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Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.

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Bill Gates Says $11 Trillion Anti-Oil Push Isn’t Working

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%.

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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  • James Hilden-Minton on September 17 2019 said:
    Gates is being silly. Investments across the energy sector including renewables are decline, and still oil and natural gas teeter on the verge of massive oversupply. The price of natural gas is in the low $2/mmBtu for crying out loud. Just imagine how bad the oversupply would be had divestment not held back $11T. Just imaging how much of the $11T would have ended in asset impairment.

    Gates is simply missing the bigger picture. The global economy continues to massively overinvest in fossils, in spite of warnings from activists. Gates can invest as much of his own money in nuclear or whatever, but nuclear can't do squat trying to compete with natural gas at $2/mmBtu. His pet investment is worthless so long as over-investment in oil and gas persists.
  • Mamdouh Salameh on September 18 2019 said:
    Bill Gates is not only one of the world’s leading philanthropists, he is first and foremost a clear thinker.

    Therefore, the global fossil fuel divestment movement should heed his words. It should also heed two major energy principles, namely there will never be a post-oil era or a peak oil demand throughout the 21st century and far beyond. Oil will continue to reign supreme all through. Therefore, global investments in oil and natural gas will continue unabated well into the future.

    Rather than wasting their time in exerting pressure on investors to divest from fossil fuels, the divestment movement should adopt a more positive approach and encourage investments in innovative clean energy.

    Even Norway’s $1-trillion Fund, the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund has at last seen the light and decided not to divest oil and gas stocks from its portfolio despite huge pressure from the divestment movement.

    Any innovative energy ideas have to be more cost-effective, durable, practical, efficient and plentiful than the energy sources they are seeking to replace otherwise they wouldn’t to succeed.

    Solar power will in time become the ultimate source of global electricity generation and the power to drive water desalination plants and banish drought from the world because it fits all the criteria mentioned above.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London
  • Michael BERGER on September 18 2019 said:
    Well, were not pumpin as much per day as iea predicted. To no ones surprise at all.

    But renewables weren't targeting oil, but coal. Oil is used for electrical generation in largely island and producing places.

    Look up coal production, transport and use.

    Renewables have saved a lot of natural gas in places.
  • Bob Wordsworth on October 14 2019 said:
    This is simple math. The writing is on the wall that the future isn't fossil fuel. The whole idea of investing is supporting some kind of new development in a product of some kind for the FUTURE. There is no long term future for fossil fuel. So the logical outcome is that investors once they realize this, will shift their investments to the new disruptive technologies of the future and abandon fossil fuel. There will always be some kind of oil and gas production for plastics and other materials, but that is probably 20 or 30 percent of total oil and gas production as it stands now.
    I predict that there will be an avalanche effect away from fossil fuel investment in the near future that will speed up the investment and adaptation of renewable energy and transportation.

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