Green billionaires

Ian Deacon
English Section / 22 noiembrie 2021

Ian Deacon

Since John D. Rockerfeller bought his fist oil business in 1863 energy has always been the industry in which to make huge fortunes. The green economy will be no different .

Six years ago, around the time the ink was drying on the Paris Agreement, a so-called green billionaire was someone who donated to environmental causes. Maybe they had a mansion with solar panels, or a hybrid or two parked in the garage.

Now, as world leaders and executives gather for urgent UN climate talks, the richest person on Earth is an actual green billionaire.

Elon Musk's vast fortune stems from a company that's revolutionized electric-powered transport and is hastening the demise of the internal combustion engine, responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions. While Musk courts outrage and embraces drama-just last weekend he polled Twitter over whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla stake-he's also made clear the serious wealth-building potential of green investments.

Musk is an example of the riches that are achievable over the coming decades. Lower-carbon technology is no industrial niche-it is industry. It's evident in the big-ticket commitments emerging from the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, where financial institutions with $130 trillion of assets have pledged to reach net-zero, and in the mammoth fortunes being created by the clean-energy transition.

The 15 billionaires on Bloomberg Green's ranking showcase the explosive growth of electric vehicles, batteries, and solar power. Not every dollar in these fortunes is derived from climate-aligned businesses whose core products reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. With Musk, his green net worth, or the portion of his fortune tied to cars and solar, is $247.9 billion-86% of his overall wealth-but it excludes his interests in other businesses such as space rockets.

Altogether, these green fortunes are worth about half a trillion dollars-more than double the market capitalization of Chevron Corp.-and an increase of 41% since February, when Bloomberg last updated the list. Much of that gain is due to Tesla, whose stock has soared on increased production, rising profits and last year's inclusion in the S&P 500 Index. That's enriched shareholders of all sizes and launched one of its biggest, Singapore-based investor, Leo KoGuan, onto the list in his own right.

The top 15 billionaires in the world

Green billionaires

source: Bloomberg Green

The combined value of the solar fortunes on the ranking has more than doubled since February.

Eighty percent of the billionaires on the list hail from China, a sign of the nation's preeminence as a manufacturing hub for clean technologies despite its leader's conspicuous absence from the COP26 summit.

Tycoons who make electric vehicles or the batteries that power them still dominate. The biggest investors in Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., the world's biggest supplier of batteries to electric-car makers, exceeded Musk's gains in percentage terms. Still, challenges persist. Automaker Nio's Chief Executive Officer Li Bin fell six rungs and Li Auto's Li Xiang and Fan Zheng fell off completely as supply-chain snarls hampered production.

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