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Why Is Billionaire George Soros Suddenly Buying Up Stocks of Companies in Industry He's Demonized?

Here's one possibility.

Soros Fund Management Chairman George Soros speaks during a panel discussion at the Nicolas Berggruen Conference in Berlin, Germany, Oct. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Thomas Peter, Pool)

Billionaire hedge-fund manager and liberal political operative George Soros once called coal "lethal" to Earth's climate while apparently trying to profit from the industry's once-vast wealth.

Soros has been a longtime financial contributor to liberal candidates and causes, including advocating for no longer using fossil fuels and transitioning to using only renewable energy, like wind and solar. The Guardian reported that at one point, Soros even referred to coal as "lethal" to the planet.

Soros Fund Management Chairman George Soros speaks during a panel discussion at the Nicolas Berggruen Conference in Berlin, Germany, Oct. 30, 2012. The Berggruen Institute declares itself dedicated to the design and implementation of new ideas of good governance _ drawing from practices in both East and West _ that can be brought to bear on the common challenges of globalization in the 21st century. Thomas Peter/AP Soros Fund Management Chairman George Soros speaks during a panel discussion at the Nicolas Berggruen Conference in Berlin, Germany, Oct. 30, 2012. (Thomas Peter/AP)

But as stocks from at least two coal companies have fallen, perhaps partly as a result of Soros' own influence, the billionaire investor's money is now contradicting his words.

According to Fox News, Soros purchased one million shares in the St. Louis-based coal company Peabody Energy and another 500,000 shares in Arch Coal, two investments that would have cost him a lot more money just a few years ago.

Coal company stocks have fallen sharply as the Obama administration has implemented new regulations and guidelines as part of its overall attempt to lower carbon output levels.

As of Wednesday, the cost of one Peabody Energy share on the New York Stock Exchange was just over $1.25. The same company's stocks were trading at more than $72 per share as recently as in 2011.

Despite the low share costs, however, Fox News pointed out that Soros has so far lost money on both investments but now owns a significant portion of what's left of the U.S. coal industry.

“George Soros spent millions of dollars and multiple years helping to driving down price of coal," research fellow H. Sterling Burnett for the free-market think tank told Fox News. "If he buys enough stock to have controlling interests in these coal businesses, closes them down and leaves the coal in the ground, we might accept that he is a true believer, that his investment was all about stopping climate change and saving the environment."

But Burnett added he has doubts that's actually the case.

“My suspicion is that [Soros] helped to drive stocks down, bought as many shares as he can and, when stocks rebound, he can sell his shares and make a huge profit," Burnett speculated.

(H/T: Fox News)

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