EXCLUSIVE: Louisiana is opening a multipronged investigation into an influential organization that coordinates strategies for the financial sector to tackle climate change.
The investigation – led by Republican Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry – will focus on Climate Action 100+ and two of the US-based global steering committee members, Franklin Templeton and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), according to in a civil investigation request filing first obtained by Fox News Digital on Tuesday.
“When you’re in charge of retirement plans or when you have a fiduciary duty to return investment-based earnings to Louisiana consumers, you should be using sound economic principles, not, you know, something that’s broken science,” Landry said. Fox News Digital in an interview. “It’s part and parcel of what we do in this space.”
Landry’s investigation will focus, in particular, on whether Climate Action 100+, Franklin Templeton and CalPERS violated Louisiana’s consumer protection laws through unfair or deceptive practices.
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The investigation, meanwhile, is the latest salvo in the Republican-led push against the so-called environmental, social and governance (ESG) movement. ESG standards followed by groups like Climate Action 100+ and major financial institutions prioritize environmental investments, boosting green energy projects once considered risky, and corporate social priorities such as boardroom diversity initiatives.
Critics – including attorneys general, state treasurers, energy industry and consumer advocacy groups – have accused ESG-focused asset managers of avoiding their legally mandated it is the duty of the fiduciary to look after the welfare of the clients whose money they manage.
“If you’re an American corporation and you want to affect policy in this country, you do it through the political process, not through corporate boardrooms,” Landry continued. “What we’re seeing is money being poured into these NGOs to try to influence boardroom decisions that are not based on sound business practices.”
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Including offshore production, Louisiana has drilled the second-most oil and third-most natural gas in the country, according to the Energy Information Administration. The energy industry is the state’s largest sector, accounting for 8.1% of Louisiana’s total gross domestic product.
According to its website, Climate Action 100+ is an international “investor-led initiative to ensure that the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take necessary action on climate change.” The organization consists of multiple regional investor networks and is supported by a global steering committee of which Franklin Templeton and CalPERS are members.
Franklin Templeton has a staggering $1.5 trillion in assets under management while CalPERS is the nation’s largest public pension fund with more than $400 billion in assets under management, managing the benefits of pensions for more than two million California public employees and retirees.
“[Climate action 100+ investors] Committed to contact the world’s largest corporate greenhouse [gas] emitters to improve their climate performance and ensure transparent disclosure of emissions,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in 2018, praising the group.
“They bet on green because they understand that it is the path to prosperity and peace on a healthy planet. The alternative is a dark and dangerous future.”
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The ESG movement, meanwhile, has been largely led by large trillion-dollar asset managers and financial institutions such as BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard, which have used their large stakes in large companies to push for the adoption of standards of ESG. The movement is also supported by Democratic lawmakers and the Biden administration, which has advanced various ESG actions over the past 12 months.
For example, in March 2022, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler, appointed by President Joe Biden a year earlier, issued rules requiring publicly listed companies to disclose climate-related information. , an action taken by Republicans and business industry leaders. warned may be unconstitutional.
And earlier this year, a Labor Department rule went into effect allowing retirement plan managers to incorporate ESG criteria into investment decisions.
Climate Action 100+, Franklin Templeton and CalPERS did not immediately respond to requests for comment.