I dreamt last night that Google had decided to pull out of its cleantech investments. Don’t ask.
Anyway, imagine my relief this morning when I woke up to discover that not only was Google still in the game (despite some frustrations), but George Soros, another liberal-minded fountain of money, plans to invest $1 billion in clean technology and related sectors. The Hungarian-born investor made the announcement during a speech in Copenhagen October 10th.
In honor of Blog Action Day’s climate change theme, we salute you, George Soros. And your money, too.
A Million, A Billion — Whatever.
Soros, who made his fortune manipulating currency markets, will also donate $10 million a year for a decade to fund the newly created Climate Policy Initiative, which will be officially launched in Berlin next month.
Whether the world needs another climate policy organization is debatable. But then you can’t call yourself hip these days in certain circles without a Tesla and an initiative of some sort. Soros said the Climate Policy Initiative, which will be based in San Francisco, will “protect the public interest against special interests.”
All sarcasm aside, Soros, the world’s 29th richest person, is known as a canny investor, and it is unlikely his billion, should it actually amount to that much, will be wasted. (As Business Week notes, however, T. Boone Pickens, the Texas oilman, also made hefty promises of investment in clean energy, only to back away from them later.)
Soros said “stringent conditions” will be used in picking fundees. “I will look for profitable opportunities, but I will also insist that the investments make a real contribution to solving the problem of climate change,” he said, according to the UK’s Guardian.
Soros also came out against a carbon trading market as a way to reduce greenhouse gases, in favor of a carbon tax instead, citing the danger of manipulation of the market by investors. He should know.
Cleantech Sector Heats Up
Investment in the clean technology sector has been picking up, after scattering during the meltdown last year. $25.9 has been invested in the sector in the third quarter of 2009, according to New Energy Finance.