Blackrock, the global investment management giant, has today announced that it is going to impress upon its clients and invested firms in taking more measures to address climate change. Speaking to media houses, Larry Fink, the CEO of Blackrock, stated that he envisions a major investment shift taking place across the world on account of climate change. This is the first such announcement by a major investment management corporation having a significant amount of assets under its administration. The move will not only encourage and propel major companies to take climate change seriously but will also bring about a swifter change in the different environment-related strategies already under implementation. The move while being hailed by various environment lobby groups will be under close scrutiny when the company uses its vast investor base to force managements to do more for the environment and climate change.
Environment change has become a very serious issue lately. Air and water pollution levels have increased to such an extent that it is now threatening life itself. Fossil fuels, which till now have been responsible for the burgeoning growth of the human race, are fast becoming a burden on all of us. The chemicals released into the atmosphere when we burn fossil fuels are responsible for some of the most chronic and hard to heal human ailments like asthma, cardiovascular ailments and cancer. Moreover, these chemicals do not degrade so easily and harmfully impact the environment for decades after they are first released.
Two of the most dreaded large-scale impacts of environmental degradation that the world has been suffering from for decades now are the greenhouse effect and the ultraviolet solar radiation. The emission of carbon dioxide and other of its greenhouse gases trap the solar radiation inside the atmosphere which should ideally radiate back into space under normal environmental conditions. With increased solar radiation trapped, the general temperature levels in the world will increase, making life difficult for all of its inhabitants while also bringing about sudden and violent climatic changes. The release of chlorine doped hydrocarbon gases into the atmosphere adversely impact the ozone layer, which protects the atmosphere from harmful solar radiations. Solar Ultraviolet radiation, in particular, is responsible for skin cancer among humans. These radiations are filtered by the ozone layer and restricted from entering the earth’s atmosphere in large quantities.
The Human race owes a lot to fossil fuels. The industrial age would not have been possible without the use of fossil fuels. Large infrastructure fixtures like dams, bridges, roads, skyrises would not have been possible without the extensive usage of fossil fuels in the extraction of iron, manufacturing cement and transportation of these commodities from their place of origin to their place of ultimate application. The exponential rise in transportation of both personnel and material, which has made the world a smaller place, would not have been possible without the extensive use of liquid fossil fuels and electricity. The most important of them, however, which is the most valuable creation of the industrial age, Electricity, requires extensive use of fossil fuels to generate with the current state of technology.
The industrial development in today’s age has reached vast proportions, something that couldn’t have been envisioned at the beginning of the industrial age. The proportion, however, has come to such a stage where further growth is not possible without harming the human development process itself. The current state of technology, with its current level of efficiency, allows us to exploit our resources only so far and is inadequate to take the human race to its next stage of evolution. There is thus an urgent need to bring about a change in the way we do things. The older generation fossil fuel technologies will have to give way to newer generation renewable fuel technologies and the general efficiency levels in all areas of energy usage will have to be upgraded significantly. More investments will be needed to develop new types of energy resources and new technologies that give the same output with a lower level of energy expenditure. The realization among decision makers for the above has been there for a while now, but the actions in this regard have been very slow to come by.
The biggest hurdle in the implementation of the necessary climate preservation measures has met with resistance by businesses who see these measures as an unnecessary burden on them which will lead to a decline in their profitability. Many of these businesses, which are heavily dependent on the use of fossil fuels, also face the possibility of shutting down their operations if some of the climate preservation measures are implemented. Most importantly, the implementation of the measures will require massive changes in infrastructure, which have been in locations for more than a century now. Also, the capital expenditure required to bring about such infrastructural change is also sometimes beyond the capacities of many of the small to mid-sized companies. Governments, however, on their part, have taken significant strides in this regard. International legislations like the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Accord are some of the examples in this regard. Governments have also been making massive public investments in infrastructure in this regard and financing research projects that could bring about technological advancements in the way we consume energy.
The BlackRock initiative it seems will hasten the implementation of climate change measures by corporates around the world. There exist, however, numerous examples around the world, instances where organizations have taken environmental preservation seriously and have implemented pathbreaking measures which are an example for others to follow. Recently BP Plc of United Kingdom announced that it is going to invest in five renewable energy and new technology ventures which work on reducing the world carbon footprint and bring about higher efficiencies in the way technology is used. The company has stated that it will not only invest in these ventures but also handhold them till they reach turnover levels of more than £1 billion. IBM Inc of the United States also has a similar initiative in which it provides assistance to small and budding renewable energy companies develop and commercialize pathbreaking technologies, which are applied to the fields of renewable energy and environmental protection.