So George Soros, billionaire investor, philanthropist and political activist is now “Mr Green”, with an initiative announced at the weekend to invest $1bn in clean technology and donate $10m a year to a new climate policy forum over the next decade.
In a session with media in Copenhagen (which generated some glowing publicity on Monday), Soros said that while he hoped to profit, he would apply stringent criteria to his investments in clean energy technologies, reports Reuters.
Of course George wants to make a profit. And, to help things along (and further enhance his shiny, new green image), he will create and fund a San Francisco-based environmental “advisory group” called the Climate Policy Initiative, which will essentially
lobby politicians – err, “help lawmakers” – around the world on environmental policies.
Thomas Heller, a Stanford University law professor who is heading the group, said it will be “part advisory service, part policy developer and part watchdog,” according to Bloomberg. The organisation will address issues such as carbon-trading and will “look after the public interest” as policies and programmes are created to address climate change, he added.
With the big boss ploughing $1bn of his own money into the very area of the new group’s direct concern, we bet it will be very busy on the clean-tech
lobbying public policy front.
As Sayanythingblog asks: Why does “someone like Soros, making an announcement like this, get treated like some sort of an international philanthropist?” It continues:
All he’s doing is investing a bunch of money into this “green” technology while simultaneously pledging $10 million/year for the next decade to lobby the government to create a demand for what he’s investing in… This isn’t philanthropy. This is rent-seeking. If this were some oil man investing in new pumping and drilling technologies and then pledging $10 million/year to lobby for opening up new lands for oil exploration he wouldn’t be championed as some sort of philanthropist. He’d be reviled.
Of course, it adds:
The oil man would simply be seeking to get the government off his back so that he can better go about his business of providing the world with a product that’s in demand. In Soros’ case, he’s lobbying the government to force the market toward his investments.