How Environmentally Conscious Investing Became a Target of Conservatives – The New York Times

Short answer: Avalanches of dark money from fossil fuel companies who have taken their disinformation campaigns and increased subsidies to the state level.

“E.S.G. has been caught in the culture war cross hairs in the U.S.,” said Alexandra Mihailescu Cichon, executive vice president at RepRisk, a company that helps corporations track their E.S.G. goals. “It’s become a liberal versus conservative, Democrat versus Republican issue.”

The Labor Department rule is likely to remain on the books, as Republicans do not appear to have the votes to overturn a promised veto.But the House vote on Tuesday was just the start of what’s expected to be a lengthy campaign against E.S.G.

Already this month, Representative Patrick McHenry, the North Carolina Republican who leads the House Financial Services Committee, announced the formation of a “Republican E.S.G. Working Group.” Republicans plan hearings this year at which conservative lawmakers are likely to grill executives from some of the nation’s biggest banks on their views about climate change, social issues and more.

There are some indications that the conservative pushback is gaining traction. Vanguard, one of the world’s largest investment firms, recently withdrew from the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, an effort intended to get institutional money managers engaged in the fight against climate change.BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has been going out of its way to remind politicians that it still invests in fossil fuel industries, even as it supports efforts to reduce planet warming emissions.

“We are seeing major companies respond to this political pressure,” said Representative Sean Casten, Democrat of Illinois, who last month helped start the House Sustainable Investing caucus and who is a proponent of E.S.G. investing.Even before Tuesday’s vote on Capitol Hill, the Labor Department rule had drawn a legal challenge from 25 Republican attorneys general, led by Ken Paxton of Texas.

How Environmentally Conscious Investing Became a Target of Conservatives – The New York Times

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