Often, billionaires are associated with the fossil fuel industry. However, the trend seems to have been changing in recent years. From T. Boone Pickens investments in wind energy, to Bill Gates championing clean technology and Richard Branson’s passion for biofuels, the list is growing.
You can add another one to the list….
Meet Tom Steyer, a billionaire hedge fund manager, who is worth $1.3 billion. Recently, he announced he is leaving Farallon Capital. Steyer plans to devote more time towards both charitable and political causes, according to a Reuters article.
One of them is the upcoming Proposition 39 in California, which he helped put on the November ballot. If successful, the bill would look to stamp out loop holes that benefit out-of-state corporations in California. Under the new bill, if it passes, such companies would pay taxes based on sales within the state.
Proposition 39 would also put half of $1 billion raised from the new taxes into clean energy and energy efficiency jobs within the first five years.
Steyer, who has put an astonishing $21.9 million towards the proposal, believes it’s vital to rapidly moving off coal and towards a clean energy future:
His plan: “We immediately get off coal. We move to something that we actually can live with, and proves we can do it in a way that provides a ton of jobs, you know, improves our health, and sets us on a profitable path for the long-term, where we are not causing massive destruction.”
This is not the first time Steyer has been involved in environmental propositions. In 2010, he put $6 million against Proposition 23, which would have weakened greenhouse gas regulations in California.
More billionaires like Steyer in the clean energy arena is a good move, as this infant industry needs strong financial backing against the dirtiest players in the energy game.
A University of Winnipeg graduate who received a three year B.A. with a combined major in Economics and Rhetoric, Writing & Communications. Currently attempting to be a freelance social media coordinator. My eventual goal is to be a clean tech policy analyst down the road while I sharpen my skills as a renewable energy writer. Currently working on a book on clean tech and how to relate it to a broader audience. You can follow me on Twitter @adamjohnstonwpg or at www.adammjohnston.wordpress.com