We must abandon ESG policies in America and around the globe
“How do you replace dirty energy? Stop rewarding companies from making it.”1 Building off their many “successes,” President Biden has his sights set on the next tool to push his destructive climate agenda: Environmental Social Governance. ESG scores are based on a host of woke factors such as a company’s carbon emissions, energy consumption, and board diversity, among others. The more woke the company is, the higher the ESG score. The higher the ESG score, the more “investable” the company is said to be. While this Chinese Communist Party-style social credit score was once limited to a few virtue-signaling companies, there is growing effort from the Biden administration to make ESG a mandatory part of doing business in America.
The president is attempting another “ultimate workaround” by again legislating through federal agency regulation. Knowing these Green New Deal policies could never pass the democratically elected Congress, the Biden administration is trying to shove their radical agenda down the throats of Americans everywhere through unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats. Worse yet, they are doing it with our hard-earned money.
The Department of Labor has expressly disregarded any “anti-sustainable investing rules.” When presented the opportunity to demonstrate increased investment returns because of ESG, the DOL failed to do so and simply refused to enforce the Trump-era rule, which sought to prioritize pecuniary interests ahead of non-pecuniary for fiduciaries. The Securities and Exchange Commission is in the process of proposing ESG rules for securities issuers and exchanges as well as establishing an SEC ESG Task Force, designed to investigate and enforce ESG rules. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has supported ESG initiatives among private banks and is composing an ESG regulatory framework focused on climate impact.
As Black Rock CEO Larry Fink, laid out in a January 2020 letter, “the goal [of ESG] cannot be transparency for transparency’s sake. Disclosure should be a means to achieving a more sustainable and inclusive capitalism.” In a 2020 New York Times op-ed, former Federal Reserve nominee Sarah Bloom Raskin called for a number of energy companies to be excluded from COVID-19 relief because they generated too many carbon emissions. This is the terrifying business future ESG proponents are trying to create.
Let me be clear, I fully support financial freedom to invest your money as you please and conduct business as you see fit. Freedom in the marketplace is what has driven the U.S. economy to extraordinary levels and is responsible for creating the highest standard of living in history. Likewise, I fully support businesses’ freedom to choose how to operate. What I am concerned about is the harm to the American people caused by this administration’s misplaced priorities and their implementation by bureaucracy rather than democracy.
The impact of these far-left policies will be devastating, as we have already seen. The record-high gas prices of $4.24 a gallon will not be lowered by increasing the attacks on the oil and gas industries. Our dependence on foreign energy will only intensify, putting our national security at an even greater risk. Our adversaries will be emboldened to act while we tie our own hands in the name perceived of social justice. The price of goods will continue to skyrocket as a result of the increased costs of production and transportation, ultimately leaving the American people to bear the burden.
Rather than scoring the diversity of a company’s board of directors and scrutinizing the amount of carbon a business emits, the Biden administration should be laser-focused on addressing the mounting number of challenges facing the American people. As the nation struggles with high inflation, record gas prices, and a sputtering economy, President Biden’s primary domestic focal points should be returning our energy independence, lowering gas prices, and reducing inflation. Steps like restoring the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, reversing the suspension of oil and gas leasing on federal land, and expediting the processing of leasing applications currently pending are just a few immediate measures the president could take to alleviate some of the pain he’s caused. Leftist policies helped create the mess we find ourselves in, more leftist policies are not the solution.
Donalds represents the 19th District of Florida.