Does Goldman Sachs really think it can divest from climate change?


I took a bus once in New York City and not only was it late due to traffic, it was stuck in traffic and in a location where all kinds of metros, subways and buses abound. So one has to wonder why Goldman Sachs says it is cutting investments into Alaska oil projects when there are plenty of unnecessary carbon emissions in New York City, where they are based. Goldman can put its money where its mouth is and proclaim that unless all of the tri-state area, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, puts a $5 or $10 per-gallon tax on all gasoline sold in that area, then Goldman Sachs will move its headquarters to Fairbanks.

Think about it. By being in Fairbanks, all the Goldman people could take private jets to the northern hemisphere’s most important financial and business centers within eight hours, reducing their jet-induced global climate-changing emissions and still be in the United States. Or they can take normal commercial airlines with planning.

More than that, Goldman Sachs will then be located not far from Deadhorse, where a London-to-Tokyo direct high-speed fiber optic cable is planned that skirts close to Alaska’s northern coast. Such a cable would allow the bank to put its automated computer trading systems in a place that can then take advantage of Europe-to-Asia trading.

While the Goldman Sachs people are up on the North Slope checking their servers, they can see how Alaska’s oil and gas industry is actually saving the polar bears from the environmentally permissive tri-state area drivers who insist on not taking buses and metros to work, to grocery stores and cultural events. The Alaska oil and gas industry provides a great deal of money to look into issues for North Slope natural wildlife.

I still wonder if computer automated trading is in anyway beneficial to society, but at least Goldman Sachs computer servers, if set up on the North Slope, will be able to use cold cooling to keep the severs from overheating rather than using carbon fuel-produced electricity to run the inefficient air conditioning systems in New York that are killing the polar bears.

Interestingly, because New York City uses natural gas for much of its electricity production, and uses oil for its automobile fuels, and since that is the true source of carbon emissions, not actually the oil production on the North Slope, then Goldman Sachs is basically using Alaska’s economic livelihood as a publicity stunt. After all, oil companies on the North Slope and the state of Alaska have been working to reduce excess carbon emissions from their oil and gas production for many years.

Consider, though, how much money a company like Goldman Sachs makes from a company like Amazon. If consumers purchase individual items from Amazon, those items get shipped one by one. A local store, though will ship many items together in a slow-moving train, boat or ship that can reduce the carbon emissions release per item transported. The shipping firms used by Amazon need to use many trucks, vans and even airplanes to get packages through, with much larger emissions impact. Goldman Sachs needs to look at all the carbon emissions from businesses it invests in.

Doug Reynolds, Ph. D., works at Alaska Chena Associates in Fairbanks, Alaska. He has lived and worked in Alaska and has studied its oil and gas industry for more than 20 years, and has visited oil industry figures around the world. He can be contacted at ffdbr@yahoo.com.

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