Environmentalist Billionaire Made His Fortune From Asian Coal Mines

It’s a safe bet that environmentalist billionaire and big-time Democratic donor Tom Steyer has a bigger carbon footprint than you do:

Steyer, 56, stepped down as co-managing partner of Farallon in 2012 to devote himself to full-time activism because, as he later wrote, he “no longer felt comfortable being at a firm that was invested in every single sector of the global economy, including tar sands and oil.”

But he has provided few details of the extent of those fossil fuel investments or how he profited from them. He said in July 2013 that when he had left Farallon, which manages much of his estimated $1.6 billion wealth, he had instructed the fund to divest his holdings in fossil fuels. Neither he nor Farallon has said whether that process has been completed. Farallon declined to comment.

A spokesman for Steyer declined to comment for this article.

Until now, most of the conservative ire against Steyer has focused on Farallon’s energy investment record in the United States. Little attention has been paid to foreign investments such as its forays into Asian coal.

During Steyer’s tenure, Farallon helped finance coal project acquisitions in Indonesia and Australia valued at more than $2 billion and covering some of the region’s biggest mines, some of which swiftly ramped up production afterward, according to a close examination by Reuters of company disclosures and interviews with people involved in the deals.

Of course, Steyer made clear that this year he would not run ads against Democrats who voted to build the Keystone Pipeline — even though that’s at the heart of his objection to Republicans. Democratic strategist Chris Lehane, who advises Steyer, told The Hill that Steyer’s group would not run ads against Democrats, even if they support Keystone. “We aren’t going to go in to try to undermine and hurt Democrats.”

To sum up, it’s okay for him to make a fortune from Asian coal mines, and it’s okay for Democrats to vote to build the Keystone Pipeline; all of our environmental problems can be blamed on Republicans and you eating a Big Mac today.

The only thing that’s green in this picture is the background.

 

 

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