Why can’t the Bank of England exclude oil as well?


It is positive that the Bank of England is excluding coal from its purchases, under its Corporate Bond Purchase Scheme , but it raises the question of why they are not also doing the same for oil companies like Shell and BP, -who it appears will remain eligible just as long as they disclose climate risks and targets.

The exclusion of Scope 3 emissions from its assessment of companies’ emissions is also a major gap in the Bank’s current plans.

The Bank of England’s approach to oil and gas should be guided by the International Energy Agency, who call for no new fossil fuel projects beyond this year to meet net zero by 2050.

Rather than taking them on their word, the Bank should act to exclude the worst polluters now – it can still incentivise companies to change by leaving the door open for inclusion once they have transformed their business models in line with net zero.

The Bank of England still thinks it can ‘incentivise’ fossil fuel companies to change course with its relatively small holdings of corporate bonds. The Bank will have a much stronger impact in guiding markets to net zero if it leads by example, and proactively excludes from its portfolio companies deriving revenue from further expansion and exploration of fossil fuels.

The Bank must also not hesitate to use the full range of its other monetary policy operations, as well as its financial policies such as capital requirements, to play its part in keeping us within 1.5C of global warming.

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Radix is the radical centre think tank. We welcome all contributions which promote system change, challenge established notions and re-imagine our societies. The views expressed here are those of the individual contributor and not necessarily shared by Radix.


  1. Prisss says

    The author asks why the Bank of England is only excluding coal from its Corporate Bond Purchase Scheme, but not oil companies like Shell and BP?

    Answer: Thermodynamics. Its taken as an ‘article of faith’ by many, such as the author that we should “demand” those in power urgently shift away from the fossil fuel industry and invest in “renewable energy”. However, thermodynamics exposes this as a paradox hidden in plain sight. Let me explain:

    First: The energy densities of wind, water & solar energy is hundreds of times lower (i.e. high entropy) than fossil fuels or uranium (low entropy). This means the energy inputs to build them end up not being able to yield enough excess energy to build themselves out. Nor service, nor recycle nor replace themselves after their 25 year or so life cycles expires.

    Second: High energy density is why in 1950 fossil fuels’ share of global energy supply was c70% which steadily increased to 80% in 1980, and stands at c85% today and widely predicted to grow. And low energy density is why it’s taken 20 years for wind to grow to only c2% of global energy, and solar to only c1%, less than the growth of fossil fuels share of energy supply over the same period. Remember, electricity generation is only 9% to 15% of global primary energy consumption.


    Third: global reserves of the necessary technological metals and other mineral inputs (lithium, copper, cobalt, indium, tellurium, platinum, rare earths, etc…) and building sand, and available land & sea coast area, are orders of magnitude too small to scale-up enough to replace fossil fuels from the current 3% of global energy that such ‘modern renewables’ supply to 100%. For example Solar and Wind farms require between 400 and 750 times more land than nuclear and natural gas plants.


    Fourth: Thermodynamics further dictates that low energy density energy harvesting infrastructure (wind water solar) will always rely on high energy density fuels i.e. diesel or natural gas to exist at all, because bio diesel is a net energy sink as it uses far too much land, and battery (e.g. lithium, hydrogen etc…) energy storage density will always remain far too low i.e. far too heavy and inefficient to power remote mining, process heat for metal refining, steel and cement etc. and transport activities.

    The message when whole system energy costs analysis are properly included in a ‘disaggregated’ EROI (Energy Returned Over Invested) calculation is: wind, water & solar low energy density energy harvesting infrastructure are thermodynamically incompetent.


    Meanwhile, how does the anti nuclear energy ‘green’ lobby think we can magic out of thin air the energy for process heat and transport fuels and the orders of magnitude increase in global mining & refining activity, needed to scale up wind and solar farms 3% of global energy supply to 100%, if not using fossil fuels?

    And even if that alone were not the show stopper it is, how would we then avoid the next show stopper: the inevitable environmental and social destruction and yet more resource wars (Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, etc.) and corporate land thefts in the global south to get ever harder to extract mineral supplies required?

    Answer: we must EXPLICITLY include a massive expansion of uranium energy harvesting infrastructure when we “demand” those in power must invest in wind, water and solar “renewable energy”. If not, then unless we get rid of 95% of the worlds population and return to 14th century standards of living, this demand conflicts with the laws of thermodynamics and physics.

    If, in face of a forced fossil free future (since they are rapidly getting harder and harder to obtain) we refuse to include uranium energy, then how will the anti nuclear ‘greens’ sell and manage such an implied but unspoken return to the 14th century, that’s axiomatically built into the wind water & solar energy only unicorn?

    Here are a few, amongst hundreds of peer reviewed science referenced links I could have given exposing such unicorns with this message: there aren’t enough minerals, nor land & sea area, nor fossil fuels – by orders of magnitude – to scale up any build out of wind, solar & water low energy density harvesting infrastructure – on their own – to replace fossil fuels without a massive global expansion of nuclear energy.














    Thermodynamics is trying to deliver us two messages:-

    A) Easy to access fossil fuels are getting too inefficient to economically extract.


    B) The lowest hanging ‘thermodynamic fruit’ following the rapid closure of the fossil fuel age is uranium which can be ‘mined’ from seawater until the sun goes supernova – not easy, but orders of magnitude more doable than all other alternatives.


    Regards, https://tinyurl.com/atomichumanism

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