Posting in Environment
Former vice president of the United States urges sustainability managers to draw upon the power of the truth to counter an investment climate that is "functionally insane."
SAN FRANCISCO - Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore said Wednesday one of the biggest obstacles to investments in sustainable business models is the "impatient, short-term" mindset of investors coupled with a "debilitating" reliance on automated financial transactions.
But he expressed optimism that the passion of business sustainability leaders, as well as a next generation that cares passionately about environmental issues, can help counteract those forces.
That is why the Occupy Wall Street movement represents an important threshold in public thinking in the United States and around the world even though its actual goals aren't well defined, Gore told approximately 1,000 attendees of the BSR Conference 2011.
"The Congress of the United States, on matters like this, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the financial services industry," Vice President Gore said during remarks made in a question-and-answer sessions following his plenary speech opening the conference.
Gore pointed out what many of the executives and sustainability leaders attending this event face on a daily basis: No matter how sound some of their proposed long-term investments might be when it comes to the future of their companies, those investments are sometimes at odds with the quarterly financial view against which many businesses are managed.
The situation has degraded as more trades have become automated. Gore figures that close to 70 percent of the trades on the New York Stock Exchange, for example, fall into the high-frequency category, which means they are managed by algorithms and supercomputers rather than humans. In that kind of environment, the short-term view can be compressed from 90 days to a matter of one second.
"This constant and relentless drive toward more and more short-term decisions is functionally insane," he said.
When it comes to the facts surrounding climate change, Gore said too many political leaders and business lobbyists are living by a motto that disrespects future generations. That motto: IBGYBG, shorthand for "I'll be gone, you'll be gone." This attitude has been shaped by the "100s of millions of dollars" that lobbyists have spent to convince members of Congress that climate change is an illusion, he suggested.
For this reason, Gore cautioned business leaders from relying too heavily on politics and policy to blaze a path forward when it comes to the sustainable use of the planet's resources in their business. In the face of all that special interest money, the most powerful force that sustainability managers can draw upon is the truth of their vision. A clearly articulated vision will lead the way for the right strategy and specific tactics, especially in emerging economies more attuned to climate change issues than the United States, Gore said.
"Allow yourselves to feel passionate about the mission that [business social responsibility] represents," he urged the conference attendees.
Nov 2, 2011
The irony in his talking about a short-term mindset for the economy is that the entire concept of carbon credits is based on short-term thinking. A mind-set he has made a lot of money promoting. By allowing people to pay off their guilt from living an excessive life style they are delaying the inevitable life style changes needed to save the planet. They are doing to the planets ecosystem what Al rants about the banks doing to the economy.
In his book "Earth In the Balance", Gore devotes a chapter to the concept that a nation's GDP is a calculation solely of the aggregate value of goods produced. If resources such as topsoil or virgin forest are lost in production of food or paper products, an adjustment in the GDP calculation to reflect the value of resources lost (for instance forests and vegetation naturally prevent soil erosion and conservation of topsoil ensures sustained soil fertility) is desirable. The complexity in the valuation of such a calculation has prevented the World Bank, IMF and United Nations WTO from implementing the necessary adjustments. Were such issues to be addressed and resolved in the calculation of GDP, the possibility exists that these short-term securities trading programs algorithms could address resource sustainability in a similar fashion in their quarterly revenue (and profit) projections. Just a thought.
They do nothing to help the planet while encouraging people to continue bad consumption habits. People buy them to ease their guilt over killing the planet with their over consumption. What good are you doing the planet paying people like Al rather than making real changes in their habits? The very definition of what qualifies as a carbon offset is so intangeble as to considered fraud when closely looked at. And don't worry about Al losing money buying carbon offsets. Al buys them from companies he owns so it is not really money lost.
Al Gore is making hundreds of millions from selling fear while committing every CO2 crime he rails against and no one seems to see the problem with that. He is selling carbon credits and preaching that people should reduce their carbon footprint and live a frugal energy life style while belching tons of carbon a month living the high life. He does not practice what he preaches. He is a modern day snake oil salesman. Put up or shut up Al.
Al Gore is just a convenient bogyman for the right. They have no answer for what he says so they attach him personally.
???Now as far as the teleconference goes I have a feeling that they paid for him to be there. Not quite the same really.??? How is the CO2 emitted from his jet different if someone is paying him? The man runs around getting paid to speak about saving the environment and preaching an energy frugal lifestyle while pumping tons of carbon a month in the air doing it. He makes a profit from hypocrisy. No matter how efficient he claims his mansion in Tennessee is, it still uses more than twice the energy of a comparable sized home. Just because he is an efficient energy pig, he is still a pig. And the story neglects to mention his California mansion, which has a natural gas heated pool. Where is the solar hot water heater? And speaking of solar, there is nary a solar panel in sight even though it is in a area where he could easily supply more than half of his power from the sun. I say half because his energy usage is so high he does not have the acreage to support enough panels. And paying extra for renewable electricity to ease his guilt is BS when he has the money and the ability to do it on site in both mansions. And again, he would not need so much on site if he lived the energy frugel lifestyle he preaches. And please remember that the whole concept of buying carbon credits, another guilt pacifier, does little to help the planet as you are still spewing carbon, but it does pad Al???s wallet. For which he is grateful. Which I wanted to mention that you can buy them from me instead at HonestHatersCarbonCredits.com. Honestly, I promise to plant trees on Mount Desert Island Maine to offset the guilt of your excessive lifestyle.
what gore means by this is that the refusal of the rest of us to pretend that the laws of thermodynamics don't exist is the chief impediment to getting his stupid carbon exchange scam implemented.
The man with 2 mansions, limos, a private jet and the carbon footprint of a small nation needs to put up or shut up. Practice what you preach or just go away. He could set an example for saving the planet and done that speech via telepresence from a home powered by solar and wind if he had such a home.
to a low carbon economy. It provides financing to pay for the transition, and those who ignore the need for change pays a steeper and steeper price. There is no inherent advantage for Al Gore over any other person who takes making the change seriously. As with any transition, there will be winners and losers--at least this way everyone has a heads up to make the changes before they have no choice.
Robert Costanza, Herman Daly and others have attempted to look at the economy in the context of planetary ecology, to varying degrees of success, but I'm not aware of anybody using trading algorithm technology to do this. An intriguing idea, but do you know anyone playing with this idea?
Where is your evidence? And did you even read the article? You Al Gore haters cannot see past his name to even see that his points about automated financial transactions and short term myopia are destroying our economic stability. Do you really disagree with him that the financial industry has congress locked up so that no meaningful financial reform can occur unless campaign laws are reformed?
Gore does buy carbon offsets for his activities. While I'm not sure how much the offsets are really worth it's something that someone who doesn't care wouldn't spend their money on at all. There's plenty of hypocrisy to go around on all sides.
If you actually checked (or cared) he has actually practiced what he's preached. According to Snopes, on top of the $432 monthly premium to purchase electricity from renewable sources, the mansion you speak of has been extensively renovated to be as energy efficient as possible. http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/gorehome.asp Now as far as the teleconference goes I have a feeling that they paid for him to be there. Not quite the same really.