George Soros made big investment bets on fossil fuel companies in 2017 even though he claims these firms contribute to climate change.
In the last quarter of 2017, Soros Fund Management reported investments in eleven new fossil fuel corporations totalling nearly $160 million, according to his company’s December 31, 2017, filing before the Securities and Exchange Commission.
His 2017 investments in fossil fuels undermines his public pledge to use his money to eliminate the oil, gas and coal industries, claiming they threaten the planet by accelerating climate change.
The billionaire’s warning about climate change was his underwriting of the organizations behind the April 29, 2017, “People’s Climate March” that marked the 100th day of President Donald Trump’s administration. Soros donated $36 million to 18 of the march’s 55 steering committee organizations between 2000 to 2014, according to the Media Research Center.
He also agreed to give former Vice President Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection $10 million over a three-year period.
Further, Soros founded and operates his own climate change advocacy group called the Climate Policy Initiative. He pledged to give at least $100 million in 2009 to the institute over ten years and in 2015 he gave $26.5 million to the group, according to a filing with the Internal Revenue Service.
Nevertheless, his financial investments in for-profit fossil fuel companies in a single quarter overshadow these contributions.
The billionaire’s newest fossil fuel investment was $87 million in Alerian, MLP, a fund that solely invests in “energy infrastructure” consisting of pipelines, storage tanks and processing plants for crude oil and natural gas. He purchased eight million shares of the company.
His company’s second biggest energy investment was Halliburton, one of the world’s largest oil exploration and drilling companies. His firm purchased 842,000 shares valued at $30 million.
Soros not only invested in oil and natural gas companies, but also into coal. Soros tried to position himself as an enemy of coal, stating at the 2009 Copenhagen climate change summit, “There is no magic bullet for climate change, but there is a lethal bullet: coal.”
In 2017 however, he invested $4.7 million into Peabody Energy Corporation, the largest “pure play coal company” in the United States, according to the company’s website. Peabody sold 188 million tons of coal to electric utilities in 2016. The company operates 23 surface and underground mines in the United States and in Australia.
This is not the first time Soros owned Peabody Energy. He purchased $2.25 million in Peabody stock in 2015, according to the London-based Guardian. He later sold his stake in the company, but in 2017 he again returned to Peabody, doubling his total financial investment in company.
Other oil and gas companies purchased by Soros include oil and gas firms Noble Energy and Energen Corporation, oil field service firms like Ocean Rig UDW and Oasis Petroleum, propane, natural gas and natural gas liquefaction product UGI Corporation, and the oil and natural gas distributor Atmos Energy Corporation.
Soros finds oil and natural gas pipelines to be attractive. Despite the political activist uproar in the building of the Keystone XL project, in June 2016 the billionaire invested $54 million in Columbia Pipeline, an oil and gas pipeline company that completed its merger with TransAmerica, the owner of the pipeline. He later sold his ownership in the company.
He continued his support for energy pipelines in the last quarter. Soros bought shares in Oenok Energy that builds pipelines and storage tanks for natural gas and Plains GP that provides pipeline for the transportation of crude oil and natural gas.
Soros invested in other industries dependent upon fossil fuels. Those companies include Transdign, which provides parts for the aerospace industry and Arconic Holdings, which produces titanium and aluminum products for aircraft, defense, oil and gas.
His firm currently invests in cars and airlines, including holding stock in General Motors, Fiat-Chrysler, and Allison Transmission, which makes transmissions for heavy-duty trucks. He has supported airlines for many years and currently owns stock in Southwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines.
The billionaire also bought stock in energy-intensive companies like Martin Marietta Metals. It is the manufacturer of asphalt, concrete, cement, magnesium chemicals and lime. He purchased $4.6 million worth of stock in the company.
Soros’s investment activity “was not surprising,” stated Craig Richardson, president of the free market Energy and Environment Legal Institute.
“These global elitists try to wrap themselves in this ‘sky-is-falling, fossil fuels are bad, climate change is real mantra,’ but the fact of the matter is they are doing that to manipulate markets,” he said.
Matthew Vadum, the senior vice president of the non-profit Capital Research Center called Soros “a huge Chicken Little” when it comes to the theory of global warming. “He rails against so-called fossil fuels –particularly coal, which he claims is ‘lethal’ to the planet — and has lavished mountains of money on the zealots at no-growth environmentalist groups,” he said.
Despite his public statements, he says Soros “likes to hedge his bets. Soros is avaricious enough to buy coal company stock and keep the sector afloat for a while.”
Soros also invests in companies that produce products leftists generally abhor. He continues to own $21 million of stock in Monsanto, one of the largest companies that manufactures genetically modified plants and foods.
Soros also doesn’t apparently mind investing in companies that violate federal law and even hurt such vulnerable populations such as cancer patients.
He announced his investment in AmerisourceBergen, a health care company that pleaded guilty in September 2017 for selling to cancer patients syringes that were not kept a sterile environment in its facility. This resulted in contamination in some syringes and syringes that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The company agreed to pay penalties of $260 million for the criminal prosecution.
Soros purchased 5,000 shares in AmerisourceBergen in 2017, which at the time was valued at half million dollars.
Soros once was the 19th wealthiest American with a net worth of $25.2 billion. As of May 2020, he had a net worth of $8.3 billion, having donated more than $32 billion to his organization and it’s initiatives at the Open Society Foundation.