Coal vs. Wall Street – New York Times

Climate change is not a partisan issue in many countries. Both right-wing and left-wing parties are in favor of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, even if they argue about the specifics of these policies. This consensus allowed the European Union drastically reduce emissions over the past few decades as the threat of global warming has become more apparent.

In the United States, of course, climate is a partisan issue. Nearly all elected Democrats are in favor of action to slow climate change. Almost none of the Republicans in important political positions, including members of Congress and Republican nominees on the Supreme Court, support this policy.

Today, Times publishes a story which addresses the other part of this issue, at the state level. I am handing over the remainder of today’s newsletter cover story to my colleague David Gelles, who wrote this article.

Since the election of President Donald Trump, American corporations have become increasingly involved in the country’s culture wars. Large companies such as Google and Coca-Cola have decided that they need to take a stand on issuesincluding immigration, climate change, gun laws and the right to vote.

Corporate America’s stance on these issues has been an attempt to reflect the values ​​of its employees and clients, many of whom are younger and live in large metropolitan areas. As a result, these corporate positions have broadly aligned with those of the Democratic Party, leading to a fair amount of Republican hand-wringing. Mitch McConnell, Senate Republican Leader, at one point warned the company “stay out of politics” and other conservatives scoffed at “waking capitalism”.

Recently, Republican officials have also begun looking for ways to strike back. Florida lawmakers this year undressed disney special tax status because the company opposed a new education law that opponents call Don’t Say Gay. But perhaps the party’s most significant efforts have so far received relatively little attention: Republican state treasurers are taking steps to punish companies they say are overly focused on environmental issues.

Last week, West Virginia state treasurer Riley Moore used a new state law to ban five Wall Street firms, including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan. from doing business with the statebecause, he said, companies have distanced themselves from the coal industry.

Similar bans are likely being prepared elsewhere. Legislators in several other states, including Kentucky and Oklahoma, have already passed laws similar to West Virginia’s. Legislators in a dozen other states are working on similar bills.

Treasurers in three states also withdrew a total of $700 million from investment funds managed by BlackRock, the world’s largest wealth management company, over objections to its stance on environmental issues.

These efforts to penalize companies are part of a larger push by Republican treasurers to promote fossil fuels and hinder climate action at both the federal and state levels. Treasurers work with a network of conservative groups associated with the fossil fuel industry, such as the Heritage Foundation and the Heartland Institute.

When I spoke to Moore, he presented his efforts to punish Wall Street firms as a way to protect the livelihoods of West Virginians. If the banks don’t want to deal with the coal companies, he said, why should he deal with them?

In response, banks say that coal is a bad investment and that all industries will have to deal with climate change. Bank officials add that they still do a lot of work with oil and gas companies.

Nevertheless, these battles bring the United States closer to peace. red stamps and blue stampsin which politics will touch parts of life that once seemed separate from it. People on both sides of the aisle are concerned that things have gone too far.

“I don’t like the idea that if you’re a Republican, you should serve this company, and if you’re a Democrat, then you should serve this company,” said Noah Friend, a Republican attorney who previously worked for the Kentucky Treasurer, one of the officials trying to stop the fight against climate change. “We already have many divisions in this country.”

But it seems unlikely that this trend will stop anytime soon. For Democrats and Republicans alike, the substance of these debates—about climate, civil rights, religious freedom, and more—is more important than the abstract principle that not everything has to be partisan.

You can read my article which details the many ways Republican Treasurers are promoting fossil fuels. gentlemen.

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