In the wake of President-Elect Trump appointing several climate change skeptics into his cabinet, environmentally conscientious investors have rushed to put together a fund to fight climate change where the United States Government soon may not. Spearheaded by Microsoft’s Bill Gates, the fund will have at least $1 Billion to use in promoting climate change science, awareness campaigns, investments in clean energy companies, and more.
Gates’ 20-Year Plan
These investors are in it for the long haul too, with the intention being that the fund will have a 20-year lifespan; a good 12 years longer than any potential Trump Presidency. It’s unknown if the duration is there to help offset the damage that could be done by at least two climate change skeptic Republicans Governments, but it wouldn’t be the first time the issue of climate change has become something of the political football.
President-Elect Donald Trump has been very vocal in his beliefs that climate change was not real and even made the assertion that it was a conspiracy started by China to weaken United States manufacturing. It goes without saying that these comments were made without any factual basis in reality. In fact, China knows plenty about the legitimately damaging effects of climate change and mass pollution.
China’s history with pollution goes back to early legislation during their industrial boom, where they were concerned with as much output as possible to bolster the nation’s finances. This led to the infamous smog that is still rife in many major cities and has been linked to dramatic rises in lung diseases and even cancer. Even currently, on days when the smog is particularly dense, it is advised that residents stay in their homes as much as possible.
This has understandably put the ruling Communist Party of China into a state of panic and alarm, which has resulted in rapidly reworking their approach to not only pollution laws, but also a massive investment in clean energy initiatives. China is currently a world leader in this sector, and with President-Elect Trump looking to double down on conventional fossil fuels, they have effectively conceded the market on clean energy to China and will potentially decrease the United States’ influence worldwide.
It’s possible that Bill Gates’ new climate change fund is as economical a move as it is an environmental one. For all his philanthropic efforts, Gates and many of his investors into this funds are businesspeople. That isn’t to say there is an ulterior motive to his efforts, it’s just that there are likely many factors that influenced the decision to put together this fund. Gates himself is a big supporter of clean energy and will be personally investing over $1 Billion outside of this fund to companies that are working on the technology that will make clean energy efficient and easy to use.
The work is slow-going, however. Gates noted that investment returns from clean energy companies were notoriously poor and actually relied on “angel investors” like himself that didn’t expect to see a profit, let alone a return. He claims that many investors in the clean energy space are expecting results within two years and ignoring several factors that make clean energy a long term investment. He says that if you have invested in technology that will one day help provide the majority of the world’s energy, then the rewards will be larger than most investors could even imagine. Of course, he does present the caveat that the most valuable reward of all is saving the planet and stabilizing our rapidly changing climate.
Time will only tell if Bill Gate’s investment fund will make a difference, but it is good to know that at least one Billionaire cares about climate change.