Friday, March 09, 2007

Generation Investments Management

To summarize the big takeaways from that last post, as I'll admit it was a bit of a ramble--

Bigfoot Al is co-founder and part owner of Generation Investments Management, an investment company that specializes in "long-term investment strategies". All fine and good. That's how I'd invest, too.

Their emphasis, they say, is on "Sustainability" investment. This is a code word for "socially responsible". Also all fine and good in a free market.

So his company looks around for what it considers to be "Socially Responsible" investment opportunities and presumably builds its portfolios from those.

From Chairman Bigfoot Al's statement on the website and from what he's been very good in communicating, we get this:

"Integrating issues such as climate change into investment analyisis is simply common sense."

It's pretty clear that Al & Co. invest in what they consider to be green technologies or other green-oriented funds (though they make efforts to obfuscate that issue). Maybe a Russian company that has a lot of Carbon Credits to sell? (speculation on my part here).... and there's nothing wrong with that, either.

Al jets around the country and the world pushing his view on AGW, which should drum up business and help change policy to be more friendly to the investments his company makes. Not saying that's the primary reason, and I'm not saying it's not. And there's nothing wrong with that, either.

What's wrong is that, when an oil or coal company helps fund a study, and that study comes out and says "hey, wait a minute, it looks like this AGW stuff is a lot of hogwash" -- rather than argue with the study itself, the confilct-of-interest card is paraded out and ceremoniously slapped down on the "debate" round-table insisting that for that reason the study be pulled from it.

On the other hand, here we have Bigfoot Al, the Holy Goracle of Saving the Planet™, with a financial interest in precipitating the very public policies he is promoting. Al was the major Kyoto negotiator during the Clinton administration. He would know how to use its design to his advantage. And nobody, to my knowledge, has mentioned this.

Now just because one has a financial interest in persuing a particular policy, or justice, or whatever -- doesn't mean they are wrong. Agreed?

Well try to remember that the next time somebody tries to dismiss a study by saying "yeah, but they got money from Exxon."

Since Al does not practice what he preaches in any meaningful way as far as curbing energy consumption, and much of what he does to "compensate" for his consumption falls under the jurisdiction of the higly questionable "carbon credit" idea - it is reasonable to question how much of his motivation is political and financial, and how much of it is truly personal conviction. Let's go ahead and acknowledge it. There are financial and political power interests on both sides of the table. One side pretends there isn't and claims the moral high ground.

And with that in mind, with a truly open mind, go and read what skeptics have to say about it. At least read the other side of the argument. There are far too many people who, for whatever reasons, would rather you didn't.

No comments: