A U.S. House of Representatives committee report finds that Wall Street colluded to cut emissions

A U.S. congressional committee on Tuesday will accuse major Wall Street firms in a report seen by Reuters ahead of its publication of working with advocacy groups to force companies to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The report is the first of its kind from the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee since it launched an investigation in late 2022 into whether corporate efforts to combat climate change violate antitrust laws.

Several Republican-controlled states are already targeting Wall Street firms for joining climate coalitions and marketing environmental, social and governance (ESG)-focused investment products, fearing that these initiatives will hurt jobs in the fossil fuel industry.

This is despite the world failing to honor the intergovernmental agreement reached in Paris in 2015 to keep global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change.

In the Judiciary Committee’s report, committee staff accuses President Joe Biden’s administration of “failing to conduct a meaningful investigation into the climate cartel’s collusion, let alone take enforcement action on its apparent violations of long-standing U.S. antitrust law.”

“The goal of any investigation is to obtain information about legislative reforms,” said a spokesman for Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan. A spokesman declined to comment on any contacts with U.S. antitrust regulators regarding the report.

The report said interim findings were presented and that the investigation was continuing.

During the investigation, the committee issued subpoenas for documents and interviewed former regulators. His report on Tuesday focused on Climate Action 100+, a group of more than 700 investors focused on urging companies to cut emissions, and credited the investigation with several asset managers ending their membership this year out of fear of antitrust crackdowns.

The report said Climate Action 100+ “forces asset managers to join in” and pressures them to use shareholder votes to support climate proposals, seeking to reduce fossil fuel extraction and raise energy prices for American consumers.

Climate Action 100+ did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

No antitrust lawsuit has been filed against any climate coalition of companies.

The report also goes to the co-founders of Climate Action 100+, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), and the climate-focused investor group Ceres for their key support of Climate Action 100+. Activist investor Arjuna Capital, member, talks about it, “aims to destroy fossil fuel companies.”

CalPERS and Arjuna did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Ceres had no immediate comment.

The report cited work plans, meeting minutes and other documents obtained, including an email between Ceres executives comparing their work to Climate Action 100+’s work with a “global navy” and “army land troops.”

Another internal email referenced the Climate Action 100+ plan to replace board members of oil and gas company Exxon Mobil XOM.Nand stated that these efforts “will show that (climate action 100+) has teeth.”

Exxon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The the report also criticized three of the world’s largest asset managers, BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street, as members of a “climate cartel”.

Representatives for BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The commission summoned witnesses, including Ceres President Mindy Lubber, to appear at a public hearing on June 12.


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