Attorney General Daniel Cameron today announced investigations of two financial institutions, The Vanguard Group and State Street Bank, for daring to do something about the climate crisis.
Specifically, both institutions have adopted investment practices that favor companies that are doing something positive about the environment, social issues, and good governance (ESG). This means, of course, that companies that pollute the environment or make the climate crisis worse get less investment from these two companies.
Cameron is going after these companies because these ESG policies mean that oil, gas, and other fossil fuel companies (<cough> coal <cough>) could have their value affected, or could be pushed to clean up their act.
What are these ESG initiatives?
State Street is being investigated because they are a member of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, and are a signatory of Net Zero Asset Managers (NZAM). State Street says that it joined NZAM “to ensure our portfolios reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner and set interim targets for 2030.” They do this by working with the companies they invest in to “encourage investee companies to adopt de-carbonization goals and/or energy transition plans, advocate policy-makers to promote climate-related disclosures, and work with index vendors to offer net- zero-aligned indices.”
Vanguard works with its portfolio companies the same way, saying that in 2019 it engaged with 250 companies in “carbon-intensive industries” regarding “climate-related matters.” Vanguard has identified “climate-related risk” as relevant to its second principle, “oversight of strategy and risk.”
Why is Cameron standing on the side of making the climate even worse?
Here’s why AG Cameron says he is going after these companies:
“Kentucky’s Consumer Protection laws prohibit companies from placing a climate agenda ahead of the financial profitability of their client’s investments,” said Attorney General Cameron. “We launched this investigation to protect Kentucky consumers, and we look forward to hearing from Vanguard and State Street on these matters.” (from press release)
So, as expected, a Republican attorney general is putting stockholders’ bottom line ahead of saving our planet from the climate crisis. If Cameron really wanted to “protect Kentucky consumers,” he would applaud these companies for being proactive about the climate crisis, and encourage more companies to take similar action. His “protection” won’t mean much if parts of the planet become unliveable, and the rest of the planet is in chaos because of it.
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