Buy

Books
Click images for more details

Support

 

Twitter
Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing
Links

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace

Discussion > Why is it political?

Why is the AGW issue so political?

The public sector pension fund is a major issue in the news at the moment.

Strike action is threatened by the public sector unions because the government needs to balance the pension which is failing.

Why is it failing?

It has been failing for a long time but the last Labour government tried to solve the problem by investing it in a boom sector but it failed and now the funds are over exposed in green renewable technology through carbon markets and it is not providing a high enough return.

The public sector would not allow changes to their benefits, and Labour would not enforce it through trade union links, so the renewable technology had to work. This led to the previous Labour government creating a solution to the problem. A new market backed by subsidies, a law and a culture that demands renewable technology in order to save the pension fund.

The present coalition has to retain this previous government option in case they cannot force changes to the pension scheme due to the threat of strike action.

The increase in energy prices and general taxation is to provide subsidies to renewable energy companies so that the public pension fund has enough capital to pay for the retirement of the public sector that the government has grown.

Everyone whose outgoings have increased are funding the public pension.
You will have to work longer because of the increase in the cost of living due to higher energy bills, leading to higher transport bills, leading to higher prices of goods, taking out of your private pension contributions and putting into the public pension fund.

I am working to pay for someone else’s retirement It's one of those thoughts that if it grabs hold drops your jaw onto the ground.

What happens if the renewable companies fail or the carbon markets fail because the science is not strong enough to support the theory?

Then the government has to change the pension benefits or the pension fund fails and the government is sued and fails.

That is why AGW is so political

What happens if the unions will not accept change?

The majority of the public sector will strike and the government is faced with the decision of the government failing or the privatisation of the most of the public sector brought on by strike action.

Which do you think that a Conservative led government will decide upon. Maggie will be so proud of Davy boy.

But there is still the problem of the pension fund, or is there?

If the majority of the public sector is privatised the public pension is …. Mostly frozen at today’s benefit commitments.

What happens to the green subsidies then?

Subsidies will be dropped like a lead balloon and energy prices will drop and goods will become more affordable, but will tax?

My guess is that it will not just be the UK that goes through this process but we are doing it now, it is current because the Conservatives need to reap the political benefits.

I would also hazard a guess that the new policy to split the banks into retail and investment would indicate that they are also over exposed and we will see some investment houses failing when the subsidies are pulled.

Sep 16, 2011 at 12:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

You know, I was having the same thought myself. I don't think it's as simple as cause and effect, but I think this is why politicans are so keen on greenery.

Sep 16, 2011 at 8:24 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

If my thoughts are close to being correct, then we can expect a European spring of discontent next year, the media will say that it has spread from the Arab countries, schools will be closed, hospitals on emergency only, Police, fire and ambulance strikes, rubbish left in the streets, civil disorder on a grand scale.

Here, in the UK, it will get as intense as it needs to, to convince the Uk electorate that a snap election with a political party campaigning on a platform that guarantees a mandate from the country for major privatisation of public services, in the manner of the miners strike solution.
This will give enough time for us all to appreciate what that party has done ready for a second, landslide, election.

The great green revolution could be instrumental in putting the socialist movement back 60 years

Thatcherism with the unequivocal help of Gordon Brown could break the Blair New Labour project and return Labour to the more left wing roots that it started out with, and I think that the majority of the ‘old school’ secretly want that. The Conservatives will return to their right of centre stance, as their hard core would prefer, and the Liberals and Greens will be left in no-man’s land without a direction to turn.

Conspiracy theory?

Maybe so, but I don’t see this as being a plan of evil intent, more of radical solution to an extreme, societal critical problem.
The base line is, that if the public pension failed, the banks would fail again, the government would fail and the country would spiral into anarchy.

Is this what Gordon Brown hinted at with his strong possibility of the banks failing again unless we do something about it speech?

IMHO I think that this was a possible solution to many known problems and that solution was seen as viable by those seeking to save the country’s economy?

So what is the difference between large scale civil disorder and anarchy?

One is controllable and the other is not.

So what about the science?

Immaterial, it was just the springboard that gave the excuse to see the original plan as viable. The science will settle where the science settles as per the proof of experiment.

Once the plan had legs it was encouraged to grow by allocating funds in the right direction to provide supporting theory, but that is no longer necessary. Plan B does not need to encourage the scientific outcome, it needs to stimulate the failure of the public sector.

Why are there no longer as many references in news stories to CO2 emissions?

Get ready for the winter of discontent stories, the European spring and the possible failure of the Euro due to inefficient economies with large public sector millstones. The decade of austerity that will lead us to a brighter future.

Heard any of that yet?

Sep 16, 2011 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Here is one solution that would work everyone gets the same government pension at the same age. Whether you are a doctor,politician,high court judge or dustman or unemployed. All other pensions are paid out of earned income, your choice. No public or company pensions allowed.

Sep 16, 2011 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Whale

Peter Whale
Not so sure about no company pensions allowed, but if what you are proposing would reflect a reduction in my tax bill then I would take it a stage further and say that if my kids go to a private school for which I pay out of my earnings then I expect a further tax reduction, and if I pay for private health care, another tax reduction and private dental care and......

So all in all with the amount of private services that someone pays for, they could in theory reduce their tax from a higher rate down to basic rate and still contribute to the state to help support those not in employment.

I think you have a decent idea there to implement a means of tax reform to stimulate the economy.

Sep 16, 2011 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Some observations here.

I started following the climate debate from when the Realclimate website was started. It was a link from the Register website of all places that started my interest. I then quickly found Climateaudit shortly after it was started in retaliation.

It became apparent to me that whilst there was clearly a concensus view that an increase in CO2 would have some impact on temperature there was no concensus view of the magnitude of the impact. I have always regarded the IPCC as providing a range of values rather than a concensus and it was quite clear that many people were even touting values well outside the IPCC range on both sides.

In fact the massive disparity of opinions was one of the things that struck me about this entire debate. There are only 2 sides allowed but a wide variety of views on either side. ie warmer vs skeptic or alarmist vs denier to use the more harsh insulting terminology often adopted.

Given that there are only 2 sides this then led me to the question how do you know which side you are on? Everybody seems to instinctively have a side but where is the boundary between the sides? Warmer than what? Skeptical of what? Alarmist about what? Denier of what?

I initially tried to define the boundary in terms of the climate arguments being touted eg perhaps the boundary is dictated by a climate sensitivity of say 2.0C for a doubling of CO2. However I kept struggling with this as various exceptions became evident. In the end I have come to the conclusion that the boundary was not based on climate arguments at all but is based on the policy which one side wants ie a major reduction in CO2 emissions.

As a result we have one side which requires a policy of a reduction in CO2 emission vs people on the other side who either directly oppose that policy, promote alternative policies or only support it with major qualifications. I have found that viewing the dabate from this perspective helps me to better understand and place in context most of the arguments being presented.

This is the reason why in reality the debate is so political and partisan. It is political because it is about policy. The situation in the UK is not helped because all the main parties have bought into the policy and regard it as in their political interest to stifle debate.

Both sides cherry pick arguments to support their view. Some of those arguments are based on climate science. Others are based on job creation vs jobs losses, reduction or increase the dependency on foreign resources, energy efficiency vs power failures, population control, how to be Gaia friendly etc etc.

Sep 16, 2011 at 3:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

Good post, Lord B!

When you say science is "just the springboard" and the "science will settle where the science settles as per the proof of experiment", I couldn't agree more. But pensions? How would this argument work in other countries. To be honest, I don't think it is even about CO2, but simply about energy usage, where one side wants reductions and the other side increases. Think about people's response to Pielke Jr's position - I remind you that he (1) accepts the "consensus" science and (2) calls for vastly increased supplies of energy. Skeptics tend to like him because they agree with his position on energy, whereas alarmists tend to dislike him because they don't.

Sep 16, 2011 at 4:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

Thanks Philip

Take it to the next level, the pension problem is just the extension of the government debt. If the government was in the black the pension problem would not be immediate, because the pension will fail it provides a focus.
Look at the levels of debt across Europe threatening the great Euro adventure.
Look at the truely astounding size of the American debt and the inability of Obama to fund his care package.
Can you think of a single suggestion to all these governments that could solve their individual crisis?

What do all the banks need?
A growing global market to stimulate the movement of money, if money doesn't move around then their business slows. There is still a lot of sub prime debt that is sitting in peoples laps that they need to get rid of. French banks are losing rating points currently.

Sep 16, 2011 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Hi Lord B. The reason for having no company pension schemes is firstly you would not have the problems like they had with The Mirror Group where Maxwell purloined the pension fund. Secondly you would not have problems like The Post Office pension fund where the likely hood is the taxpayer will be called in. Thirdly you would not have the problems of a nationalization or bailout like the banks privatization and their pension funds. Fourthly the taxpayer would never have to pick up a shortfall in any pension scheme.
The main reason is it should be a personal matter what you do for your own future provision and what funds you wish to allocate to it. You would find that local authorities would somehow become private companies for the furtherance of their pensions if company pensions were allowed. Remuneration throughout the workplace would reflect the non provision of company or public schemes.

Sep 16, 2011 at 5:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Whale

Lord B

It has been failing for a long time but the last Labour government tried to solve the problem by investing it in a boom sector but it failed and now the funds are over exposed in green renewable technology through carbon markets and it is not providing a high enough return.

You have unequivocal evidence for this I assume? FWIW it sounds horribly plausible to me, but I wouldn't make a claim like this lightly, and without being able to back it up in great detail. Can that be done?

If so, you should approach the media. I suggest the Sunday Times.

Sep 16, 2011 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Peter,
Good points on company schemes, but I would of thought that most would be handled by professional pension funds these days, instead of just a single scheme operator. Of course this doesn't gaurantee against failure but they should be as safe as you can get.

Sep 16, 2011 at 6:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

BBD
As stated at the start of the post, these are just some thoughts I would love to have the time and resource to get to the bottom of but it would probably be better accredited to a more scholarly source than I.

Perhaps a good journalist or researcher, How do you fancy it?

Sep 16, 2011 at 8:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

The "public sector pension fund" does not exist, The phrase implies that there is a government fund which is managed to meet ALL public sector worker pension liabilities.

There are two arrangements for public sector workers; one is funded and one is unfunded, and it is the latter "scheme" that the unions are getting excited about.

There are around 4 million active, deferred and pensioner members of "public sector funded schemes" - The Local Government Pension Scheme and the Universities Superannuation Scheme.

These are funded schemes, in which the funds required to pay future pensions are built up over time. This separate fund allows resources to be planned and managed over time to meet pension liabilities.

There are over 5 million active, deferred and pensioner members of "public sector unfunded schemes", for example, 1,600,000 workers in local government, 600,000 civil servants, 1,300,000 health workers, 600,000 teachers, 50,000 firefighters, 200,000 armed forces and 150,000 uniformed police officers etc.

Current pensions for these workers are paid directly from central government’s current revenue (made up of contributions paid by civil servants, teachers, fire fighters and uniformed police officers in employment, and their employers).

The main difference between the two is that while unfunded schemes, in effect, lend contributions directly to the Government and receive a designated rate of interest in return, funded schemes keep control of their contributions and invest them in a range of assets.

So, there are public sector pensioners who are in schemes similar to the defined benefit schemes of the private sector, and there are other public sector pensioners who are paid out of current government income, as are all OAPs.

No doubt, this is a major problem as fewer workers are going to have support an increasing number of pensioners, but this has been a problem from times long before AGW reared its ugly head.

Sep 17, 2011 at 11:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Brownedoff, do these figures look representative:


Data as at 31 March 2008
Figures are for NHS PCSPS TPS AFPS schemes

No of Contributing Members (million) 1.6 0.6 0.7 0.2

Employer Contributions during 2007/08 (£ billion) 5.3 2.9 3.5 1.5

Total No of Pensioners (million) 0.7 0.6 0.6 0.4

Pensions paid during 2007/08 (£ billion) 4.5 3.4 5.4 2.7

Total No of Deferreds (million) 0.5 0.3 0.4 0.3

PCSPS Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme
TPS Teachers’ Pension Scheme
AFPS Armed Forces Pension Scheme
http://www.gad.gov.uk/Documents/Occupational%20Pensions/December_2009_Cashflow_Projections_Methodology_data_and_assumptions.pdf

Am I correct in thinking then for example in the AFPS scheme that there are 200,000 contributing members giving £1.5 billion per year and 400,000 pensioners taking out £2.7 billion per year with another 300,000 people who no longer contribute to the scheme but do not yet take out of the scheme?
The £1.2 billion defecit is then made up from government funds.

So for the NHS scheme if the amount of pensioners were equivalent to the number of contributers, 1.6 million then there would be £5.3 billion going into the fund but £10.3 billion being taken out.
Am I looking at the figures correctly?

Sep 17, 2011 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Sep 17, 2011 at 3:33 PM | Lord Beaverbrook

Am I looking at the figures correctly?

For some reason, which is not declared in the document you linked to, these figures EXCLUDE worker contributions, which amounts to many billions of pounds.

The figures you quote are from Annex D - 31 March 2008.

If you look at Annexe C, which gives employee data for different earlier years, but if we assume that the change over the years is not large, we could say that:

Say, total number of contributing members is 3.0 million (2.8 in "C", 3.1 in "D")

Say, total salary bill is 72 billion

So, average salary is = 24,000

average 5% contribution = 1,200/person

3,000,000 x 1,200 = 3.6 billion in contributions.

From your figures, total pensions paid out in 2007/8 = 16 billion,

Total employers contribution = 13.2 billion,

Guesstimate employee contribution = 3.6 billion,

So, contributions exceed outgoings by 0.8 billion.

Sep 17, 2011 at 5:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Brownedoff

Very interesting. Thank you.

Sep 17, 2011 at 7:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Brownedoff

Well spotted!

So the employee contribution of aprox £3.6 billion then requires £13.2 billion of government contribution to balance the books.
Employee contribution 5% of salary, government contribution 18.3% equivalent, roughly?

Surely there's a mistake there somewhere, in the private sector you will be lucky to get 3% employer contribution.

Sep 17, 2011 at 9:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Sep 17, 2011 at 9:04 PM | Lord Beaverbrook

I mentioned the LGPS in my first message - here are sample contribution rates 2011/12 for one of the 99 schemes across the UK: http://tinyurl.com/3kxvry9

I am not going to start looking for un-funded employee contributions for you, its getting late. I have seen a figure of 4 billion mentioned, so 5% is probably close to the average rate.

However, just before I go, you say:

Surely there's a mistake there somewhere, in the private sector you will be lucky to get 3% employer contribution.

Indeed, in the 90s many private sector employers took contribution holidays (ie 0% contribution) for several years, but of course this was an unintended consequence of government regulations whereby if a scheme got "too rich" it was penalised. This was then used as an excuse to further punishish private sector pension schemes, by that numbskull G. Brown, when in 1997 (?) he snatched 5 billion of tax relief every year, thereby triggering the almost complete closure of final salary schemes in the private sector.

As I said before, all these problems were widely know, indeed, even before the 70s global cooling scare reared its ugly head, let alone AGW.

To come back to the heading of this thread "Why is the AGW issue so political?" - it isn't as far as the loons in government are concerned - they washed their hands of the politics on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 when they voted in the Climate Change Act 2008. Since then, it is just a matter of everyone obeying the law of the land.

Sep 17, 2011 at 10:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

I remember you mentioning that the LGPS, Local Government Pension Scheme is a funded scheme
Receiving government funds.

They seem to have the same members as this group:

The LAPFF Mission Statement
The Local Authority Pension Fund Forum
(LAPFF) exists to promote the investment
interests of local authority pension funds,
and to maximise their influence as shareholders
to promote corporate social
responsibility and high standards of
corporate governance amongst the
companies in which they invest, commensurate
with statutory regulations.
http://www.lapfforum.org/pubs/reports/lapff_historyv7.pdf

That’s a bit unusual isn’t it, in the mission statement:

to maximise their influence as shareholders to promote corporate social responsibility

If you read through the pdf file they do a lot more than that, which is strange for pension fund that has government contributions

LAPFF was very conscious that its unique appeal lay
in its willingness to use shareholder activism. The campaign
work programme identified at the end of 1998 was
specifically “geared to a shareholder activist outcome
as the most e~cient means for the Forum to have an
impact”. After debating various options, members decided
to prioritise activity on directors’ remuneration,
overseas labour standards and environmental reporting
with working groups supporting these focus areas. These
areas would form the basis for the Forum’s work for the
next few years.

Consider investment in those companies that may stand to benefit from
future climate change policy, including the Kyoto Protocol, emissions
trading, and the UK government climate strategy. This may be difficult at
present considering the lack of certainty surrounding future Kyoto
commitments, however, early movers will have an advantage. Investors could
consider investment opportunities related to energy efficiency technology,
renewable energy, or clean technology, all of which may be well placed to
benefit from the expansion of the Kyoto Protocol, emissions trading, and the
UK Government’s climate strategy. However, local authority pension fund
trustees would need to be mindful of potential conflicts of interest, for example regarding the site selection for nuclear waste or wind farms.

Consider collaboration with other institutional investors on climate
change initiatives. In light of the growing number of shareholder initiatives
related to climate change, it will be important for investors to keep abreast of
further developments amongst institutional investors.
Investors should consider the potential benefits which may be gained
from continued or new collaboration with other institutional investors in
ongoing initiatives, particularly those related to disclosure of climate
risks and opportunities.
Trustees should consider the potential for further collaboration with
other investor bodies through LAPFF, which is well placed to pursue
such collaboration on a larger scale.
http://www.lapfforum.org/pubs/reports/11b%20CC%20Montreal%20Briefing.pdf

Still lets get back to why AGW is political?

Sep 17, 2011 at 11:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

The largest stakeholder of the funded pension schemes is the government, the very schemes that are using share holder influence on the boards of major companies

Am I the only one who just shuddered!

Sep 18, 2011 at 12:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Sep 17, 2011 at 11:40 PM | Lord Beaverbrook
Sep 18, 2011 at 12:07 AM | Lord Beaverbrook

http://www.lapfforum.org/pubs/reports/11b%20CC%20Montreal%20Briefing.pdf

This is just a fig-leaf document, which is ignored by UK pension schemes because green crap companies do not deliver the required returns, and sometimes just disappear when the subsidies disappear.

In real life, where pension fund trustees have financial advisers to ensure that whenever a trustee gets a rush of blood and starts thinking about investing in green crap, or even to the extent of becoming a major shareholder to "maximise their influence as shareholders", they are reminded of their duties as a trustee to look after the interests of the members, and to forget about investing in green crap.

We went through all this malarky some time ago on BH when a contributor had a rant about the BBC being biased because their pension fund was invested in green crap and at that time I pointed out that they had 40% of FA invested in green crap. Like any normal pension scheme they were invested in good quality assets, not fly-by-night green crap.

Am I the only one who just shuddered! - I really hope so, otherwise more time will be wasted on this non-subject of linking unfunded public sector pensions to AGW.

If it was not such a disaster, it would be funny that the Labour Party, having destroyed private sector final salary schemes during their recent period in office, should now find one of its paymasters (TUC) screaming that, rather than destroy THEIR public sector final salary schemes, the Conservatives (!) should be taking steps to ensure that EVERYONE has a final salary pension just like the private sector had in 1996.

It was said at the time when G Brown, against all advice, snatched 5 billion a year from private sector pension funds, that the UK private sector pension funds were bigger and better than all the similar schemes in Europe taken together.

Now look where we are.

Sep 18, 2011 at 6:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Brownedoff

You are so right. Was it you who provided details of just who that pension fund was invested in and it certainly wasn't 'green crap'? If I remember correctly they were some of the top 500 companies and I and others were shocked to think that government finance was involved in investor decisions that were forcing a direction upon the boards of these companies.

You said:

“If it was not such a disaster, it would be funny that the Labour Party, having destroyed private sector final salary schemes during their recent period in office”

"It was said at the time when G Brown, against all advice, snatched 5 billion a year from private sector pension funds, that the UK private sector pension funds were bigger and better than all the similar schemes in Europe taken together."

You wouldn’t be inferring that a political party, the Labour party, reduced the influence of private pension investments in the market to increase the influence of government backed pension investments when that government was….. The Labour party?

You would need unequivocal evidence for that, but it certainly is interesting.

“Am I the only one who just shuddered! - I really hope so, otherwise more time will be wasted on this non-subject of linking unfunded public sector pensions to AGW.”

Like I said earlier about this discussion, just some thoughts and following them through, but I’m glad that it stimulated you enough to spend some time thinking about it.

So the BBC pension fund was linked through on that previous post to IIGCC:
http://climateresearchnews.com/2010/02/bbc-pension-funds-linked-to-climate-policy/

But who is this PIRC so heavily involved with LAPFF?

Since 1986, it has been the pioneer and champion of good corporate governance within the UK. PIRC has a wide spectrum of clients ranging from pension funds, faith-based investors, trade unions to banks and asset managers. Its Corporate Governance Service is an authoritative and vital resource for active investors, whilst its widely-read Shareowner Voting Guidelines provide a market-wide benchmark for investors and forms part of the movement for corporate governance reform and long-term wealth creation strategies for responsible investors.

The journey undergone by the institutional investment
community is both exemplified and prefigured by the
activities of the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum
(LAPFF). This grouping of public sector pension funds,
in partnership with Pensions & Investment Research Consultants
(PIRC), has pioneered both the shareholder engagement
techniques and many of the governance and socially
responsible investment issues that are now so
widespread

So momentum was dissipated by the end of the 1980s
but was not entirely lost. Many councillors and local government
officers had been exposed to new ideas about
pension fund investment and considerable policy work
had been done which integrated the moral considerations
of ethical investors, the local economic dimension pioneered
by councils and the activist instincts of politicians/
trustees. This intellectual capital resided in PIRC
which had survived the local government organisational
upheavals of its establishment and built a solid client base
by the end of the decade.

http://www.lapfforum.org/pubs/reports/lapff_historyv7.pdf

That document also gives examples of their success, case studies no less:

PIRC had been involved in joint work with Friends of the
Earth during 1990 on the issue of peat extraction by Fisons
plc, then a medium sized pharmaceutical company with a
small horticulture division. Fisons had consents to remove
peat over a large portion of Thorne & Hatfield Moors near
Doncaster, South Yorkshire, one of the last remaining lowland
raised mires, in spite of their designation as a Site of
Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). In spring 1990, PIRC circulated
a briefing paper to institutional investors holding
approximately 40% of Fisons’ shares
suggesting that, in
the context of a growing consumer boycott, they question
the company about its operations and plans to develop sustainable
alternatives to peat. PIRC also attended the May
1990 AGM on behalf of client pension funds
and followed
this up with a questionnaire to investors asking if they
wanted to receive more information.

Sep 18, 2011 at 9:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

You wouldn’t be inferring that a political party, the Labour party, reduced the influence of private pension investments in the market to increase the influence of government backed pension investments when that government was….. The Labour party?

You would need unequivocal evidence for that, but it certainly is interesting.

I implied no such thing. You have inferred that is what I implied. Your inference is incorrect.

G Brown was looking to maximise the loot being shovelled into the Treasury and he looked at all the ways in which loot avoided being drawn into pot; his eye fell on the tax relief of 5 billion/year in private sector pension schemes, and against the advice of his own officials, he decided that he could spend it in better ways than the pension schemes.

but I’m glad that it stimulated you enough to spend some time thinking about it.

Please, do not flatter yourself.

I do not have to spend any time thinking about this stuff - I found out about it the hard way, many years ago.

1990!

OMG.

Very influential, not.

Sep 18, 2011 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Amid mounting concern and evidence of climate change,
the January 2001 Forum meeting decided that its environmental
campaign should concentrate on carbon reporting.
PIRC undertook research to benchmark reporting
on greenhouse gas emissions by companies in the FTSE 100
against the core guidelines published by the Department
for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The research,
published in December 2001, showed that only five
FTSE100 company reports were fully in line with the eight
minimum reporting guidelines, and that 55 FTSE100 companies
provided no disclosure on any of the eight minimum
DEFRA requirements. Moreover, there was large sectoral
variation in reporting. All utility companies quantified their
emissions, whereas no information technology companies
reported on greenhouse gas emissions at all.
The Forum shared the research results with the Institutional
Investor Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), a network
of investment managers and pension funds originally
brought together under the auspices of the Universities Superannuation
Scheme (USS), in which LAPFF had been
participating since 2001.

Pressure from institutional shareholders is also growing on Chief Executive Bob Dudley, the first American to lead the British oil company since taking over in October, and Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg.
Calpers, the biggest U.S. public pension fund, and the Florida State Board of Administration have said they will join other smaller U.S. and European religious and ethical funds in voting against the reappointment of Bill Castell, the head of the safety, ethics and environment assurance committee. The two state pension boards together own some 0.4 percent of BP's total stock.
And both Pirc, the investor advice service, and the Association of British Insurers have issued warnings about excessive pay packages for two BP executives.

http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2011/apr/14/bp-faces-wave-protests-shareholder-meeting/

Sep 18, 2011 at 4:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Hi Lord Beaverbrook

As a fellow CAGW sceptic, I thought your hypothesis was worthy of at least a quick look at observational data to see if it could be falsified. First of all, we have to pick a funded pension plan. One of the big ones is the Universities Superannuation Scheme. On the following website the USS lays out the contents of their fund / investment portfolio.

http://www.uss.co.uk/UssInvestments/InvestmentsTypes/Equities/Pages/USStop100investments.aspx

I navigated through the site and couldn't find any material amount of "green crap" :-) in their portfolio. But I could have missed something, so do check for yourself.

Here is a list of their top 10 equity holdings... presumably more brown than green to an environmentalists eyes.

1 ROYAL DUTCH SHELL 614
2 HSBC BANK 512.5
3 VODAFONE GROUP 454.3
4 BP 452
5 BHP BILLITON 381
6 RIO TINTO 379.4
7 GLAXOSMITHKLINE 311.5
8 BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO 230.1
9 ANGLO AMERICAN 227.2
10 BG GROUP 215

So. if the hypothesis was that part of the reason that (C)AGW is so political is because the U.K. government is using it as justification for laundering ... er, I mean intermediating, taxpayer dollars to public sector pension plans via green subsidies to companies that are held in these pension plan portfolios; then I don't think the data with respect to the holdings in one of the largest funded public sector plan supports this hypothesis. Of course, in the unfunded plans, by definition this hypothesis couldn't be correct.

Anyway, interesting to look at.... but I think a bridge too far.

PS - I think Brownedoffs "fig leaf" metaphor with respect to nods to greenery is very apt. Currently it is kind of a Public Relations necessity to slightly colour (some would say rinse) Annual Statements and other Publications with a slight, but fundamentally immaterial, tinge of green (some would say wash). This practice is not restricted to the public sector....

Sep 18, 2011 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterdkkraft