LibLink: Ed Davey says private capital must switch from dirty to clean

Now here’s an interesting thought. Why not ban any new listings of fossil fuel companies on the London Stock Exchange?

Ed Davey flags up this idea in an interview with The Guardian today to mark his first year as Party Leader.

Under the plan outlined to the Guardian by the Lib Dem leader, Ed Davey, another immediate policy would be to stop new bonds being issued in London to finance oil, coal or gas exploration.

Fossil fuel firms already listed in the UK would then have two years to produce a coherent plan about how they would reach net zero emissions by 2045, or risk being struck off the LSE.

In the longer term, pension funds would have to disinvest from fossil fuels by 2035, with all companies with fossil fuel assets removed from the exchange by 2045.

Ed said:

The reality is that no matter how much governments spend, it’s going to be totally dwarfed by the amounts banks, private equity and hedge funds invest every day.

So if you’re going to really take on climate change you’ve got to get that private capital to switch from dirty into clean. And this is a fundamental role for Britain in global leadership on climate change.

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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11 Comments

  • Has Sir Edward Davey consulted his Lib Dem colleagues Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, Beatrice Wishart MSP and Alistair Carmichael MP on this proposal ?

    There has been a remarkable Scottish Lib Dem silence on the controversial question of Shell’s proposed Cambo Oil Field off Shetland. It is, of course, a very long way from Kingston and the proposed tour of ‘Blue Wall’ seats mentioned in the Guardian article.

    Clarification would be welcome.

  • Phil Beesley 27th Aug '21 - 4:43pm

    One of the considerations is whether fossil fuels will thus be delivered by companies providing dirtier energy or adopting less ethical business practices.

    A good way to get rid of a problem is to recruit people most familiar with it; poacher turned gamekeeper sort of thing. To address climate change we need new ideas but we can get quicker results when people running road transport, maritime shipping, waste disposal etc — experts — drive policy in the right way.

  • Brad Barrows 27th Aug '21 - 6:22pm

    Superficially attractive but ineffective in practice. So pension funds forced to divest will instead invest in funds and holding companies that own shares in fossil fuel companies. Or would the plan be to also ban pension funds from investing in funds and holding companies that themselves own shares in fossil fuel companies?

  • >In the longer term, pension funds would have to disinvest from fossil fuels by 2035
    that might be “long-term” for a politician, for a pension fund that is relatively short-term.

    Is BP a fossil fuel firm or an alternative energy R&D company? Also, oil has many more uses than fuel (there was time when gasoline was a waste product of oil refinement), so are we to also penalise those who use oil products?

    The real world is far more complex than those writing Ed’s soundbites and speeches seem to think.

  • Like Phlogiston, carbon dioxide is over-rated. I suggest that scientific progress will overtake Ed’s misguided ambitions. It aready has, but years of relentless campaigning by organisations like the BBC and The Guardian will take a long time to correct.

  • Peter Davies 28th Aug '21 - 9:56pm

    Pension funds don’t invest in fossil fuels they invest in companies with reliable returns who may or may not choose to invest a part of their capital in fossil fuel related activities or make loans to other companies that do. The only way to stop money going into activities you disapprove of is to make sure those activities are unprofitable. The major fossil fuel companies themselves are currently assuming that governments will do that and looking desperately to diversify in ways that will let them survive as companies after their core business disappears.

  • Barry Lofty 29th Aug '21 - 9:01am

    I Suggest it would wise to keep our options open with regard to fossil fuels, future generations might just find they are up to their necks in unwanted batteries and their contents and the difficulty of disposing of them.?

  • Peter Hirst 29th Aug '21 - 3:48pm

    I agree. New listings and investment should all be blocked. These arguments for continuing are convoluted and not credible. There will be enough countries still extracting fossil fuels for us to import if essential. No more fossil fuels is simple enought. Why don’t people get it?

  • >There will be enough countries still extracting fossil fuels for us to import if essential.
    I see double standards and hypocrisy live on…

  • This is the advantage of being the Lib Dem’s rather than the Green Party and of having a leader of Ed Davey’s gravitas – our ideas are taken seriously not dismissed out of hand.

    The Spectator are predictably up in arms about his proposals:

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-liberal-democrat-s-vision-for-the-city-of-london-is-dangerous

    They claim it would be bad for the City. Surely not as bad as Brexit however which the Spectator are cheerleaders for!

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