Bill Gates: ‘Pleiten voor divesteren is misleiding’

16 oktober 2015 – Bill Gates, de oprichter van Microsoft, haalt hard uit naar de organisaties die pleiten voor het terugtrekken van investeringen in fossiele brandstoffen. ‘Dat zal echt niet leiden tot minder CO2-uitstoot’.

Het Amerikaanse magazine The Atlantic had een uitvoerig interview met Bill Gates over zijn inspanningen voor de energietransitie (‘We Need an Energy Miracle’). In dat interview noemt hij ‘divestment’ (het terugtrekken van investeringen in fossiele brandstoffen) een ‘false solution’ die zelfs het oplossen van het probleem belemmert. En Gates ziet de oplossing vooral in de technologie, in innovaties.
Hij maakt zich boos over de organisaties als 350.org die pensioenfondsen, universiteiten, kerken en overheden proberen over te halen hun beleggingen terug te trekken uit bedrijven die bezig zijn met fossiele brandstoffen.

Uit het interview van The Miracle
‘(…)  If you think divestment alone is a solution, I worry you’re taking whatever desire people have to solve this problem and kind of using up their idealism and energy on something that won’t emit less carbon—because only a few people in society are the owners of the equity of coal or oil companies. As long as there’s no carbon tax and that stuff is legal, everybody should be able to drive around. So I’ve been saying, “Hey, come on—broaden your message to be pro–R&D.” And even the same people who are divesting those stocks of energy companies, ideally some of that money would come into this pool that is funding these high-risk innovations. And so that’s a message that I’ve started to get out. I don’t know if that will be successful. (…)
I think dozens and dozens of approaches should be funded at the R&D level, and then people like myself, who can afford to take big risks with start-up companies, should—because of climate change—be willing to put some number of billions into the spin-offs that will come out of that government-funded activity. You can’t expect that it will be like a digital thing. So you do have to bring a more patient investor, and even a lower return threshold, to this than to other things. People often talk about, “Well, the solution that gets us beyond the CO2-based energy economy will be a mix of things.” And it will be a mix—but a few will be very big. And so the companies that find whatever turns out to be the mainstream, they will do super, super well. But there won’t be as many successes here as there are in an area like software, where there’s a lot more variety. (…)’

The Guardian besteedt ook aandacht aan de kritiek van Gates. Deze krant begon in maart overigens zelf een campagne om Bill Gates en vele anderen te bewegen zich terug te trekken uit de fossiele industrie. ‘Keep it in the ground’. (Gates heeft volgens The Guardian $ 1,4 miljard in ‘fossiele bedrijven’ geïnvesteerd.)
The Guardian laat Tim Ratcliffe van 350.org aan het woord.

Uit het bericht van The Guardian
“(…) “No one claims that divestment alone will solve the climate crisis, but it’s also clear that we won’t get anywhere unless we weaken the political power of the fossil fuel industry. If you want to see climate action, you simply cannot continue to invest in companies that are planning to burn five times more coal, oil and gas than our climate can take.”

Bronnen
The Atlantic, november issue 2015: ‘We Need an Energy Miracle’. Bill Gates has committed his fortune to moving the world beyond fossil fuels and mitigating climate change.
The Guardian, 14 oktober 2015: Bill Gates calls fossil fuel divestment a ‘false solution’
The Guardian, 16 maart 2015: campagne ‘Keep it in the ground’

Auteur: Redactie

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