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Dear Matt,

Thanks for this interesting post. I really appreciate you starting an open discussion on this topic. Usually, the consensus in media in the West tends to lean towards funds coming from oil and gas nations (of which most are totalitarian as described in your article) as being “dirty” and should be avoided by VC funds and startup founders. I my opinion, this is an overly simplistic view to have.

For the record, I am pro stopping climate change, anti-totalitarian regimes, and pro liberal rights, however when listening to the debate on this topic, it usually leaves me thinking that the worry of climate change itself is built on foundation of privilege: Shall we combat climate change? Shall we only eat vegan? Do our investors/LPs have morals (whomever defined those)? Those are concerns we can afford, when we have a roof over our head, running water, electricity and the right to live freely.

There are other factors that should be considered apart from our western views on what we believe is right or wrong.

1. We thank our development in the West to natural resources and especially fossil fuels stemming mostly from countries we would define as totalitarian today. So, I see a responsibility on our side to develop a joint energy transition feasible for everyone not just a selected group of people.

2. Climate change affects all of us and we need to get all countries on board. It doesn’t help to leave countries behind and create a green and democratic West, when i.e. developing countries in Asia and the Middle East still heavily depend on fossil fuels and other natural resources and have no incentive to change (at least short-term).

3. Immense potential for political, economic, and social development for aforementioned countries. Most countries have realized the need for development of alternative cash flows in the future and want to diversify (i.e. Vision 2030 Saudi Arabia). By excluding the capital right away, we might close a door for social development. I believe long-term stability can be generated by smart future investments (i.e. infrastructure, local ecosystems, sustainable energy generation) by natural resource rich countries, while capital is still being generated from "dirty sources".

4. It’s not just about the capital itself, but also about the deployment of climate technologies and future markets. Those countries represent target markets and industries that need be incorporated when creating a holistic transition.

5. I would see employing capital for the cause of climate protection always as a preferred option to other forms of investments, which might even create more damage to the climate. If it is (becomes) lucrative, more capital will flow, which again, fuels joint actions to stop climate change.

So, I am wondering, what happens to those countries if the West closes off and if VCs and Startups don't allow investments from those countries? Shouldn’t we think long-term and rather see this as an opportunity for positive development along the entire triple bottom line including our morals instead of an “either or”?

My five cents. Interested in your feedback and any other opinion on this topic.


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