An earlier version of this piece was published in the Houston Chronicle.
Picture a day when the world’s most-watched video features a C-level oil executive on a TED stage with his family, saying, “For years, my kids have told me the work I do threatens their futures. I didn’t pay much attention. Now I realize they’re right. I see the long-term danger in overloading our air with carbon dioxide. Most of our underground reserves can’t ever be used. I want to stay at my company and help find a way out.”
How might that moment arrive?
Last year we got a preview, when the Rockefeller family stunned the media and markets by announcing it will sell all its investments in coal and tar sands. Rockefeller Brothers Fund President Stephen Heintz invoked the family’s moral responsibility, then summoned up founding father John D., saying, “I’m convinced that if he were alive today — he was an innovative, forward-looking businessman — he would recognize that the opportunity in the future is clean energy technology, and he’d be leading the business charge to get us to that economy.”
Family influence isn’t new. Back in the 1930s, when Henr... Read more