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Warren Buffett Buys More Than $500 Million in Climate-Killing Stocks
By Steve Horn
That's because he just bought more than half a billion bucks worth of Suncor Energy stock: $524 million in the second quarter of 2013, to be precise, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Suncor is a major producer and marketer of tar sands via its wholly owned subsidary Petro-Canada—formerly Sunoco—and this latest development follows a trend of Buffett enriching himself through dirty investments and deal-making.
Though he receives far less negative press than the Koch Brothers, Buffett's no deep green ecologist. Not in the slightest.
Referred to as one of 17 "Climate Killers" by Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson in a January 2010 story, Buffett owns the behemoth holding company, Berkshire Hathway. It's through Berkshire that he's making a killing—while simultaneously killing the ecosystem—through one of its most profitable wholly-owned assets: Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF).
Buffett purchased BNSF for $26 billion and was "the largest acquisition of Buffett's storied career," Dickinson wrote.
BNSF hauls around frac sand for the controversial horizontal oil and gas drilling process known as "fracking." The rail company also moves fracked oil from North Dakota's Bakken Shale basin, tar sands logistical equipment and tar sands crude itself and tons of coal. And not only does Buffett's BNSF haul around ungodly amounts of coal, he actually owns coal-burning utility companies, too.
"BNSF is the nation's top hauler of coal, shipping some 300 million tons a year. That's enough to light up 10 percent of the nation's homes—many of which are powered by another Berkshire subsidiary, MidAmerican Energy," Dickinson explained.
Beyond MidAmerican Energy, Buffett also owns the coal-burning PacifiCorp and his BNSF freight trains are largely responsible for the coal export boom unfolding in the northwest corridor of the U.S.
"PacifiCorp ... owns the most coal plants in the West and recently unveiled a long-term energy plan that did not include a single wind project over the next ten years," explained a recent blog post written by the Sierra Club. "And Warren Buffett is still involved with one of the biggest coal-burning schemes of all—ongoing plans to export coal ... to ... Asia."
"Buffett's BNSF Railway would be the primary transporter of that coal, and the company has tried to get the coal export terminals approved over the objections of thousands of activists across the Pacific Northwest."
And as his slam dunk, Buffett also has plans to convert BNSF's freight trains to utilize fracked shale gas. He then plans to use those same shale gas-powered trains to transport fracked shale oil from North Dakota—five percent of BNSF's total shipments and 190,000 cars per week—a win-win for Buffett and a lose-lose for the ecosystem and the climate.
"We have a couple locomotives we're experimenting with this year on it. The railroads are definitely experimenting with converting to natural gas," he told CNBC's Jim Cramer during an interview in March. "[Y]ou've got to look at converting any kind of an engine to natural gas."
It's quite the list of "dirty deeds" by the man coined the "Oracle of Omaha." And relative to his überwealth—to cue up the AC/DC—they're "done dirt cheap."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Ketura Persellin
Global consumption of beef, lamb and goat is expected to rise by almost 90 percent between 2010 and 2050. But that doesn't mean you need to eat more meat. In fact, recent news from Washington gives you even less confidence in your meat: Pork inspections may be taken over by the industry itself, if a Trump administration proposal goes into effect, putting tests for deadly pathogens into the hands of line workers.
‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.