How an Organized Republican Effort Punishes Companies for Climate Action
Legislators and their allies are running an aggressive campaign that uses public money and the law to pressure businesses they say are pushing “woke” causes.
David Gelles and Hiroko Tabuchi:nytimes.com
May 27, 2022
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.
And 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.
“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,” Mr. Moore said. “We have to fight back.”
In doing so, Mr. Moore and others have pushed climate change from the scientific realm into the political battles already raging over topics like voting rights, abortion and L.G.B.T.Q. issues. In recent months, conservatives have moved beyond tough words and used legislative and financial leverage to pressure the private sector to drop climate action and any other causes they label as “woke.”
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