How should Billionaires Spend their Money to Solve Climate Change?

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

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.

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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.

82 thoughts on “How should Billionaires Spend their Money to Solve Climate Change?

  1. I love the McKibben picture. Reminds me of a Saturday Night Live character. Over his life, Bill McKibben has exhaled how many tons of CO2? He really isn’t doing all he can to stop the rise in this killer gas.

    • For mine, his demeanour just says ‘completely out of control loon’ and reminds me that all the CAGWarriors are too. As icons of the eco loonaverse, its a close run thing between Batshit Bill, Nutjob Naomi or Moonscape Mike Mann.

  2. I would imagine that as an excellent engineer Bill Hewlett, if he were still around, would now have a few rather pointed questions about ‘Catastrophic Global Warming.’ The others, i.e. Bloomberg, Steyer, etc., can be excused for their ignorance. However, their incompetence in not recognizing their ignorance, is inexcusable .

  3. McKibben has the usual socialists complete failure to understand “the system”. First off, the “rich” already pay a high tax rate to “government”. Then they give what they have left over to “banks”, who lend it out to expanding businesses, and banks are allowed by “government” to lend out 10 times what has been deposited. ALL the money ends up being used by “the system” to make people richer. Taking more from “rich people” in tax up front simply reduces the amount banks can multiply by 10 and reduces the effectiveness of the ”system”. So we already have a near totally government controlled system in which the rich actually have no money, but are lulled into the belief that the IOU they receive monthly from their bank on the form of a bank statement, is “wealth”. Sorry to burst the bubble of anyone who thinks they are rich.

      • Say I have a hundred bucks. Then I lend it to you. Now, you have a hundred bucks and I have none. But if I put the hundred bucks in a bank, and the bank lends it to you, then you have a hundred bucks, and the bank only tells me I have a hundred bucks in my account. Not only that, but the bank is allowed by government to lend my hundred bucks to 10 other people.
        And Kenj, the only real money is gold, everything else is “debt”….Sorry, McKibben’s views irritate me.

        • Correct. I would go one step further and say it’s not only debt, it is interest bearing debt based on a 300+ year old system created by the Bank of England. The Bank doesn’t actually have the extra $1000 for the other 10 people. It doesn’t actually exist. It is “created”, literally, out of thin air.

        • Just once, I wish to see even the slightest evidence that CO2 in infintesimaly small amounts causes a rise in global temps.

  4. They should invest in renewable.
    They’ll rake in the money from Government subsidies.

    It worked for the Solyndra guys.

  5. Billionaires should spend their money for promotion and lobbying for clean dependable nuclear power. And I’m available as a communications consultant at $750 per hour.

    • They should create more businesses that pay more people and enjoy themselves with the fruits of their labor or investments.

    • Mark,
      Make that $5,000 an hour and more people are likely to hire you. Back in 1989, our accountants caculated charge-out rates for our senior people when hired by outside groups. Mine was Chinese lcky, an easy to remember $888 per hour. Geoff S

  6. My suggestion: first find out what is driving climate, assuming this can be understood, so invest in research. Then when you have found out what drives climate and climate change see if it is a good or a bad development and then see if there is anything within reason to be done about it. Pretty trivial I think.

    • Science has already done the first part of what you suggest.

      As to the second part, why or why isn’t the world economy now devoting $hundreds-of-trillions to develop technical methods to change Earth’s spin orientation and orbital ephemeris so as to eliminate those darn Milankovitch cycles?

      As you say, “trivial”.

  7. How to spend someone else’s money, or, more subtle, how to tell others to spend their money, always was a favourite hobby of the left.

    Since man-made climate change does not exist, spending any money to ‘fight’ it is nonsensical, while spending money on fighting climate change, the natural process, is just futile.

  8. Er, how able they do what they choose to do themselves? They worked for it, so their choice…

    Being rich or poor, we all eat food and wear clothes from other countries, taking more flights or having a big boat means the co2 is helping trees and planets grow stronger. Z😐

    The day these greens become Amish, I will consider what they have to say… But as it stands, vile greta and her white faced red clothes wearing freaks can F##k off, as I have bills to pay and a house to heat.

  9. “In capitalist societies, the affordable and convenient solution wins the market.”

    Exactly right, and there is the problem for radical environmentalists/socialists. Free markets, capitalism, and democracy are designed for value and reward merit. This stands in the way of promoting global governance, socialism and restrained development which fail any competitive contest. Therefore, they want new rules and systems that are oblivious to real value. They won’t be happy till everyone either believes or is forced to accept that Venezuela is the goal toward which we should all aspire.

    • That is why Bill needs billionaire guilt money. To fund a Green Antifa mob, that will threaten and intimidate anyone that disagrees with his paranoid delusions.

    • No, they told him 3PM, sharp, then pulled out at 2:45 …. the other inmates we’re complaining of the shrill whining

  10. “How should Billionaires Spend their Money to Solve Climate Change?”

    Well, considering that there isn’t anything to change or solve, and that climate is, has always, will always change – all by itself, irrespective of human activity – and considering that the climate is literally controlled by non-human activities (large volcanoes, sun’s activity, large meteor impacts, orbital/celestial activity, etc.), billionaires should spend their money to finance and operate charter schools in the inner cities, and provide scholarships to those students from the inner cities who cannot afford to attend college and who wish to study a SERIOUS major (this would exclude the hate majors such as women’s, black, hispanic, LGBQT majors; would exclude those majors guaranteed to provide it’s graduates jobs as waiters or fast food employees, such as social work, psych, etc.)

    Well before humans walked this earth and all the years before the industrial revolution, the climate changed. And today, we are experiencing a climate well within the “norm” of climate that has existed over the last 2000 years.

    Articles such as this , suggesting that the biggest scientific hoax in the history of the world has some validity, at least provide the opportunity for commentators to express their views.
    Then again, articles written describing that the Holocaust never happened would do likewise .

  11. “I’d spend the money helping build the climate movement.”

    I’m in the business of making the community more aware so give me all your spare millions as I don’t require a billion. That would be greedy.

  12. Me? . . . in this matter, I’m waiting on the evidence/lawsuit that the “powerful” fossil fuel industry had a massive campaign to fight the introduction of commercial nuclear fission reactors for electric power plants, circa 1955.

  13. There is a new low-cost service for protest management needs–it’s called “Rent-A-Pigtail.”

    Will Bill get a wig to stay competitive?

  14. There is no such thing as “clean” or “green” energy after you account for the full spectrum of environmental impacts from raw materials acquisition through transport, manufacture, installation, maintenance, and proper decommissioning after useful lifetime. Wind/solar/battery combinations may very well be responsible for worse environmental consequences than fossil fuel and nuclear power, especially when you look at the HUGE number of units that would be required to replace fossil fuel and nuclear power.

    • “…especially when you look at the fact that there is no number of wind/solar/battery combinations that could ever replace fossil fuel and nuclear power – and the amount of land required to make the futile attempt to do so would be stupefying, not to mention that the amount of rare Earth metals required probably doesn’t exist.”

      There, fixed it for ya.

  15. Billionaires are hoarding cash because of Sanders and Warren. They aren’t in a mood to share right now.

  16. He needs a little green book to wave in the air when doing his rant on campuses–even if the pages are blank.

  17. Q: “How should Billionaires Spend their Money to Solve Climate Change?”

    A: Any way they want as long as they don’t to spend my money, too!

  18. How should Billionaires Spend their Money to Solve Climate Change?

    Answer: they shouldn’t. At all. Billionaires generally don’t get to be billionaires by wasting their money trying to solve non-issues. They have much better uses for their money. Heck, just stuffing their mattress with their money would be a better use then wasting it trying to solve a non-issue.

  19. ‘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.”’

    Money that could have been spent actually helping people. “Climate change” is starving poor people. That is our “climate crisis.”

  20. From the title: “How should Billionaires Spend their Money […]”

    Any way they want to.

    I left off the “to solve ‘climate change'” part. It’s presumptuous on anyone’s part to tell billionaires how to spend their money, unless they are paying for the advice.

    Weepy Bill should mind his own wallet and keep his fingers out of everyone else’s wallet.

    I’m OK with begging and pleading for money. I’m also OK with people responding to the begging with “No.” But don’t presume to tell people what to do with their money. I’m not OK with that.

  21. Billionaires should start by moving their businesses and operations away from the coasts, starting by getting out of California.

    • EXCEPT for the billionaires who are Climate Fascists themselves. Let THEM rot in the hell of their own making.

  22. Weepy Bill looks at things and sees what he wants to see.
    Example: “Greta . . blah blah . . . while barely spending a nickel.

    Someone (or many) have spent a fortune on this kid.
    Add up the money, ‘in kind’ contributions, and free media.
    I’ll bet that’s more than a few nickels.

    Note that McKibben is the guy, but hasn’t noticed the group needs a name change.
    Maybe; or

  23. “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.”
    Like all Climate Numpties, Billy the Weepster McKibbles thinks it’s about “communicating climate” to people. Despite a humongous propaganda campaign via the MSM, and a takeover of government as well as NGOs, they still haven’t really changed people’s minds, especially in the US. In fact, it has all backfired pretty badly. It’s hilarious really.

  24. The Tom Steyers and the Bill Gates believe all the screams of Bill McKibben and Algore, etc. But it can be pointed out to them that almost every member of the public has heard their claims over and over, and that the result of pushing the attack on fossils any further was the Yellow Vests in France and the current riots in Chile. Billionaires are people who get results, and McKibben’s greed fails.

    Suggest to the billionaires that they invest in farm start-ups and farm switches to Regenerative Ag, things like cover crops and pastured animals. This can restore enough carbon to the soil to satisfy the screams about the Keeling curve–all while turning a profit. Billionaires understand about profits.

    And those of us who know our physics, chemistry, and history too well to fall for the Narrative have no objection to this being done in a voluntary way.

  25. Free Enterprise lacks legitimate Public Relations support because all the benefits are hidden, and envy is a strong emotion that socialists can “ride” forever.

    Most wealthy folk are the smartest amongst us…and know where best to expand FUTURE wealth with the efficient and judicious investment of CURRENT wealth.

    The more billionaires there are utilizing (investing) assets (wealth) that maximizes growth, the better off we all are. The more of that wealth that the Government gets its hands on, the greater their power grows and the worse off MOST of us are…and more those assets get wasted…OR USED TO GROW THE Political OPPOSITION to Free Enterprise.

    It’s easy to IMAGINE a system that creates more wealth and distributes it better. But every time any of those IMAGINED systems have been tried, the results have been disastrous.

  26. Yes.

    If not fighting tropical disease or similar.

    I’m sort of in favour of them funding rockets to Mars too.

    • DDT was banned by you types, and you support “fighting tropical disease or similar.”…


      Griff the irrelevant poster that keeps on giving!

  27. I was saving this famous quote for the next story on carbon capture, but I guess I could use it here also.

    John Maynard Keynes’ famous Great Depression-era suggestion was to “hire people to dig holes then refill them.”

  28. Need new car, would consider Tesla 3. House needs new doors, windows and insulation, and would consider adding solar panels.

    Please send $$$$ now.

  29. How should billionaires spend their money?

    Maybe solve a real crisis that would cost a fraction of what is being spent on a non-problem i.e. provide clean water and sanitation, a real problem affecting nearly 800 million people worldwide and killing almost 1 million.

    How about that Billie boy or is that too much like helping out those little brown and yellow people?

  30. “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?”

    That question is like “Have you stopped beating your wife this week?” It assumes something that is not established.
    A billionaire who cares deeply about climate? A billionaire get to be a billionaire by caring deeply about more money and power. The climate change part is just a path towards that goal, a path that involves duping lots of people with propaganda so that when they get their electric bills, they don’t break out the pitch forks and head for the nearest mansion French revolution style.

    I’m certainly not anti-billioniare like Bernie. I’m in the Milton Friedman camp.

    Some billionaires like Bill and Melinda Gates spends vast fortunes on helping the poor and sick in Africa.
    Some billionaires like Bernie Marcus (Home Depot founder) build hospitals and aquariums and public facilites.
    David Koch built a world class research facilities the the Koch Cancer Research Center at MIT and a plaza in front of the NY Met Museum of Art.
    Some billionaires spend their money on Sports Teams.
    Some billionaires spend their money on rocket ships and moon and Mars fantansies.

    Then some billionaires spend their money funding the Climate Scam and its propaganda while deeply invested in renewable energy to harvest money from the middle class with crushing electric bills. So is it any wonder the Bill McKibben is seeking rent from them?

    Judge a man by his actions, not his words.

    • Well said Joel O’Bryan..
      Need to distinguish the philanthropists from the anthrophobes..
      (Philos – love, phobos – fear, anthropos – man for those who forget their classical Greek.

  31. Well gee, if that fossil fuel power is soooooo difficult to fight, why not spend money more efficiently on real solutions to real problems? Water and wastewater infrastructure. Environmental cleanup.

  32. I find it difficult to see how Greta Thunberg is actually benefitting their cause. Since her promotion to centre stage she has actually highlighted three things 1. If you want to preach global warming and not be a hypocrite this is so difficult to almost be impossible. 2. That the movement is effectively a religious movement and whether by accident or design she’s either a high priestess or the messiah. 3. Look at the science , but not too closely ( cause It doesn’t stand up to scrutiny).
    More and more any credibility that the warmist movement had is being washed away with people resenting the fact that this freakish weird girl combined with the extinction rebellion movement is causing them and there children to be extremely anxious.
    These extremists are actually highlighting what sceptics have been saying for a long time that the climate movement is not about environment but a anti capitalist movement with transfers of wealth and power to globalists with a socialist agenda.

  33. To solve climate change? What does it mean?
    I have two proposals, one needing an action of Congress, and one easy:
    1. Ban seasons (winter, spring, summer, autumn). [They are also enemies of Socialism.]
    2. Move to the tropics.

  34. Greta and her colleagues have spent barely a nickle? That’s around $0.15 AUD. I am glad this bloke is not my financial adviser.

  35. So McKibben is on the record advocating for billionaires to spend their money to buy political influence and advance their preferred policy outcomes – provided of course that they coincide with his preferred policy outcomes. Good to know … not that billionaires needed his permission. Just don’t tell Sen Warren.

  36. They should spend the money on vertical farms for urban areas. Then they need $$$ to clean up the oceans from trash. And finally I would have them set up reservoirs off of rivers that would be filled by spillways made to alleviate flooding. Then those reservoirs can be used during dry times- for example to keep CA’s grass and forests damp

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