Former vice president and environmental activist Al Gore is joining forces with a venture capital company that’s seeking to profit from the move toward “clean technology” in the $6 trillion global energy business.
Gore is becoming a hands-on partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a major Silicon Valley venture capital firm where an old friend, John Doerr, is a partner.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner’s move comes as the company “makes a risky move beyond information technology and healthcare investing into the fast-growing and increasingly competitive arena of ‘clean energy,’” Fortune magazine reports.
Within several years more than a third of Kleiner’s latest fund, which totals $600 million, will reportedly be invested in technologies that seek to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Among the companies the fund has already invested in are firms that make microbes to scrub old oil wells, build large-scale solar-power farms, develop solid-oxide fuel cells, and design equipment for use in electric car batteries.
Doerr, meanwhile, will join the advisory board of Generation Investment Management, the $1 billion investment company Gore began three years ago with David Blood, former head of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, to invest in environmentally friendly companies.
Gore, along with Doerr and Blood, insist that halting global warming will require “a makeover of the $6 trillion global energy business,” according to Fortune.
“Coal plants, gas stations, the internal-combustion engine, petrochemicals, plastic bags, even bottled water will have to give way to clean, green, sustainable technologies.”
Asked why he is combining his environmental advocacy work with a profit motives, Gore — who is already an advisor to Google and a director at Apple Inc. — told Fortune: “We all believe the market must play a central role.”
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