Alex Epstein: “It’s time for Larry Fink to come clean about fossil fuels”

Guest “Will the real Larry Fink please stand up?” by David Middleton

Remember the old game show, To Tell the Truth?

To Tell the Truth
September 8, 1969 – September, 1978
Produced for daily syndication
The Show:
A team of three challengers comes onstage and each challenger introduces him/herself with the same name. One challenger really is the person s/he claims to be, while the other two are imposters. The host reads an affidavit, written in the first person, explaining why the central character is significant, after which the challengers take their seats at podiums labeled with the numbers 1, 2, & 3.

Each of the four panelists, in turn, has about a minute to cross-examine the challengers by asking them questions about their field of expertise, what they did, etc. After all four panelists have had a turn, they cast their votes as to who they think the “real person” is.

After all four panelists have had a turn, they cast their votes as to who they think the “real person” is. After the votes had been cast, it was customary for the host to ask, “Will the real (name) please stand up?” The real challenger stands up, and the vote scores are tallied. On this particular version, the contestants split $50 for each wrong vote cast or $500 if all four panelists were wrong.

[…]

BillCullen.net

Alex Epstein’s latest Substack article basically asks…

Will the real Larry Fink please stand up?

It’s time for Larry Fink to come clean about fossil fuels
A previously-unreleased pro-oil/gas letter sent by BlackRock to Texas lawmakers and oil/gas executives reveals a major contradiction

Alex Epstein
Jan 18

Breaking: A previously-unreleased pro-oil/gas letter sent by BlackRock to Texas lawmakers and oil/gas executives reveals that the company is simultaneously 1) trying to gain status by supporting anti-oil/gas net zero goals, and 2) trying not to lose any pro-oil/gas investors.

[…]

Energy Talking Points by Alex Epstein

I highly recommend reading Mr. Epstein’s full Substack article.

Dan Patrick vs. Larry Fink

TX Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (L) vs BlackRock CEO Larry Fink (R):
Patrick wants BlackRock added to list of companies on Oil & Gas Investment Protection Act

Mr. Fink’s January 3, 2022 letter stated, “We will continue to invest in and support fossil fuel companies, including Texas fossil fuel companies.” This letter was specifically to Texas lawmakers and oil & gas executives, probably in an effort to avert this:

January 19, 2022

HOUSTON – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick sent the following letter to Comptroller Glenn Hegar today asking him to place BlackRock at the top of the list of financial companies that boycott the Texas oil & gas industry under Senate Bill 13, the Oil & Gas Investment Protection Act. Upon sending the letter, Lt. Gov. Patrick issued the following statement:

“When the Senate passed Senate Bill 13, we made it clear that Texans will not tolerate Wall Street turning its back on our flourishing oil and gas industry and the millions of Texans who rely upon it. As long as I am Lt. Governor, I will never back down from defending our oil and gas industry and I remain committed to ensuring Texas is the top state for oil and gas in America.”

Dear Comptroller Hegar,

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to implement Senate Bill (SB) 13 (87th Regular Session), the Oil & Gas Investment Protection Act, by Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury. As you know, this law says Texas should not contract with or invest in companies that boycott energy companies. Because I strongly believe we need to prioritize and protect our state’s and nation’s energy independence, I made the passage of SB 13 a high priority.

As you prepare the official list of companies that boycott energy companies, I ask that you include BlackRock, and any company like them, that choose to hurt Texas oil and gas energy companies by boycotting them in violation of Senate Bill 13. As I have stated before, if Wall Street turns their back on Texas and our thriving oil and gas industry, then Texas will not do business with Wall Street.

Please know, BlackRock only recently met with my office after you sent BlackRock and others a letter threatening to take action against entities that boycott energy companies. At the meeting with my staff, Blackrock said it was committed to Texas and Texas’s vast energy footprint, but I have grave concerns that BlackRock’s public statements and actions do not reflect its sentiments presented to my office.

Just yesterday, BlackRock Chairman and CEO, Larry Fink, issued his annual 2022 letter to CEOs indicating that BlackRock’s goal is to transition to a “net zero” world, including decarbonizing the energy sector. Needless to say, it is highly inconsistent to claim support for Texas’ oil and gas energy industry while leading a “net zero” policy effort that will destroy the oil and gas industry and destabilize the economy worldwide.

This is nothing new for Mr. Fink. In his 2020 letter to CEOs, he stated that Blackrock would be “exiting investments that present a high sustainability-related risk.” He expanded on this initiative further in his letter to BlackRock’s clients:

“Where we do not see progress in [transitioning to “net zero”], and in particular where we see a lack of alignment combined with a lack of engagement, we will not only use our vote against management for our index portfolio-held shares, we will also flag these holdings for potential exit in our discretionary active portfolios[.]”

According to Bloomberg on January 12, 2022, when addressing their new Climate Action Multi-Asset Fund and Climate Action Equity Fund, BlackRock said that it intends to incorporate a year-on-year decarbonization rate and identify companies that appear to be “long-term, disruptive structural winners” in driving down greenhouse gas emissions.

These statements indicate that BlackRock is capriciously discriminating against the oil and gas industry by exiting investments solely because companies do not subscribe to a “net zero” policy beyond what is required by law.

According to SB 13, a company is considered to be boycotting an energy company if it limits relations with an entity involved in the fossil fuel-based energy sector if the entity “does not commit or pledge to meet environmental standards beyond applicable federal and state law[.]” Committing to a “net zero” carbon strategy is beyond applicable environmental standards in federal and state law. Therefore, BlackRock is boycotting energy companies by basing investment decisions on whether a company pledges to meet BlackRock’s “net zero” goals.

Furthermore, BlackRock’s discrimination goes well beyond just its investment decisions. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, it was noted that “BlackRock made waves last spring when it voted to replace three Exxon Mobil Corp. directors over the oil giant’s reluctance to quickly transition to cleaner energy sources.” It is not appropriate for Mr. Fink and BlackRock, or any other company, to arbitrarily strong-arm the energy sector to commit to exceed federal and state environmental laws.

As you prepare the list of those that boycott Texas energy companies, I ask that BlackRock be at the top of the list, and any company like them that discriminates against Texas energy. I am committed to keeping Texas the number one oil and gas state in the country. Texas will not do business with those that boycott fossil fuels.

Thank you for all you do for Texas.

Sincerely,

Dan Patrick
Lieutenant Governor

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF TEXAS DAN PATRICK

Lt. Gov. Patrick was responding to Larry Fink’s January 18, 2022 public letter to CEOs:

Every company and every industry will be transformed by the transition to a net zero world. The question is, will you lead, or will you be led?

In a few short years, we have all watched innovators reimagine the auto industry. And today, every car manufacturer is racing toward an electric future. The auto industry, however, is merely on the leading edge – every sector will be transformed by new, sustainable technology.

Engineers and scientists are working around the clock on how to decarbonize cement, steel, and plastics; shipping, trucking, and aviation; agriculture, energy, and construction. I believe the decarbonizing of the global economy is going to create the greatest investment opportunity of our lifetime. It will also leave behind the companies that don’t adapt, regardless of what industry they are in. And just as some companies risk being left behind, so do cities and countries that don’t plan for the future. They risk losing jobs, even as other places gain them. The decarbonization of the economy will be accompanied by enormous job creation for those that engage in the necessary long-term planning.

[…]

LARRY FINK’S 2022 LETTER TO CEOS

This was the only mention of “fossil fuels” in the public letter to CEOs:

The transition to net zero is already uneven with different parts of the global economy moving at different speeds. It will not happen overnight. We need to pass through shades of brown to shades of green. For example, to ensure continuity of affordable energy supplies during the transition, traditional fossil fuels like natural gas will play an important role both for power generation and heating in certain regions, as well as for the production of hydrogen.

LARRY FINK’S 2022 LETTER TO CEOS

Mr. Fink’s grasp of reality is fleeting, at best. The US Energy Information Administration’s 2021 International Energy Outlook paints a somewhat more realistic path forward…

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Outlook 2021 (IEO2021)
Note: Petroleum and other liquids includes biofuels

How could someone with so much influence be so out of touch with reality?

When my partners and I founded BlackRock as a startup 34 years ago, I had no experience running a company. Over the past three decades, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with countless CEOs and to learn what distinguishes truly great companies. Time and again, what they all share is that they have a clear sense of purpose; consistent values; and, crucially, they recognize the importance of engaging with and delivering for their key stakeholders. This is the foundation of stakeholder capitalism.

LARRY FINK’S 2022 LETTER TO CEOS

Who would have ever guessed that Mr. Fink had no experience running a company before trying to tell everyone else in the world how to run their companies?

Despite the overall hostility toward fossil fuels in Mr. Fink’s public letter to CEO’s, this paragraph drew harsh criticism from the lamestream media and ignorant activists:

Divesting from entire sectors – or simply passing carbon-intensive assets from public markets to private markets – will not get the world to net zero. And BlackRock does not pursue divestment from oil and gas companies as a policy. We do have some clients who choose to divest their assets while other clients reject that approach. Foresighted companies across a wide range of carbon intensive sectors are transforming their businesses, and their actions are a critical part of decarbonization. We believe the companies leading the transition present a vital investment opportunity for our clients and driving capital towards these phoenixes will be essential to achieving a net zero world.

LARRY FINK’S 2022 LETTER TO CEOS

Ignorant activists responded with babble like this:

“His opportunistic argument for supporting fossil gas as part of the green transition is flatly contradicted by climate science,” added Lara Cuvelier, a campaigner at Reclaim Finance, a nonprofit organization that argues the world’s largest financial institutions should move away from fossil fuels.

“Fink is thus providing cover for the building of dozens of new gas plants, which would lock us into fossil fuels for years to come. Moreover, his simplistic attack on divestment obscures a vital lesson: to succeed, engagement must be paired with a clear demand to stop fossil fuel expansion,” Cuvelier said in a written statement.

“Given BlackRock’s enormous fossil fuel interests, perhaps this truth is just too inconvenient to stomach,” she added.

CNBC

There’s only one answer for someone who thinks that reality is “flatly contradicted by climate science,” and it’s reality that must change…

You can't fix stupid

Larry Fink doesn’t support “divestment from oil and gas companies;” yet he seems to think that only natural gas is needed and that it will just play a limited, regional role in the transition to a “net zero world.” No wonder, Lt. Gov. Patrick asked the state Comptroller to list BlackRock as “Public Enemy #1.”

While the fossil fuel industries will continue to decrease the carbon intensity of production, transportation and consumption, currently through replacing coal-fired electricity generation with natural gas and will soon accelerate this process with carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) over the next few decades, “net zero” is just a slogan.

https://www.soasta.com/blog/cant-get-myths-testing-production-2/

On January 3, 2020, in a private letter, Mr. Fink assured Texas lawmakers and oil & gas executives that BlackRock expected to be “long term investors” in the fossil fuel industries “because these companies play crucial roles in the economy.” Two weeks later, in a public letter to CEOs, the future for fossil fuels was limited to natural gas in a limited role “in certain regions.” Which is it?

Will the real Larry Fink please stand up?

  1. “Every company and every industry will be transformed by the transition to a net zero world.”
  2. “We will continue to invest in and support fossil fuel companies, including Texas fossil fuel companies.”
  3. “When my partners and I founded BlackRock as a startup 34 years ago, I had no experience running a company.”

I’m going with contestant #3.

Although I do have to give Mr. Fink kudos for p!$$ing off both sides…

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January 24, 2022 10:05 am

2 + 2 = 4 is just way too unflexible. It can also be 5, or 3, just in case.

wolf at the door
Reply to  David Middleton
January 24, 2022 10:56 am

Unfair to engineers !! Make that answer a” statistician!

Ron Long
Reply to  David Middleton
January 24, 2022 11:39 am

Careful, David, I know a lot of geophysicists that like to play with electrodes.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Ron Long
January 24, 2022 1:31 pm

Ron, Only the ones that survived the learning curve :<)

Tom Halla
January 24, 2022 10:12 am

Sucking up to the Green Blob has no end. As they want an impossible goal you are just another “wrecker” if you fail to toe their line.
Telling Mr Fink he has his head so far up his nether regions he is seeing the backside of his own teeth is a salutary function. A counter boycott by Texas is what is needed to get his attention.

Richard Page
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 24, 2022 2:05 pm

Appeasement has a very, very long history of not working – nonetheless people still try it, again and again, in the vain hope that they will be able to make it work.

Rah
Reply to  Richard Page
January 25, 2022 12:58 am

It has always been easier to find physical courage than to find moral courage.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Richard Page
January 25, 2022 7:07 am

As the old saying goes, “Doing more of the same that doesn’t work expecting a different result, is the definition of stupidity!!! 😉

Rud Istvan
January 24, 2022 10:18 am

Blackrock’s sole obligation is to maximize its clients investment returns.
Fink’s NYC social cred and ESG investing aren’t.

Another apt old game show is Truth or Consequences. Warmunist untruth definitely has negative consequences.

John Garrett
Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 24, 2022 11:46 am

Fink and BlackRock proxy voting records belies their theoretical fiduciary obligation.

Jeremy Grantham, who derived his fortune from GMO (f/k/a “Grantham Mayo van Otterloo”) is another egregious hypocrite, funder and evangelist of the “Catastrophic/dangerous, CO2-driven anthropogenic global warming/climate change” CONJECTURE.

As you are all too well aware, Harvard has employed its gargantuan endowment for climate advocacy purposes.

oeman 50
Reply to  John Garrett
January 25, 2022 11:21 am

Yes, that’s Grantham Style! Whoop, whoop.

griff
Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 25, 2022 9:22 am

Yes. Its a fiduciary. Larry is always telling people so.

oeman 50
Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 25, 2022 11:19 am

Indeed, Rud. People in my neck of the woods tell our local power company that they should have invested in renewables sooner! and faster! Yet, since they area regulated utility, if they had done it any sooner or faster, they would not have gotten paid for the investment. And the CEO would have been looking for a new job.

Old Retired Guy
January 24, 2022 10:27 am

I would hope all WUWT readers have purged their investment portfolios of BlackRock products. I did some time ago.

Len Werner
January 24, 2022 10:29 am

To Tell The Truth started in 1956, Junior. (grin)

Len Werner
Reply to  David Middleton
January 24, 2022 11:24 am

We’re all shaped by our times–at least as far as entertainment is concerned, not geology. We got our first television set ‘back on the farm’ in 1958, just long enough before the demolition of Ripple Rock that my brother and I managed to get the antennae for the 2 channels we could receive oriented well enough to pick the dominant images out of the ghosts and were able to watch the explosion live. To Tell The Truth was one of the weekly shows on CBS at that time.

By the time the second series was popular I was working as a geologist at a mining community just south of the Yukon border that got television tapes 2 weeks after they aired, and whoever provided them sure didn’t waste any of that 2 hours per evening’s worth recording quiz shows. I never saw one episode of anything after the first series, and didn’t see anything of that one either after I entered university well before it ended.

One sight I’ll not forget was seeing the shock wave radiate upwards from the Ripple Rock explosion before the displacement reached the water surface. The pressure wave caused a condensation pattern of water vapour to travel rapidly upwards, and we had a good enough image on the screen to see it. Fantastic stimulation for someone who would become a scientist.

Richard Page
Reply to  David Middleton
January 24, 2022 2:17 pm

Here in the UK, we had a few series of ‘Tell the Truth’ – essentially the same show, running from about 1957 until 1961 I think, then a couple of revivals with the last airing in 1989. I think I only ever saw the last revival of the show.

Paul Hurley (aka PaulH)
January 24, 2022 10:48 am

I see BlackRock stock has not fared well since the beginning of 2022. BlackRock started the year at $919.03 and as of today, it’s at $766.50. Granted the stock markets are in a nasty decline, but a drop like that makes for concerned investors.

Gregory Woods
January 24, 2022 10:49 am

Within ten years the Unreliables will be taking a permanent nosedive….

John Garrett
January 24, 2022 11:10 am

Larry Fink is fundamentally dishonest.

As a promoter and peddler of snake oil, he’s been dishonest for decades.

For many years, BlackRock has been a purveyor of high fee, under-performing, actively-managed mutual funds and ETFs.

Last edited 4 months ago by John Garrett
Alan Robertson
Reply to  John Garrett
January 24, 2022 11:45 am

“Engineers and scientists are working around the clock on how to decarbonize cement, steel, and plastics…”- Larry Fink

Larry Fink’s statement is pure bafflegab, ala P. t. Barnum, or more appropriately, Bernie Madoff.
And yet, people have entrusted him with their money.
It seems that P. t. Barnum was right.

Interested Observer
Reply to  John Garrett
January 24, 2022 9:06 pm

For some reason, the phrase “Rat Fink Bastard” popped into my head while reading this article. If the shoe fits…, I guess.

yirgach
Reply to  John Garrett
January 25, 2022 3:13 pm

This is just a modern variant on the old Bootleggers and Baptists theme.
Just as sleazy, btw.

John Garrett
January 24, 2022 11:15 am

Thank you, Alex Epstein (and David Middleton), for exposing and publicizing Larry Fink’s vile hypocrisy. This is a classic case of “saying one thing and doing another.”

BlackRock and Fink’s hypocrisy and duplicity can be seen in their proxy voting record.

Last edited 4 months ago by John Garrett
Derg
Reply to  John Garrett
January 24, 2022 12:53 pm

Alex’s podcasts are very good. Highly recommended.

ResourceGuy
January 24, 2022 11:16 am

Blackstone needs to get fired as a manager for the TX public pension plans. The same goes for OK, WY, WV, LA, ND, and NM in their pension allocations tied to Blackstone.

Bill Rocks
January 24, 2022 11:26 am

Has this Fink been a leader in the “globalization” movement resulting in the export of America’s manufacturing jobs and factories?

ResourceGuy
January 24, 2022 11:27 am

Arnold needs to come clean also…..(GMC Yukon vehicle on top of a smashed Prius)

Arnold Schwarzenegger involved in vehicle accident in Los Angeles (cnbc.com)

jeffery p
January 24, 2022 12:44 pm

Sorry this is paywalled, but this column from the Wall Street Journal is relevant —

CD in Wisconsin
January 24, 2022 12:53 pm

“Breaking: A previously-unreleased pro-oil/gas letter sent by BlackRock to Texas lawmakers and oil/gas executives reveals that the company is simultaneously 1) trying to gain status by supporting anti-oil/gas net zero goals, and 2) trying not to lose any pro-oil/gas investors.”

Playing both sides of the fence.

Saddle up and ride that fence cowboy!! Yeeee ha!

Ten Best Buck Offs – YouTube

Derg
January 24, 2022 12:55 pm

I can’t wait to read BigOil blob’s post. I am sure we will all read it 3 x and still not understand. He is a word salad extraordinaire.

MiloCrabtree
Reply to  Derg
January 25, 2022 1:04 pm

BigOil blob wouldn’t know slips from elevators. He’s just plain thick.

Tom Foley
January 24, 2022 2:00 pm

When Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook he had no experience running a company. When Page and Brin founded Google, they had no experience running a company. So why make such a big deal about Fink having had no experience before he founded BlackRock? He’s had 34 years experience since. And BlackRock is older than Facebook and Google.

The criticism of Fink’s hypocrisy is valid. There is no need to embellish it with silly statements.

Tom Foley
Reply to  David Middleton
January 24, 2022 6:24 pm

Well, Zuckerberg et al haven’t had 34 years of experience yet. Give them time!

Len Werner
Reply to  David Middleton
January 24, 2022 6:31 pm

Well–they are telling us all what we can read and what we’re supposed to think. Is that not at least the same, or worse? Not an attack, just a reminder of all the Facebook and Google censorship; those guys don’t come out clean here either.

Independent
January 24, 2022 2:02 pm

Taxpayers are also forced to subsidize scumbags like Fink (appropriate name). See: https://www.wsj.com/articles/fed-hires-blackrock-to-help-calm-markets-its-etf-business-wins-big-11600450267

There needs to be a law banning this sort of thing. I’m sure Congress will get right on it, after banning the insider trading members of both parties (and especially Nancy Pelosi) engage in…*eyeroll*

marlene
January 24, 2022 4:07 pm

“Conservation or Land Grab? The Financialization of Nature” – Ellen Brown dot com. Read paragraphs on “Black Rock & 2 other megalithic asset managers, State Street & Vanguard (BlackRock’s largest shareholder), already effectively own much of the world. Adding “natural asset companies” to their portfolios could make them owners of the foundations of all life:”

Gary Pearse
January 24, 2022 4:36 pm

“We believe the companies leading the transition present a vital investment opportunity for our clients and driving capital towards these phoenixes ”

Did BlackRock load his investors with Soylent Green, UK and EU energy companies that have been going bankrupt by the dozen? I suppose he was an insider on the California bird smoker. Can he point to any pure green investment plays that he’s proud of? The record in EU/UK, the further it unravels is more than just a cautionary tale for investment. So far, all the Net Zero phoenixes have returned to ashes, or are on that path. Net Zero is what the investors will reap.

Joseph Zorzin
January 24, 2022 5:31 pm

“I believe the decarbonizing of the global economy is going to create the greatest investment opportunity source of easy money of our lifetime.”

what he meant to say

SAMURAI
January 25, 2022 2:37 am

BlackRock, Google, Facebook, Citigroup, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, US Bancorp, et al., are all on board with the World Economic Forum’s The Great Reset which entails the elimination of fossil fuels, and strict adherence to Social Justice initiatives and Fascism..

Their stated goal is that by 2030, “no one will anything and will be happy about it.”

Meh, not so much… I’m not a big fan of tyranny.

The primary means to accomplish this tyranny is through ESG scoring (Environmental, Social Justice and Governmental regulation compliance) which will determine if banks will allow loans to individuals, corporations and institutions based on their ESG scores..

Fossil Fuel companies are the biggest target and Leftists around the world want to bankrupt all of them by 2030 by cutting off their financing.

All freedom-loving states must pass strict laws (like Texas just did) which prohibit any bank or institution from using ESG scores to evaluate loans and financing.

So far, 15 states are working on such anti-ESG laws and hopefully all states will eventually do the same.

The Great Reset which Leftists are now organizing must never be allowed to occur or we’ll all becomes slaves to the state.

griff
Reply to  SAMURAI
January 25, 2022 9:19 am

By your logic ‘BlackRock, Google, Facebook, Citigroup, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, US Bancorp’ must all therefore be ‘leftists’ – which seems to me unlikely.

Richard Page
Reply to  griff
January 25, 2022 12:05 pm

Now there’s a quantum leap of Griffy logic if ever I saw one. Samurai at no point suggested, intimated, hinted or inferred that those companies were leftist and yet you immediately jump to that erroneous conclusion. The fact that they see huge opportunities to make obscene amounts of money by jumping on the bandwagon never occurred to you? The facts clearly indicate that the climate industry is raking in massive amounts of money and these companies are making sure that they get as much of it as they can grab. It’s always been about the money, from the very start, never about environmental or climate concerns – the fact that these companies are deeply involved should highlight that point to all but the most stupid, blinkered or delusional people.

Mickey Reno
January 25, 2022 7:28 am

Can we not just educate our population on how absolutely WONDERFUL it is to have more CO2 in the atmosphere?

Plants grow better End of story. We need no carbon capture. No carbon sequestration. NO expensive intermittent wind mills. No environentally disastrous solar panels. Just good, albeit imperfect, efficient, reliable, reasonably priced fossil fuels, until we figure out those compact nuclear reactors we see in the movies (e.g Mr. Fusion from Back to the Future),

griff
Reply to  Mickey Reno
January 25, 2022 9:18 am

Except that CO2 really does affect the climate – and that climate change produces side effects like damaging extreme weather.

Slowroll
Reply to  griff
January 25, 2022 11:05 am

…stated like a true (but gullible) believer.

Richard Page
Reply to  griff
January 25, 2022 12:07 pm

Prove it. I’ll wait.

John Endicott
Reply to  griff
January 26, 2022 4:02 am

As they say in the court room: objection, assumes facts not in evidence.

Or as Christopher Hitchens so eloquently put it: “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

Last edited 4 months ago by John Endicott
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