This is a story on how some good ol boys are pushing extreme scenarios to make big money.
Fiduciary duty is getting thrown overboard by banks, insurance companies and investment houses as they race to capitalize on carbon schemes and the “green economy” – all under the guise of “saving the planet”.
When large financial institutions like banks, insurance companies or investment houses invite leading catastrophists to give speeches for the purpose of spreading fear among clients, and ignore the vast volume of science that indicates the contrary, then they are breaching their fiduciary duty to these clients.
Has bank-sponsored climate-fear-mongering become the new way of exercising fiduciary duty to clients? Seems so.
The OLB invites a climate extremist to speak to clients
A short time ago I got a brochure in the mail from my house bank, the Oldenburgische Landesbank (OLB). The brochure features distinguished speakers from media, politics, industry and science who are slated to give speeches during the year, all part of the OLB Forum. Being both a private and business clientof the OLB, I got this brochure too.
When I looked at the brochure I was dismayed to learn that one of the speakers this year is none other than the Merchant of Doom himself – Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research. He is scheduled by the OLB Forum to give a speech in Osnabrück on October 12:
Wednesday, 12 October 2011, Osnabrück, 19:00 h
Speech by Prof. Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf, Director of the Earth Systems Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, on the state of the science on climate change.
Needless to say, I was not pleased to learn that my house-bank is getting into end-of-the world scenarios and working with such science salesmen. Banks pushing end-of-the-world scenarios, chronic pessimism and fear-mongering are not in my best interest, and certainly not in the best interest of many other businesses.
“What’s going on?” I thought. Either the OLB is very naive, or is in the scam to make big money. Gee, I wonder which?
My call to the OLB
So I picked up the phone and reached a middle manager (little customers don’t reach the top brass) and expressed my displeasure over their invitation of Rahmstorf. I asked the OLB lady on the phone if the bank was aware of his extreme positions and his scientific intolerance. She said the bank was not aware of anything unusual and that they simply thought the distinguished Professor Rahmstorf would be interesting to have as a speaker. All very innocent sounding.
I explained to her how extreme Rahmstorf views are, but this all seemed foreign to her – after all she’s a banker, and not trained in science. I also sent a few reports and suggestions for alternative speakers that I think ought to appear to balance things out, but got no feedback. Overall I was a dissatisfied with the OLB’s response, attitude and dismissiveness. They just don’t want to be bothered by it. That’s why I decided to do a little research and write this post.
Surely the OLB top management is fully aware of Rahmstorf’s extreme scientific views. His invitation is no accident; it’s by design. Banks are salivating over the prospects of making the big profits that the green movement promises, clients be damned. Let them meet Rahmstorf and get to know the fury of man-made climate change up close and personal.
Who really stands to gain from the climate crisis scenario and cutting carbon emissions? Overwhelmingly the answer is: investment banks, re-insurers and financial institutions, among others. They are all maneuvering to cash in big time at the expense of many small businesses and the working class, who will have to pay through the nose. Banks are focused on their interests first and then on the interests of its clients. That’s the reality. There’s a saying about bankers:
When the sun shines, they give you an umbrella. And when it rains, they take it away.”
The OLB invited Rahmstorf because his horror scenarios help to herd investors in a certain investment direction and mindset. Considering the vast array of investment instruments that the low carbon-economy presents for some, there’s a real incentive to spread doom and gloom over the future of the climate.
The OLB purposely got Rahmstorf for the task of performing his magic with OLB corporate clients. Looking deeper into the OLB, one finds that the staid, conservative bank is majority-owned by insurance and financial powerhouse Allianz. And Allianz’s reinsurance arm Allianz SE Reinsurance stands to profit handsomely from higher insurance premiums based on Rahmstorf’s future climate threats.
But aren’t insurance institutions, banks, etc. obligated to inform their potential clients about the other side of the science, and thus the risks of green investments? Not if they want to make tons of money doing so. They’ll be more than happy to watch clients panic and buy up the green investments, carbon credits and accept higher insurance premiums. So tell the clients only what they really need to know, i.e. the world will end unless you pay green.
Stefan Rahmstorf, distinguished professor of climate science of the renown Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research will give them the latest on the state of the climate (crisis).
He’ll instill the fear of catastrophic climate change that’s needed to generate acceptance. Surely they’ll believe him and do what is necessary to save the planet. The problem is that Rahmstorf fancies himself as a prophet who is not to be questioned. And who is going to? And as long as large institutions stand to profit from it all, questions aren’t likely to be raised.
And whenever one sees promotional literature from the world’s largest reinsurer, Munich Re, Rahmstorf’s name appears. He’s the European bank and reinsurer industry’s top man – their salesman for gloomy scenarios. Read klimaskeptiker (German).
With this in the backdrop, the Munich Re has a special fondness for the PIK climatologists. The klimaskeptiker writes:
The climatologists produce the most wonderful horror scenarios, which appear to be indisputable proof and prognoses that man is faced with many more and much worse natural catastrophes in the future. With this seemingly unavoidable and fast approaching catastrophe, politics can be driven and customers can be duped into thinking that higher insurance premiums are essential because the damage will be much higher in the future.”
Also read here a paper written by Rahmstorf for Munich Re called: Abrupt Climate Change (in German).
Surprise! Allianz is trading in carbon too
Moreover, Allianz is heavy into carbon trading. Its website writes:
Carbon markets have grown rapidly in the past few years and play a central role in global activities involving climate change today. In 2008, the volume of traded certificates totaled four billion tons of CO2. The global carbon market will also continue to experience strong growth far beyond the boundaries of the European Union over the coming years.”
Of course banks and financial institutions are allowed to pursue profits and their interests, but must do so while fulfilling their fiduciary duty to clients, and act in the best interest of society. Indeed the OLB, and surely a huge number of other banks with it, are going down a questionable path, especially when one takes a look at the complete body of climate science, and not only the extreme science of Stefan Rahmstorf. For now they are claiming to be working for the good of society by claiming it’s to protect the climate. Of course this is based on dubious science, and they refuse to look at any science that shows the contrary.
OLB and corporate misogyny?
And probing a little deeper into the OLB, one sees they are also neglecting more than just their fiduciary duties to clients, but that they’ve also abandoned their social responsibility to half of the German population (women). It’s indeed quite the good ol boys club. Misogyny is probably too strong a word of course, but when one looks at the top management of the OLB, one can only conclude that top managenment is no place for a lady.
There is not a single molecule of estrogen to be found there. On its Board of Directors, 0 of 5 are women. Its Supervisory Board is not any better: 0 of 13 are women. And here’s the page with its notable employees, the movers and shakers in the bank: a whopping 0 of 24 are women!
You mean to tell me there is not a single German woman out there that can do the job? No corporation in Scandinavia, North America and in many other European countries would ever get away with this level of chauvinism.
I know of a lot of women’s groups who might not be too impressed by these figures.
It has to be pointed out that the Oldenburg region is a very traditional and conservative area. But we are also living in the year 2011 and not in the Dark Ages. Hard to believe that this absence has gone unnoticed.
The OLB also has an advisory council: here of 61 members only 6 are women. So we’ve got a good ol boys’ club here. After all, they are only helping to rescue the climate. They got Rahmstorf on board to certify the science.
Don’t get me wrong. My family has been served very well as clients by the OLB for over 15 years, and we want to continue doing business with the bank. But it is becoming increasingly obvious that the OLB has to change its way of running things. The OLB is not alone here. I’m sure the situation is hardly better at the other German banks. So I’m not advocating clients to boycott. We just want to see BALANCE.
I preregistered to see Rahmstorf’s climate spook-show. If any NTZ readers in the area are OLB customers, do sign up. Who knows, maybe they’ll be a few skeptics there to balance the discussion.