Investments in so-called "environmental, social, and governance" (ESG) initiatives remain a point of contention between the two political parties as those on the left embrace them in the name of fighting climate change or global warming.
Those on the right are opposed to ESG, especially when tied to banking and finance, because it impedes economic growth while pushing "green" agendas like the elimination of fossil fuels. (Related: Credit Suisse and BlackRock have both been banned from Texas for their anti-energy ESG agendas.)
We know from the UN's Net-Zero Banking Alliance website that the group's members control about 40 percent of the world's banking assets. All members are "committed to aligning their lending and investment portfolios with net-zero emissions by 2050."
"The Net-Zero Banking Alliance is a massive worldwide agreement by major banking institutions, overseen by the UN, to starve companies engaged in fossil fuel-related activities of credit on national and international markets," added Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, one of the attorneys general who launched an investigation into the matter in his state.
Back in May, the Net-Zero Banking Alliance issued a statement claiming that while it "does not support the financing of fossil fuel expansion," it still "believes that immediate divestment from existing fossil fuel positions will not necessarily bring about the required real economy decarbonization that the world needs."
Schmitt's response to this is that he is currently leading a coalition to investigate banks deemed to have ceded their authority over to the UN. The goal, he says, is to prevent "the killing of American companies that don't subscribe to the woke climate agenda."
"These banks are accountable to American laws – we don't let international bodies set the standards for our businesses," Schmitt further added in a statement.
In addition to Missouri, the following states are also on board with investigating the banking cartels: Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
The investigations include a demand of banks that they describe their involvement with each "Global Climate Initiative" in which they participate, including dates joined, promises and pledges made, along with any other commitments.
Schmitt and his allies also want to know what actions offending banks have made with regard to these Global Climate Initiatives. This will help determine the extent of corruption implicit at each financial institution.
In West Virginia, opposition to ESG principles is so strong in state treasurer Riley Moore that he is now seeking to move state money from associated financial institutions. Other state treasurers are reportedly attempting the same.
In a statement, Will Hild, executive director of Consumers' Research, praised the launch of these new investigations.
"States are holding big banks accountable for obvious violations and for peddling highly questionable climate initiatives under the label of ESG – all part of a coordinated effort to handicap American energy at the expense of U.S. consumers," Hild said.
On the flip side of the argument, various environmental groups are criticizing ESG-associated banks for not going far enough with their environmental and social justice extremism.
"It's time for the NZBA [Net-Zero Banking Alliance] to make clear that banks who continue to finance massive fossil fuel expansion while making grand pronouncements about climate goals are not welcome in the alliance," said the Sierra Club's Adele Shraiman, who sits on the organization's Fossil-Free Finance campaign at Climate Week NYC.
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