Thursday, October 12, 2006

Economics: Oil alternatives: Was the spurt of green investment, now shrinking backwards, a 1-time thing?

A recent section of Christian Science Monitor devoted to the ethics of investing carried an interview between CSM's Laurent Belsie and two Boston-based experts on green energy: Jack Robinson, founder of Winslow Green Growth Fund, and Eric Becker, portfolio manager of Trillium Asset Management. I have taken excerpts from the excerpts presented by Belsie in "Will green power fizzle if oil prices keep slumping?" (Oct2,2k6). -- Owlb

Belsie: Green-energy stocks have pulled back in recent months. Are you worried?

Becker: This pullback is probably an opportunity for long-term clean energy investors. Speculators have probably been driven out of the market.... But if you have a longer term horizon there's probably money to be made from here. The Department of Energy forecasts a gap of 14 terawatts of power globally between now and the year 2050. That's the equivalent of 14,000 1-gigawatt new energy plants. If you opened one a day, it would take 38 years to get there. So the problem is not going to be solved with nuclear and fossil fuels alone.
North America > USA [Environment/Economy]

Belsie: Such predictions were made in the early 1980s, too, but green-energy stocks crashed. Is this era really any different?

Robinson: From our point of view, it is actually very different. There are multiple factors at work here. Eric has mentioned one, which is the demand-supply equation is going to continue to be out of whack.... Another factor ... and new to the equation - is global warming and our overall awareness of that. We simply have to come up with ways to reduce our carbon output - not only in this country but around the world. And that in and of itself is going to be a major, major driver for green-energy stocks.
In the Monitor
World Economy > Carbon-free alternatives to oil
Belsie: But the United States and China have refused to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Becker: I think the political will is building for action. There are bills in Congress for carbon-emissions caps in the US. You've now got the eight Northeast states and California agreeing to cap their emissions. And you've got 165 countries signed on to Kyoto. I think there's no doubt, given the data we're seeing on climate change, that all the countries on the planet are going to have to deal with this issue.

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