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Heirs to Rockefeller fortune launch effort to slow oil and gas growth

Heirs to Rockefeller fortune launch effort to slow oil and gas growth
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Rebecca Rockefeller Lambert and Peter Gill Case, two heirs to the Rockefeller family’s oil fortune, have pledged a total of $30 million in support of an effort that aims to combat new fossil fuel development.

The 10-year funding initiative, the Equation Campaign, derived its name from what Lambert and Case called the “missing piece of the equation” in addition to supporting the transition to renewable energy. The other half, they wrote, involves actively working against natural gas and oil extraction on the ground by supporting local activist movements.

“This includes young people fighting for their future, indigenous people defending their land and water, farmers protecting their crop, black and brown communities living in the shadow of the industry’s operations, and poor people who are not responsible for global warming but who bear the brunt of its effects,” the campaign said in a statement on its website. “Yet the truth is that in the climate crisis, we are all on the frontline; none of us can escape the impacts of climate change. Together, we can avert the worst of it.”

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Specific funding targets of the initiative will include public relations, legal support for arrested activists and the funding of lawsuits.

In addition to Lambert and Case’s $30 million, other organizations, including the David Rockefeller Fund, the Open Society Foundations and the 11th Hour Project of the Schmidt Family Foundation, are backing the project, according to The Associated Press.

Lambert told the AP the initiative was inspired by the success of local anti-pipeline activists.

“The industry has said that the number-one challenge to building new pipelines is local opposition,” she said. “These groups have amazing results, but they are seriously under-resourced.”

One recipient of the initiative’s grants, the Center for Protest Law and Litigation, is currently providing legal support to protesters against an expansion of the “Line 3” oil pipeline in Minnesota.

“The Equation Campaign is uniquely positioned to identify emergent needs and act quickly,” co-founder Mara Verheyden-Hilliard told the AP. “Time and momentum matter. Getting funds to a movement at a time when it will make the most difference is extraordinarily important.”

Case previously co-founded Bank FWD, an initiative aimed at persuading major banks to withdraw their financing of the fossil fuel industry.