FT: Big Fund Managers are Demanding Climate Action. But the USA is Leading a Pushback

Official White House Photo of President Trump

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Big fund managers like Blackrock and BNP Paribas are supporting shareholder climate resolutions, demanding big companies demonstrate their commitment to Paris Climate Agreement goals. But President Trump is supporting a pushback against corporate virtue signalling.

Climate change: asset managers join forces with the eco-warriors

The pandemic has persuaded some investors of the potential financial damage from global warming

Attracta Mooney in London and Patrick Temple-West in Tampa

As 2020 kicked off, Dan Gocher at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, a shareholder advocacy organisation, was feeling “pretty optimistic” about its plans to force big Australian energy companies to tackle climate change.

Then came the coronavirus pandemic. “Once the virus hit, we said ‘God, we won’t get anything done [on climate change] for 18 months’,” says Mr Gocher.

Like many others, Mr Gocher feared investors would swiftly retreat from recently made climate pledges as markets plummeted. Critics had long argued that the fund industry’s nascent love affair with environmental, social and governance investing was in reality a marketing ploy that would be dumped at the first sign of trouble. 

Instead, in spite of the pandemic, 2020 has proved to be a landmark year for investor action on climate change, with significant resolutions being passed and investment pouring into sustainable funds. With both regulators and clients increasingly calling for change, asset managers are now broadening their remit beyond energy-intensive industries such as oil.

The path to greener investment is not assured, with other companies still shrugging off asset managers’ new threat. “Our companies are not worried,” says Charles Crain at the National Association of Manufacturers, whose members include ExxonMobil.

In the US there is a growing pushback against investors acting as climate warriors. Asset managers are gearing up for a row with the Trump administration over a new proposal that threatens investors’ ability to incorporate ESG principles into pension portfolios. At the same time, many well-known asset managers are still reluctant to vote against management, meaning the vast majority of climate resolutions do not pass.

Read more: https://www.ft.com/content/78167e0b-fdc5-461b-9d95-d8e068971364

The US SEC has been very active blocking climate activist shareholder resolutions.

Investors Worried About Climate Change Run Into New SEC Roadblocks 

The Securities & Exchange Commission has more Trump appointees now, and energy and utility companies see an ally as they argue shareholder resolutions ‘micromanage’. 

BY DAVID HASEMYER
MAY 3, 2019

Nearly two-thirds of the climate-related shareholder resolutions filed with publicly held energy and utility companies this year have been contested before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, an agency now dominated by appointees of President Donald Trump who appear more sympathetic to the fossil fuel industry.

So far this year, the SEC has sustained 45 percent of the challenges, the highest percentage in the last five years.

Exxon, Chevron and Devon Energy have all succeeded with arguments that some shareholder proposals infringe on the companies’ oversight of everyday business operations. The SEC concluded that forcing the companies to comply with the demands would be micromanaging.

Read more: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/01052019/shareholder-resolution-climate-change-sec-challenge-micromanage-trump

If you are concerned about the infringement of shareholder rights, remember if climate action was really the overriding priority, asset managers and shareholders could install the head of Greenpeace as the new company CEO.

In my opinion the activist asset managers voting these green resolutions want to have their cake and eat it as well. They want to keep the successful management team in place, doing their magic, but they also want to force management’s hand on daily operations.

The SEC rules being used to block these virtue signalling resolutions are not designed to prevent shareholders getting what they want, they are designed to avoid dysfunctional delegation, responsibility without authority. They stop shareholders from placing impossible micromanaging demands on managers, then holding the managers accountable for a situation they are powerless to correct.

54 thoughts on “FT: Big Fund Managers are Demanding Climate Action. But the USA is Leading a Pushback

  1. Take your money out of Blackrock funds. Best way to reduce their bad activities is to give them less $$$ to manage.

    • Absolutely correct. Vote with your feet, and dollars. An email explaining why wouldn’t hurt either.

    • Blackrock is a big ESG investor (environment, social, governance), which means climate change, social justice, and so forth. Blackrock uses your money to make CEO Larry Fink feel good about himself. Of course, he has no qualms about investing in China, which gets a total pass on the whole ESG thing.

      • The CEO of Blackrock, Larry Fink, is a billionaire and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a globalist think tank that has received funding in part from Rockefeller wealth for many many years.

        And the Rockefeller foundation boasts on the following link that they “catalyzed [cause an action or process to begin] a Green Revolution.”
        https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/about-us/our-history/

        This is an example of the swamp.

        It is interesting that Fink and so many other billionaires and wealthy people and foundations are pushing for a carbon tax. I believe I know one of the major the reasons why.
        The number of people with vast wealth and/or in the higher income bracket is a tiny percentage of the US population. That means the vast percentage of tax revenue from a carbon tax would come from the middle class. Governments then would have plenty of money to fund social programs and fund green programs, hence there would be no need to push for a tax on the rich.
        (a secondary reason is the part of this tax revenue would go to green programs that many of these rich families are invested in. So we’d be funding projects that would make these rich people/families/foundations richer in the future.)

        In summary, the carbon tax the rich wants would eff the middle class into paying for social programs and green programs while protecting the rich from reasons to implement higher taxes on them.

        I’m a huge fan of Limbaugh, Larry Elder, Sowell, Walter Williams, Coulter, and many other fine conservatives and libertarians that I have not named here and have never had a problem with people getting wealthy. However, when I see rich people pushing taxes on the middle class so they can preserver more of their vast wealth as well as get wealthier, then this is war. I think it’s time to eff the rich by implementing huge taxes on the them.

        • In the words of Linus Torvalds «  you can’t use more than one yacht or swimming pool at a time, Bill. »

      • Larry Fink is a MORON. Ever listen to the idiot talk on CNBC. I don’t think that he appeared on FOX Business but of course than liberal-in-the closet Neil Cavuto lets any one on his show.

    • wattsupwiththat.com/2020/07/17/open-thread-weekend-23/#comment-3037343

      http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

      It’s all a leftist scam – the enviro BS including the climate and green-energy fraud, the full-Gulag lockdown for Covid-19, paid-and-planned protests by Antifa and BLM – it’s all lies.

      We published that the climate-and-green-energy rant was a false narrative in 2002, and by 2012 I wrote that there was a covert agenda, Now the greens are admitting that climate-and-energy was false propaganda, a smokescreen for their totalitarian objectives.

      The green objective is to destroy prosperity and move the USA into a planned economy – with a few rich at the top looking down on the many poor peasants. That model now describes most of the countries in the world. Europe and Canada are far down that path, and the USA will follow if Biden and the Demo-Marxists are elected.

      The book “1984”, written by George Orwell in 1949, foresaw a time “when most of the world population have become victims of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and public manipulation”.

      Well here is the REAL “1984”, an interview that year with ex-KGB officer and Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov, who describes the slow, long-term “ideological subversion” of Western societies. Note Bezmenov’s discussion of ideological subversion. It’s all about manipulating the “Useful Idiots” – the leftists in the West.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX3EZCVj2XA&feature=youtu.be

      One commenter on the video wrote: “this is f***ing crazy, almost everything predicted by this guy is already happening.”

      • Not if all of us stop giving them business. There are alternatives. I’ve moved my money away from them, even though Morgan Stanley uses BlackRock funds as their default. Just do it.

  2. How much will this gigantic thermometer cost and then what temperature should we set it at?

    • It takes a village to raise an Idiot and billions to paint an eleven on a CO2-temperature control knob

      • But with enough idiots that stand upon each shoulder below them, I see this as achievable. Looking out there, I see we have more than enough idiots to make this plan work.

        • You’re exactly right, I’m afraid. Too many gullible climate lemmings will force billions to be invested in useless green tech, that will ironically produce more CO2 than the alternatives.

          Btw, I think you meant giant thermostat not thermometer.

          • Oh yeah, thermostat. That would work better, now that I think about it. But I think we should also have a thermometer, as well, just so we can take the temperature of the planet at all times: Not too hot, not too cold. Just think, Bahama weather year round and all it will take is everything we have and more.

            AOC, here we come!!!

          • Whatever you do, if you’re going to take the Earth’s Temperature, don’t use a Rectal Themometer, you’d need to go to Washington D.C. to use it. (And there are far to many to choose from there)

          • You’re right Bryan! D.C. is a caldera right now and way too hot to get an accurate reading. I considered Pelosi’s mansion but with all that premium ice cream and her callous nature, I’m afraid that would be too cold. I was thinking about Dubrovnik, Croatia. They have great food, speak English for the most part, and tend to be peaceful; minus wanting to enact revenge on the Serbs. But who doesn’t?

        • Indeed. Idiots are a near infinite resource. The world will never reach peak idiot.

  3. If Blackrock and BNP Paribas are this badly informed about the science and the climate, they may be equally badly informed about other matters like invesment strategies and it would be a wise precaution to remove one’s money from their funds before losses grow.

    • I think Paris BNP are basically bankrupt already, having over exposed themselves to risky debt. Recently TOTAL SE removed them from managing their euro valued shares.

  4. Like Newton’s Third Law, “For every renewable energy generator, there is an equal brown energy generator.”
    The idea that the infrastructure to support renewable energy appears like magic out of thin air is a myth.
    The only thing green about green energy is the dollar bills that are used to subsidize it.

  5. Under Australian law, superannuation fund trustees are required to invest purely in the best interests of their clients. This is frequently ignored by trustees of union based funds but at some point and it might be soon, a class action lawyers not linked to our Labor Party may decided to take them on. The outcome will be interesting. if I chose as an individual to invest on green companies or oil it is my choice, my responsibility. I suffer the consequences. However Super funds do not have that freedom. And it will be getting interesting as I don’t think western countries will continue to allow China a free pass on carbon emissions while constraining their own economies, especially if they want to stay in power. We are also coming to the end of life of many of the first generation solar panels. That too will be fun when the owners have to have them replaced. There will be no money for subsidies and governments are going to have to face up to the environmental consequences of dumping solar panels.

    • “Quilter July 26, 2020 at 6:40 pm

      We are also coming to the end of life of many of the first generation solar panels.”

      This is happening very very frequently in domestic installation in Australia, and not only first generation panels. Many installations that had “20 year lifespans” are being replaced, at the owners expense, after less than 5 years. Also many grid operators are flagging grid attached systems are faulting. It’s being kept quiet in MSM.

      • If anyone bought Chinese silicon, I hope they are not surprised when it does not fulfill the manufacturer’s claims. Also, I don’t think any even claimed that the electronics would last 20y.

        I’m not sure there is anything to “keep quiet” about.

    • Quilter I live in the Central West Region of NSW. Our region has been declared a Renewable Energy Zone. Beryl Solar Farm, commissioned a year ago, was the third largest plant in NSW at the time it was planned. Beryl has 87 mw of thin film solar panels built over 310 hectares of agricultural land, five kilometres from the town, zoned for crops, and have a guarantee of only 10 years. An additional 1,800 hectares of panels are in the pipeline or proposed, all 5 to 7 kilometers from town. There are rumors of more.

      We are fighting a smaller proposal that would be around 600 meters from town. The fire risk is huge, as is the risk to the nearby town water treatment plant and lagoon over a massive aquifer. We have to speak against it to a panel on Monday.

      All of this is funded by government subsidies, our taxes. Who is going to pay for the cleanup if the Beryl Solar plant is damaged by fire, hail or some other extreme weather event. I have read that cadmium and lead can leach into the soil and waterways, Beryl was built over two waterways. There are no plans in place generally for disposal of renewables in Australia. Thin film panels are the most dangerous to end up in landfill.

      This is not the legacy I would want to leave for future generations.

      And government superannuation funds are helping to fund all this madness, it is disgusting. After doing extensive research I am quite frankly terrified at the prospect of having this technology dumped in our local landfill sometime in the future. I am terrified that a hailstorm or fire could have disastrous consequences. All in the best interests of the investors of course.

      We only have a say in this small 16 hectare site because it’s small and close to town.

  6. Activist investors can cause untold misery for management. Do a web search for activist investors lawsuits. You’ll get plenty of hits.

    The usual motivation for activist investors is to make sure the shareholders squeeze every penny they can out of a company. In my humble opinion, a virtue signalling CEO is setting herself up to get thwacked real hard by someone who thinks it’s way more important to maximize shareholder value.

  7. Australian union based super funds handling a large proportion of the public service super funds are advertising higher returns than competing super funds at the same time as advertising that they are investing heavily into renewable energy projects. I am concerned that the public service have a vested interest in continuing the hike in energy prices to Joe average and their business in order to continue their super returns. I hope a class action by lawyers takes them on – Its wrong to have solar panel users subsidizing govt “dividends” from electricity. Its no surprise that dirt on Angus Taylor (the Lib tasked with getting prices down) keeps being leaked…

    • Supporters of RE usually have a vested interest. Ask people like Nick Stokes how they are enjoying their taxpayer funded pensions.

  8. I’m tired of hearing “Climate Change.” Climate changes all the time – sometimes it’s hot; sometimes it’s cold; sometimes mild, but it’s all getting old!
    Anyone telling us, “Global Warming” is bad, then why has the world population reached 7.5 billion people? Weren’t we supposed to die off by now? Aren’t we supposed to be ice and snow free by now? Major storms haven’t increased any, have they? Only one named hurricane this summer, so far (Cat 1). What about those big, white, furry bears up north? Aren’t they all killed off?
    Just asking – just saying!

  9. This is just overpaid big fund managers using other people’s money to virtue-signal the looney left in hopes the mob will come for them last.

  10. It seems more obvious by the day that “capitalists” hate capitalism, and would much prefer some form of totalitarianism. China-style communism would probably suit them best. Well, actually even China has too much competition for these marxists. Competition means they have to deal with people who are actually trying to provide services and products people want.

  11. ends with ABC China apologist, Fran, saying she knows in the US the Rocky Mountain Institute is working with China on a simiar kind of initiative!

    VIDEO: 8m50s: 27 Jul: ABC Breakfast Australia: Group of Australia’s biggest industrial carbon polluters look at de-carbonising global supply chains
    Presenter: Fran Kelly
    A group of Australia’s biggest industrial carbon polluters are coming together with the CSIRO and America’s Rocky Mountain Institute to look at de-carbonising their global supply chains in order to achieve net zero emissions.
    The companies include BHP, Woodside, BlueScope Steel, BP Australia, Orica and Wesfarmers Chemicals, and together they account for 14 per cent of Australia’s industrial emissions.
    Guest:
    Simon McKeon, chair of the Australian Industry Energy Transitions Initiative and a former chair of the CSIRO
    https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/carbon-polluters-look-at-de-carbonising-global-supply-chains/12493866

    Rocky Mountain Institute: China Program
    https://rmi.org/our-work/global-energy-transitions/china-program/

  12. 11 Jul: NYT: The Left Is Remaking the World
    “Defund the police” and “cancel rent” aren’t reforms, but paths to revolution.
    By Amna A. Akbar
    (Ms. Akbar is a law professor who studies leftist social movements)
    Or consider the environment. The Green New Deal does not merely call for less pollution. It requires that we restructure our economy so we can move to clean, renewable energy sources and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

    To get there, the Green New Deal calls for enormous investments in public transit, universal health care, free public college tuition and millions of high-wage green jobs. It emphasizes that everyone ought to carry out its projects, with a central role for working-class people of color. The bill’s vision is so counter to the actual practices of the state, and to the talking points of the Democratic and Republican Parties, you have to stretch your imagination to understand it. And that is the point…

    The way to respond is to stay focused on building mass movements of ordinary people who are serious about restoring and redistributing social wealth, as the Red Nation’s Red Deal puts it, to those who created it: “workers, the poor, Indigenous peoples, the global South, women, migrants, caretakers of the land, and the land itself.” Here, too, you see the connections — among Indigenous resistance, environmental justice and more.

    Leftist movements today see our crises as intersectional. Police violence, global warming and unaffordable housing are not disconnected, discrete problems; instead, they emerge from colonialism and capitalism…
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/11/opinion/sunday/defund-police-cancel-rent.html

    VIDEO/TRANSCRIPT: 15 Jul: Democracy Now: The Left Remakes the World: Amna Akbar on Canceling Rent, Defunding Police & Where We Go from Here
    Presenters: Amy Goodman, Juan González
    We speak with Amna Akbar, law professor at Ohio State University, who wrote about how to respond to all of this in her op-ed in Sunday’s New York Times headlined “The Left Is Remaking the World.”…
    AMNA AKBAR: But it might be worth taking a moment to talk about private property, which is also everywhere and structures our everyday lives, but is arguably a bit more subterranean in how it does. Private property is the basis of our legal regime. It’s a settler regime, a capitalist regime, a racial regime. It creates these relationships where some people own property and most people don’t. And if you don’t own property, you have to pay for it. This is pretty weird, if you think about it…

    JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Professor Akbar, I wanted to ask you, though: What is singular about this movement compared to movements in the past that also believed that they were remaking the world? I’m speaking, for instance, of the anarchists, the Magonistas, in Mexico; the International Workers of the World in the early 1900s; the communist and social movements of the 1930s, right after the — in the wake of the Great Depression; the New Left movement of the 1960s, which I was a part of. Our slogan then was not “defund the police”; it was “off the pigs.” And yet, each of these movements thought that they were going to remake the world. However, capitalism proved to be a lot more resilient in its ability to co-opt and to adjust to the threats. I’m wondering how you think that this is going to be any different? And also, are you taking into account the potential for a fascist or right-wing response to the current movement?…

    AMNA AKBAR: And so, whether this is a more powerful formation or powerful moment than any other one across the — you know, in the history of the United States or around the world, that I don’t know. But I do know that over the course of my life, this is certainly the strongest the left and working-class movements have been. And I feel hopeful about where we are. And, of course, I feel apprehensive, because our opponents are not going to pack up and go home, as Rachel Herzing put it the other day when I was talking to her. We are going to see, and we are seeing, state repression all over the country, whether it’s federal prosecutions of protesters or all sorts of local and state prosecutions, not to mention the ongoing criminalization and prosecution of working-class people for their survival. And so, the odds against us are long, but we are also stronger than we have been over the last few decades…
    https://www.democracynow.org/2020/7/15/amna_akbar_on_canceling_rent_defunding

  13. 21 Jul: Progressive Party USA: More than warming. How a climate group became diverse
    (This Piece Originally Appeared in E&E News by Avery Ellfeldt)
    Activists with the Sunrise Movement joined with other protesters in a recent campaign to convince Washington officials to slash the city’s police budget. It was a swampy evening when masked demonstrators gathered outside the home of a city lawmaker in Washington and demanded that he help slash the police budget.
    Leading the way were activists with an unexpected affiliation: the Sunrise Movement, the youth-led climate organization that’s credited with catapulting the Green New Deal into the national spotlight.
    At first, the protest against police brutality might seem off-point for an organization whose goal is to address climate change through a massive jobs program.
    Yet a mission for justice — both climate and otherwise — has been a touchstone for Sunrise since day one, organizers said. It’s a characteristic they credit in part with catalyzing the group’s dramatic growth — and political success — over the last three years.
    The protest outside the home of D.C. Council member Charles Allen exemplified that…

    “Sunrise sees climate change as a vehicle to demand more, a vehicle to demand something fundamentally better,” said Sean Haskett, a D.C.-based organizer. “I think it is unique. It’s the only reason I joined.”…
    Over the last three years, Sunrise activists have launched more than 380 local “hubs” in all 50 states…ETC
    https://progressivepartyusa.com/alexandria-ocasio-cortez/more-than-warming-how-a-climate-group-became-diverse-3/

  14. 22 Jul: Australian Financial Review: When will things get back to normal? Never, says Davos founder
    Klaus Schwab’s quick-fire book ‘The Great Reset’ tries to imagine how we will live with COVID-19. It’s equal parts forecast, manifesto and warning
    by Hans van Leeuwen, Europe correspondent
    As the COVID-19 pandemic’s second wave breaks upon us, all thoughts of an easy ride out are dissipating. We are paddling into a fog of uncertainty, and we need a navigator.
    Step forward Klaus Schwab. He is the octogenarian German engineer and economist who parlayed his dull-sounding 1971 management manual into a think tank, the World Economic Forum, that in turn became Davos …

    Schwab hopes to make amends for that rare and understandable failing of his signature gathering with a new book, co-authored with French analyst Thierry Malleret and published last week, called The Great Reset…
    The world as we knew it in the early months of 2020 is no more,” he writes…
    “Deep, existential crises also favour introspection and can harbour the potential for transformation. The fault lines of the world – most notably social divides, lack of fairness, absence of co-operation, failure of global governance and leadership – now lie exposed as never before, and people feel a time of reinvention has come.”…

    They don’t buy the Trumpian trade-off between saving lives (prioritising public health) and ending lockdown (prioritising economic recovery). The argument they cleave to is that economies won’t recover unless the public health situation is completely sorted. Unless people are sure the virus is defeated, they won’t regain the confidence to return to the office and to start consuming again…
    https://www.afr.com/world/europe/when-will-things-get-back-to-normal-never-says-davos-founder-20200714-p55br2

    11 March 2020: World Economic Forum: Fourth Industrial Revolution: Meet our Young Global Leaders for 2020
    by Mariah Levin
    Each year, the Forum of Young Global Leaders identifies the world’s most promising leaders under the age of 40 – people driving innovation for positive change across civil society, arts, culture, government and business…
    Here are some of the 114 YGLs that make up the class of 2020…

    Jesús Cepeda – Chief Executive Officer of OneSmart City, a company that uses blockchain and artificial intelligence to help city authorities provide digital services. Cepeda hopes the technology will create greener cities and stronger institutions in line with the UN goals on sustainable development.

    Larry Madowo – The BBC Africa Business Editor launched of six new business TV shows for African audiences in English, French and Swahili. Madowo is also an on-air correspondent on BBC radio and television and has reported from more than 40 countries…

    Alicia Garza – A co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Garza is a US civil rights activist and editorial writer influential on issues of health, student rights, rights for domestic workers, and campaigns against police brutality, racism, and violence against gender non-conforming people of colour. She directs special projects at the National Domestic Workers Alliance…
    https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/ygl-wef-young-global-leaders/

  15. I have small amounts of money to invest. Given the hypocrisy and stupidity surrounding ‘green’ and ‘ethical’ investment, I would like to invest in a fund which makes a point of being neither ‘green’ nor ‘ethical’. When I Google ‘unethical investment’, or indeed anything tending in that direction, all I get is an avalanche of recommendations for where to put my green investment. I am sure there are some joyfully contrarian fund managers out there, that want my money. How can I find them?

  16. Big Fund Managers are Demanding Climate Action.
    Crony capitalists fund managers and leftist demand a better a centralised command economy.

  17. BNP Paribas is the commercial arm of the Canadian Liberal party. Expect some “bold new initiative” on this scam in the coming weeks from the Federal government. Canadians, watch your wallets!

  18. Time to walk to walk. Divest. Divest from Blackrock and BNP. There are other funds available.

  19. From an article I read the EU is considering, again, a tax on stock trades. As far as “Cap and Trade” the winners are the companies trading stocks.
    At some point there will be some John Galts.

  20. In 100 days two momentous events will occur: 1) Trump will have been re-elected (hopefully) and 2) The US will officially exit the Paris “Agreement” (a certainty). Of course, if Trump is not reelected, then our leaving the PA will become moot, since Biden vows that re-entering the PA will be one of his first acts as president. Supposedly, Americans are displeased with Trump’s response to Covid19, and believe Biden would do a better job, and this could be what ultimately defeats Trump in November. The supreme irony is that regardless of how one views Trump’s handling of the CV19 crisis, by November we will likely only be a couple of months away from having a vaccine available, which would (hopefully) spell the end of the CV19 crisis, regardless of who is president. To sum up, if Biden gets elected, Americans will have elected someone based on a real threat which will end no matter who is president, and who will likely cause them great economic harm, as well as threatening our very democracy, all based on a fake threat. We do live in interesting times.

    • Did you say vaccine? A vaccine is neither wanted nor required. We are presented with a false dichotomy, either take a vaccine or live in fear.

      Media (Newsweek, published July 23, 2020)

      https://www.newsweek.com/key-defeating-covid-19-already-exists-we-need-start-using-it-opinion-1519535

      Opinion
      The Key to Defeating COVID-19 Already Exists. We Need to Start Using It | Opinion
      Harvey A. Risch, MD, PhD , Professor of Epidemiology, Yale School of Public Health
      On 7/23/20 at 7:00 AM EDT
      Harvey A. Risch, MD, PhD

      Share
      Opinion Coronavirus Health and Medicine Medicine Fda

      As professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health, I have authored over 300 peer-reviewed publications and currently hold senior positions on the editorial boards of several leading journals. I am usually accustomed to advocating for positions within the mainstream of medicine, so have been flummoxed to find that, in the midst of a crisis, I am fighting for a treatment that the data fully support but which, for reasons having nothing to do with a correct understanding of the science, has been pushed to the sidelines. As a result, tens of thousands of patients with COVID-19 are dying unnecessarily. Fortunately, the situation can be reversed easily and quickly.

      I am referring, of course, to the medication hydroxychloroquine. When this inexpensive oral medication is given very early in the course of illness, before the virus has had time to multiply beyond control, it has shown to be highly effective, especially when given in combination with the antibiotics azithromycin or doxycycline and the nutritional supplement zinc.

      On May 27, I published an article in the American Journal of Epidemiology (AJE) entitled, “Early Outpatient Treatment of Symptomatic, High-Risk COVID-19 Patients that Should be Ramped-Up Immediately as Key to the Pandemic Crisis.” That article, published in the world’s leading epidemiology journal, analyzed five studies, demonstrating clear-cut and significant benefits to treated patients, plus other very large studies that showed the medication safety.

      Physicians who have been using these medications in the face of widespread skepticism have been truly heroic. They have done what the science shows is best for their patients, often at great personal risk. I myself know of two doctors who have saved the lives of hundreds of patients with these medications, but are now fighting state medical boards to save their licenses and reputations. The cases against them are completely without scientific merit.

      Since publication of my May 27 article, seven more studies have demonstrated similar benefit. In a lengthy follow-up letter, also published by AJE, I discuss these seven studies and renew my call for the immediate early use of hydroxychloroquine in high-risk patients. These seven studies include: an additional 400 high-risk patients treated by Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, with zero deaths; four studies totaling almost 500 high-risk patients treated in nursing homes and clinics across the U.S., with no deaths; a controlled trial of more than 700 high-risk patients in Brazil, with significantly reduced risk of hospitalization and two deaths among 334 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine; and another study of 398 matched patients in France, also with significantly reduced hospitalization risk. Since my letter was published, even more doctors have reported to me their completely successful use.

      My original article in the AJE is available free online, and I encourage readers—especially physicians, nurses, physician assistants and associates, and respiratory therapists—to search the title and read it. My follow-up letter is linked there to the original paper.

      Beyond these studies of individual patients, we have seen what happens in large populations when these drugs are used. These have been “natural experiments.” In the northern Brazil state of Pará, COVID-19 deaths were increasing exponentially. On April 6, the public hospital network purchased 75,000 doses of azithromycin and 90,000 doses of hydroxychloroquine. Over the next few weeks, authorities began distributing these medications to infected individuals. Even though new cases continued to occur, on May 22 the death rate started to plummet and is now about one-eighth what it was at the peak.

  21. The SEC, common sense, the vote and self interest – all standing in the way of the sacred climate revolution. What a shame.

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