350.org caught up in fossil fuel 'divestment' hypocrisy

In a blast of publicity, the Rockefellers Brothers Fund (RBF) announced it would “begin” divesting all fossil fuel investments. The Rockefellers brothers, offspring of the founder of the industry, were said to be marking a major turning point in the great trajectory of climate change. Except, they still have holdings they aren’t talking about.


Note that RBF and 350.org are refusing to comment about the findings of Oil Sands Fact Check today.

First, two must read pieces on RBF, published in the past 24 hours.

And now this, the natives are getting restless:

KXL backers question timing of Rockefeller divestment

Manuel Quiñones, E&E reporter

Published: Thursday, September 25, 2014

Backers of the Keystone XL oil pipeline are questioning the timing of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s decision to divest from most fossil fuel holdings.

The website Oil Sands Fact Check, an industry-backed repository of information in favor of the transboundary pipeline, noted that the fund has significant fossil fuel holdings at the same time it was funding anti-fossil-fuel activities. The fund announced its change of investment strategy earlier this week (Greenwire, Sept. 22).

“Given that board members of RBF are heirs to the Rockefeller oil fortune, the media was led to believe that divestment from fossil fuels was a drastic change in practice for the foundation,” says a new post.

“Yet anyone who knows the least bit about RBF is well aware that the foundation has given millions to groups that oppose fossil fuels for years,” the post says.

KXL backers are focusing on the fund’s longtime support for the group 350.org, which has been a major force in opposition to the pipeline.

RBF has given 350.org $800,000 in recent years and almost $2 million to the 1Sky Education Fund, now part of 350.org, according to foundation records.

And beyond 350.org, RBF has funded other groups critical of fossil fuel interests through its sustainable development program. Its mission statement is to advance “social change that contributes to a more just, sustainable and peaceful world.”

But Oil Sands Fact Check says,

RBF said the fossil fuel divestment process has been an ongoing effort to better align its finances with its goals. “Our immediate focus will be on coal and tar sands, two of the most intensive sources of carbon emissions,” it said.

The group 350.org did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

Fossil fuel interests have made similar claims about billionaire climate activist and political donor Tom Steyer, who invested heavily in fossil fuels during his time as a hedge fund manager (Greenwire, July 15).

Steyer took to the pages of Politico to respond, saying the threat of climate change altered his thinking. “The past is the past,” he wrote, “and I am working as hard as I can to change our collective future.”

Source: http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/2014/09/25/stories/1060006453

66 thoughts on “350.org caught up in fossil fuel 'divestment' hypocrisy

  1. Anthony, RFK Jr. is going to demand you be jailed for allowing this piece of denialist propaganda to be published on your blog.

  2. These people are just placing a side bet that Obama’s plank of fighting climate change will be at least partially successful and will produce some modest yields in “green” investments.
    Nothing to see here…

  3. If they cared, they’d shutdown and stop what they are doing. Selling to someone else who will continue what they were doing accomplishes . . . WHAT?

  4. It seems to me that oil companies and refineries are more profitable when supplies are tight. By fighting development of our oil reserves while holding oil stocks, they are just funnelling the money through Washington and back into their own pockets.

  5. Oil companies love the idea of carbon trading, because with their deep pockets, and their ability to control both the supply of energy, and access to enormous carbon credit opportunities, such as filling depleted oil wells with “sequestered” CO2, they will own the world – they will have even more power and influence than they do now.

  6. MCKibben claims he was greatly influenced by the gospel of Matthew. I dont recall anywhere in the gospel that you should take the coat off another man and redistribute it, but instead take the coat off your own back and give it, which I find opposite the philosophy of these well funded merchants of deceit. Nor do I recall anywhere in any of the Gospels the idea that you are commanded to be deceptive in your true purpose, which is obviously the redistribution of wealth. Nor do I recall anywhere claiming you are one thing when you are not, or being less than forth coming about where you draw your sustenance .
    I suspect there are alot of people playing the “God Card” in this debate, “Using” God the same way they are Using people that are willing to march like sheep to the slaughter. What would Jesus do? He would look for the truth, not hide it, or make excuses, or deny it. As for McKibben, perhaps his inspiration was sincere, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I have always found his climate utterances when compared to the majesty of what the weather had done and can do, amazingly ignorant of fact. As for me, I believe there is nothing new under the sun and that what God has created man has little chance of changing.. no matter how grand he may think himself
    The Arrogance of man stems from his ignorance of God, and if you want to play the God card, you can figure out which side has the arrogance and deception here.
    In the end, the whole sordid affair can be summed up by Menckens words:
    “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false face for the urge to rule it.”

    • Good post, but I beg to differ – strongly – with the “redistribution of wealth” meme. That is just another lie. All these movements – population bomb, global cooling, global warming, climate change, and whatever comes next, are about keeping the 3rd world in poverty and (they think) subsequently getting large population reductions in those areas of the world, while taking the resources they have for themselves. The “haves” always take what little the “have-nots” possess, and this is absolutely no different. It’s even worse than you think, in my opinion.
      Yes, life is largely a pursuit of truth, and thereby obtaining all of God’s goodness/bounty that comes as a result of finding it – if not, then what is its purpose? Science does not have the ability to uncover all truth, but truth should always be the goal of scientific study. The population bomb people, decades ago, were blatant about their disgusting, loathsome goals, it’s all there to study if one is so inclined. To be that blatant isn’t “politically correct” anymore, so now they disguise their true intentions with this CAGW fraud. It really is an enormous lie.

      • Out of respect for good and kind friends who happen to be Atheists at this point in their lives, I often use the word “Truth” rather than the word “God,” though it boils down to the same Thing.
        The Rockefellers of the world shrink from the Truth like shadows from Light. They believe their ends justify their means, (and that doesn’t include us.) They honestly believe dishonesty is the best policy, and ruffle their millions fondly, thinking their wealth proves them correct.
        It is hard to bear them when their dishonesty seemingly makes them so rich, so powerful, and so smug, but all they believe in is founded on bad engineering. To construct on falsehood is to build with a broken ruler using incorrect arithmetic. It cannot stand. What they call might is flimsy, and what they call power is a puff of smoke in a gale.
        Stand by the Truth, and the Truth will stand by you.

    • If you always tell the truth, you don’t have to remember what you said.
      Just sayin…….. we didn’t make things as the are, who did?
      Think about it…….

  7. I’m sure the Rockefellers are solely motivated by a deep concern for the well-being of the Earth and love of polar bears. Any imputation of a financial motive for this divestment is a slur on their reputation for placing principle before profit.

    • Good point phil. If Steyer wants to now make amends for his ill-gotten riches, then let him distribute all of his wealth to the needy.

      • philjourdan , this is what sticks in my throat. Having made the money from oil, they don’t give it back – then try to prevent anyone else making money from oil! There is no guilt with these people, see my references down thread. Grantham, Gore and Pachauri all made money from oil and tobacco.

        • It is not limited to alarmists. Companies do it. But since they cannot “legally” drive other vendors out of the market, they seek the help of the government. Government can legally drive companies out of business. And the first one to get to the ear of the politician with the most money wins.

  8. C’mon! What’s a little hypocrisy when the earth is in the balance? The ends always justify the means, if not then what does?

  9. I love when someone says “tar sands”. You know immediately that they have no knowledge of the subject, and what they do know has been spoon fed and not derived from their own research

    • David,
      Excellent point. It is not TAR! Anyone knowledgeable knows that to be tar the material has to be thermally processed which drives off the more useful hydrocarbons.
      To use the term is either intended as derogatory or displays ignorance of the speaker.
      “Tar is a substance obtained from a variety of organic materials through destructive distillation.[1][2][3] Tar can be produced from coal, wood, petroleum, or peat.[3] It is black, and a mixture of hydrocarbons and free carbon.[4]”

  10. RBF has given 350.org $800,000 in recent years and almost $2 million to the 1Sky Education Fund, now part of 350.org, according to foundation records.

    And yet 350.org and their fellow travelers like to claim ownership of the “Big-Oil-Funding-Climate-Skeptics” meme.

    • Me thinks their meme is “me! me!”
      The incredible fact about the Climate Wars is that 99% of the Skeptics have never seen a lick of funding from anyone. And the 1% basically subsist on a begging bowl called a “tip jar” on the right-hand margin of a website.
      I think I first heard the joke, “Have you received your check from Big Oil yet?” back in 2006. The joke would be stale by now, and trite, were it not increasingly hilarious.

    • According to Canadian researcher Vivian Krause, the amount is closer to $10 million. She is an environmentalist with a wicked gift for reading tax returns, and an aversion to lies.

    • ….or better yet, to building fresh water systems in developing countries?
      Clean water is more critical to developing countries than anything else.

  11. Maybe they will invest all their money in Solyndra … Not likely, they will invest in nice dividend paying stocks like Wells Fargo, Bank of America and transportation ( not recognizing that transport requires fossil fuels, but then what doesn’t? Wonder what powers those banks and their computer systems ). Useful idiots.
    And yes, DirkH, it is always good to sell on the highs then buy back in later when no one is looking.

    • When the uber-wealthy want to hide investments in something, they form asset trading companies then invest in an asset trading company that invests in an asset trading company that invests in an asset trading company that invests in whatever it is they want to hide. So, I don’t believe them anyway as the returns on oil and gas investments (when spread out across the industry as their wealth allows) are about the highest and most consistent that there are.

  12. I wonder if the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation has ever had any quibbles with brother Jay’s use of a private jet for his arduous 70 mile commute between his home in West Virginia and his Senate office in Washington?
    Of course maybe his retirement is the reason the RBF is divesting its oil investments. Since that private jet probably slurps up more fuel in one single, solitary, one way commute than my car does in two years oil investments are bound to plummet.

  13. RockyRoad
    September 25, 2014 at 9:31 pm
    ….or better yet, to building fresh water systems in developing countries?
    What? Like California ?

    • I understand California’s waterworks system was designed and built to withstand a 5-year drought. As you can see, the system hasn’t performed as promised.
      But why? Well, because they put a higher priority on subspecies than on humans. They kept river flows higher than initial design levels and now they’ve run out of water.
      When humans don’t have top priority, they won’t be protected–it’s as simple as that.

  14. If the Rockefellers really want to be green, they should invest in nuclear power plants and nuclear fusion research. There are already enough subsidies to renewable energy. C’mon even the notorious corporate raider T. Boone Pickens is now a green activist for fracking. Natural gas is cleaner than coal.

  15. The website Oil Sands Fact Check, an industry-backed repository of information in favor of the transboundary pipeline, noted that the fund has significant fossil fuel holdings at the same time it was funding anti-fossil-fuel activities. The fund announced its change of investment strategy earlier this week (Greenwire, Sept. 22).

    Why is this so surprising? You will find this kind of hypocricy all over town. A few years back Pachauri was part of Glorioil – a residual oil extraction technology company – while head of the IPCC.
    Here is another example I have pointed out.
    Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. LLC investments in oil, coal, gas and petroleum exploration and distribution companies. Mr Grantham is concerned about climate change while investing in OIL COMPANIES!
    oil, coal and tobacco funded
    Recipients of funding by the Grantham Foundation includes the London School of Economics: Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment

  16. Here is the ex-tobacco trader Al Gore.

    Feb 25, 2013
    Al Gore Invests in Fracking Company
    ……In a statement to shareholders, Canada-based PetroBakken Resources announced that Gore and his investment partners would be pumping $200 million into the company in return for a 15 percent stake.
    The move comes just weeks after Gore sold his shares in cable broadcaster Current to Al-Jazeera, a Middle Eastern channel backed by oil wealth…….

  17. They also try to link sceptics to tobacco. Would you like a cigarette?

    8 June, 2012
    Masters of Hypocrisy: the Union of Concerned Scientists
    A new report funded by big oil and big tobacco has the chutzpah to complain about corporate influence on the climate debate.

    One of the founders of the wildlife and climate campaigning WWF is Dr. Anton Rupert. The now deceased Dr. Rupert made his fortune from the cigarette manufacturing company called Voorbrand, re-named Rembrandt, now consolidated into Rothmans.
    Ref: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1508360/Anton-Rupert.html

    British American Tobacco Biodiversity Partnership: Fauna & Flora International, the Tropical Biology Association and Earthwatch Institute. Through the Partnership, we are involved in more than 30 biodiversity projects worldwide.
    We donated £1 million per year to the Partnership in its first five years, and £1.5 million per year for the five years from 2006. In 2010, we agreed the scope of work for the next five years of the Partnership, with a commitment of £1.5 million per year. ”

    Earthwatch partners with organizations across all sectors of business to improve both environmental and corporate sustainability…….
    British American Tobacco (BAT) is the world’s second-largest tobacco group,…..Royal Dutch Shell is a global group of energy and petrochemical companies,”
    Climate change can seem like a remote problem for our leaders, but the fact is that it’s already impacting real people, animals, and beloved places. These Faces of Climate Change are multiplying every day.”

  18. Why drive or teleconference when you can fly! It’s called a ‘Convenience Truth’.

    “Now the tour is going global — first to Australia, then to New Zealand, Fiji, and beyond!”
    maths.350.org – Found 30 May 2013
    “Al Gore kicks off book tour for ‘The Future'”
    mnn.com – January 2013
    “Some 15,000 delegates gather at the Mexican resort of Cancun on Monday for an annual UN conference on climate change.”
    france24.com – 29 November 2010
    George Monbiot
    Canada Book Tour – November 12th – 15th 2006 – Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver
    Monbiot.com – 2006
    “Maldives to Construct Two New Airports and Resorts”
    maldives.net.mv – 10 July 2011
    “Nasa scientist Dr James Hansen was speaking to BBC Scotland ahead of being awarded the prestigious Edinburgh Medal at the city’s Science Festival.”
    BBC – 11 April 2012
    “In a special three part series on the imminent crisis, the Guardian has visited Newtok and spoken to the villagers, politicians and climate scientists about their plight…”
    Guardian – 13 May 2013

    We must act against the causes of climate change as we have a planetary emergency according to Al Gore – the frequent flyer!

  19. $800,000 to 350.org? That sounds like about the right amount of money to keep “Weepy Bill” in bicycles as he travels about the country. All those miles foregoing fossil-fueled transportation wears out bikes in a hurry, eh Bill?

  20. I will take the dangers of ‘climate change’ seriously when Warmists take it seriously. This is nothing but a con job – you and I know it.

  21. The BBC is a climate alarmist site. Here is the real BBC.
    BBC Pension – Top equity Investments at 31 March 2013 in no particular order.
    Altria Group [Tobacco]
    Drax Group [Electricity generation]
    BHP Billiton [Oil & mining]
    British American Tobacco
    BG Group [Oil & natural gas]
    BP [Oil & natural gas]
    Royal Dutch Shell [Oil & natural gas]
    Imperial Tobacco
    Centrica [Natural gas & electricity]
    Reynolds American [Tobacco]
    Petrofac [Oilfield services]
    Occidental Petroleum [Oil & natural gas]
    The above list “Does not include any assets held in pooled funds.”

    “The Scheme is also a member of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) and has signed up to their investor statement.”
    “The statement is supported by 259 investors – both asset owners and asset managers – that collectively
    represent assets of over US$15 trillion.”
    IIGCC – November 2010

    • I have no idea if I am. I have a broker who moves my money between funds. The funds comprise a lot of different companies. I pay him to make the right choices. When I retire, I may spend the time to figure it out for myself. Right now, all I care about is his maximizing my investment, and if that is in Oil/Gas or Tobacco, so be it.

  22. Anthony, there are two references to “RFB” rather than “RBF” in the second and third paragraphs.
    [fixed, TY -mod]

  23. Help me out. Why would they sponsor resistance to their own industry/portfolio? I work in fashion. That would be like me organising protest against buying nice clothes on a seasonal basis. I don’t get it

    • It costs $10+ per bbl to get oil out of the ground. Would you rather sell 100bbls @ $12 or 10bbls @ $100. The profit on the former is $200 and the latter is $900. Limiting production increases the price.

  24. The annoyance for me is the manner in which our mainstream media friends portray the Rockefeller Brothers Fund as somehow being newly enlightened about the folly of being on the ‘wrong’ side of climate change, when in fact they have been active funders of the Center for Climate Strategies ever since 2006 or earlier, a highly suspect enviro-activist organization that forbade by contractual agreement any debate over the science of global warming when CCS dealt with multi-state government officials on setting up cap-and-trade plans within various states. You can read several of Paul Chesser’s reports on that situation around that time via this search: https://www.google.com/search?q=“paul+chesser”+”rockefeller+brothers+fund”

  25. I’ll take the Rockefellers seriously when they don’t just divest fossil fuel stocks but give away all their money too, since it all originated from the same source they now disown. Not holding my breath.

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