Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
[flagged] Check if your bank is funding the fossil fuel industry (bank.green)
25 points by shadowfaxRodeo 5 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 17 comments

This comment will probably be heavily downvoted, but I don't think this sort of thing is helpful at all. Our civilisation is extremely dependent on fossil fuels. Without this industry we would be unable to adequately feed ourselves, heat our homes, and continue with civilisation as we know it. No responsible person would want to end this industry today, so why are we demonising everything and everybody connected with it? We need to help these companies transition rather than creating a castigated out grouping that nobody is allowed to be associated with on pain of excommunication.

>why are we demonising everything and everybody connected with it?

Because they acted as inhibitors to society's transition to green energy every step of the way.

>We need to help these companies transition

No. Carbon based energy companies need to be driven into bankruptcy. They are institutionally ill equipped to deal with the new realities we face. We need green energy industries that dont treat, e.g. wind energy as a hedge for their core business.

That means capital deployment from banks that are forward looking rather than backward looking.

It's a limited resource and we have alternatives. Just that.

Just think how tough it will be to build solar farms and wind farms once the energy we can dig up runs out.

Additionally, this is about encouraging gradual shifts by reallocating funding.

It's not an instant global ban.

Well designed incentives can work better than violence.

I like this idea as it enables you to make a change for the better.

The page still needs more banks listed though.

The recent history of bullying in all directions over the 'Rona argues differently.

Alternatives are generally still quite expensive though or inefficient comparatively. The worlds poorest still rely on oil to have clean water and food. We too actually. Killing that industry does no good whilst other alternatives exist.

Science says the exact opposite. Our civilization is extremely dependent on stopping fossil fuels.

> No responsible person would want to end this industry today, so why are we demonising everything and everybody connected with it.

A 'climate crisis' (we should really stop calling it climate change) caused by anthropogenic emissions of hydrocarbons was a known fact of science by as far back as 1956. [0]

The Petro-chemical industry, namely Exxon actively worked to descredit and created paid-for research to manufacture a narrative against this. [1] All members of the industry have fought against every single piece of regulation that hit their bottom line. People have absolutely every right to demonize the Petro-chemical industry complex.

I agree that there is no other tech that has the energy density of gasoline, but it should have been reserved for aviation and maybe transport in remote locations but not much else.

We are dependent on fossil fuels because we have geared all our industry and supply chain to use them. With as much lobbying and regulations in the opposite direction our course could have been different.

Reminder that globally, air pollution accounts for about seven million premature deaths a year [2] That is pretty much an avoidable Covid pandemic yearly, every single year of our lifes.

[0] https://www.nytimes.com/1956/10/28/archives/science-in-revie...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExxonMobil_climate_change_cont...

[2] https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/article/air-poll...

"Our civilization, our very way of life, heavily depends on X" does not imply "harvesting resource X is ethical" or "harvesting resource X is sustainable". Your argument is understandable from a bleeding-heart perspective, but misses out on the incredibly callous exploitation which capitalists undertake.

This tool was nice for me, because I could confirm that neither of my credit unions are known to fund fossil-fuel activities. But it's been known for a long time that credit unions are more reputable and ethical than banks, which is precisely why I chose credit unions.

Read just the introduction to Adam Hochschild's Bury the Chains. Amazon's free preview shows most of it at https://www.amazon.com/Bury-Chains-Prophets-Rebels-Empires-d.... Nearly everyone said similar things in England in the late 1700s about slavery. Those practicing slavery didn't see it as we do today, not even close, as the book explains better than I could, partly for their benefiting from it.

I suspect future generations will not see our continuing using fossil fuels as we do. I like to think if I were in eighteenth century Europe, I would oppose slavery and accept none of their excuses. They didn't have the benefit of future history. We do, and I hope we learn from past experiences, where a small number of people transformed empires in a short time. There are many differences between fossil fuels and slavery, but I'll note one of the big ones. The scale of deaths from fossil fuels is orders of magnitude bigger. Nearly ten million people die per year just from breathing polluted air https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/20..., and that's a small fraction of what's to come.

To save a click, here are three relevant paragraphs that may illuminate the view of that situation at the time, but a small selection doesn't do the book justice:

> At the end of the eighteenth century, well over three quarters of all people alive were in bondage of one kind or another, not the captivity of striped prison uniforms, but of various systems of slavery or serfdom. The age was a high point in the trade in which close to eighty thousand chained and shackled Africans were loaded onto slave ships and transported to the New World each year. In parts of the Americas, slaves far outnumbered free persons. The same was true in parts of Africa, and it was from these millions of indigenous slaves that African chiefs and slave dealers drew most of the men and women they sold to Europeans and Arabs sailing their ships along the continent’s coasts. African slaves were spread throughout the Islamic world, and the Ottoman Empire enslaved other peoples as well. In India and other parts of Asia, tens of millions of farmworkers were in outright slavery, and others were peasants in debt bondage that tied them and their labor to a particular landlord as harshly as any slave was bound to a plantation owner in South Carolina or Georgia. Native Americans turned prisoners of war into slaves and sold them, both to neighboring tribes and to the Europeans now pushing their way across the continent. In Russia the majority of the population were serfs, often bought, sold, whipped, or sent to the army at the will of their owners.

> The era was one when, as the historian Seymour Drescher puts it, “freedom, not slavery, was the peculiar institution.” This world of bondage seemed all the more normal then, because anyone looking back in time would have seen little but other slave systems. The ancient Greeks had slaves; the Romans had an estimated two to three million of them in Italy alone; the Incas and Aztecs had slaves; the sacred texts of most major religions took slavery for granted. Slavery had existed before money or written law.

[jumping a few pages]

> If, early that year, you had stood on a London street corner and insisted that slavery was morally wrong and should be stopped, nine out of ten listeners would have laughed you off as a crackpot. The tenth might have agreed with you in principle, but assured you that ending slavery was wildly impractical: the British Empire’s economy would collapse. The parliamentarian Edmund Burke, for example, opposed slavery but thought that the prospect of ending even just the Atlantic slave trade was “chimerical.” Within a few short years, however, the issue of slavery had moved to center stage in British political life. There was an abolition committee in every major city or town in touch with a central committee in London. More than 300,000 Britons were refusing to eat slave-grown sugar. Parliament was flooded with far more signatures on abolition petitions than it had ever received on any other subject. And in 1792, the House of Commons passed the first law banning the slave trade. For reasons we will see, a ban did not take effect for some years to come, and British slaves were not finally freed until long after that. But there was no mistaking something crucial: in an astonishingly short period of time, public opinion in Europe’s most powerful nation had undergone a sea change. From this unexpected transformation there would be no going back.

This is silly. Not only will we still need fossil fuels during and after any transition, Banks don't even loan "your money" out. Silly.

This is interesting not only to check if your bank is funding the fossil fuel industry, but more importantly to find out if another bank in your country is funding ecological transition projects. Just knowing can feel hollow, actually finding ways to act seems more satisfying.

Great! However this doesn’t consider ownership. For example, in Australia 86400 is rated as great, but is owned by NAB who is the #4 biggest funder.

I have an oil furnace and two gasoline-powered cars, as do tens of millions of Americans, and I hope my bank is funding businesses based on their solvency, not a political agenda. The people who want to eliminate fossil fuels should read a book such as Bjorn Lomborg's "False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet" (2020).

a) Bjorn Lomborg - a political science major who published a book contradicting the body of knowledge that we have on climate science.

b) The IPCC - https://www.ipcc.ch/about/

Please decide who would have the most legitimacy in what they write and if you agree that the IPCC collective of hundreds of scientists is noteworthy, then please read the 6th report issued by the IPCC.

I link below the summary:


Time to put on the big boy pants, and start working with the big boy facts.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact