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Rockefellers go green: Rockefeller foundation divests funds in fossil fuel industries

‘American oil dynasty to pull all investment in fossil fuel industries on eve of global climate change summit, placing it as an unlikely champion of the push towards alternative energy sources

The American family that for decades has been synonymous not just with great riches but with riches created by oil said on Monday that it was moving to divest itself entirely from all oil and fossil fuel interests.

Descendants of John D Rockefeller, who tapped the black gushers of Texas and California more than a century ago to forge Standard Oil, a company that was later to spawn such names as Exxon, Chevron, Amoco and Mobil, announced the decision on the eve of the climate change summit in New York.

It means that his heirs’ giant philanthropic foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund which holds investments totalling almost $900m (£550m), will join a growing movement that began on university campuses just a few years ago to liquidate all stakes in companies that can be tied to global warning.

And it will propel what was once America’s royal family of oil to the front ranks of the fight against climate change and the push for alternative energy sources such as wind, tidal and solar. “There is a moral imperative to preserve a healthy planet,” said Valerie Rockefeller Wayne, a great-great-granddaughter of the oil magnate and a foundation trustee.’

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