Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environment, Economics, and Politics (EEP)

Reader 1

William Ascher

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© 2015 Melanie C. Paty


This thesis discusses the potential for private investment to fund ambitious renewable energy research and development to help mitigate climate change. I begin by discussing the threat of global warming and a brief history of renewable energy development in the United States. Next, I discuss existing avenues for private investment in renewable energy, potential methods of increasing corporate participation, and the belief that businesses must maximize only financial profits. Then I perform an in-depth case study of pension funds that have incorporated a social or environmental mission, existing environmentally focused mutual funds, and liquidated clean energy mutual funds. Finally, I compare the historical performance of the existing mutual funds to the liquidated to determine a profit threshold below which clean energy focused funds fail and discuss optimal investment strategies to foster bold renewable energy investment.