Oil dynasty shifts to renewables

oilHISTORY’s biggest oil family, the Rockefellers, has announced they are moving away from fossil fuels in a significant show of support for renewable energy.

The Rockefeller family heirs pledged to help divest US$50 billion of fossil fuel assets as part of the Global Divest-Invest coalition, which has attracted 650 individuals and 180 institutions that control billions of dollars worth of fossil fuel investments.

“The fund has begun a two-step process to divest from investments in fossil fuels, first focusing on limiting its exposure to coal and tar sands, with a goal to reduce these investments to less than 1 per cent of the total portfolio by the end of 2014,” the Rockefeller Brothers Fund said in a statement.

The modern-day Rockefellers descend from US oil baron John D Rockefeller, who invested in the then-new oil refining industry in 1862.

As the founder of Standard Oil, Mr Rockefeller invested in a Cleveland refinery three years after oil was found in Pennsylvania, and by 1872 owned nearly all of the refining companies in Cleveland. He became the first US billionaire in the 50 years that followed.

“We are quite convinced that if he were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy,” Rockefeller Brothers Fund and heir Stephen Heintz told Reuters.