable.”
While Australia contributes just over one percent of global carbon dioxide emissions (a similar level to the UK), in 2022, China approved 106 gigawatts of new coal fired power capacity which gives it 243 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity under construction.
That is the equivalent of 243 coal power plants with China now accounting for around 30 percent of global CO2 emissions.
Meanwhile, in June, Swedish authorities abandoned its 100 percent renewable target to reach net zero by 2045, and Norway followed this announcement by approving investments exceeding over US$18 billion to develop 19 oil and gas fields.
Even in the European Union, there is a shift of voters turning away from Green parties and towards those with an anti-EU sentiment.
According to Politico, one reason is voter attitude towards climate transition policies.
Back in Australia, geologist, Professor Ian Plimer has been vocal in his criticism of net zero.
He told ADHTV that, “The fundamentals of science are you do not tamper with the original evidence. That has happened with our temperature record, where the past has been cooled and it makes it look as if we’re warming. That is fraud.”
Senator Ralph Babet told the Australian Parliament that net zero is a "complete and utter scam, designed to shut down our nation, enrich predatory globalists, and the CCP.”
There are still some who cling to the net zero mission, however.
Former UK PM Theresa May wrote on X (formerly Twitter), “Net zero isn’t a cost to be minimised—it’s the growth opportunity of the century, worth 1 trillion pounds to British business by the end of the decade.”
But investors aren’t buying it.
While many renewable projects are being shelved or delayed such as wind projects in the UK, Netherlands, and Norway because of constraints such as skyrocketing costs, Rich Pontillo, Lead Advisory at Nasdaq IR Intelligence, told Reuters there could be another upcycle because of “massive” U.S. government subsidies.
However, if there is a change of president in 2024, Pontillo may need to rethink this statement.