- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 25, 2015

World’s richest man Bill Gates may be a climate-change guy, but it turns out he’s not a divestment guy.

The Microsoft co-founder said at a late Wednesday event that he has no plans to sell off his oil-and-gas holdings even as he moves to double to $2 billion his personal investments in research on renewable energy.

“I don’t see a direct path between divesting and solving climate change,” Mr. Gates said, as reported in the Financial Times. “I think it’s wonderful that students care and now the Pope cares. But that energy of caring, I think you need to direct it towards something that solves the problem.”

With an estimated net worth of nearly $80 billion, Mr. Gates has come under intense pressure from climate change divestment groups like 350.org to dump the Gates Foundation’s fossil fuel stocks from its $43.5 billion endowment.

In an April 30 open letter, the [U.K.] Guardian announced a petition campaign in concert with 350.org aimed at convincing the Gates Foundation to divest, saying “it would send a powerful signal to fossil fuel companies and to governments that business as usual is not acceptable.”

“We chose to call on the Gates Foundation (which incidentally also funds the Guardian’s global development coverage) precisely because they are one of the good guys. They certainly understand the nature of the climate threat,” the letter said.

But Mr. Gates told the Financial Times that the focus should be on increasing research and development in renewables, saying that the current technology could only reduce carbon dioxide emissions at a “beyond astronomical” cost.

“There’s no battery technology that’s even close to allowing us to take all of our energy from renewables and be able to use battery storage in order to deal not only with the 24-hour cycle but also with long periods of time where it’s cloudy and you don’t have sun or you don’t have wind,” Mr. Gates said.

“Power is about reliability. We need to get something that works reliably,” he said.

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