Hi everyone! T for Translation is back to get you up to speed with the news stories making headlines this week in the business world. It seems there may be trouble on the distant horizon for the hydrocarbon industry as the world becomes more carbon conscious and they’re not alone—some rumblings in the tech world are causing questions about an Apple acquisition while one analyst plays the canary in the coal mine, crying “ Tech Bubble,” for the industry as a whole.
The Carbon Tracker Initiative has published research finding that $1.1 trillion of the capital expenditures expected over the next decade will be lost if the world’s governments keep their pledge to cut carbon emissions enough to avoid a 2 °C temperature rise.
The report claims that $75-a-barrel oil would be within the planet’s “carbon budget” but with the majority of investment flowing into oil sands, deepwater drilling, and Arctic projects—most of which require at least a $95-a-barrel price to realize returns—“investors need to [challenge oil company strategies] to ensure capital is not being wasted.
An increase of 2 °C would result in sea level rises of several meters, increasingly severe and common climate extremes, ocean acidification and the extinction of many currently living species. ExxonMobil, in defending its more expensive extraction projects, said it thought it was “highly unlikely” that world leader’s would enact policies causing higher oil prices and cutting carbon emissions enough to avoid of apocalyptic climate change.
In a new article by Adam Lashinsky, the San Francisco-based editor-at-large for Fortune has made the audacious declaration that there is a tech bubble being blown in Silicon Valley with implications for the entire tech industry.
“Calling a tech bubble is something of a fool’s errand,” Lashinsky wrote. But he’s no ordinary fool; rather than relying on things like comparative valuation analyses, his assertion hinges on his own personal experience during the 90’s dotcom debacle. He cites the abundance of journalism jobs covering the technology industry and the plethora of P.R. firm function invitations in his inbox but wisely ends with a caveat. “I have no idea when this game of musical chairs will end and who will be left standing,” he wrote. “I just know that it will end.”
Stanford University’s board of trustees voted earlier this week to stop investing in companies that mine coal for energy generation. The divestment is seen as a major win for student activists who have been seeking to block their own universities from buying stock in environmentally unfriendly industries.
“The decision by Stanford will become a very powerful tool for other campaigns,” said Alli Welton, one of the founders of Divest Harvard. Harvard, the world’s wealthiest university, has thus far declined to take any such action in spite of repeated objections from both students and faculty.
“As an institution, our focus remains on how our programs of research and education can best contribute to accelerating the transition to renewable sources of energy,” Kevin Galvin, a spokesman for Harvard, wrote.
In a move being hailed as “Really puzzling,” innovative tech powerhouse Apple Inc., is said to be acquiring the headphone company, Beats.
James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester said, “You buy companies today to get technologies or customers that no one else has.” The two firms, however, have significant overlap. What’s more, Apple is reportedly offering $3.2 billion for Beats which was valued in September as worth only $1 billion. “They must have something under the hood,” concluded McQuivey.
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