An organized Republican effort is punishing companies for climate action

cigaretteman

HR King
May 29, 2001
70,683
50,195
113
Utterly deplorable, and should be criminal:

In West Virginia, the state treasurer has pulled money from BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, because the Wall Street firm has flagged climate change as an economic risk.

In Texas, a new law bars the state’s retirement and investment funds from doing business with companies that the state comptroller says are boycotting fossil fuels. Conservative lawmakers in 15 other states are promoting similar legislation.



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Officials in Utah and Idaho have assailed a major ratings agency for considering environmental risks and other factors, in addition to the balance sheet, when assessing states’ creditworthiness.

Across the country, Republican lawmakers and their allies have launched a campaign to try to rein in what they see as activist companies trying to reduce the greenhouse gases that are dangerously heating the planet.

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“We’re an energy state, and energy accounts for hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenue for us,” said Riley Moore, the West Virginia state treasurer. “All of our jobs come from coal and gas. I mean, this is who we are. This is part of our way of life here in the state. And they’re telling us that these industries are bad.”

“We have an existential threat here,” Moore said. “We have to fight back.”

In doing so, Moore and others have pushed climate change from the scientific realm into the political battles over topics like voting rights, abortion and LGBTQ issues. In recent months, conservatives have moved beyond tough words and used legislative and financial leverage to press the private sector to drop climate action and any other causes they label “woke.”

“There is a coordinated effort to chill corporate engagement on these issues,” said Daniella Ballou-Aares, CEO of the Leadership Now Project, a nonprofit organization that wants corporations to address threats to democracy. “And it is an effective campaign. Companies are starting to go into hiding.”
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The pushback has been spearheaded by a group of Republican state officials that has reached out to financial organizations, facilitated media appearances and threatened to punish companies that, among other things, divest from fossil fuels.

They have worked alongside a nonprofit organization that has run television ads, dispatched roaming billboard trucks and rented out a Times Square billboard criticizing BlackRock for championing what they call woke causes, including environmentalism.

These efforts come after years during which many in the financial sector boasted that they were prioritizing environmental, social and governance issues, also known as ESG, rather than pure profits.

That activism has often put companies at odds with the Republican Party, traditionally the ally of big business. In 2015, Salesforce and other big employers threatened to leave Indiana after the state passed, and then quickly rolled back, a law that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to gay customers. Nike faced a fierce backlash for its 2018 ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, a former NFL quarterback who knelt during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality.

As the signs of a warming planet have grown more apparent over the past five years — in the form of more destructive storms and fires, record heat and drought — and as pressure has grown from consumers and liberal groups to take action, corporations have warmed to the notion of using capital and markets to create a cleaner economy. Faith-based groups, universities and foundations have divested from oil, gas and coal. New York state’s pension fund plans to start shedding its fossil fuels holdings, and Maine became the first state last year to require both its Treasury and its public employee pension fund to divest from fossil fuels.

When President Donald Trump declared in 2017 that he would pull the United States from the Paris climate accord, more than 2,000 businesses and investors — including Apple, Amazon and Mars — signed a pledge to continue to work toward climate goals.

Then, in 2019, a group of senior business leaders promised to redefine “the purpose of a corporation” and prioritize the environment, workers and communities.

And a record number of banks, investors and companies at the United Nations climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, last year committed to reaching net zero (the point where their activities no longer add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere) by 2050. Several said they saw opportunity in investing in new kinds of technology needed to power an economy that is not based on oil, gas or coal.

Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, has been among the most outspoken executives, using his annual letter to corporate leaders to implore them to look beyond the bottom line and make a positive contribution to society.

In his most recent letter, issued in January, Fink made the case for what he calls “stakeholder capitalism,” saying there is a sound business rationale for taking up the fight against climate change and imploring other companies to act.

“Every company and every industry will be transformed by the transition to a net-zero world,” Fink wrote. “The question is, will you lead, or will you be led?”

Other executives also say they are unbowed by the brewing conservative backlash.

“It’s not going to stop me,” said Marc Benioff, the co-founder and co-CEO of Salesforce and one of the most outspoken business leaders on social and political issues. “It’s pretty hard to restrict or control how a CEO creates the culture of his company.”

Benioff dismissed many of the actions of conservatives as theatrics. “Politicians have to do what politicians do, which is try to get elected,” Benioff said. “It’s a lot of posturing for the base.”

Republican lawmakers, however, are becoming more organized in their efforts to slow corporate progress on climate issues.

Moore, the West Virginia state treasurer, coordinated a letter in November from 16 state treasurers and comptrollers to banks across the country, threatening “collective action in response to the ongoing and growing economic boycott of traditional energy production industries by U.S. financial institutions.”

“It is our sincere hope that no financial institution will be rendered ineligible to provide banking services to our states,” the letter said.

And in January, Moore pulled about $20 million out of a fund managed by BlackRock because the firm has encouraged other companies to reduce emissions. BlackRock still manages several billion for West Virginia’s state retirement system. “We’re divesting from BlackRock because they’re divesting from us,” Moore said.

In private, elected officials in conservative states have been even more blunt.

“These big banks are virtue signaling because they are woke,” Gary Howell, a West Virginia state representative who sponsored a bill that would blacklist companies that have divested from fossil fuels, wrote in a Feb. 8 email to Moore. The message was obtained by Documented, a corporate watchdog group, under a Freedom of Information Act request. “They either shut up or get on the list, that is my goal,” he wrote.

Howell did not respond to a request for comment.

Idaho’s top elected officials, including the governor and the entire congressional delegation, sent a letter last week to the CEO of S&P Global, the ratings agency, objecting to the company’s use of ESG metrics in its rankings of states. “It is impossible for the State of Idaho not to conclude that S&P has adopted a politicized ratings system,” the Republicans wrote. Officials in other states, including Utah, have sent similar letters.

Curtis Loftis, the South Carolina state treasurer, emailed senior executives at JPMorgan on Sept. 1 and warned banks “to stay out of political culture wars and particularly abstain from the petty, ‘woke’ cancel culture.”


Fink of BlackRock has emerged as a main target of conservatives. In June, BlackRock joined with Vanguard and State Street to help an activist hedge fund, Engine No.1, win three seats on the board of Exxon with the goal of pushing the energy giant to reduce its carbon footprint.

Months later, a nonprofit group called Consumers’ Research received an influx of funding from undisclosed donors and began running ads attacking Fink.

Will Hild, executive director of Consumers’ Research, told CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, in February that Fink and BlackRock had “helped vote on three radical environmentalists to the board of directors of Exxon whose stated goal is to get that company not focused on serving American consumers affordable gas but on Larry Fink’s personal politics.”

People familiar with BlackRock said the pressure was not changing the firm’s investment strategy. But the company has scrambled to limit the fallout in states like Texas, stressing that it is following the wishes of its clients and investing broadly.

“We are perhaps the world’s largest investor in fossil fuel companies, and, as a long-term investor in these companies, we want to see these companies succeed and prosper,” BlackRock’s head of external affairs, Dalia Blass, wrote in a letter to Texas regulators in January.

BlackRock, on behalf of its clients, had $259 billion in assets invested in fossil fuel companies around the world, with $91 billion invested in Texas fossil fuel companies alone, Blass stressed, listing BlackRock’s sizable holdings in Texas energy companies, including Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips and Kinder Morgan.

BlackRock said this month that it would support fewer shareholder proposals calling for climate action because “we do not consider them to be consistent with our clients’ long-term financial interests.”





 

abby97

HR All-American
Sep 16, 2010
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I'm glad states are sticking up against the climate mafia. Do it our way or we will put you out of business is the climate lobby's motto. I hope more states stand up to this nonsense.
 

abby97

HR All-American
Sep 16, 2010
3,636
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What cracks me up is the number of lemmings that believe this crap. Too hot, climate change, too cold, climate change, too windy not windy enough too much rain, not enough rain. There is no logical explanation for this charade.

At one time the theory seemed logical. Too much Co2 formed an unnatural ozone layer trapping heat that would normally escape, causing global warming. But people began to question that theory due to longer and colder winters, so a recalculation was required. Skeptics can't be tolerated so now we have "climate change" anything happens with the weather and we now have a guaranteed catch all marketing phrase. Climate change. Funny how some of the most ardent climate scare mongers fly private jets (John Kerry) and live in huge wasteful houses (Al Gore) They don't even have the decency to play along with the scam.
 
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abby97

HR All-American
Sep 16, 2010
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This last week in Asia, President Biden let the cat out of the bag. He said higher gasoline prices are an unfortunate necessity in making the transition from fossil fuels to alternatives like windmills and solar panels. Give our commander-in-chief credit for candor.

But, as this episode of What’s Ahead explains, the Biden approach is profoundly wrong. It would immensely damage the economy, blighting the lives of tens of millions of people. It would be an environmental disaster, leaving the earth a poorer, uglier planet.

More fundamentally, given current technology, his goal is utterly unattainable.

Instead of vague platitudes about battling climate change, the Biden Administration should provide a detailed roadmap and timeline of how it intends to achieve this alleged nirvana of sufficient supply from alternative energy resources.

Voters should demand nothing less. An honest examination will be a White House embarrassment.
 
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BelemNole

HR Legend
Mar 29, 2002
31,454
65,075
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What cracks me up is the number of lemmings that believe this crap. Too hot, climate change, too cold, climate change, too windy not windy enough too much rain, not enough rain. There is no logical explanation for this charade.

At one time the theory seemed logical. Too much Co2 formed an unnatural ozone layer trapping heat that would normally escape, causing global warming. But people began to question that theory due to longer and colder winters, so a recalculation was required. Skeptics can't be tolerated so now we have "climate change" anything happens with the weather and we now have a guaranteed catch all marketing phrase. Climate change. Funny how some of the most ardent climate scare mongers fly private jets (John Kerry) and live in huge wasteful houses (Al Gore) They don't even have the decency to play along with the scam.
It's a very simple theory - Exxon internal documents show that they realized what was happening back in 1977. They just made a business decision that it was in their best interest to spend billions sowing distrust and confusion among the public instead of doing anything about it.
But simple theories are probably still too advanced for you to understand.
 

NCHawk5

HR Heisman
Gold Member
Aug 7, 2019
7,581
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It's a very simple theory - Exxon internal documents show that they realized what was happening back in 1977. They just made a business decision that it was in their best interest to spend billions sowing distrust and confusion among the public instead of doing anything about it.
But simple theories are probably still too advanced for you to understand.
Lol “simple theories?” Climate science is the most complicated shit you could ever dream up. It basically encompasses everything in the world.

Or did you mean your simple conspiracy theory?
 

the24fan

HR All-American
Jul 30, 2007
3,398
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Hard to believe people continue to deny climate change is real. Not the sharpest tools in the shed. How much evidence do you people need?
Dont come back with the climate always changes sh!t. Do you know understand it’s the speed on which it’s happening?!? Once again no one will believe it til it’s in their own backyard . Just unreal
 

BelemNole

HR Legend
Mar 29, 2002
31,454
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Lol “simple theories?” Climate science is the most complicated shit you could ever dream up. It basically encompasses everything in the world.

Or did you mean your simple conspiracy theory?
You're a moron. You know it, I know it. Everyone here knows it.
Just because climate on the micro level is incredibly intricate does not mean that it can't be modeled precisely on the macro scale.
In fact, the models have been slightly more CONSERVATIVE that what we have been seeing in the real world.
cmp_cmip5_sat_blend_ann.png


But that's beside the point. The fact is that climate change/global warming is not a complicated theory to understand at the surface level. In a closed system (the earth) if you keep adding a variable (greenhouse gasses) you will quickly upset the established balance. Which is what we're doing. Anyone with an IQ over 50 should be able to follow along.

graph_grid.png
 

NCHawk5

HR Heisman
Gold Member
Aug 7, 2019
7,581
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You're a moron. You know it, I know it. Everyone here knows it.
Just because climate on the micro level is incredibly intricate does not mean that it can't be modeled precisely on the macro scale.
In fact, the models have been slightly more CONSERVATIVE that what we have been seeing in the real world.
cmp_cmip5_sat_blend_ann.png


But that's beside the point. The fact is that climate change/global warming is not a complicated theory to understand at the surface level. In a closed system (the earth) if you keep adding a variable (greenhouse gasses) you will quickly upset the established balance. Which is what we're doing. Anyone with an IQ over 50 should be able to follow along.

graph_grid.png
I’ve never denied it, I have challenged the doomsday rhetoric. Also, the data is trash. But sure, it’s just a simple equation….

EL OH EL go ahead and give us the details on the model- what variables are most important? Because look at all that CO2 and a whopping 1 degree variance has occurred. It’s melting! It’s melting!
 

IAHawk2011

HR All-American
Mar 18, 2010
3,804
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The party of limited government is okay with state governments telling companies they cannot do business with the state unless the company conducts its business in a way that aligns with the state’s political preferences.

There is nothing “conservative” about the Republican Party anymore. None of their values are predicated on conservatism, they are predicated on pwning the libs, no matter the cost.

These idiots are cutting off their own nose to spite their face with these laws.
 

abby97

HR All-American
Sep 16, 2010
3,636
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Hard to believe people continue to deny climate change is real. Not the sharpest tools in the shed. How much evidence do you people need?
Dont come back with the climate always changes sh!t. Do you know understand it’s the speed on which it’s happening?!? Once again no one will believe it til it’s in their own backyard . Just unreal
Let me defer to you because you are obviously an expert on the subject. Why doesn't Venezuelan oil or Saudi oil contribute to climate change? Biden said he is seeking to relax sanctions from Venezuela and asked SA to pump more so, please help understand how the climate knows U.S oil is worse for the environment?
 
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abby97

HR All-American
Sep 16, 2010
3,636
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Carbon has a huge impact on the changes we are seeing and the threats we face.

Plus, it's something we can exercise control over.
I don't doubt exercising control has a lot to do with why the left gets a little tingle everytime climate change is discussed.
 

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