Blowing Carbon Bubbles | World Development Movement

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Blowing Carbon Bubbles

By Ralph Allen, 18 July 2013

This morning we descended upon the London Stock Exchange AGM to highlight the burgeoning carbon bubble that threatens both climate catastrophe and economic collapse if not promptly burst.



The ‘carbon bubble’ is the amount of CO2 that will be released into the atmosphere if all of the ‘proven reserves’ owned by the largest fossil fuel companies are extracted and burnt. The value of these companies is largely based upon these reserves yet burning them is totally incompatible with averting climate catastrophe. Since they make up such a substantial proportion of LSE shares (about 25% at £900 billion), and therefore our GDP, this disjuncture with reality could cause another economic crisis not dissimilar to the housing crash of 2008.

The amount of ‘unburned carbon’ held on the LSE is immense: 472 times larger than the annual emissions of the UK and more than the entire world has burned for the past six years. Clearly burning this mass of fossil fuel would constitute an unmitigated disaster when there is a desperate need to transition to clean energy. We therefore set out to bring our concerns to the attention of the LSE AGM attendees.

We handed out bottles of blowing bubbles bright and early, onto which we’d put stickers outlining the concept of the ‘carbon bubble’ and the urgent need to address it. We hope that these stakeholders took a minute to mull it over and prepare themselves for some concerted campaigning on this front.




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Written by

Ralph Allen

Ralph is the events and network assistant at WDM, providing support for our local groups and activists and helping to coordinate events.


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