In 2016, billionaire hedge fund manager, Tom Steyer, activist, and environmentalist, has spent over $65 million to back environmental causes and the Democratic Party. After all of that spending, there’s no wonder why he is shocked that Donald Trump won the November presidential election. Now, as the founder of Farallon Capital and the environmental group NextGen Climate, he is making use of his voice–and his wallet–to fight the Trump administration.
Tom Steyer joined The Forbes Interview podcast to talk politics, investing, and how he believes a big tax on fossil fuels will spur a green energy renaissance.
Here’s what Steyer had to say about Trump:
“I see this election as ushering in an administration that is waging on all-out attack on American interests, on the civil liberties of Americans, and on the American people in general. I want to be part of the group of people that stands up and tries to protect our basic rights and put out a more optimistic view of what we can do together. Opposed to this terrible attempt to divide us, prove the world’s terrible and only a true authoritarian can save us from ourselves.”
Steyer also explained how a fee on fossil fuel pollution can spur a clean energy revolution:
“Find out what the cost to society is from the different kind of pollution associated with fossil fuels and charge them and let the market work… Charge a fee based on pollution. You have to pay for the right to pollute. This was originally done with the hole in the Ozone layer where, under the Reagan administration, they said you had to pay to pollute, and had a fee. American business replaced the bad technology in 6 months. DuPont came up with something better. Americans are smart, great researchers, they’re great at commercializing good ideas and driving down costs.”
Steyer on the investment philosophy of his billion-dollar fund, Farallon Capital:
“When we thought about investing, our rule was it’s important not to be greedy. We were always trying to be honest, not take huge risks, and always understanding the risks we were taking. The first rule of investing is don’t lose money, the second rule of investing was don’t forget the first rule. Lots of people say I don’t want to lose money, but they use math formula that says “I’ll make 10 investments–1 will return 10 to 1 and others will return zero.’ Well that’s reasonable, but what we said was we are trying to compound at a good rate and do it consistently. If you do the math, the people who do well are those that compound over and over again.”