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Seattle Leaders Join Activists In Urging Gates Foundation To Divest From Fossil Fuels

Bellamy Pailthorp
Activists are pressing the Gates Foundation to divest from fossil fuels.

Activists from Seattle got the support of health care professionals and faith leaders in their call for the Gates Foundation to divest from fossil fuels.

The announcement of about a thousand new supporters of the divestment campaign came on the same day that Bill Gates made a major statement on climate change.

He joined forces with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and several other business leaders to launch a multi-billion dollar clean energy fund in Paris, where the U.N. climate talks are now underway. It’s an effort to promote things like solar energy and wind power.

SarraTekola with Gates Divest says that fund is nice, but it’s not enough.

“Investment in renewable energy is only half of what we need. The other half is divestment of fossil fuel,” said Tekola.

Gates Divest has been protesting around Seattle since early September.

Bruce Amundson, president of the Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility says even though the clean energy fund is commendable, there’s a disconnect.

“If they’re investing, as they have, in major ways in improving the international health of the community, it’s an oxymoron then to invest in coal companies and oil companies that are creating the pollution that’s impacting the health of people negatively,” said Amundson.

The Gates Foundation has noted its portfolio is managed by a trust that doesn’t answer questions about its investments.

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