Skip to main content

Rockefeller oil dynasty to ‘divest’ from fossil fuels

RT

In a symbol of the times, America’s biggest “oil family”, the Rockefellers, has announced it will get rid of any investments or holdings in fossil fuels from its $860 million charitable fund, and target clean energy instead.
The announcement is part of a $50 billion pledge by over 180 institutions to cut oil, natural gas, and coal from their portfolios and redirect investment into clean energy.

“Our immediate focus will be on coal and tar sands, two of the most intensive sources of carbon emissions,” the statement said, adding that investment in the two sectors will be reduced to less than 1 percent of the total portfolio by the end of 2014.

Coal and tar sands are two of the biggest carbon emitters.


The Rockefeller Brothers Fund was established in 1940 from wealth acquired through the family’s company Standard Oil, once the world’s largest oil refiner.

Monday’s announcement comes ahead of today’s United Nations summit on climate change, where 120 global leaders, including US President Barack Obama, have gathered to discuss how to combat carbon emissions and global warming.

ExxonMobil, Conoco, and Chevron are the modern day successors of the original Standard Oil, which was such a big oil company the US Supreme Court said it violated antitrust laws, and it was broken up in 1911.

“John D Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil, moved America out of whale oil and into petroleum,” Stephen Heintz, president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, said, saying that if John D. Rockefeller were alive today, he would invest in clean, renewable energy.

About 7 percent of the fund is currently invested in dirty fossil fuels.

In 2013, the Rockefeller charity gave over $6 million in grants to sustainable development projects.

Many American universities have also cut their ties with ‘Big Oil’, most prominently Stanford and Harvard, which both have multi-billion dollar endowments. The University of California school system says it won’t divest from fossil fuels, an unpopular choice amongst students.
A nice gesture

The switch won’t be immediate or apply to the full $860 million in charitable funds. The “divestment” will only apply to 10 percent of the endowment, an approved commitment from the fund’s board of trustees in line with the organization’s sustainable development goals.

“There may continue to be minimal investments in our portfolio in those energy sectors,” the statement said, clarifying it will be a “two-step” process.

The divestment program will be conducted with the overall organization’s finances in mind; that is they won’t divest if such a move will negatively alter the charity’s day-to-day operations.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why States Still Use Barrel Bombs

Smoke ascends after a Syrian military helicopter allegedly dropped a barrel bomb over the city of Daraya on Jan. 31.(FADI DIRANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary
Barrel bombs are not especially effective weapons. They are often poorly constructed; they fail to detonate more often than other devices constructed for a similar purpose; and their lack of precision means they can have a disproportionate effect on civilian populations.

However, combatants continue to use barrel bombs in conflicts, including in recent and ongoing conflicts in Africa and the Middle East, and they are ideally suited to the requirements of resource-poor states.

Analysis


Barrel bombs are improvised devices that contain explosive filling and shrapnel packed into a container, often in a cylindrical shape such as a barrel. The devices continue to be dropped on towns all over Syria. Indeed, there have been several documented cases of their use in Iraq over the past months, and residents of the city of Mosul, which was recently …

Russia Looks East for New Oil Markets

Click to Enlarge


In the final years of the Soviet Union, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev began orienting his foreign policy toward Asia in response to a rising Japan. Putin has also piloted a much-touted pivot to Asia, coinciding with renewed U.S. interest in the area. A good expression of intent was Russia's hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in 2012 in Vladivostok, near Russia's borders with China and North Korea. Although its efforts in Asia have been limited by more direct interests in Russia's periphery and in Europe, Moscow recently has been able to look more to the east.

Part of this renewed interest involves finding new export markets for Russian hydrocarbons. Russia's economy relies on energy exports, particularly crude oil and natural gas exported via pipeline to the West. However, Western Europe is diversifying its energy sources as new supplies come online out of a desire to reduce its dependence on Russian energy supplies.

This has forced…

In Yemen, a Rebel Advance Could Topple the Regime

Shia loyal to the al-Houthi movement ride past Yemeni soldiers near Yaz, Yemen, in May. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Summary


The success of a rebel campaign in northern Yemen is threatening to destabilize the already weak and overwhelmed government in Sanaa. After capturing the city of Amran, a mere 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the capital, in early July, the rebels from the al-Houthi tribe are in their strongest position yet. The Yemeni government is developing plans to divide the country into six federal regions, and the rebels believe this is their chance to claim territory for the future bargaining.

The central government is nearly powerless to fend off the rebels; its forces are already stretched thin. Neighboring Saudi Arabia has intervened in Yemen before and still supports Sunni tribes in the north, but the risk of inciting a Shiite backlash or creating space for jihadists to move in could deter another intervention.

Analysis


Followers of Zaidi Islam, a branch of Shiism, rul…