Rockefeller Fund Moves Fortune from Oil to Green Technology

For fellow nerds of history (or in particular American history, and even MORE specifically the history of energy in America), the name Rockefeller in well-known with its fortune in fossil fuels.  Recently, the Rockefeller Brothers fund, which is worth around $860 million, had pledged to move all of its remaining investments in oil to renewable green energy.  Plus, they’re not alone; the Rockefeller fund is just possibly the most notable name on a list of billionaires and funds that pledged to move any monetary amount up to about $50 billion away from oil, coal and gas into green energy technologies as part of the divest-invest movement.  This became news a while back to coincide with the UN summit that was organized and designed to galvanize green activity in the face of the recent, accurate and convincing scientific evidence regarding climate change.

US-CLIMATE MARCH
DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

Steven Rockefeller feel that there’s BOTH a moral AND economic dimension to the recent decision. It’s become clear and has been seen that the price of solar, thermal and wind energy is falling to affordable levels (even IKEA is selling solar panels), PLUS the newer green initiatives could result in the decreasing profitability of coal, oil and gas in the future.  The Rockefellers, as well as the other billionaires behind the switch from oil to green, felt that it would be wise (particularly from a business-sense) to get the money out while you’re ahead. As Daniel Cooper from Engadget put it: “still, if there’s a way for a cigar-chomping billionaire to keep raking it in that won’t cause us all to die in a weather-related cataclysm, then that’s gotta be something.”

The group of environmentally-yet-business-minded-conscience billionaires (as well as the general public) are hoping that others will follow their lead, however, according to the New York Times, several institutions, like Harvard University (which benefits from a $32.7 billion endowment that has some fossil fuel investments) are trying to avoid engaging with the issue. University president Drew Gilpin Faust told the Times that she feels that the money shouldn’t be used as an “instrument to impel social or political change,” but her tone implies that Dr. Faust might be somewhat-behind the trend.

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