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So Soros invests in fossil fuels. So what?

James Delingpole’s latest blog on Breitbart takes a predictable swing at international financier and advocate of action against climate change, George Soros, claiming that Soros is a hypocrite for investing in fossil fuels while simultaneously advocating solutions to climate change.

This claim originates from a Daily Caller story written by Richard Pollock and published on 9th February. The article claims that Soros invested in fossil fuel companies in the fourth quarter of 2017, companies that Soros apparently claims contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Eleven companies were reported by Soros Fund Management, a total of nearly $160 million worth of investments, according to the company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings on 31st December 2017.

The problem here is that Soros has pledged action against the oil, gas and coal sectors, on the basis that those industries are exacerbating climate change. He also founded a climate change policy group called the Climate Policy Initiative, which he still operates.

The Daily Caller is an American conservative news and opinion website. In other words, it is a right wing platform. That being so, it is natural someone writing for it should go after Soros, given that he is a popular right wing target. However, the left-leaning Guardian has carried the story too, back in August 2015. This is interesting because there are various comments attached to that story trying to second-guess what Soros is up to. One very appealing theory here is that Soros is involved in some kind of asset stripping exercise so that he make a fortune while also, once these companies start to seriously decline, forcing them to make an ‘about face’ and reorientate them towards renewables. Another comment suggests:

“Maybe he's done some maths and worked out these guys can't afford to go bankrupt in the next few years because there is insufficient capacity from other sources to maintain grid stability if that occurs, and hence they would need bailing out, or similar government assistance and subsidies”.

But we’re actually getting bogged down on minutiae here. In the wider context of climate change, this really isn’t that important. For a start, Soros is a regular target of the right anyway, as Business Insider explains. There are numerous conspiracy theories about him, the vast majority of which are without foundation.

Delingpole’s usual tactic of using something like this as a crook from which to attack the whole subject of man-made climate change is fairly obvious here, particularly in his concluding claim that thanks to Trump’s revival of “beautiful clean coal”, climate change mitigation is unprofitable.

This of course is baloney. The coal industry is dying. Mostly, so far that’s been because of cheap natural gas, but renewables are increasingly reducing in cost and thus are also beating coal.

Which means that Trump has about as much chance of resurrecting the American coal industry as he has of digging up the body of the King of Atlantis.  


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