Climate-Industrial Complex: Financiers Aim to Cash in on Greta Thunberg

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, centre, arrives for a meeting in the French National Assembly, in Paris, France, Tuesdays, July 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh )

Over the weekend, climate change activists associated with teen Greta Thunberg’s Climate Strike movement took to the streets, demanding “action” on climate. On Monday, climate activists tried to “Shut Down DC,” resulting in more carbon emissions as cars stall in worse traffic. Even climate activists have denounced the Climate Strike manifesto as extreme and useless, but Thunberg herself may be very useful to a certain type of climate financier.


Standpoint magazine’s Dominic Green revealed the corporate financiers and the Climate-Industrial Complex that stands to gain from Thunberg’s activism.

“The Greta phenomenon has also involved green lobbyists, PR hustlers, eco-academics, and a think-tank founded by a wealthy ex-minister in Sweden’s Social Democratic government with links to the country’s energy companies. These companies are preparing for the biggest bonanza of government contracts in history: the greening of the Western economies. Greta, whether she and her parents know it or not, is the face of their political strategy,” he wrote.

Thunberg became a viral sensation on August 20, 2018, when she launched a one-girl “school strike” at the Swedish parliament. Ingmar Rentzhog, founder of the social media platform We Have No Time, happened to be passing by, or so the story goes. Rentzhog posted Thunberg’s photo on his Facebook page and the newspaper Dagens Nyheter picked up the story.

Yet the Swedish teen’s viral moment was far more orchestrated than this official version of events. While Rentzhog insisted that he “did not know Greta or Greta’s parents” before the Parliament protest, he later admitted to meeting Thunberg’s mother, Malena Ernman, “3-4 months before everything started.” He had shared a stage with Ernman at the Climate Parliament conference. He was also tipped off about the teen’s protest at the Swedish parliament — informed “the week before” by climate activist Bo Thorén, leader of the Fossil Free Dalsland group.


In February 2018, Thorén and other activists strategized about getting young people involved. In May, after Thunberg took second prize in an environmental op-ed writing competition, Thorén approached the competition winners with a plan for a “school strike” — modeled after the gun control protest after the shootings in Parkland, Fla. Only Thunberg was interested.

The teen’s decision to launch the protest coincided with the publication of Scenes from the Heart, her parents’ memoir about how climate activism had saved their family. Svante Thunberg, the teen’s father, is an actor, and Ernman is an opera singer. Their prominence made their teen daughter an ideal face for the climate movement.

As Green noted, Rentzhog “combined Thorén’s plan and Malena Ernman’s musical fame with Greta’s uncanny charisma and We Have No Time’s mailing list, he turned Greta into a viral celebrity.”

The man who launched Greta Thunberg was trained by Al Gore:

Trained by Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, Rentzhog set up We Don’t Have Time in late 2017 to “hold leaders and companies accountable for climate change” by leveraging “the power of social media”. Rentzhog and his CEO David Olsson have backgrounds in finance, not environmental activism, Rentzhog as the founder of Laika, an investment relations company, and Olsson with Svenska Bostadsfonden, one of Sweden’s biggest real estate funds, whose board Rentzhog joined in June 2017. We Don’t Have Time’s investors included Gustav Stenbeck, whose family control Kinnevik, one of Sweden’s largest investment corporations.


In May 2018, Rentzhog and Olsson became chairman and board member of Global Utmaning (Global Challenge), a climate think tank. Kristina Persson, Global Challenge’s founder, is an heir to an industrial fortune, a career trade unionist, and a Social Democrat politician. She previously served as deputy governor of Sweden’s central bank.

Labor leaders hold board positions at the think tank, as does Catharina Nystedt Ringborg, former CEO of Swedish Water, advisor at the International Energy Agency, and former vice president at the Swedish-Swiss energy company ABB. Ringbord is also a member of green energy venture capital firm Sustainable Energy Angels, which counts a who’s who of the Swedish energy sector among its members.

When Greta met Rentzhog, he was the salaried chairman of a private think-tank owned by an ex-Social Democrat minister with a background in the energy sector. His board was stacked with powerful sectoral interests, including career Social Democrats, major union leaders, and lobbyists with links to Brussels. And his board’s vice-chair was a member of one of Sweden’s most powerful green energy investment groups.

Green admitted that Thunberg and her parents “probably did not know this.” Yet he added that Ernman and Rentzhog signed an op-ed in Dagens Nyheter calling for “bottom-up” action against national governments to fight climate change. Heiress Persson and three other Global Challenge board members signed the op-ed, but cited other affiliations.


Rentzhog later explained that “many of us involved in Global Challenge were also involved” in the op-ed. He also admitted showing Ernman “the article and the other signatures, but not their titles for Global Challenge.”

Thunberg’s father denied any connection to We Have No Time or Global Challenge. Yet the teen activist served on We Have No Time’s advisory board between November 2018 and January 2019, and — as noted above — Ernman signed the letter with four Global Challenge board members.

In December 2018, We Have No Time and Global Challenge launched the Climate Emergency Plan. Anders Wijkman, president of the anti-growth group Club of Rome, which collaborated with the other groups to launch the project, told Green that Thunberg was invited to the launch event, but declined because she was already booked to deliver a TED Talk.

The Climate Emergency Plan pushes the same narrative as Thunberg. Wijkman claimed the teen activist has been “instrumental” to getting young people involved in the climate movement. “She has been a lightning rod or catalyst of this.” He also said Rentzhog was essential to Thunberg’s rise.

In January, Rentzhog and We Have No Time used Thunberg’s face and story in promotional materials. Rentzhog claimed the family knew, but Thunberg and her parents insisted they did not. They announced their association with the financier-turned-activist was over, a curious statement given the father’s insistence that the family never associated with him in the first place.


“Whatever Greta or her parents know or think, her eco-mob increases the likelihood of legislation and investment that will make colossal profits for people like Global Challenge, We Don’t Have Time and Sustainable Energy Angels,” Green concluded. “For Sweden’s energy titans, saving the planet means government contracts to print the green stuff.”

“Green energy lobbyists use populist scare tactics and a children’s crusade to bypass elected representatives, but their goal is technocracy not democracy, profit not redistribution. Greta, a child of woke capitalism, is being used to ease the transition to green corporatism,” he wrote.

In January, Myron Ebell, director at the Center for Energy and the Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), told PJ Media that the climate crisis “has been manufactured in order to create a huge climate-industrial complex that can command the redistribution of colossal amounts of money.”

“There is a huge climate-industrial complex benefitting from this, but it’s not reducing emissions,” he said.

Under President Barack Obama, the government directed millions to the solar panel company Solyndra. The federal government offered $535 million in low-cost loan guarantees, and the company went belly-up. Senior executives collected hefty bonuses in the months before the company filed for bankruptcy.

Climate change activists like Greta Thunberg are likely motivated by the purest of intentions, but that doesn’t mean the Swedish financiers who helped her launch her Climate Strike movement won’t cash out if she convinces governments to “go green.” The Climate-Industrial Complex stands to gain a great deal from climate alarmism.


Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.


Trending on PJ Media Videos

Join the conversation as a VIP Member