New shades of green in Gore future

Another career sequel continues with the climate theme, now as a venture capitalist.

By Times wires
Published November 13, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO - Former vice president, star of an Academy Award winner, Nobel Peace Prize winner and now venture capitalist.

Al Gore announced Monday that he would join one of Silicon Valley's most prestigious venture capital companies, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, as a partner heading its climate change solutions group.

Gore, 59, is hoping to translate his standing as the top evangelist on climate change to push businesses worldwide to increase their investments in renewable energy and other projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The announcement solidifies Gore's San Francisco Bay area ties. Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize last month for his work on climate change, Gore is already a senior adviser to Google Inc. and a member of the board at Apple Inc., and is expected to be a high-profile partner at Kleiner Perkins.

He would not disclose his salary but said he will donate it to Alliance for Climate Protection, an advocacy group he co-founded that focuses on accelerating policy solutions to the climate crisis. The donation does not include stock options.

Typically, salary is a tiny fraction of a venture capitalist's compensation; the vast majority of wealth comes from sale of stock options when the companies the firm invests in are sold to the public.

"It's one of the benefits of not being in the public sector anymore," Gore said with a laugh.

North American and European venture capitalists invested $1.9-billion in clean-tech companies in the first half of 2007, a 10 percent increase from the first half 2006, according to the trade group Cleantech Network.