This is interesting:
John D. Rockefeller built a vast fortune on oil. Now his heirs are abandoning fossil fuels.
The family whose legendary wealth flowed from Standard Oil is planning to announce on Monday that its $860 million philanthropic organization, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, is joining the divestment movement that began a couple years ago on college campuses.
The announcement, timed to precede Tuesday’s opening of the United Nations climate change summit meeting in New York City, is part of a broader and accelerating initiative.
In recent years, 180 institutions — including philanthropies, religious organizations, pension funds and local governments — as well as hundreds of wealthy individual investors have pledged to sell assets tied to fossil fuel companies from their portfolios and to invest in cleaner alternatives. In all, the groups have pledged to divest assets worth more than $50 billion from portfolios, and the individuals more than $1 billion, according to Arabella Advisors, a firm that consults with philanthropists and investors to use their resources to achieve social goals.
The people who are selling shares of energy stocks are well aware that their actions are unlikely to have an immediate impact on the companies, given their enormous market capitalizations and cash flow.
This is on the heels of a massive march in NYC, which drew as many as 300,000 people. You probably didn’t hear about it, though, because it did not consist of a dozen blue hairs in tri-corner hats using poorly worded signs and racial slurs.
Somewhat related, I was listening to a Radiolab podcast called in the Dust of this Planet (you can stream it here or download it from itunes), which was a wide ranging discussion of nihilism, pop culture, etc. It included discussions of nihilism in pop culture (True Detective and Jay Z make appearances as topics), but it also included a part about climate scientists (I forget the name of the group) who have been issuing climate change reports since the late 1980’s, urging the world to take action to prevent or roll back the change, and this year they have basically said fuck it, it’s too late. Now their annual report has given up on prevention and is focused on living with climate change and survival. At any rate, great podcast (and spare me the inevitable totebagger remarks or snotty comments about Radiolab- I just told you I like it, so piss off if it is not your cup of tea).