Bill Gates

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Bill Gates (Microsoft Billionaire) is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In 2004 Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates was elected "to serve on the board of directors of prominent investment company Berkshire Hathaway." [1]

Bill Gates in tobacco industry documents

Bill Gates is mentioned in a 1998 Philip Morris presentation outline as an example analagous to the tobacco industry's historical path of first being favored by society for a long time and then being reviled for having accumulated unprecedented wealth and power:

... [T]he current perception -- and a carefully nurtured one it is -- is that we [the tobacco industry] make no positive contribution to society. Further, we are perceived as a "greedy" industry, in spite of our efforts to demonstrate the contrary. Interesting examples of this phenomenon exist, the most recent being Bill Gates of Microsoft. For years he was hailed as the paradigm of the modern entrepreneur, the model on whom all should build. Until he became too successful. And then what happened? Somehow, he was demonized, and became the enemy. Investigated and then prosecuted by the government, it now appears likely that he will lose his case, with unknown consequences. Hasn't something similar happened to tobacco? [4]

An image of Bill Gates is featured prominently on the cover of a July 21, 2000 confidential Philip Morris Anti-trust training manual. The manual is designed to educate employees about how to comply with antitrust laws like the Sherman Act, the Clayton Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act. Next to Bill Gates' picture is a quote attributed to him which says, "This antitrust thing will blow over. We haven't changed our business practices at all. -- Bill Gates, 1995"[5]

Bill Gates and the Energy Industry

  • Bill Gates has made many public statements on the importance of climate change and has participated both financially (through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)and personally in events that seek to stress the importance of climate control and the damage pollutants and emissions can do.
    • World Economic Forum: The conference met in Davos, Switzerland to address global issues of overriding international importance. Included in this conference was the issue of climate change. [6]
      • In his address during the conference in 200, Gates said, "climate change will have the biggest affect on people who have done the least to cause it."[7]
  • However, contrary to Gates' personal statements on the issue, the investment of his assets tells a different story, as Gates has vested financial interests in the energy market, especially coal.

Cascade Investments, L.L.C.

  • Cascade Investments is the privately owned investment firm of Bill Gates, utilized to manage his assets. The firm invests in both regular markets as well as capital ventures. [8]
  • Cascade has made many investments on Gates' behalf that seem to bely his outward stance on climate change and environmental protection. [9]
    • Estimated $90 million dollars in voting stock in Otter Tail Power in addition to a $50 million dollar loan. [9]
    • 50% ownership in EnergyCo with PNM Resources[9]
      • EnergyCo owns a 350 MW coal-burning plant in Texas[9]
      • The company also partnered with utility company NRG Resources that operates coal-burning plants nationwide.[9]
      • Cascade also invested an additional $100 million dollars for EnergyCo to buy out TNP Enterprises, a gas and electric utility in Texas that also operates a refinery.[9]
    • Cascade invested $1.6 billion dollars in the Canadian National Railway, a major portion of its business being coal transportation from Alberta and British Columbia to Canada, parts of the central United States, and to the ocean for international transport. [9]

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates visit Arch Coal's Black Thunder Mine

In November 2010, Warren Buffett and billionaire Bill Gates, a Berkshire director, visited the Black Thunder Mine in Wyoming. Buffett was quoted later as saying that he found the trip to the Black Thunder Mine “fascinating.” Neither gave interviews during the tour, but some speculated that the trip was an indication that the two were looking to invest in the project.[10] However, in the past Bill Gates has stated that coal and natural gas must be phased out by 2050.[11] As the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett also owns the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad that transports most of Wyoming's vast coal supply around the country, along with the utility company, MidAmerican Energy, which operates 11 coal-fired power plants, including four in Wyoming.[12]

On Dec. 14, 2010, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett met with President Obama's Oval Office and discussed ways to improve the economy. According to author Jeff Biggers, on Jan 6, 2011, Wall Street analysts said Buffett was betting "big" on Coal. In a Feb. 26, 2011 annual Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Letter, Buffet said his coal-transporting railroads (nearly 300 million tons of coal a year) "will increase Berkshire's "normal" earning power by nearly 40% pre-tax and by well over 30% after-tax." On March 22, 2011, citing the nuclear tragedy in Japan and world energy needs, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar opened 750 million-2.4 billions tons of coal on public lands in Wyoming's section of the Powder River Basin for coal development.[12][13]

Critical Resources

Resources and articles



  1. Gates joins board of Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, ZDNet, accessed December 9, 2007.
  2. Goi Peace Award, Goi Peace Foundation, accessed December 16, 2011.
  3. Supporters, organizational web page, accessed May 14, 2013.
  4. Untitled report 1998/Estimated date. 4 pp. Philip Morris Bates No. 2505496832/6835
  5. Philip Morris Philip Morris USA Antitrust training Speech/report/presentation. July 21, 2000. Bates No. 2082135825/5864
  6. "World Economic Forum-Annual Meeting 2009". United Nations.
  7. "A New Approach to Capitalism in the 21st Century". Microsoft.
  8. "Cascade Investments, L.L.C. Private Company Information". Business Week.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 Given His Investment and Loan, Gates Interest in Otter Tail Power Appears More Than Passive, Business Week, 7/7/08
  10. "Warren Buffett is Betting Big on Coal" Jim Fink, Investing Daily, January 6, 2011.
  11. "Bill Gates: ban coal and invest in clean energy technology", February 12, 2010.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "All the President's (Coal) Men: Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Obama's Wyoming Giveaway" HuffPo, March 28, 2011.
  13. "Coal mining to expand on public lands in Wyoming" Jim Spellman,, March 22, 2011.

External Resources