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As everybody who is not blind and deaf is aware, there is a huge political preoccupation with climate change at the moment, a widespread (though by no means unanimous) belief that global temperatures are rising mainly as a result of the greenhouse gases created by humankind, and a strong view that all countries have a responsibility to take policy measures to reduce those greenhouse gas emissions.


Successive New Zealand governments, as governments in many other countries, have adopted policies designed to discourage the emission of greenhouse gases, or to encourage measures which would absorb such gases. By far the most logical of these measures is the Emissions Trading System (ETS). Other policies, such as subsidies for electric vehicles, have no logic at all: if switching to electric vehicles were the lowest cost way of reducing emissions, the ETS would already be encouraging that switching without subsidies. And if it isn’t, the subsidies push us into higher cost ways of getting to Net Zero.


Recently, there has been some focus on the impact of climate change on the banking sector, and on the impact of the banking sector on climate change.


I understand that any change in the climate, from whatever source, poses risks to and creates opportunities for banks.  There may be increased storms, or an increase in the sea level.  But relative to the other risks than banks routinely run, it seems to me that these risks are very small.  As a general rule, banks do not lend on residential mortgages unless the properties are fully insured, and very rarely are commercial or corporate loans made for terms longer than five or six years.   The risk of the sea level rising materially within six years is trivial compared with the risk that a corporate borrower may get into trouble for some other reason over that period.


But what of the greenhouse gases which banks themselves generate?  With effect from this year, banks must report publicly on the greenhouse gases which their own operations generate – how much petrol they use, how much electricity, how many plane flights, how many car journeys, and so on.  Well, calculating that is apparently not terribly hard, whatever you might think of the value of doing the calculation, and the small (in New Zealand) bank that I chair has just paid a consultancy some thousands of dollars to make that estimate for us.


But as of next year we will need to report also the emissions which our lending activities create or make possible.  And we paid the same consultancy some more thousands to do a rough estimate of that figure for a recent year.


This is absolutely nuts, and the sooner the new Government does away with the crazy law which requires such a meaningless calculation the better.


Meaningless?  Well, how does one estimate the greenhouse gases involved in, say, a loan to help build a new motorway?  I suppose it is possible (if meaningless) to estimate the greenhouse gases emitted in the construction of the motorway, but what about the effect of the traffic on the motorway?  Is there more traffic created because the road makes travel much faster?  Does the new route actually reduce the greenhouse gases generated by the traffic, perhaps because there is less stop-start traffic or a smoother gradient than on the older road which the motorway replaces?


And if the following year the greenhouse gases generated by our lending activities increase, does that mean we have somehow “sinned”, or simply that we have made more loans?


I can be quite certain that the ANZ Bank, or Westpac, or any of the other large banks in New Zealand will produce estimates of the greenhouse gases “generated” by their lending activities which will be many times larger than the figure for the small bank which I chair, but that says absolutely nothing about their virtue, or lack of it.  It is just a totally meaningless figure, produced at the cost of thousands of hours of diligent but useless work.


I won’t quote the absolute number of tonnes of Co2 equivalent that the bank which I chair was allegedly responsible for in 2023 because, until it is released publicly shortly, it is confidential.  But, to illustrate the absurdity of the calculations, the consultants advised us that the actual operations of the bank itself – our electricity used, petrol used, flights taken, etc. – were responsible for just 0.01% of the total greenhouse gases for which we were in some sense “responsible” in 2023 when the greenhouse gases made possible by our loans were included.  The calculation is bonkers and has no meaning at all.


Don Brash, March 25, 2024

3,848 views181 comments

181 comentarios

05 abr

The ETS is nothing more than a scam dreamed up by some of history's biggest con-artists, Enron. I challenge ANYONE to explain how this scam works to me in clear, succinct and understandable language. Odds-on it can't be done.

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In other energy news :

"Nuclear energy is in the spotlight. Thirty-four countries, including the U.S., last week pledged to use it to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. In California, regulators in December said the Diablo Canyon plant could operate through 2030 instead of 2025 to guard against blackouts as the state shifts toward renewable power sources. Owner Pacific Gas & Electric said federal aid helped it repay a state loan."

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Meaningless?  Well, how does one estimate the greenhouse gases involved in, say, a loan to help build a new motorway?

About as easily as calculating next years grain harvest which is influenced by heating caused by the reflection of the sun off the Emperors new clothes.

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Contestando a

" they were simply part of the carbon cycle?"

Are you saying that carbon just goes around and around, now oxidised , then reduced.

How dare you!

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Thanks Don for your responsible post' is an excellent source debunking "Climate Change". The UNIPCC itself in its TAR Report said it could not predict climate as it was mathematically "chaotic" -.i.e. unpredictable. We are being suckered by global controlling elite.

For the future we are very likely to have cheap electricity for most needs. The hunt for cold fusion didn't succeed but did uncover an atomic state of hydrogen which yields massive power. Water can be fuel; No large batteries; Cheap and no emissions.; Power created on site and suitable for industry, transport, household without grid connection. There are many who have verified this process but this is the most developed : They have been working on i…

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Finally - a moment to respond: Well said - a simple review of the madness - but WHY the madness? MONEY .... Capitalise on the scare campaign.

Create meaningless jobs assessing emissions when in reality if the population of both Australia and NZ were dead, ie: NIL human or farmed animals emissions - our combined demise totals 0.34% of the worlds population is irrelevant. NZ = 0.065% of global population. Not only would that 100% success of nil emissions have NIL effect, but sub sub sub increments of this Green Orgy is simply imposing in law the deliberate squandering of money that could be better spent and thus suffering by the public whose politically extorted money has been redirected to utter folly.


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27 mar
Contestando a

Sounds very familiar. A technique used by: previous labour government,

the maori party, the green party, and of course the TOW activists that lie, and lie, and lie. A continual diatribe screwing the treaty into something it never was, and never could be.

If you tell a lie for long enough, and often enough, simple people will then consider that it must be true.

God help us, because nobody else will.

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