Oil means turmoil as world’s markets nosedive


Oil prices have hit their lowest point in over six years, leaving global stock markets crashing and traders in a panic. Fears over China’s economic slowdown, combined with continued pumping for oil despite dropping demand, have caused the volatile commodity’s price to plunge yet again. This latest slump shows that our oil addiction not only wreaks havoc on the climate, but is increasingly putting our economy at risk. Switching from fossil fuels to renewables helps both. Replacing polluting and high-risk energy sources with ones that are zero carbon will lower emissions, protect long-term investments, provide green jobs, and avoid fluctuating and unpredictable energy costs.


Key Points

  • Oil puts climate and communities at risk. Extracting and using oil pollutes the air, the water and the environment. Images of sea animals damaged by oil have made the news for years, and yet oil is still being spilled, putting communities and creatures anywhere near planned oil routes in danger.
  • Switching to renewable energy makes economic sense. Investors are turning their backs on fossil fuels because they know the risk simply isn’t worth it. Those political leaders and businesses which have gone for green have reaped the benefits in terms of jobs and homegrown industries. The latest oil price dip is both a wake-up call and an opportunity to move towards a clean, low-risk energy supply.



Tools and Resources


  • “Fossil fuel stocks are volatile investments. Investors and fiduciaries should take this moment to reassess their financial involvement in carbon pollution, climate disruption and the financial risk fossil fuels plays in their portfolio.” – Matthew Patsky, CEO of Trillium Asset Management
  • “I don’t think we’ve seen the full impact of low oil prices. Remember 2008 and 2009? It was pretty bad here in town and we are nowhere near that, and yet oil prices are testing those levels again” – Martin Pelletier, TriVest Wealth Counsel, Canada
  • “There is enormous investor demand for low carbon investment, with investor groups representing tens of trillions of dollars under management committed to investing in a more environmentally friendly manner. The stumbling block to date has been the lack of, and in particular the quality of many of the investment opportunities available.” – Citigroup
  • “The good news is that there is action we all can take to turn economies around so they’re investing in what is clean and healthy and there are innovations that will bring future growth, jobs, and competitiveness. Through policy reforms, we can divest and tax that which we don’t want, the carbon that threatens development gains over the last 20 years.” – World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim
  • “One live risk right now is of insurers investing in assets that could be left ‘stranded’ by policy changes which limit the use of fossil fuels” – Paul Fisher, Bank of England
  • Most countries in continental Europe will probably not build new fossil power plants this decade,” Andreas Willi, analyst at JPMorgan

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