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BlackRock will not stop investing in oil, natural gas, or coal, the world’s largest asset manager told a UK parliamentary committee in written responses to an inquiry on the role of the financial sector in the UK’s net-zero transition.
Asked if BlackRock supports a net-zero scenario in which “no new investment is needed in coal, oil, and gas,” the asset manager responded: “No.”, Reuters reported, citing dozens of statements from financial and environmental institutions the Environmental Audit Committee has received during the period of submitting evidence.
“BlackRock’s role in the transition is as a fiduciary to our clients – it is not to engineer a specific decarbonization outcome in the real economy,” the asset manager added.
BlackRock has faced criticism this year from both environmental campaigners for still investing in conventional energy and Republican-led U.S. states for what they see as a boycott of the U.S. energy industry.
In recent weeks, multiple U.S. states governed by Republicans have said they would withdraw state funds from BlackRock’s management, as they disapprove of the ESG investment policies of the world’s top asset manager. Over the course of just a few weeks, Louisiana, South Carolina, Utah, and Arkansas announced they would divest funds from BlackRock totaling more than $1 billion.
In early October, Louisiana State Treasurer John Schroder announced in a letter to BlackRock’s chief executive Larry Fink that he would divest all Treasury funds from BlackRock. Louisiana has removed $560 million to date and will pull out a total of $794 million by year’s end, Schroder noted.
For months now, Republican states have said they would no longer do business with asset managers who have ESG-aligned investment policies, which, the states say, show that those financial firms are boycotting the oil and gas industry.
Texas is leading the campaign against ESG policies. The Lone Star State published in August a list of financial firms that could be banned from doing business with Texas, its state pension funds, and local governments.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.