The impact on the environment of investing and its ethics.

Bungaloid bought up an interesting point earlier about the serious pollution being causing by gold extraction that can affect peoples quality of life in the vicinity of these mines see

Investors and savers have one motive in mind, earning a return on capital, but, if that return means negatively impacting peoples quality of life should we be doing it?

For instance could an investor buying coca cola shares be causing mercury poisoning (tooth fillings caused by decay)? Could the investor in wind farms be disrupting peoples amenity by interfering with their television reception and causing the emission of more greenhouse gasses when people consume the end product, electricity?

Is there really an investment vehicle available that has a positive impact on the human environment that actually improves quality of life for all participants in the chain of production and consumption?


**Investing in China’s New Environmental Consciousness ** … sciousness

About Environmental Finance

Investing in the environment

Simple - polluter pays. When more pollution means less profit, the search for profit automatically means the search for less pollution.

Not unless they’re running some kind of electric CO2 generator :slight_smile:

That’s the government’s job - to align on a macro level, the motivations of the various groups involved.

I noticed that the NDG site doesn’t appear to emphasize the fact that it’s perfectly possible to mine gold without poisoning the environment. The cyanidation process is not required to extract gold. In fact, humans have been mining gold for 5,000 years before the cyanidation process was invented.

I am surprised that the word “alternatives” doesn’t come up. But the point is, that clean gold mining is well-understood. To read that site, you’d never know that clean gold mining was the norm all over the world.

They don’t want clean mining, they want NO mining, as far as I can tell.

It wouldn’t shock me to learn that they’re funded by anti-gold interests. Don’t worry, I have no tinfoil hat on, for all I know they’re just ignorant people with a contempt for win-win situations.

All I know is: gold’s high price is lightening Africa’s debt burden every day. That gives them more resources to devote to educating and healing themselves.

i lived in new mexico on an indian reservation back in 96. the milibdimum (don’t know if i spelled it right!) mines wreaked whole mountain ranges! and then the rivers of course got ruined too. mining can be done responsibly, but done wrong its a disaster on the environment, the ones in new mexico were heavily regulated too! i can only imagine what the ones in the third world must be like where a few quid will buy you the right to do as you see fit when you see fit.

Not simple. Extract all profits ASAP. Go Bust. Good luck with the lawsuit.

Even if you assume responsible companies operating on an ongoing basis, the costs of pollution can easily dwarf by an order of magnitude or two any company causing the pollution.

Polluter pays might be a minimal start, but it’s far from a solution.

Extract all profits to where? Unless you’re talking a smash and grab escape to the bahamas effort, it ain’t so easy.

The minute the company is trading while unable to cover the pollution cleanup costs (or any other liabilities), they qualify as insolvent and the directors are personally liable. Enforce this once or twice, and the problem quickly goes away.

You also have the possibility of requiring a massive up-front bond, which will be released only when the work is finished, and the place cleaned up.

Slavery got abolished quite long after investors got queasy about investing in it.

(1) we have a duty to try to invest in the specific companies that have the best environmental standards. Rio Tinto or Newmont? If CEOs are rewarded for having better environmental standards then we will get better environmental standards. If investors don’t care, companies won’t care.

(2) of course all economic activity has impacts. you have to look at environmental cost:benefit ratio. Gold mining has an unusually low ratio - very high environmental cost, little or no societal benefit. Large-scale windfarming is another industry with very a low ratio IMO; small amounts of unreliable power generated at excess cost …not a mainstream view yet, but it will be.

(3) as the world gets richer, but more environmentally stressed, more people and institutions will see things this way. an ethical portfolio will generate excess returns. so you can be greedy and ethical too. :smiling_imp:

Almost all wind farms in ireland are built on deep peat bogs, which are massive carbon stores. These get drained and excavated and emit many tons of CO2 in the process - a bit like burning turf.

Wind farm developers are not required to account for these emissions in their planning application. I wonder why? Could it be that another Green myth might get exposed?

If you do the math, you find that many of these wind farms emit more CO2 per MWh generated than combined cycle gas turbine plant…

In Scotland, this particular cat is already out of the bag :wink: … inforests/

Then clearly we shouldn’t be building said wind farms on said bogs. Build them somewhere else.

Where is your factual back-up for the piece highlighted in bold?

What do you exactly mean by “deep”? Are you talking about 10 inches, 10 feet, 100 feet deep?

Do you work for an industry related to the ESB, a former ESB, or an ESB spin-off?

Well, I see that I´m talking to the wall bringing up clean gold extraction techniques, such as simple panning.

If people gave a **** about the environment, they´d be pushing for such techniques to be made mandatory.

But many people don´t want clean extraction of gold, they want NO gold, period.

For some people, if dumping cyanide into every village well and baby´s bottle would somehow prevent gold from existing, they´d do it. I speak of those people who accumulate great power by pushing paper “wealth”, not anyone here.

In reverse order.

I don’t work for the ESB, nor have I ever worked for the ESB. I come from a long line of people who have not worked for the ESB.

Deep is 0.5m or greater.

Ever heard the expression “wind and rain”? Rain makes the peat bogs. The hills and mountains of the west are covered in blanket bog, except on steep ground. Most built or planned wind capacity is on intact bog.
You can locate individual windfarms on the peatland map from epa … %20web.pdf
(the map is on p. 15).

Btw, what’s with the ESB witch-hunt? :open_mouth:

ESB Questions:
No ESB witch hunt but I’ve been personally affected by the failure of the ESB to pay anything above base generation rate for micro generation of power to their network, lack of net-metering etc. I was wondering about your background in regard to some of the statements that you mentioned about the removal of bog and wind generation, which sounded very familiar and which I’d also heard from ESB personnel.

Intact Bogs:
There are methods available, which have not in fairness been employed on Irish wind farms, to help to restore blanket bogs and to protect the water resourse that maintains the viability of the blanket bog.
Though these have not been employed, it can be seen by the erection of wind towers off-shower that it’s possible to have other things happen around and in the immediate vicinity of a wind tower. Including the regeneration of peat bog. Trees could also be grown. Farming can be carried out etc.

I agree that peat is displaced and excavated in some, but not all cases, anyhow many of the places had already been drained by Bord na Mona in the good old days and were places where people have been cutting out bog for fuel anyway during the past decades.
2 of the wind farms that I know personally of in the Cork/Kerry region are like this and did not involve virgin bogland. No intact peat lands were affected at these windfarms. It was being harvested anyway in advance of the arrival of large scale commercial wind power to the highlands. Roads had already also been developed at these wind farms.

For sure, we’ve lots of areas that could with proper planning and work be selected and arranged to avoid and/or minimize the environmental damage caused by wind power.

I’m still not certain about your statement that “most built or planned wind capacity” is on intact bog. Please if you could provide background on that I would appreciate it. I did not see a reference to this matter in the information that you presented.

Thanks for defining that deep is 0.5m or greater.
That certainly clarifies things.
The same EPA paper that you quoted states on page 3 that

So based on that article I’d be thinking that anything under 2 m was shallow, 2m to 6m was average depth or thickness, and 6m or greater was indeed deep. And from that I’d be thinking that 0.5m was very shallow.
But it’s your choice of words and I’m glad to have taken the opportunity to clarify things here. 8)

Thanks W, thanks for giving me the opportunity to clear up your confusion and provide you with hard data.

It is good to hear that the ESB is aware of this critical issue. ESB/Eirgrid people I have spoken to are very, very smart and decent people. Huge fan here. Unfortunately what they can say is subject to political control.

Bogs are like coral reefs; self-organized living systems. When you kill them, you kill them. An intact bog sequesters CO2 from the atmosphere (approx 200Kg/Ha/yr) ; permanently, if left intact. If you care about climate change you do not destroy them. Period. Ireland will be sued under Kyoto and EU law if it continues the vandalism of this global resource in the name of stupid “wind energy”.

You “did not a reference” so you can keep your head in the sand? Good strategy!

Irish aviation authority give wind farm coordinates here … 5_4_en.pdf

All you need to do is locate windfarms on the EPA georeferenced peat map. I’ve done it; go do it for yourself. Because of the correlation between high wind speeds and high rainfall it is no accident that the wind farms correlate with bog. Even from the IWEA map you can see that built capacity is concentrated in counties with extensive peatland. And the peatland is usually cheap. Not every onshore wind farm is built on peat >0.5m but most are both in ireland and scotland.

Do they actively try to avoid peat? Like hell. Its all about a quick buck at consumers expense.

You are welcome.

“Deep” is of course in the context of wind farming. “Deep” here means where the CO2 emissions from the damaged bog add significantly to the co2 payback time of the wind farm. For a typical wind farm anything over 0.5m adds 3-5 years payback time. The deeper the peat the worse it gets. At 6m depth it never gets paid back. :open_mouth:

Wind farms push up the cost of electricty. Why? Because when you install 1000MW of wind energy you have to install 1000MW of fossil fuel plant to back it up for 75% of the time. It is an expensive way to reduce co2 emissions (over 100euro/ton) but it may be justified.

However if you build on blanket bog you destroy even this rationale. The consumer is simply being ripped off in that case.

Vested interests will deny it of course. It will take lawsuits and massive fines for the taxpayer before the scandal of Green environmental destruction is finally stopped.


Why preserve bogs anyway? I thought forests were the natural cover on the island and bogs were the result of cutting them down for forestry thus allowing the rain to leach the soils and waterlog them etc etc
What about the ecosystems that existed in the forests before they were cut down?

I don’t accept your argument that “most built or planned wind capacity” is on intact bog.
As one notable case in point, Gneeves windfarm being developed currently by SWS, located approximately 5 miles to the SSW of Millstreet Town, County Cork is being developed on a bog where people have been cutting turf for at least the last 60 years.
There were roads there already to support the turf cutting. I checked it on the EPA mapping system and this classifies the ground as Blanket Peat, the colour shading indicates that it is “Blanket Bog” type. I notice also however that the legend of the EPA data classifies three different types of bog into the same category, i.e Blanket Peat, Cut-Over Peat, Fen Peat. I could not see a legend identification that enabled me to clear It does not indicate whether it is intact or not. The Corine legen would appear to show that the bog was not inact. I know actually from visiting the place regularly that it is NOT intact.

Interestingly, this Wind Farm is not included on the IAA information web site. But it’s located at approximately 52.014080N, 9.114850W.
I know it’s NOT intact since I’ve visited there. I also know of two other cut away bogs in Cork and Kerry that have been chosen as sites for the location of wind farms. I have not visited all of the 15 wind farms in Cork and Kerry but of three that I have visited all of these were developed on non-intact bog.

I like the bogs, I believe that they should be preserved if that’s what we want to do. I believe we pay for the cost of the chancers that we’ve got running this country but then a fair crowd of chancers voted them in. Love it of leave it, this is Ireland. Sure wind power is a way of making a quick buck. That’s business.
I agree that they don’t try to avoid peat. All that I said is that they could if they wished to and had to. But not in this country.

Your argument about needing to back up wind with an equivalent level of fossile power does not stand up if a wide area wind network was set-up on a european wide basis. Furthermore, other technologies such as hydro storage can be employed to provided local coverage of power during times when wind is depressed, and to absorb excess power when wind is generating more than what’s needed at the time.

I’m not sticking my head in the stand. More like you’re trying to throw sand in my eyes, but, I’ve got my shades on. 8)

Unfortunately my earlier posts are correct and accurate.

Damage in Kerry/Cork has been very severe. All of the 4 operational SWS projects listed on their website are on peatland. They actually boast how much co2 they are saving! Nuts. :cry: :blush: Do the math.

similarly most (not all) Airtricty projects are on peatland … /culliagh/

hibernian? mostly on peatland.
check out grousemount co kerry :open_mouth: derrybrien co galway :open_mouth: :open_mouth:

Pictures speak a 1000 words, no?

An “intact” peatland is one which is capable of sequestering co2. There is no planning restriction on developing these for wind farms or doing any carbon accounting whatsoever. I wonder why?

Large-scale hydro storage is just fantasy. The cost of backing up 6000MW of wind energy for two weeks would be many 100’s of billions of euros and involve flooding vast areas. Even gov is not that daft.

There is no supergrid. If we do ever get a superconducting supergrid it will be used to import solar derived power from sahara at far lower environmental cost.

Btw tourism is worth 6Bn/year. Fucking up a real industry like tourism with useless c02 emitting onshore wind farms is classic greenthink economics.

I’m a patriot, that’s why I care about these things.
8) 8) 8)

Hey so what do people think are the best ways for investing ETHICALLY for Irish energy
what do ye people see as the best alternatives to fossil fuels?

First let me start by saying that I appreciate the correctness of some of your arguments and points.
Secondly, I am fundamentally an environmentalist at heart.
Thirdly, I see goverment corruption as the biggest issue in the Planning and Development of our natural resources in Ireland (e.g. Corrib Bank Gas Field, Wind Power, Roads, Forrestry etc.).

Now back to the main topic.
The main point that I am trying to make is that generally in my experience, and from using the peat data available on the EPA wind-farm and from direct observation of wind farms in Cork and Kerry, the bogs were no longer intact. They had been drained years before the first turbines ever arrived. That’s the truth for some farms that I am familiar with down here in Cork and Kerry.
So therefore, the bogs were no longer sequestering CO2 very much at that stage when the turbines were built and I do believe that they are very positive enviromentally and economically.
It’s quite OK I think that SWS claims that their wind farms are on peat land. That’s correct. But the peat land of two of those wind farms that I know was already drained in advance of the wind farm development. I’m familiar with those bogs and have cut turf in one of them since being a child.
Briefly then, just saying that the wind farms are on peat bogs doesn’t mean that they’ve hindered the sequestration of the peat from those bogs if the bogs had already been impacted by previous human drainage activity so that they were no longer “intact”.

I accept that a superconducting supergrid does not exist. Currently it’s more economic for it not to. We are however developing interconnections with Europe as the idea of energy trading becomes more of an economic necesssity.

I accept that the costs of backing up 6000MW of generating capacity would be huge. But I never wanted to have wind providing all of our power. I never argued for that. It’s quite possible to economically re-engineer existing hydro sites in Ireland to provide capacity for backing up about 500MW of wind power. We’ve already got back-up of capacity of 292MW at Turlough Hill built about 30 years ago. We’re relatively blessed here in Ireland that most of the wind generation is located in areas where there is developable hydro storage capacity possible in the immediate vicinity of the wind farms.

I’m a patriot too. But I don’t like playing Patriot Games. 8)