On of the richest people on the planet is sick of climate change and has launched a venture capital firm to slow down global warming. Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) funds companies that can make a marked reduction on annual carbon output while also being profitable. Using capitalism to undo what capitalism has caused isn’t a new idea but hopefully it’ll work. So far BEV has funded some really neat initiatives from better batteries to cutting edge biofuels manufactured by plants.
â€œWe are a unique fund with investors who are patient and flexible,â€ says Rodi Guidero, executive director of BEV. â€œOur goal is to find the companies that will have the greatest impact on accelerating the energy transition and help them in whatever way we can.â€
To help him find those companies, Guidero draws on an in-house group of scientists, technologists, and entrepreneurs, along with a network of 140 academic institutions and large corporations. They provide expertise on the vast range of technologies that BEV is interested in.
To be eligible for BEVâ€™s money, a startup needs to showcase a scientifically sound technology that has the potential to reduce annual global greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 500 million metric tons. Global emissions currently measure about 40 billion metric tons a year.
Bill Gates is best known for his hyper capitalistic behaviour creating Microsoft, but since he left the company he’s trying to change that perception. Indeed, he has done good things for the planet since he left he company he once founded. Gates and his wife have created the Gates Foundation to improve the world. They have done great work in leading American philanthropy and also contributed greatly in the fight against malaria.
He is optimistic about the future and you should be too! He points out some good news in his 2013 year in reviews.
Child mortality went downâ€”again.Â One of the yearly reports I keep an eye out for is â€œLevels and Trends in Child Mortality.â€ The title doesnâ€™t sound especially uplifting, but the 2013 report shows amazing progressâ€”for example, half as many children died in 2012 as in 1990. Thatâ€™s the biggest decline ever recorded. And hardly anyone knows about it! If you want to learn moreâ€”and Iâ€™d urge you toâ€”the report has a good at-a-glance summary on page 3.
Thirty-eight US billionaires have pledged to give at least half of their total wealth to charity during their life or after their death. Warren Buffet and Bill Gates (who have previously donated very large sums of money) have made an impression on other extremely wealth individuals in the USA with their new organization The Giving Pledge.
The campaign was started in June to convince US billionaires to give away at least half of their fortunes either during their lifetimes or after their deaths.
“We’ve really just started but already we’ve had a terrific response,” Mr Buffett said in a statement.
He added: “The Giving Pledge is about asking wealthy families to have important conversations about their wealth and how it will be used.”
Those who pledge their money to “philanthropic causes and charitable organisations” must publicly state their intention through a letter of explanation.
Warren Buffet is the owner of Birkshire Hathaway. He made his fortune through astute investing. Despite his astounding wealth, he lives a relatively modest life. He takes an annual salary of $100 000 and lives in the same house he has since 1958.