Media Round-Up — February 17, 2022

Welcome to the Climate Finance Media Roundup: a bi-weekly curated digest of top stories and major developments in the climate finance space.

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National Catholic Reporter: Philippine bishops urge church finances to disconnect from fossil fuels

“The bishops of the Philippines have called for the local church to decline any donations with ties to the fossil fuel and extractive industries as part of a full-scale effort to disconnect church finances from the production of coal, oil and gas.

Quartz: This is how Citigroup defends lending money to oil companies

“At the COP26 climate summit in November, dozens of financial institutions made commitments to decarbonize their portfolios in the long term. But for now, lending is increasing, to the tune of at least $575 billion in 2020 alone.”

The Washington Post: Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT and Vanderbilt students take legal action to try to force fossil fuel divestment

“Student-led campaigns at Yale, Princeton, Stanford and Vanderbilt universities and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology filed complaints Wednesday with their respective state attorneys general in a bid to compel schools to divest. “

The New York Times: Opinion | Older Americans Fight to Make America Better

“What really should scare the corporate and political bad actors is the prospect of old and young people connecting, because there is real power if we work across generations.”

Daily Poster: “What If I Can’t Insure My Home At All?”

“Insurance giants Chubb, Liberty Mutual, and AIG are three of the biggest insurers of fossil fuel infrastructure around the world. But the companies have just announced plans to scale back their homeowner coverage in California, where they insist future climate-related losses will likely prevent them from turning a profit.”

Reuters: New York pension fund to divest half its shale companies

“New York’s state pension fund will sell $238 million worth of stock and debt it holds across 21 shale oil and gas companies including Chesapeake Energy Corp, Hess Corp, and Pioneer Natural Resources, saying they have not shown they are ready to move to a low-emissions economy.”

Corporate Knights: Divesting works: Study finds ditching fossil stocks lowers corporate footprints

“The researchers found that divestment by equity funds can ‘exert sufficient selling pressure to cause the stock prices of climate-damaging stocks to fall in the long run.’”

Wall Street Journal: Investing for Social Good and the Long View

“Understanding risk is what good investors do. The ESG marketing machine has gotten ahead of itself in what it promises investors.”

Responsible Investor: ’We get more attention from management after we have excluded the company’

“The fund, one of Denmark’s largest, began to divest its equity holdings in fossil fuel extraction companies in 2018 but had held off on ditching bonds, citing concerns a move to also drop bond holding could negatively impact the fund’s returns. But Anders Schelde, the fund’s Chief Investment Officer, no longer believes this is going to be the case.”

Bloomberg: Calstrs Says Dumping Oil Stocks Risks a Polluter ‘Rebellion’

“The world’s biggest polluters may engage in ‘rebellion’ if investors sell their shares rather than work with them in the transition to cleaner energy, according to the second-biggest U.S. public pension fund.”

Vox: The end of natural gas has to start with its name

“As for what should replace our default language, Anthony Leiserowitz’s 2021 Yale study had another finding that’s important to consider: Calling gas ‘fossil’ or ‘fracked’ could backfire if the objective is to reach as broad an audience as possible. The Yale polling found Republican voters viewed gas more favorably when it was called fossil gas or fracked gas, but more neutrally when it was called methane gas.”

Pensions & Investments: DOL seeks comment on climate change’s impact on retirement

“The Department of Labor is seeking comment on what it should do to ‘protect retirement savings and pensions from risks associated with changes in climate,’ according to a request for information the agency announced Friday.”

LA Times Op-Ed: The anti-apartheid movement’s lessons for climate divestment

“Against climate change — a nonhuman target that lacks the same sheer evil that undergirded apartheid — this approach is all the more critical. Whether it affects the bottom line or not, building a movement of people is what matters.”

Bloomberg: Coal Is Still Raising Trillions of Dollars Despite Green Shift

“Institutional investors have combined holdings of more than $1.2 trillion in the coal industry. BlackRock Inc. and Vanguard Group Inc. are the two largest, with share and bond holdings of over $100 billion each, according to the report. Both firms are members of the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative.”

Bloomberg: Big Money Turns Saving the Planet on Its Head

“At a time when the financial world is talking up environmental, social and governance issues — or ESG — industry heavyweights such as BlackRock Inc., Brookfield Infrastructure Partners and M&G Investments are questioning the real-world value of divesting from oil and gas.”

POLITICO: Climate investing ‘boycott bills’ flood state capitals

“Texas, West Virginia and Oklahoma are among states moving to bar officials from dealing with businesses that are moving to ditch fossil fuels or considering climate change in their own investments. Those steps come as major financial firms and other corporations adopt policies aligned with efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Guardian: Private equity’s dirty dozen: the 12 US firms funding dirty energy projects

“The Private Equity’s Dirty Dozen report, shared exclusively with the Guardian, provides a snapshot of the industry’s involvement in some of the country’s most controversial fossil fuel investments, as well as the deep political and cultural ties of its wealthy executives.”

The New Republic: Never Believe a Bank’s Net-Zero Pledge

“A new report from the U.K.-based charity ShareAction, however, now finds that 25 European NZBA (Net-Zero Banking Alliance) members have provided at least $38 billion in financing to 50 of the most expansionary upstream oil and gas companies on earth.”