Billionaires Versus Big Oil

“The Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Stanford University are divesting from coal… The small amounts divested so far are unlikely to have any serious short-term impact on Big Oil or Big Coal, but the popularity of the divestiture movement is a reflection of a growing anti-fossil-fuel sentiment.

Perhaps more threatening to the fossil-fuel industry are campaigns by environmental groups such as the Rainforest Action Network to put pressure on banks not to lend to companies that worsen global warming or defile the environment. In March, PNC Financial, the nation’s seventh-largest bank, said it would no longer finance coal-mining companies that pursue mountaintop removal of coal in Appalachia. Bank of America, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Credit Suisse, and others have already started to phase out their financing of mountaintop coal-mining companies. When climate-minded investors such as Stanford University divest coal stocks, someone else who doesn’t care about global warming will just buy the shares. But when banks refuse to finance projects, it can pose an existential threat to an industry.”

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