Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Bill McKibben suggests billionaires should spend their money on
him building up the climate movement – to help the climate movement overcome the “power of the fossil fuel industry”.
How should billionaires spend their money to fight climate change? I asked 9 experts.
Is it better to invest in developing clean energy technologies, say, or in trying to get a Democrat elected president?
By Sigal Samuel Nov 12, 2019, 8:50am EST
Some megadonors are already trying to help us avert the climate crisis. Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, and Tom Steyer, the environmental philanthropist turned presidential candidate, have each donated millions to the cause. So have major foundations like the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. According to the Open Philanthropy Project, “overall American philanthropic funding for climate change activities appears to be on the order of several hundred million dollars per year.”
But are the wealthy spending their money well? Are the billions they’re donating going to the best climate change causes? Should a billionaire who cares deeply about the climate sink money into developing clean energy technologies, say, or are they better off trying to get a Democrat elected president?
Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and co-founder of 350.org
I’d spend the money helping build the climate movement. My logic goes like this: We’ve got some solutions available already but we’re not deploying at anything like the speed we need — that’s the ongoing power of the fossil fuel industry at work. The only way to break that power and change the politics of climate is to build a countervailing power. It’s happening now, but it needs to happen quicker.
And truthfully, it doesn’t take a billion dollars. Look at the amount of good Greta Thunberg and her young colleagues have done while barely spending a nickel. Money would help, but really, we need all the non-billionaires out there just to join in. Our job — and it’s the key job — is to change the zeitgeist, people’s sense of what’s normal and natural and obvious. If we do that, all else will follow.
…Read more: https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/11/12/20910176/billionaire-philanthropy-charity-climate-change
My thought – Bill McKibben’s suggestion that fossil fuel interests are somehow using their power to suppress climate friendly solutions is absurd. In capitalist societies, the affordable and convenient solution wins the market.