The Biden Admin Just Declared ‘War on Consumers’
In the Biden administration’s whole-of-government attempt to force a transition to supposedly “green” and ethical energy that’s anything but — just ask the whales off the coast of New England or forced/child laborers in EV battery supply chains in Africa — another department is jumping into the crusade.
On Tuesday morning, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released its “Principles for Net-Zero Financing & Investment” to press ahead with “best practices for private sector financial institutions that have made net-zero commitments and promote consistency and credibility in approaches to implementing them.”
These principles, the Treasury Department and Secretary Janet Yellen say, are key to “supporting the mobilization of more private sector capital to address the physical and economic impacts of climate change and to seize on the historic economic opportunity presented by the green transition.”
To that end, Yellen and her department heralded “a number of announcements from civil society including a $340 million commitment” from the likes of the Bezos Earth Fund, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Climate Arc, ClimateWorks, Hewlett Foundation, and Sequoia Climate Foundation over the next three years “to support the continued development of research, data availability, and technical resources intended to help financial institutions develop and execute robust, voluntary net-zero commitments” and “facilitate the transition planning efforts of non-financial sectors of the economy.”
According to the Treasury Department, the “climate crisis is propelling a massive economic shift and is hitting the most vulnerable countries and communities first and hardest” and there’s an “increasing demand for technologies, products, and services that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support a clean energy future, and help adapt to a changing climate across all sectors.” Notably, however, that demand is not high enough to see the market move truly voluntarily to meet it. As such, “[i]n the United States, government support is playing a role in accelerating this transition,” the Treasury Department admitted as it pushes for more net-zero agreements and investment, as seen in the principles released on Tuesday.
“This announcement from the Department of the Treasury forcing financial institutions to adopt net-zero principles should come as no surprise to American consumers as the Biden Administration openly declares war on consumers,” reacted Will Hild, the executive director of Consumers’ Research.
“Treasury Secretary Yellen, with her announcement of these new net-zero principals at the Bloom Transition Finance Action Forum, has made it abundantly clear that the Treasury Department is working with and for ESG activists like Michael Bloomberg to make the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) goals for financial institutions into U.S. government policy, leaving consumers with nothing,” Hild added. “The Biden Administration is littered with former BlackRock employees such as Brian Deese and Eric Van Nostrand who are pushing these liberal, progressive, net-zero, and ESG policies on Americans, rather than focusing on reducing costs at the grocery store and gas pump and tamping down inflation.”
“Make no mistake, the Biden administration is running cover for the financial industry’s net zero cartel, protecting megalomaniac CEOs like Larry Fink and leaving consumers with nothing,” said Hild.
As summarized by the Treasury Department, the principles established to reinforce the woke, economically damaging priorities of the left are:
PRINCIPLE 1: A financial institution’s net-zero commitment (commitment) is a declaration of intent to work toward the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Treasury recommends that commitments be in line with limiting the increase in the global average temperature to 1.5°C. To be credible, this declaration should be accompanied or followed by the development and execution of a net-zero transition plan.
PRINCIPLE 2: Financial institutions should consider transition finance, managed phaseout, and climate solutions practices when deciding how to realize their commitments.
PRINCIPLE 3: Financial institutions should establish credible metrics and targets and endeavor, over time, for all relevant financing, investment, and advisory services to have associated metrics and targets.
PRINCIPLE 4: Financial institutions should assess client and portfolio company alignment to their (i.e., financial institutions’) targets and to limiting the increase in the global average temperature to 1.5°C.
PRINCIPLE 5: Financial institutions should align engagement practices — with clients, portfolio companies, and other stakeholders — to their commitments.
PRINCIPLE 6: Financial institutions should develop and execute an implementation strategy that integrates the goals of their commitments into relevant aspects of their businesses and operating procedures.
PRINCIPLE 7: Financial institutions should establish robust governance processes to provide oversight of the implementation of their commitments.
PRINCIPLE 8: Financial institutions should, in the context of activities associated with their net-zero transition plans, account for environmental justice and environmental impacts, where applicable.
PRINCIPLE 9: Financial institutions should be transparent about their commitments and progress towards them.
The voluntary net-zero commitments the Biden administration is seeking to foist on the private sector, however, may put companies which join them in legal jeopardy.
As Townhall has reported previously, state attorneys general from across the U.S. have put insurance and financial service companies on notice that their net-zero commitments may constitute a violation of antitrust and consumer protection laws.
One recent letter to signatories of a net-zero commitment led by Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti noted how such net-zero alliances see companies “colluding to limit consumer choices and manipulate market outcomes in support of international climate activists,” moves that “could violate [his state’s] antitrust and consumer protection laws.” As AG Skrmetti rightfully noted, “[d]ecisions about energy policy should be made by our elected representatives, not by transnational corporate alliances.”
Already, an earlier warning to insurance signatories to a net-zero pact saw several companies back out of the agreement rather than face additional scrutiny from state attorneys general for their activities that may have constituted antitrust violations.
Despite such warnings about net-zero priorities being potentially in violation of state law, the Biden administration and its climate alarmist allies in the private and nonprofit sector are plunging ahead with more agreements — an unsurprising development from the administration that has not allowed federal law or the U.S. Constitution curb its ambitions, leading to a series of high-profile losses before the Supreme Court for its attempts to force an energy transition.