Thursday, December 26, 2019

Australian banks first in line for climate stress tests

The banking regulators have fallen into the hands of the Greenies. So banks now must not lend to projects Greenies disapprove of. 

If they do it will be regarded by the regulators as a "risky" investment, even if the only risk is from global warming and is hence an entirely fictional risk. 

Greenie investments will be favoured over rational ones, thus greatly limiting bank support for many industries -- such as mining and dam building

Stress tests of banks by regulators have a legitimate role. They make sure banks do not overlend or lend foolishly.  They aim to stop banks going broke.  So they control what banks can do.  But the stress tests are now being perverted so that only Greenie-approved investments are regarded as safe. 

The truth is probably the opposite:  Greenie investments are the risky ones, not the safe ones.  Remember Solyndra?

Australian banks will be the first sector in the firing line for the prudential regulator's tough new institutionally focused climate change stress tests, which will be rolled out following the launch of new economic and environmental scenario modelling by global central banks next year.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority will target the $45bn general insurance sector with its audits on the vulnerability of companies to a potentially "disorderly" transition to a low-emissions economy.

Finally, superannuation fund managers overseeing the nation's $3 trillion pile of retirement savings will feel the heat of APRA's soon-to-be-launched climate stress tests, which will measure how the funds are preparing their portfolios for an unpredictable future in which asset prices could fluctuate wildly depending on the rate of warming of the planet or
the policies put in place to achieve emissions targets.

Regulatory sources have confirmed to The Weekend Australian the running order for the sectors soon to face an Australian prudential probe measuring the exposure of banks, insurers and super funds to both the physical risks of climate change such as floods, droughts, fires or cyclones — and the economic "transition" risks, such as orderly or abrupt changes in prices, possible stranded assets, or long-term productivity changes.

The insights from the stress tests could be used to encourage companies to exit potentially risky assets or investments, re-price policies or loans, or even to force banks and insurers that refuse to ready themselves for an unpredictable climate to hold more capital as a buffer in times of crisis. The climate models to be used to analyse the financial strength of companies are being developed by an international group of regulators, chaired by Bank of England governor Mark Carney, who this week warned that large financial groups in the UK would imminently face the world's toughest climate stress tests.

As revealed by The Australian this week, the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), chaired by Mr Carney, is due to finalise a number of climate transition scenarios in the first half of 2020, at which point APRA will begin tuning the economic models to the local context to begin stress testing large financial institutions.

The Reserve Bank, a member of the group, will use the financial models to analyse economy-wide impacts of climate change and policies seeking to shift the nation to a low-emissions future. The Australian Securities & Invest-ments Commission will also be engaged in the work, mostly through monitoring whether companies are properly disclosing known risks to shareholders.

Mr Carney this week said the BoE would measure UK financial companies against three scenarios, which were under development by the NGFS. "The catastrophic business-as-usual scenario where no further climate action is taken, a scenario where early policy action delivers an orderly transition to the targets set in Paris, and a third where late policy action leads to a disorderly and disruptive transition," Mr Carney said.

This aligns closely to recent remarks by APRA executive Geoff Summerhayes, who chairs the global Sustainable Insurance Forum, who said Australian regulators were contemplating "three broad models" of climate change scenarios and what the ensuing "implications would be for assets and business models" stemming from those scenarios.

"A hothouse world, where there is no discernible change to the warming profile; an orderly adjustment to a lower-carbon future, which would envisage a significant amount of transition risk, albeit smooth; and a late adjustment where the world continues to warm and there is a realisation from a policy sense much later in the piece which requires a very rapid ,adjustment to a lower-carbon future,"

Mr Summerhayes told parliament this month: "Each of those scenarios has implications for the pricing of assets, for business models, for physical impacts and liability impacts to a range of firms' investments."

Fitch Ratings head of sustainable finance Andrew Steel on Friday said the gap between how ambitious global governments pledge to cut emissions and the actual policies in place to reach those targets highlighted the "risk of a sharp shift" in the global regulatory environment.  Mr Steel said the possibility that global governments could ratchet up carbon pricing policies to meet emissions targets was a key risk to company credit ratings.

From "The Australian" of 21 December, 2019

Feds put foot on the gas

A NEW power station to help keep the lights on in Queensland and NSW will "be announced today, the first of a series of new electricity generators to be given the tick. The gas-fired power plant at Gatton will be underwritten by the Morrison Government and is one of 12 generators short-listed just prior to the election.

No decision has yet been made on a coal-fired power station at Collinsville, championed by some LNP MPs, which was also short-listed.

At 132 megawatts, the Gatton gas plant is a smaller generator but can be used to firm up renewable power and can switch on with little notice during peak periods. It is also hoped it will put downward pressure on power prices should it be given final approval by the company behind it, Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners.

Quinbrook, which specialises in renewable and low-carbon projects, has previously warned the project would not go ahead without government support. Energy Minister Angus Taylor said the decision to underwrite the project was made after consideration of the project's financial viability, benefit to consumers and potential environmental impacts: "The Government will now enter detailed underwriting and contractual negotiations with the project proponent ahead of its financial investment decisions," he said.

Construction will begin once private sector funding is secured. The Federal Government is not funding the project, but instead underwriting its debt, so taxpayers will not have to fork out for the construction and any financial exposure is expected to be minimal.

Mr Taylor said it would increase competition, helping to keep energy prices down. Any excess gas from the project will be put on the Queensland gas market, which would increase competition for AGL and Origin.

An interconnector linking the Queensland and NSW power grids means the project could boost the southern state's energy supply if needed.

In relation to Collinsville, Mr Taylor said a first study was due this week, but further feasibility studies would be needed early in the new year.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail' of 23 December, 2019

Unfair attack on Sea World by Greenie fanatics

SEA World operators have dismissed animal rights protesters, slamming a NSW politician's "appalling" decision to use the popular Gold Coast theme park to grandstand.

Yesterday about 30 people, armed with placards, chanted slogans outside the park at Main Beach during a two-hour protest. Among those leading the rally was NSW politician Emma Hurst from the Animal Justice Party. Ms Hurst said she had travelled to Queensland to protest against Sea World, as well as attend other protests.

"No animal should be forced into entertainment ... we want Sea World to stop the breeding of (dolphins). We need to make sure no more of these animals are born and bred in captivity," she said. She hoped Queensland would follow her state's lead by introducing an inquiry into animals in entertainment.

Village Roadshow Theme Parks boss Bikash Randhawa said it was "astounding" Ms Hurst had travelled out of her jurisdiction to be involved. "What is a NSW senator doing in Queensland? I don't get it. It's insanity," he said. "It's appalling that (she) comes all the way to Queensland to get some

I was happy to go over and talk with them but when I looked at (the protest) and saw some of the messaging, I said this does not deserve any conversation because it's all based on opinion ... let's base it on science.

"They were all turning around taking pictures for their social media — seriously, it's ridiculous." Mr Randhawa said it was frustrating, given Village Roadshow theme parks voluntarily poured money into animal rescues. Sea World is an accredited zoological institution under the Zoo and Aquarium Association, and is also regulated by multiple government agencies.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail' of 23 December, 2019

Academic agitators rely on the public purse

On Sunday the ABC published an article stating that masculinity is the biggest obstacle to climate ­action. The highly offensive piece, which was steeped in misandry and titled “Is fragile masculinity the biggest obstacle to climate action?”, was written by University of Sydney academic Megan Mackenzie. It was published exactly the way you would expect: with a triple barrel of taxpayer funds.

First, Mackenzie is employed at Sydney University, which is a taxpayer-funded institution. According to its annual report last year, the university pocketed a total of $710.3m in Australian government grants, plus an extra $45.5m in NSW government grants. This is hardly an insignificant amount of taxpayer dollars.

Second, Mackenzie’s research work also has been generously funded by the taxpayer. In 2014, she received an Australian Research Council grant worth $434,692 to fund a project entitled Women in Combat: A Comparative Analysis of Removing the Combat Exclusion.

Third, her article has been published by the ABC, which is, of course, another taxpayer-funded institution funded to the tune of more than $1bn a year.

While Mackenzie has completely bought into the notion that white men are the embodiment of evil, she needs to remember that a large number of Australian taxpayers who are funding her research are hardworking white men against whom she rallies.

It is wrong for researchers such as Mackenzie to continue to take benefit from the money of people who they consistently and openly deride in the public forum.

Last year, Sydney University hosted American professor, author and “renowned anti-racism educator” Robin DiAngelo on campus so she could harangue white people about how racist they were. Taxpayer money is being used without the slightest hint of questioning, self-reflection or consideration for the taxpayers themselves. If academics such as Mackenzie were to attempt to make a living from propounding identity politics, radical gender theory and eco-poetics, they would not survive in this world. This is because there is no market among the general populace, who naturally have little desire to pay someone to insult them. The harsh reality for those employed in the humanities is that without funding via other people’s money, they would struggle to earn their keep.

What Sydney University academic Mackenzie has done is to connect two diametrically opposed topics that currently obsess the elite of this country: gender and climate change.

This is something at which the university appears to excel. Readers will now be familiar with its FutureFix program, in particular the Multi­species Justice project, which is described by the univer­sity as “a post human reconceptualisation of justice via a multi­species lens” and that looks at how “justice across the human and natural world (would) look like and entail”. Moreover, a lecturer also proposed that we need to consider seriously the “arguments for the formal inclusion of animal interests in democracies”.

The university even has its own all-encompassing Environment Institute, which covers everything from the Great Barrier Reef to justice and culture. In October, the institute hosted a two-day symposium titled Unsettling Ecological Poetics, during which various participants from universities around Australia gathered to read poems about climate change, sustainability, radical feminism, racism and LGBTQ+ issues.

The move to combine disciplines is part of a growing worldwide trend to create new and exciting interdisciplinary studies. In a recent article for The Conversation, a couple of academics from the University of California stated the case for combining climate change science and the humanities with their article “Why science needs the humanities to solve climate change”.

There is little doubt that Australian universities are in crisis. This is because academics such as Mackenzie have completely rejected the cornerstones of Western civilisation and, in doing, so are cutting themselves and students off from truth, reason and knowledge. The reason student numbers are falling in the ­humanities is because academics appear to be indulging in their own interests without consideration for anything else.

These cloistered academics are completely out of touch with mainstream Australians, but even in the face of resounding defeat they refuse to see it. They belong to the elite who were voted out in May by mainstream Australians and rejected en masse by the British public last week.

Yet the government continues to fund agitators who are filled with the zeal of the righteous, and who not only believe their own propaganda but also insist everyone else must believe it, too. By giving money to institutions such as the university, the ARC and the ABC, the Coalition is funding a progressive ideology that is contrary to tradition, contrary to what people believe and contrary to the truth. The Coalition might keep winning elections, but as long as it keeps funding left-wing institutions that promulgate insidious identity politics it will continue to lose the battle of ideas.


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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