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Rockefeller Fund Dumping Fossil Fuels, Hits Exxon On Climate Issues (cnbc.com) 231

mdsolar quotes a report from Reuters: The Rockefeller Family Fund said on Wednesday it will divest from fossil fuels as quickly as possible and "eliminate holdings" of Exxon Mobil, chiding the oil company for allegedly misleading the public about the threat of climate change. The move by the U.S. based charity, which will also include coal and Canadian oil sands holdings, is especially notable because a century ago John D. Rockefeller Sr. made a fortune running Standard Oil, a precursor to Exxon Mobil.
Given the threat posed to the survival of human and natural ecosystems, "there is no sane rationale for companies to continue to explore for new sources of hydrocarbons," the fund said. Exxon did not immediately comment. In a letter posted on its website, the Rockefeller Family Fund said Exxon's conduct on climate issues appears to be "morally reprehensible."
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Rockefeller Fund Dumping Fossil Fuels, Hits Exxon On Climate Issues

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  • buy oil (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    They are selling because of emotional reasons, no matter how right they may be, in a capitalist sense it would be best to buy their shares up cheap. Only law or technology will kill big oil not bleeding hearts.

    • The fund pays for charities too. They probably get a lot of pushback to have guilt-free income sources.

  • I get the whole Greenwashing that happened there, but seriously - no matter the {whatever} you hold concerning AGW, three things are constant:

    1) Barring thermonuclear warfare or a wayward asteroid, global climate will change no matter what we do (or don't do), and will continue on its current trend.

    2) Barring the invention of commercially viable electrical generation from fusion (or some similar massive source of energy), hydrocarbons are pretty much it for providing the majority of humanity's energy, so un

    • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2016 @04:20PM (#51763989) Journal

      1. That climate always changes doesn't mean it changes so radically and so quickly.
      2. There are no lack of other sources of energy. Hydrocarbons are hardly the only solution.
      3. There are other ways to produce plastics and similar materials.

      So what we really have here is you posting patently false things as if they were true.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Fossil counts for some 90%+ of transportation energy, almost all of plastic and a lot chemical production, and something like 75% of all electricity.

        There's nothing right now that can cover that scale of energy and production.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Darinbob ( 1142669 )

          Yes, you can stop using so much of it. Conservation can work. Turn off your lights, get energy efficient appliances, stop commuting with just one person in the SUV, buy locally produced goods and food rather than having it shipped from the other side of the planet, and so forth. For larger groups or countries they can stop cutting down old growth forests and slashing and burning rainforests. It's like a friend who complains that he's got no money left at the end of the month even though he's got a new

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by djsmiley ( 752149 )

        So what we really have here is you posting patently false things as if they were true.

        Hi, and welcome!, you appear not to have used the internet before.

      • Regarding the alternatives to plastics; the increase in demand for the agricultural ingredient would cause an increase in its production. This would shift the demand for petroleum products from plastic production to fertilizer production and further contribute to soil depletion and groundwater contamination from runoff with the end result being an inferior plastic-like product. So no, there aren't any ways to produce plastic products that would yield a net positive result in the end. Not yet anyway.

      • 1. That climate always changes doesn't mean it changes so radically and so quickly.

        This is quite debatable, and highly politicized. It also does not invalidate my point, since you have provided nothing more than a vague allusion from your sentence, and have not disproven what you were replying to as it stands.

        2. There are no lack of other sources of energy. Hydrocarbons are hardly the only solution.

        I have already said that. See the part where I specifically wrote "...for providing the majority of humanity's energy..." Therefore my statement is still true.

        I'll help you out: Nuclear is still treated like some sort of venereal disease, solar and wind only work under limited condit

        • by dave420 ( 699308 )

          1. Only if you ignore the scientific findings you find so troubling. Otherwise it's patently obvious from the data what's happening. You choosing to not believe it is your problem, not anyone else's.

          • Here is what we know from actual evidence.

            Through burning fossil fuels and making cement and cutting down trees and other land clearing we are increasing the level of CO2 in the atmosphere by generally around 2ppm per year resulting in an increase from 280ppm (pre-industrial 19th century) to around 403ppm now.

            This increased level of CO2 has probably caused a temperature increase of around 0.8 celsuis since the 19th century and will very likely continue to raise temperatures by similar amounts each century.

      • by tsotha ( 720379 )

        That climate always changes doesn't mean it changes so radically and so quickly.

        The onset of the last ice age happened in the space of a single human generation. Quite a bit faster than the gloomiest AGW predictions.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      2) Barring the invention of commercially viable electrical generation from fusion (or some similar massive source of energy), hydrocarbons are pretty much it for providing the majority of humanity's energy, so unless someone at Rockefeller has information that the rest of us do not have...

      So, what's wrong with fission? Other than some people's overblown and misguided fear of it?

      • by zdavek ( 75457 )

        Absolutely nothing wrong with fission if done properly although even fission is currently more expensive than fossil fuels (between 1.5 and 2.5 times). I would suggest changing to something other the uranium based reactions though. Uranium was used because we could do it relatively easy with early tech, we have better tech and options now if the Government would allow it.

      • So, what's wrong with fission? Other than some people's overblown and misguided fear of it?

        I agree, wholeheartedly. Problem is that when you say "nuclear power" to populations and politicians, they immediately think "Chernobyl" and "Fukushima", and not "hey, that's a working technology we can improve on for efficiency and safety!"

        It's a people problem, not a technical one. Problem is, until you overcome the former, the latter will remain stifled and stunted in progress.

        • by mspohr ( 589790 )

          Beyond the fear factor, nuclear also has a fundamental problem in that it has gone from "too cheap to meter (predicted)" to too expensive to matter. Solar and wind power are as cheap a coal plants now and keep getting cheaper. Nuclear is much more expensive and just keeps getting more expensive (even in low regulatory environments).
          So, nuclear has a "banker" problem. Nobody will give money to build one because they can't pencil out a profit. The only nuclear plants being built are those who have massive gov

    • What you see as voluntary today, will be mandatory tomorrow, and it will be enforced. What's more these people will buy the politicians they need to make it happen.

      • by dave420 ( 699308 )

        Paranoid nonsense. I'd expect nothing less from you - these discussions always bring out your bad side. Remember when you didn't know the difference between ice on the sea and ice on the land? You kept on arguing your damaged logic for all to see, completely unaware of just how wrong your grasp of basic science was.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 23, 2016 @04:32PM (#51764079)

      1) Barring thermonuclear warfare or a wayward asteroid, global climate will change no matter what we do (or don't do), and will continue on its current trend.

      2) Barring the invention of commercially viable electrical generation from fusion (or some similar massive source of energy), hydrocarbons are pretty much it for providing the majority of humanity's energy, so unless someone at Rockefeller has information that the rest of us do not have...

      1. Climate does not have to continue on its current trend.

      Certainly, if we keep up the status quo, it will continue on its current trend.
      However, we can do something about it and reverse that trend.

      2. Hydrocarbons came from the sun.

      Every single joule of energy derived from hydrocarbon sources originated in the sun and eventually got buried underground.
      We can cut out the middle man (bacteria, plants, animals, dirt, millions of years of time, oil rigs, oil pipelines, refineries, etc) and just collect those joules directly ourselves.
      Are there enough solar panels to provide for all of our energy needs right now? No.
      Could there be enough solar power stations to provide for all of our energy needs? Absolutely.

      Is there a way to keep doing what we're doing and not suffer any consequences? Absolutely not.

    • by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2016 @04:34PM (#51764101) Homepage

      I get the whole Greenwashing that happened there, but seriously - no matter the {whatever} you hold concerning AGW, three things are constant:

      1) Barring thermonuclear warfare or a wayward asteroid, global climate will change no matter what we do (or don't do),

      Yes to the first part: Yes, human sources of climate change are not the only source of climate change; the other sources are still there.

      and will continue on its current trend.

      ...and no to the second. There is very very good evidence that the current trend is due to human activities. There simply are no natural sources of change that have this magnitude of effect this quickly that we would not be able to see. (Remember, we do measure solar output. One thing we know: the current trend is not due to solar variability. If we stop these activities, the current trend will stop. (Although it will take a while to do so.)

      2) Barring the invention of commercially viable electrical generation from fusion (or some similar massive source of energy)

      You just said "unless there are other sources of energy, we have to use the current sources of energy." That statement is a tautology.

      OK, so it is desirable to develop new sources of energy if we don't want to use the current sources. Fair enough. Let's get to it.

      ...

      Plastics (made from petroleum) are the backbone of technology and civilization at this time - no viable replacement has yet arisen that doesn't require even more damage to the ecosystems, or can last nearly as long when the requirements call for longevity/durability. (e.g. yeah you can make plastic from corn, but it'll be much shorter-lived and will require massive up-scaling in agriculture, which presents problems of its own.)

      1. Plastics account for so small an amount of the hydrocarbon usage that you can't even notice it on the pie chart.
      2. ...and plastic isn't the problem, since turning fossil hydrocarbons into plastics puts the carbon into the plastic, not into the atmosphere.

      • by c ( 8461 )

        and will continue on its current trend.

        ...and no to the second. There is very very good evidence that the current trend is due to human activities. There simply are no natural sources of change that have this magnitude of effect this quickly that we would not be able to see. (Remember, we do measure solar output. One thing we know: the current trend is not due to solar variability. If we stop these activities, the current trend will stop. (Although it will take a while to do so.)

        I don't think the gp was re

    • I get the whole Greenwashing that happened there, but seriously - no matter the {whatever} you hold concerning AGW, three things are constant:

      1) Barring thermonuclear warfare or a wayward asteroid, global climate will change no matter what we do (or don't do), and will continue on its current trend.

      2) Barring the invention of commercially viable electrical generation from fusion (or some similar massive source of energy), hydrocarbons are pretty much it for providing the majority of humanity's energy, so unless someone at Rockefeller has information that the rest of us do not have...

      3) Plastics (made from petroleum) are the backbone of technology and civilization at this time - no viable replacement has yet arisen that doesn't require even more damage to the ecosystems, or can last nearly as long when the requirements call for longevity/durability. (e.g. yeah you can make plastic from corn, but it'll be much shorter-lived and will require massive up-scaling in agriculture, which presents problems of its own.)

      On the plus side, this is a decision made by a private company, and they're risking their own money to do so... at least government isn't pushing these decisions upon an unwilling populace. ...and yes dear pro-AGW crowd, please feel free to mod the post down in a massive knee-jerk reaction, but how about instead of lashing out, you do us a favor and show us all where the alternatives are. If you're reading this, you are most definitely a beneficiary of petroleum, so...

      Well I'm ore than willing to pay extra for glass bottles and glass containers. So what if you can't stack glass jars.

      • by Bob the Super Hamste ( 1152367 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2016 @04:52PM (#51764293) Homepage

        So what if you can't stack glass jars.

        Lies. You should see my pantry I have a bunch of glass jars stacked in it, granted they are mason jars filled with delicious jams, stews, sauces, honey, maple syrup, and veggies so they have a pretty rectangular profile unlike most glass containers in stores that instead have long necks or disproportionately small openings to the main volume of the container.

        That said I do prefer to buy things in a glass container especially if it will take a mason jar lid (regular or wide mouth) and will reuse those for storing other things I want to keep moisture or pests out of.

    • The Rockefeller Fund, otherwise known as the Rockefeller Foundation is NOT a company but a foundation, or a grant funding organization, AKA a charity. They are not in 'business' to make a profit but rather make donations to worthy causes and hopefully set a socially responsible example for others to follow. In reality it is probably an attempt to balance out the horrible karma John D. generated on his rise to riches, and maybe shave some time from the sentence in hell he is serving for being such a bastard

      • by Tailhook ( 98486 )

        It's a tax shelter that buys influence through contributions to the "non-profits" of Rockefeller allies so they can employ the daughters and sons of the powers-that-be for $350k+/year. Oil hits $80+/bbl and they'll quietly buy back in, and no one will post a story about it on Slashdot.

    • by pr0t0 ( 216378 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2016 @05:49PM (#51764785)

      1) Global climate will change no matter what we do (or don't do),...
      True. There are many forces beyond those attributable to the anthropogenic that cause climate to change. ...and will continue on its current trend.
      Misleading since no time scale is given. The argument as presented appears to be that since corrective action has no immediate effect, no action should be taken. This is of course, absurd. Even if corrective action will not have an effect for multiple generations, it should still be taken now. We have established that our past and current actions have adversely affected the climate. It is therefore our responsibility as stewards of this planet, and of the future following generations will inherit, to take action. Anything else is selfish and cowardly.

      2) ...hydrocarbons are pretty much it for providing the majority of humanity's energy...
      False, demonstrably so. It almost doesn't even bear a rebuttal, but since I'm doing a relative point-by-point dissection; I'll do it anyway. in 2011, 61% of Canada's energy came from hydro. 70% of Portugal's energy today comes from renewables. Germany is on pace to have 80% by 2050. And then there's Denmark with a renewable energy output of 140% of it's consumption. They actually make more than they need. There are simply no technological barriers to 100% energy consumption from renewable sources. There are only economic ones, which themselves are fallacious. A nation having a surplus of energy to sell, sounds much more economical than exporting billions of dollars to other countries where oil extraction is optimal. (incidentally, I'm pointing to the alternatives you were asking for here)

      3) Plastics...
      Strawman. No one is claiming a 100% end to petroleum use is the solution, much less the only solution. Many plastics also have the neat property of being recyclable. Stating that plastics are the "backbone of technology and civilization at this time", implies that they may not need to be at some future time. Many materials scientists and engineers are already looking right now for viable alternatives.

      What your statement failed to address is that the action taken by Rockefeller is based on their belief that Exxon Mobile (et. al.) has willingly mislead the global community about the effects of oil consumption with respect to the climate. The article is light on details, but we can infer that the misleading has been going on for some time, according to Rockefeller. Are you not concerned? If it could be proven that Exxon Mobile has known about these effects for years, would you be concerned then? How about if it could be proven they actively promoted a campaign of misinformation to obscure this fact? Would you be angry, even if it didn't change your mind about how you lived your life or voted, but simply because they withheld information from you as a consumer?

      But this is really my favorite...
      If you're reading this, you are most definitely a beneficiary of petroleum, so...
      So...what? People have often been the beneficiary of things that needed to come to an end. Slavery comes to mind; not just in the U.S., but across the globe and throughout human history. People enjoyed tangible benefits from having slaves, just not the slaves themselves. Humans have had slaves far longer than we've been consuming petroleum, yet it has been globally, or nearly globally outlawed. This is a possible example of an argument made against ending slavery in the U.S. If you're clothes are made of cotton, you are most definitely a beneficiary of slavery, so...

      So you still end slavery!

      This was a lengthy rebuttal. It required thought and a little research. You may consider that as evidence that it wasn't knee-jerk. You should consider applying thought and research into more of what you do. We all should, particularly where divisive issues are concerned.

    • by zieroh ( 307208 )

      1) Barring thermonuclear warfare or a wayward asteroid, global climate will change no matter what we do (or don't do), and will continue on its current trend.

      False.

      2) Barring the invention of commercially viable electrical generation from fusion (or some similar massive source of energy), hydrocarbons are pretty much it for providing the majority of humanity's energy, so unless someone at Rockefeller has information that the rest of us do not have...

      False.

      3) Plastics (made from petroleum) are the backbone of technology and civilization at this time - no viable replacement has yet arisen that doesn't require even more damage to the ecosystems, or can last nearly as long when the requirements call for longevity/durability. (e.g. yeah you can make plastic from corn, but it'll be much shorter-lived and will require massive up-scaling in agriculture, which presents problems of its own.)

      False.

      Any questions?

    • 2) Barring the invention of commercially viable electrical generation from fusion (or some similar massive source of energy), hydrocarbons are pretty much it for providing the majority of humanity's energy, so unless someone at Rockefeller has information that the rest of us do not have...

      Actually fission would work too. It would just be a lot more expensive than coal. As in 2-3 times more expensive most likely. IOW it would be fine for rich people but would seriously suck for poor people and poor countries. If you make less than say $400 USD per month you may find you cannot afford to even use electricity if all or nearly all electricity is from a nuclear source. I have noticed that a lot of the AGW alarmists are not poor, at least not by my standard of 'poor'. Their electric bill is not a

  • In other words (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PeeAitchPee ( 712652 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2016 @04:24PM (#51764021)
    They know that petro stocks will be depressed for some time and are using their need to dump them as an opportunity for a feel-good, look-how-green-we-are presser. Just rich Wall Streeters doing what they do . . . nothing to see here, folks.
    • I find your lack of knowledge disturbing.

      The fact that the ROCKEFELLER fund came to the conclusion is the news. Rockefeller made his money by creating the modern oil industry. He monopolized oil, beating up anyone that refused to sell their oil wells to him.

      Basically, it's the equivalent of Bill Gates's charities selling all their Microsoft stock and buying Apple shares.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        That would be a sound idea, were Bill Gates long dead and Microsoft stock in the toilet. We all do know that oil prices are way, way down and not going up anytime soon, right? Right? That makes this a poor performing asset and the cash raised will be put to better use elsewhere. Plus they get to lie about why they're doing it! What, you actually believe elites like the Rockefeller Foundation when they tell you something? Think critically, you dumbfuck!
      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        The fact that the ROCKEFELLER fund came to the conclusion is the news. Rockefeller made his money by creating the modern oil industry. He monopolized oil, beating up anyone that refused to sell their oil wells to him.

        Yes, Standard Oil (S.O.) became a monopoly and it was how the anti-monopoly laws came into being.

        Standard Oil's retail chain still remains today. The oil distribution network became Exxon, while the retail chain kept its name SO, somewhat - Esso. (Which is where that funny name came from)

    • If they were dumping their petro stocks for financial reasons, the time to drop them would've been back when oil began falling from $100/bbl.

      Selling off stocks after they've seemingly hit their nadir is a common mistake rookie investors make. When a stock bottoms out, that's actually the best time to buy them. So the fact that they're selling it now actually lends credence to the backstory that they're doing it for environmental reasons. Only way your theory would fit is if they thought oil was going
  • Oh Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HighOrbit ( 631451 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2016 @04:33PM (#51764087)
    Rockefeller Fund: Now that oil has dropped from $120 per barrel to $30/$40 per barrel and oil stocks are no longer profitable, we've suddenly developed a sense of moral courage. Our decision has nothing to do with oil investments no longer being a money-spewing spigot.
    • The Rockefeller fund is heavily invested in Hydrocarbons and ALWAYS has been. It is extremely difficult for a fund with that much money not to be invested in hydrocarbons because there are so few companies that have a capital worth such that investments by the fund would see profitable returns.

      To attribute this change in investment strategy as a short term maneuver due to market performance is very shortsighted. The divestment of the Rockefeller fund from hydrocarbons is going to affect the stocks of each o

  • "there is no sane rationale for companies to continue to explore for new sources of hydrocarbons,"

    In related news, across the nation's university campuses the entire freshman class of geology majors looked at each other and said "shit, now what?".

    (I joke because I have sons at two of the big petro-geology colleges (Colorado School of Mines and U of Oklahoma), and although one is taking geology, it's with an eye to paleontology. He already knows he's not going to make any money. (grin))

  • So they were vested in Exxon for the years of high oil prices, but now that oil has tanked they're pulling out for better opportunities. As a bonus they get to do a little climate grandstanding. Brilliant. That's the sort of thinking that insures the Rockefellers make the big bucks.

    Lap it up. Your training is working as intended.

    • by mspohr ( 589790 )

      It would have been much better to sell a few years ago before oil tanked. (Remember the old saying "Buy low, sell high"... they seem to be selling low.)

    • by tsotha ( 720379 )
      Good point. A fund to keep an eye on when the price goes back up.
  • Seriously, this is smart for Rockefeller's fund, because oil and coal will really plummet in another 5-10 years. Keep in mind that while EVs in 2 years are likely to destroy new ICE vehicle sales, current cars/trucks will be around for a LONG TIME. In addition, oil's greatest and best use was never for energy, but for chemistry. As such, it will never go to zero, but close.
    Exxon's value is going to go way down, but oil use will simply continue a slow downward spiral to about 1/3-1/4 of current usage.
    • Keep in mind that while EVs in 2 years are likely to destroy new ICE vehicle sales,

      No. They haven't even gotten the infrastructure in place yet, so... no. There are too many things still to fix to make that a reality; I'll just point out one.

      At peak periods a single fuel station on a popular holiday route (to the coast) where I am sees roughly 2500 fill-ups per hour; this is in the middle of a 600km drive. If you take 60 mins to charge the car up (best-case scenario) you need parking bays for at least 2500 cars. Doable, but at many times the cost to the charging station owner who won't

  • by xtal ( 49134 )

    There's another theory on this..

    sifferkoll.se has some compelling analysis of price moves as more information and more replications of various low energy nuclear reaction type technologies happen.

    2016 will be an interesting year.

  • by hlee ( 518174 ) on Wednesday March 23, 2016 @11:39PM (#51766675)

    Rockefeller family is big - note that only RFF made that announcement, not jointly with all their other funds or the foundation. It is still a grand gesture, and clearly makes a strong political statement, but I doubt the monetary impact is anywhere close to the Rockefeller foundation.
    The Rockefeller Foundation - Founded in 1913, this is the famous philanthropic organization set up by Senior and Junior. Endowment of 3.4 billion.
    The Rockefeller Brothers Fund - Founded in 1940 by the third-generation's five sons and one daughter of Junior. Endowment of 811 million.
    The Rockefeller Family Fund - Founded in 1967 by members of the family's fourth-generation. Endowment ?

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