Fossil fuel stocks fall as elite flyers fuel climate crisis

Written by Lori Campbell on 6th Apr 2021

The value of fossil fuel stocks have plummeted by around 20 per cent in a decade as an ‘elite minority’ of frequent flyers are found to cause the majority of climate damage. Meanwhile, Netflix reveals it released the same carbon last year as 2.7 billion miles of car travel as it pledges to hit net zero in two years, new digital wealth platform Wealth8 offers ISAs aimed at black and multi-ethnic communities, and Prince Williams calls on humanity to ‘reset our relationship with nature.’ It’s the Good With Money weekly news brief.


Fossil fuel stocks drop by billions

The value of share offerings in fossil fuel firms has plummeted by $123 billion (£88 billion) since 2012, a new report reveals.

Meanwhile, low-carbon companies have gained ground in the shift towards clean energy. From 2012 to 2020, investors have bought almost $640 billion (£462 billion) of equities issued by oil, gas and coal producers, fossil fuel- dependent utilities, pipelines and service companies.

However, their investments have lost roughly $123 billion (£88 billion), or nearly 20 per cent in value. That contrasts with activity in clean energy. Investors bought $56 billion (£40 billion) in equity from clean-energy companies, which has gained $77 billion (£55 billion) in value, the report by Carbon Tracker says.

“Investors have woken up to the fact that fossil fuel companies are no longer the growth stories they once were,” said Henrik Jeppesen, the report’s author and U.S. head of investor outreach. “Climate risk is now very much a material one that cannot be ignored, and clean energy stocks are rapidly replacing the old order as the choice investment for a transitioning world.”

An “elite minority” of frequent flyers cause most of the climate damage from aviation’s emissions, according to an environmental charity.

The report by campaign group Possible shows a worldwide pattern of a small group taking a large proportion of flights, while many people do not fly at all.

In the US, 12 per cent of people take 66 per cent of all flights, while in France two per cent of people take half of the flights, the report says. In China five per cent of households take 40 per cent of flights and in India just one per cent of households took 45 per cent of all the flights.

A separate Department for Transport survey in 2018 revealed that the 10 per cent most frequent flyers in England were taking more than half of all international flights.

The coronavirus pandemic has slashed the number of flights taken in the last year, but campaigners fear government bailouts of airlines will cause aviation to return to its pre-pandemic growth trend.

Possible is calling for the introduction of a frequent flyer levy, where the first flight in a year incurs little or no tax and it therefore does not penalise annual family holidays. But the levy then ramps up for each additional flight.

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Netflix to clean up film sets to wipe carbon footprint in two years

Netflix has pledged to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2022.

It comes as the streaming giant revealed that it released as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere last year as 2.7 billion miles of car travel.

Emma Stewart, the company’s head of sustainability, said it put out 1.1 million metric tonnes of carbon in 2020. This is similar to small countries such as Djibouti (1.5 million tonnes), the Solomon Islands (900,000 tonnes) and Cabo Verde (800,000 tonnes).

The new target will rely primarily on offsetting emissions by funding projects to re-grow tropical forests, mangrove swamps and other ecosystems that remove and store CO2 from the atmosphere. It will also switch its film sets to electric batteries, local crews, LED lights and “virtual” production methods wherever possible.

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Wealth8 offers ISAs for black and multi-ethnic communities

New digital wealth management platform Wealth8 is offering ISAs aimed at black and multi-ethnic communities in the UK.

Wealth8 provides access to global investment funds and diversified funds from the largest global asset manager, BlackRock. The platform is designed to provide easy and affordable access to wealth creation opportunities, specifically targeted at the black and multi-ethnic demographic.

The Runnymede Trust’s “Colour of Money” report published last year, shows that Black African households typically have ten times less wealth or savings than their white British counterparts. Wealth8 aims to bridge this wealth gap by providing the tools and knowledge needed to save and invest in the future.

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Prince Williams calls on humanity to ‘reset our relationship with nature’

Prince William has called for humanity to “fundamentally reset our relationship with nature” to avoid climate disaster.

In a video broadcast played at a gala for US-based charity Conservation International, the Duke of Cambridge said the next decade would be “one of our greatest ever tests”.

He warned the most vulnerable people around the world, “and those who have done the least to cause climate change”, would be impacted the most.

William urged those present to take their lead from the millions of young people who are booking for solutions to the problem. “All of us, across all sectors of society, and in every corner of the globe, must come together to fundamentally reset our relationship with nature and our trajectory as a species,” he said. “I truly believe that humans have an extraordinary capacity to set goals and strive to achieve them.”

In October last year, the duke launched the Earthshot Prize – an ambitious Nobel-style environmental award with a £50 million prize fund to recognise and celebrate ideas and technologies that can target the climate crisis.

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