Extreme “green” activists love to take credit for natural economic factors. In September, Seattle City Council members Kshama Sawant and Mike O’Brien celebrated Royal Dutch Shell’s withdrawal from the Arctic by taking credit for multi-billion dollar company’s purely market-based decision.
Well, extreme greenies are at it again. This time taking credit for the Gates Foundation’s incremental scaling back on fossil fuel stocks.
The trust managing the Gates Foundation’s portfolio “held at least $1.4 billion in stocks and bonds in companies like Exxon Mobile and Royal Dutch Shell.” In 2014, the trust’s 2014 tax return “shows investments in those firms fell to about $475 million.”
Former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, who couldn’t win re-election yet is still a so-called leader of the local extreme greenies attacking the Gates Foundation for investing in energy stocks, believes the drop means “the Gateses are paying attention to the fast-growing divestment campaign.”
McGinn told the Seattle Times, “The Gates Foundation has a history of responding to public pressure, while simultaneously not admitting they are responding to public pressure.”
Attacking the Gates Foundation as being spineless, like a politician perhaps, fits McGinn’s extreme political profile, but not the facts. The Seattle Times,
“…the lower value of the foundation’s fossil-fuel investments at least partly reflects plummeting oil prices, which have depressed stock prices. And cutting back on underperforming stock makes good financial sense, said Scott Montgomery, who teaches energy economics and geopolitics at the University of Washington.
“‘A very, very large number of foundations, universities, pension funds and other investing entities have reduced fossil fuels in their portfolio because they’ve lost a lot (of money) and they don’t want to lose more,’ he said.”
The reality is that the foundation made its significant portfolio changes before McGinn and his kayaktivist friends were making their non-economic demands. How the foundation chooses to invest is not driven by some protesting greenies, even if it does make McGinn feel better to claim so.