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From Oil Pipelines To Green Bonds

Sun and wind in Avignonet-Lauragais, France
Sun and wind in Avignonet-Lauragais, France

PARIS — Even as President Trump appears clearly convinced that eight years of Obama environmental policy were bad for business, other governments are betting on the massive investments that energy transition requires.Le Figaro reports that France has become the world's second country to issue green bonds, raising a record 7 billion euros ($7.5 billion) in yesterday's sale, eight times more than Poland's groundbreaking issuance in December. Other countries are expected to follow suit, starting with Nigeria in March.

France is planning to use the funds raised with these 22-year bonds on infrastructure to produce more renewable energy, cut pollution, protect biodiversity and reduce the country's impact on climate change while adapting to its anticipated consequences. It's an important step for the host of the Paris 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, as renewable energies accounted for less than 20% of France's production in 2014, with nuclear energy continuing to account for 77%.

The French government's projects represent a total 13-billion-euro investment, but the fact that the total demand at yesterday's issue exceeded 23 billion euros suggests that Paris will have plenty of room for maneuver if it plays its cards right.

Could green bonds be the way to go to finance a greener future? The French experiment seems to indicate as much. A few days ago, Bloomberg columnist Marcus Ashworth asked the question, "Can the Bond Market Save the Planet?" Similarly, an analysis published by power-technology.com recently explained why green bonds could "help finance a clean energy revolution in China," contradicting Naomi Klein's view that unregulated capitalism was incompatible with environmental interests.

Donald Trump's pledges to invest in infrastructure and work towards an energy independent America each sound good on their own. But why not combine them, and use these once-in-a-generation investments to make America first on renewable energies? USA-brand bonds to save the planet? It could be a green-green win-win for the new dealmaker-in-chief.

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The Last Boss: Messina Denaro's Death Marks The End Of An Era For The Sicilian Mafia

Eight months after being arrested, following 30 years on the run, Matteo Messina Denaro died Monday. The son of a mobster and successor of Sicily's notorious boss of bosses, he had tried to transform Cosa Nostra into a modern criminal enterprise — with only partial success.

photo of Matteo Messina Denaro

Matteo Messina Denaro after his arrest

Carabinieri handout via ZUMA
La Stampa Staff

Updated Sep. 25, 2023 at 4:45 p.m.


PALERMO — Matteo Messina Denaro, who for more than a decade was the Sicilian Mafia's "boss of bosses," died on Monday in an Italian hospital prison ward. His death came eight months after being captured following decades on the run as a fugitive from justice. His arrest in January 15, 1993, came almost 30 years to the day after Totò Riina, then the undisputed head of the Corleone clan, was captured in Palermo.

Tracing back in time, Messina Denaro began his criminal ascent in 1989, around the first time on record that he was reported for mob association for his participation in the feud between the Accardo and Ingoglia clans.

At the time, Messina Denaro's father, 'don Ciccio', was the Mafia boss in the western Sicilian city of Trapani — and at only 20 years of age, the ambitious young criminal became Totò Riina's protégé. He would go on to help transform Cosa Nostra, tearing it away from the feudal tradition and catapulting it into the world of would-be legitimate business affairs.

For 30 years he managed to evade capture. He had chosen the path of ‘essential communication’: a few short pizzini - small slips of paper used by the Sicilian Mafia for high-level communications - without compromising information by telephone or digital means.

“Never write the name of the person you are addressing," Messina Denaro told his underlings. "Don’t talk in cars because there could be bugs, always discuss in the open and away from telephones. Also, take off your watches.”

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