October 30, 2013

It might broaden the horizons of foundation execs that favor the soft-energy path to drop in on the above list in descending order. But what about their portfolios? Militant greens are already Mau-Mauing universities nationwide to divest endowments and pension funds of energy stocks.

There are billions of dollars of alternative-energy assets on the books of the multinational venture funds Al Gore has advised. Many of these are bets against fossil energy companies. The valuation of the alternative-energy portfolios is now based on the assumption that eco-politicians such as Al can veto the sale of most of those carbon assets to support the artificially high prices needed to save alternative energy from bankruptcy.

But carbon prohibition is not going to happen, however much policy makers try to paint the scientific tape. Energy prices have inflated far faster than climate has changed.

The real object of “absurd overvaluation” is Gore’s apocalyptic climate rhetoric. Though he declared a “climate crisis” a quarter-century ago, rising seas have yet to flood his penny loafers. In reality, global temperatures have risen only a few tenths of a degree in all that time.

There is instead a clear and present danger that the “alternative energy” bubble Gore helped inflate is about to burst as shale gas and tar-sand oil flood the market and further float the prices of energy and fossil-fuel equities and bonds. In contrast, the solar selloff and Europe’s wind-power-driven fiscal woes put alternative-energy touts in the same pickle as the Morgan bankers peddling subprime mortgages before the economic crash.

While green entrepreneurs such as Gore have made short-term profits by playing the psychology of the markets, few technologies are more volatile than alt-energy plays predicated on celebrity or intellectual fashion. Prudent fiduciaries and long-term investors must consider the stranded-asset downside of solar and wind-based equities and debt instruments if reality-based climate projections prevail over green rhetoric in determining investment strategy.


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