Climate capitalists have serious money in climate-friendly investments

BETS ON CLEAN technologies have ballooned this decade. Over $2.6trn has flowed into low-carbon energy alone since 2010, according to BloombergNEF, a research firm (see chart 1). Now that some ventures have soured, after green subsidies grew stingier around the world, many investors are thinking again.

Many, but not all. A clutch of industrialists and entrepreneurs are doubling down. The Economist’s unscientific survey has identified 12 with notably climate-friendly dispositions, and a combined net worth of $200bn (see chart 2). Some, like Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg, are household names. Others are little-known outside their industry. Their wagers cover mature technologies (electric cars, wind turbines), fast-maturing ones (high-voltage grids, meatless burgers) and out-there ideas (turning carbon from the air into useful stuff). All want to do good by the planet. Most expect to do well for themselves.

The world’s most prominent green mogul is Mr Musk. Having made a killing with PayPal, an online-payments firm, he ploughed some of his fortune into Tesla. The carmaker is in trouble; last year it lost roughly $1bn. But it has turned electric vehicles from an unsightly curiosity (think G-Wiz) first into an object of desire, then, with its mass-market Model 3, into something...

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