Rockefeller Family Fund Withdraws Fossil Fuel Investments

May 31, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. influential  /ˌɪn fluˈɛn ʃəl / (adj.) – having great influence or power
Example: The president is an influential person.

2. intent / ɪnˈtɛnt / (n.) – someone’s aim or purpose
Example: The chairman expressed his intent to continue with the project.

3. sensible / ˈsɛn sə bəl / (adj.) – having good sense
Example: There seems to be no sensible reason to cut down several trees.

4. trace back / treɪs bæk / (phrasal v.) – to originate or come from something
Example: Many of today’s environmental problems trace back to careless decisions in the past.

5. burden / ˈbɜr dn / (n.) – duty or responsibility, especially something that is major
Example: We all have the burden of saving the planet.


Read the text below.
A funding organization owned by one of the most influential families in the United States is pulling out its fossil fuel investments.

The Rockefeller Family Fund (RFF) has announced its intent to withdraw all of its investments in fossil fuel companies as quickly as possible. The RFF was founded by the children of the late John D. Rockefeller, who became the world’s first billionaire through his oil company, Standard Oil. Standard Oil once held 90% of the United States’ oil industry before being broken down into several companies in 1911.

The RFF has invested in fossil fuel companies for many years. However, the organization said that it no longer finds any sensible reason to keep investing in fossil fuel companies as the world seeks to eliminate the use of the fuel.

In the announcement of its decision, the RFF paid special attention to ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company. ExxonMobil is currently under investigation for allegedly lying to the public about the effects of climate change and hiding the findings of its climate change research. Notably, ExxonMobil traces back to the Rockefellers’ Standard Oil.

Meanwhile, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF), another organization established by the Rockefellers, also withdrew its fossil fuel investments a year ago. RBF chairperson Valerie Rockefeller Wayne has called it a moral obligation to withdraw fossil fuel investments.

She added that the burden to take action against climate change is greater for them, being descendants of the man who once owned America’s largest oil company. The RBF and the RFF are currently focusing investments on causes meant to preserve the environment, such as developing cleaner energy sources.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that the responsibility to take care of the environment is bigger for some people? Why or why not?
·         What can each individual do to take part in preserving the environment?

Discussion B

·         What do you think is the most serious problem that the environment is facing today?
·         If you had great wealth, how would you spend it to help make the future better?

May 31, 2016