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Investment in Clean Energy Under Attack

Politicians shilling for Big Oil and other fossil fuel polluters are attacking investment managers who support private action on climate change.

Recently, several state legislatures have introduced bills to make it tougher for financial firms to support climate-friendly investment. Some Republican members of Congress are promising to do the same at the national level if their party takes back control of Congress this fall. 

These assaults are led by groups beholden to the money flowing from oil, coal, and gas companies, including politicians in coal-dependent West Virginia and oil-and-gas-rich Texas. Those interests are desperate to keep short-term profits rolling even as the cost-efficiency of renewable energy leaves their dirty products behind.

U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) said these efforts are understandable for lawmakers who represent districts and states where fossil fuel interests have an outsized influence. “[Those] Republicans are delivering [for fossil fuel interests]. They’re going to continue to deliver. It’s going to be bad for the economy. It’s going to be bad for the environment. It’s going to be bad for inflation. But I understand why they’re doing it.”

This latest attack on climate action follows another continuing effort to bar state and local policies favoring clean energy in new construction. A recent review of these policies finds all the southeastern states but South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia have passed legislation to block clean energy policies disfavoring natural gas. In North Carolina and Virginia, bills protecting gas are still pending, with Gov. Cooper having vetoed House Bill 220 late last year. Legislators haven’t attempted to override his veto, knowing their chances of success are slim.

Additionally, some of the same states whose politicians are fighting climate action are also resisting federal efforts to address environmental injustice. 

All these developments are further reminders that who we elect this fall will have significant power over the future of our climate and environment.

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