Bill and Melinda Gates are some of the most vocal advocates for reversing the effects of climate change, but The Guardian revealed yesterday that their foundation held at least $1.4 billion worth of investments in fossil fuel companies, according to the charity’s 2013 tax filings.
The Guardian’s examination found that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Asset Trust, the world’s largest charitable foundation, had investments with:
“BP, responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Anadarko Petroleum, which was recently forced to pay a $5bn environmental clean-up charge, and Brazilian mining company Vale, voted the corporation with most ‘contempt for the environment and human rights’ in the world clocking over 25,000 votes in the Public Eye annual awards.”
A campaign launched by The Guardian on Monday is calling for the Gates to divest from the fossil fuel industry.
“Your organisation has made a huge contribution to human progress … yet your investments in fossil fuels are putting this progress at great risk. It is morally and financially misguided to invest in companies dedicated to finding and burning more oil, gas and coal.”
The Gates have been very vocal about how damaging the effects of climate change are and how important it is that alternative energy sources are developed.
In January, the couple’s annual letter said,
“The long-term threat [of climate change] is so serious that the world needs to move more aggressively – right now – to develop energy sources that are cheaper, can deliver on demand, and emit zero carbon dioxide.”
Their stance on climate change makes the truth about their investments incredibly surprising.
The Gates Foundation currently has an endowment of more than $43 billion. Divesting from fossil fuels and using those billions to actually try and find those clean energy sources would prove that they really believe climate change is a serious problem. As it stands, they just look like hypocrites.