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LETTER: Bankrupting Energy

By Beacon Staff

Fossil fuel development is not going to develop Montana’s economy. Oil and coal companies are greatly overvalued, according to a new report by the Carbon Tracker Initiative.

According to the report, if we are going to keep the Earth’s temperature from increasing more than 2 degrees Celsius, the limit which scientists have said is the highest we can go without causing irreparable harm to the planet, we can only burn 20 percent of our remaining carbon reserves. However, the stock market has not clued in on this yet, and it is valuing the world’s remaining oil, gas and coal reserves as if they were all going to be burned.

But reality is real and, at some point, a Wiley E. Coyote moment is going hit the stock market. Investors are going to realize that they are way up in the air without anything under them, and the value of oil, gas and coal companies is going to go plummet. It is a long fall to the bottom. Currently, the value of carbon reserves is around $4 trillion, but according to the Carbon Tracker Initiative that value could crash by 40-60 percent.

If Montana refuses to invest in clean energy, and instead commits to selling coal to China, building the Keystone XL pipeline, and developing the Bakken, our economy is going to crash along with the value of the oil, gas, and coal companies. We need to develop clean energy, not bankrupting energy.

Wade Sikorski
Baker

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