Tom Steyer, a billionaire environmental activist and prospective political candidate, founded a hedge fund that invested in foreign coal projects that will pollute for decades.
But an examination of those investments shows that even after his highly public divestment, the coal-related projects his firm bankrolled will generate tens of millions of tons of carbon pollution for years, if not decades, to come.
Some of the coal-related facilities funded by Farallon may run through 2030:
The expected life span of those facilities, some of which may run through 2030, could cloud Mr. Steyer’s image as an environmental savior and the credibility of his clean-energy message, which has won him access to the highest levels of American government.
Steyer’s hedge fund “pumped hundreds of millions of dollars” into companies operating coal mines and coal-fired power plants in Indonesia and China:
Over the past 15 years, Mr. Steyer’s fund, Farallon Capital Management, has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into companies that operate coal mines and coal-fired power plants from Indonesia to China, records and interviews show.
The coal investments Steyer’s hedge fund made coincided with growing coal prices:
The New York Times examined the operations of coal-mining companies in which Farallon invested or to which it lent money during Mr. Steyer’s stewardship, which coincided with growing demand and prices for coal.
The mines supported by Steyer’s firm have increased their production since receiving investments from Steyer’s hedge fund:
Together, those mines have increased their annual production by about 70 million tons since they received money from the hedge fund, according to corporate records, government data and interviews with industry experts.