What do coal and Sony Betamax have in common?

betamax

What do coal and Sony Betamax have in common?

betamax
Ben Caldecott from Oxford University, former liberal party leader and chair of the Asset Owners Disclosure Project, John Hewson and Jemma Green from Carbon Tracker and Curtin University gave a talk at Sydney University about stranded assets in April 2014.

Jemma Green’s talk focused on stranded assets. It sounds a complex term but she tried to explain it using the analogy of the Sony Betamax. For those old enough to remember it, it was in many ways a better and cheaper system than the alternatives and yet it still went out of fashion. With the stigmatisation of fossil fuels driven by concerns around climate change, it could be that fossil fuels follow a similar route.

For those that have their Superannuation funds invested in fossil fuel assets, this could mean that super funds are not worth as much then as they are now. Would you want your Super invested in $500,000 of Betamax systems?

John Hewson’s talk focused on the risk particularly with University Endowment funds. His talk was a precursor to a segment on ABC’s Lateline where he exposed Monash University for colluding with other universities in an attempt to not disclose their fossil fuel investments.

Ben Caldecott’s talk looked at the macro economics of fossil fuel markets. His talk can be downloaded here and his recent report from Oxford University at the Stranded Asset Programme can be downloaded here.

You can listen to all three talks here.

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