“The road to hell is paved with good intentions”
…with assumptions and with ignorance of potential risk and consequences.
I can understand the biased ardour of The Guardian’s Keep it in the Ground team towards the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as they also funds the Guardian’s global development coverage.
What I can not understand is the lack of understanding the causative relationship between Climate Change and the global economical and financial system of which Bill Gates is one of the best representative figure.
The system in which he believes so fanatically and which allowed him to pile up his wealth is determined to destroy the biosphere of this planet for the shier personal interest of figures like Gates.
According to Forbes, the 1,826 members of the billionaires club owns “an aggregate net worth of $7.05 trillion, up from $6.4 trillion a year ago” possessed by 1,646 people. These guys are interested only in increasing their wealth further by taking as mach as possible and as quickly as possible from the biosphere, either directly or indirectly.
During the same period of time the population on Earth grew by more 80,000,000 people. Wast majority of them has literally nothing but they wear. To reduce the growth of human population which is the major and most fundamental reason of the climate change is not the interest of billionaires and of the current incarnation of capitalism.
In my view, The Guradian’s Keep it in the Ground team should have chosen a person to lead this campaign more wisely. They should have chosen someone who is committed to protect this planet rather than to make his profit from it.
Thanks Janos, that wasn’t what the campaign is actually about. Gates Foundation & Wellcome Trust both do a lot of good work for humanity (but yes they are part of the vested interests paradigm). But in their portfolios they have far too much support for the fossil fuel industry. So the Guardian is asking them to divest their funds out of hydrocarbons, and into (hopefully) renewables. If you’ve followed the campaign this week: yesterday the Church of England (a huge & very wealthy business) said it will divest out of fossil fuels; Prince Charles said the same; some universities already have so.
Personally I see divestment as being the quickest way to create a global shift in energy appropriation. The knock-on effects help biodiversity (which is why we are here) and of course slow down climate change driven by greenhouse gases. If a few major players, such as Gates, signs up, pretty soon many other organisations, pension funds, and countries will follow along. Those that don’t will rapidly become pariah states. If you look at what Shell has just done, they’ve become a huge vested interest ::: exactly as you’ve criticised in your post here ::: “take it all now and who cares about our planet?” I’ll post a second comment so as not to confuse the issue.
My point with this post was to highlight exactly what you wrote Mike: “that wasn’t what the campaign is actually about”. But, as The Guardian team recently set the title “Dear Bill Gates, will you lead us…” they now willingly or unwillingly created a false impression that Gates is now seen as the hero of our world, the best men who could lead the lost human population out of the misery where they suddenly found themselves. Whilst Gates actually one of the many, who took the most from this planet, and whose activity directly and indirectly pushed this planet into the trouble. So in my view, The Guardian team has made a sharp twist with their post I was referring to.
I have also signed the petition for divestment, because I’m fully agree with its objective, and I followed the other developments you mentioned. But Gates would be the last one who I’d ask to lead any campaign against climate change.
On top of that I don’t know at all from where The Guardian team and especially Mr. Rusbridger took the mandate to write “..we’re asking Bill Gates for leadership on a global problem …” without the consent of all of those who signed the petition. With this I fear they have diverted the direction of this campaign.
Ok Janos, I understand and thanks. Mike 🙂
Janos: I mentioned in an email that I’d been contacted by the ‘Keep it in the ground’ team, and asked ~ as a scientist ~ if I’d be willing to write a few notes about why I see fossil fuels and climate change as a problem. Apparently about 1000 scientists replied and commented. I also presume that the Guardian team asked other special groups for their opinions too.
The link below shares some of our thoughts; mine are included. Scroll down until you find me, then click the short headline quote: there are a few paragraphs explaining some of my concerns. Enjoy, Mike 🙂
I’ve seen your notes Mike, two days ago, and read just like the majority of other comments on that page. And I do completely agree with the wast majority of them. I also value the effort from The Guardian team to bring so many like minded people together speaking up for the same objective. 🙂
Thank you Janos 🙂 Being a day behind the rest of the world I only got it this morn 🙂
With every good intention, the Guardian has come out in recent times with articles and opinions that certainly point into a direction, that our world and especially the business world, towards which there should be be that U-turn, most important for returning the planet into a livable condition, one with security and a future for all its inhabitants. How do we ensure that has become most likely one of the most difficult problems we are facing today. Those who have accumulated the riches from fossil fuels (some 1,646), are the very ones controlling and dictating to the rest of the 8 billion people of the planet. It is true that if there were to be any meaningful changes, it will have to come from these same few individuals. Would it be totally wrong if we were to start will Bill Gates? There must be a start, and that must be from somewhere or someone. But to ask Bill Gates to lead us would be like barking at the wrong tree. Under the circumstances that we find ourselves and our planet in it should not be guidance or leaders that we need. We rather need action, and action can only come from those who have the power to act, Bill Gates being one. We need to ask Bill Gates to act, and pay heed to what the rest of the world is clamouring for. The destruction of our planet will also result in the destruction of all the Bill Gates of this world.
Divesting is what the Guardian is asking for from Bill Gates. The movement is gaining momentum, but we need not forget that all those that have agreed to divesting from fossil fuel are not those making money out of fossil fuel directly. We still need to see whether companies like Shell would also follow the route that others are following.