Despite the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s position that global warming poses an immediate and serious threat, the charity holds at least $1.4 billion of investments in the fossil fuel companies driving the climate crisis, sparking accusations of hypocrisy from green campaigners.
The holdings were revealed Thursday by Guardian reporters Damian Carrington and Karl Mathiesen, who analyzed the organization’s most recent tax filings in 2013.
The foundation invests in some of the biggest—and most infamous—fossil fuel giants in the world, including: BP, Anadarko Petroleum, and Vale.
The largest charitable foundation in the world, the organization says its investments are controlled by a separate entity, the Asset Trust. However, climate campaigners do not buy this abdication of responsibility, and the organization has, in the past, caved to public pressure to divest from companies that violate human rights, including Israeli prison contractor G4S.
The Guardian launched a campaign on Monday calling on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as the Wellcome Trust, to “remove their investments from the top 200 fossil fuel companies and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within five years.”
The effort has already been backed by 95,000 people, the outlet reports.
The campaign is part of a global push for fossil fuel divestment, as a strategy to deligitimize and de-fund the industries driving global warming. In response to such efforts, over 200 institutions have already committed to divest, from colleges and universities to the World Council of Churches and the British Medical Association. Ongoing campaigns are picking up momentum across world, with universities from South Africa to New Zealand to the Netherlands key battlegrounds.
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