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.”