As we have said many times before, conservatives love to rhapsodize about the purity of the free market until they do not like the results, Any effort to distort market-based assessments of risk and return, including the risks and opportunities of climate change, is a subsidy for corporations that cannot make their case to the market. Try substituting “buggy whips” for every reference to fossil fuels.
Republican officials across the country, tearing a page from the ongoing culture wars, are launching a broad assault on the movement by big financial firms to use their economic power to curb climate change and address other politically sensitive national issues.
In recent years, big finance companies have used their clout to advance causes that are popular among liberals. The giant asset candidacies of hundreds of corporate board members over their lackluster records on climate issues and called climate change “a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects.”
JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank, has stopped lending to new coal mines or coal-fired power plants. Even though the positions don’t satisfy many left-leaning activists, GOP officials are intensifying their counteroffensive, attacking the campaigns — often referred to as “environmental-social-governance,” or ESG — by threatening to retaliate against financial firms for their positions on the climate and other issues, including firearms sales.
BlackRock is using its massive size to drive up the price of gas & weaken national security—all so BlackRock’s rich executives can feel better about themselves,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) wrote on Twitter last month. “The next Congress is going to take on this collusive racket.”
State officials are moving more swiftly. This spring, Kentucky lawmakers voted to empower state officials to stop doing business with any firm that says it won’t invest in fossil fuels. The move drew praise from other Republican officials, although the state hasn’t penalized a firm yet.
“Kentucky joins our growing coalition of states that have taken concrete steps to push back against the woke capitalists who are trying to destroy our energy industries,” West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore said after Kentucky adopted the legislation.
Moore last month told six of the nation’s largest financial institutions, including JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock and Wells Fargo, that they might no longer be allowed to do business with the state of West Virginia because of their positions on working with the fossil fuel industry.
Texas has blocked a handful of financial firms, including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, from bond offerings over the banks’ reluctance to lend to certain gun manufacturers and fossil fuel developers, including coal mines.
Late last year, Louisiana Treasurer John Schroder barred JPMorgan Chase from taking part in a $700 million bond offering because, he said, the bank’s lending policies on firearms violated the Second Amendment.
Peter Bisbee, executive director of the Republican Attorneys General Association, said the Republicans were seeking to “protect consumers from the collusion of these woke institutions who are jeopardizing the retirement accounts of millions of Americans for the sake of pleasing woke environmental zealots, while also creating dangerous instability within our financial markets.”
The financial firms have defended their choices. BlackRock chief executive Larry Fink said in his annual letter that “over the long-term” ESG issues — including climate change, diversity and board effectiveness — “have real and quantifiable financial impacts” but that BlackRock “does not pursue divestment from oil and gas companies as a policy.”Republicans threaten Wall Street over climate positions – The Washington Post