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Is Fossil Fuel Divestment A Waste Of Time?

Fossil Fuel

It may make you feel like you’re doing something, but those climate activists screaming at investors to divest from those dirty fossil fuels could be wasting their time, Microsoft mogul Bill Gates has said.

Gates, one of the world’s leading philanthropists, is telling the climate brigade that they would be better off abandoning their divestment crusades and instead encouraging investments in alternatives such as disruptive technologies that will slow carbon emissions.

How many tons of carbon emissions has the divestment crusade reduced thus far? Likely zero, Gates told the Financial Times, in his most scathing remark to the climate activists.

“It’s not like you’ve capital-starved people making steel and gasoline,” Gates said.

While recent reports suggest that the global fossil fuel divestment movement has already shifted $11 trillion of investment away from oil, gas, and coal - the real impact is likely zero.

A better course of action, suggests Gates, would be to invest in innovative businesses such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods—two businesses that Gates has backed. Gates, according to the FT, only invests in companies and start ups who have a plan to reduce greenhouse gases by 0.5%. Related: World's Largest IPO At Risk Following Drone Strikes

Gates’ comments run contrary to the divestment crusade that has caught the media’s attention in recent years as new targets find themselves in the climate change crosshairs. There has been a conscious push by activists to restrict funds or ban oil pipeline builds, to ban fracking, and to increase taxes on oil and gas companies. Sovereign Wealth Funds, too, are pulling up stakes in the dirtiest of the dirty fossil fuels—coal.

There is even a Global Divestment Day. According to Gates, though, these climate crusaders may not be getting as much bang for their buck as they could be, if they were to promote investments in clean energy and other fossil fuel disruptors.

And Gates’ chiding doesn’t stop there.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has today released its latest edition of its Goalkeepers report, which attempts to measure progress towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. At a UN General Assembly meeting next week, meeting attendees are expected to commit to these new goals. The Foundation, however, unequivocally considers these promises to be entirely unrealistic.

“We’re nowhere near improving fast enough to reach those goals,” Gates told FT.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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