(CNSNews.com) – Weeks before announcing a $300-million, three-year advertising campaign to raise awareness about global warming, Al Gore was conducting a slide show for a group of investors in Monterey, Calif., touting companies such as Bloom Energy, Amryis , Mascoma and other firms that are not household names — yet.
These bio-fuel and green technology firms could be poised to take off, Gore told his audience.
“Here are just a few of the investments I personally think make sense,” he said during the March 1 presentation. “I have a stake in these so I’ll have a disclaimer there.” (See Video)
Gore’s admitted stake in those companies comes from his partnership in the venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB). Gore joined the firm last November, forging a partnership between KPCB and the London-based Generation Investment Management, a firm Gore chairs, and which steers investments in green and “sustainable” companies.
This month, KPCB announced it has invested $500 million into start-up “green growth” companies, and another $700 million into more established greentech, information technology and life science ventures.
The seed money is intended to “grow” the companies so they can be publicly traded. Both funds are closed to further investment. Last week, Generation Investment Management reportedly closed a $683-million “Climate Solutions Fund” to further investment.
The firms, with similar goals, differ in that GIM focuses mostly on public equities, while KPCB focuses on startup or expanding companies that haven’t gone public yet.
But without government action on climate change, some business analysts say green companies backed by KPCB are either unlikely to be profitable or that their growth will be slow.
To Gore’s critics, his financial stake in businesses that could profit from government policies designed to fight global warming demonstrates a motivation other than a selfless desire to protect the planet.