For John Arnold, the billionaire philanthropist who made his fortune betting on natural gas prices, the fossil industry seems finally ready to move on.
A year ago, the talk in the Houston energy hub was mostly about denouncing oil and gas and defending renewables, Arnold said on his Twitter account Monday. Much of the discussion has now shifted to clean-energy topics including wind, solar and batteries.
Even those who are not ideological believers are taking the cues from the financial markets, which have no interest in oil production growth anymore, Arnold said. The former trader also said that the capital available for oil and gas is drying up, while every private equity firm in Houston is raising money for clean energy. The markets reward those in a secular growth industry versus one in growth decline.
Arnold, who closed his hedge fund in 2012 at age 38 to pursue philanthropies, said that the shift has made him more optimistic about decarbonization, which requires the scale and financial resources that large companies possess. The fossil fuel industry has that expertise and is now focusing on a low carbon future.
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