Billionaire investor George Soros, who has a reputation a mile long for opposing fossil fuels and Big Coal business, has sounded some market alarms with his recent investment in two large coal companies – firms that his critics say he actually helped destroy.
“I find it very interesting that George Soros would buy shares in those coal companies,” said Daniel Simmons, the vice president for Policy at the Institute for Energy Research, a free-market energy group, Fox News reported. “I am confused given the non-profits he funds and how hard they have worked to demonize coal.”
Soros oversees the Climate Policy Initiative, a think tank that’s pressed for the worldwide halt to fossil fuels, particularly in the coal business. But the billionaire investor has just now invested in Peabody Energy, buying a million shares, and Arch Coal, for a half million shares, a market move that counters his policy rhetoric and puts him in charge of most of the American coal industry.
Six years ago, Soros would have paid about $90 per share of Peabody stock. Now, Peabody trades for about $1 a share, thanks in large part to the punishing regulatory atmosphere put in place for all-things coal under the Obama administration.
Peabody released a statement that said “it has been trying to turn itself around as it faces challenges from low natural-gas prices, a glut of global coal supplies, weakened demand from China and a growing public call to cut carbon emissions,” Fox News said.
Market watchers say Soros has invested $1 billion or so in clean energy technology over the last few years, and another $100 million in his Climate Policy Initiative, which partners with the U.K. Department of Energy & Climate Change and the U.S. Department of State, to name a couple.
In 2009, Soros was convicted in a French court of insider trading. The billionaire has since gone on to financially support the presidential campaigns of Obama, who’s been a staunch opponent of Big Coal and has even gone so far as to vow to shutter the entire industry.
And coal industry insiders see the current low market costs of related stocks as directly related to Obama’s promises.
“The drop in coal market stock is directly related to the promises that Obama made to his environmental extremist supporters, ‘you can build coal fired power plants, but we will shut them down,'” said John Sparr, a geologist who specializes in the coal industry, Fox News said. “With markets dwindling, coal companies shutting down and workers being laid off, it is no wonder that stocks are crashing.”
And Soros is believed to have played a big hand in the current coal situation, said one energy consultant.
“George Soros spent millions of dollars and multiple years helping to drive down the price of coal,” said H. Sterling Burnett, a research fellow with the Heartland Institute, to Fox News. “If he buys enough stock to have controlling interests in these coal businesses, closes them down and leaves the coal in the ground, we might accept that he is a true believer, that his investment was all about stopping climate change and saving the environment. But my suspicion is that he helped to drive stocks down, bought as many shares as he can and, when stocks rebound, he can sell his shares and make a huge profit.”