Climate Divestment: Kentucky Boycotts Woke Anti-Fossil Fuel Banks

h/t Carl – Will woke fossil fuel hating banks like BlackRock have to disclose the risk of being boycotted by GOP states on their SEC climate risk declarations?

Another State Puts Energy-Boycotting ESG-Loving Companies On Notice


In the Commonwealth of Kentucky, GOP leaders are not messing around when it comes to woke ESG — environmental, social, and governance — policies that endanger the Bluegrass State’s economy and the well-being of its citizens.

In addition to joining investigations against companies over their use of ESG in attempts to “decarbonize” the global economy and fighting to keep woke asset management firms from scooping up shares of publicly traded utilities, Kentucky is putting the companies that boycott reliable and affordable energy on notice. [emphasis, links added]

On Tuesday, Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball named 11 such financial companies currently boycotting energy companies, following the passage of a 2022 law that directed Ball’s office to publish a list of companies actively engaged in energy boycotts, which then puts said companies on a path toward divestment by the Commonwealth.

The updated list of companies engaged in energy boycotts was based on a “careful review of publicly available statements and commitments made by the companies” and includes the following entities:

  • BlackRock, Inc.
  • BNP Paribas SA
  • Citigroup Inc.
  • Climate First Bank
  • Dankse Bank A/S
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Nordea Bank ABP
  • Schroders PLC
  • Svenska Handelsbanken AB
  • Swedbank AB.

Read more:

So far at least the companies affected appear to be shrugging off these state legislature boycotts.

But upsetting regulators is never a good thing if you are a bank.

If banks ignore these warning signals, and continue upsetting GOP legislators with their anti-fossil fuel discrimination, next time they ask for a GFC financial bailout, say if the Chinese economy implodes and drags China exposed banks underwater, they might find nobody at the GOP controlled congress wants to answer their phone call.

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Tom Halla
January 6, 2023 2:06 pm

Charging banks with a fiduciary duty to their customers with embezzlement for diverting funds to a political cause might be an approach. As they have lost money pursuing virtue signaling, it is a diversion of customers money.

Reply to  Tom Halla
January 7, 2023 1:34 pm

The Biden admin is right now working on regulation changes that would take away this option, both against banks and investment companies. They will probably achieve enough that the next legitimate administration (if we ever see another) will need to undo it.

Gunga Din
January 6, 2023 2:19 pm

I hope Ohio follows suit.
I had a government job in Ohio. Part of my retirement planning was voluntarily investing in “Ohio Deferred Compensation”. What that means is that a part of my paycheck was invested in mutual funds they offered before taxes. (The idea being the amount I would have been taxed would gain more value in the funds I chose. I would be taxed when I started to draw from it.)
In choosing a mutual fund, almost all of them had a prospectus that could be viewed. In the last many years or so more and more of the various types have been replaced by a similar type “OhioDC” fund. No prospectus to be viewed for them and almost all are managed by Blackrock.

Reply to  Gunga Din
January 6, 2023 2:24 pm

Coal is a black rock….must be some fink in Blackrock trying to illegally use other people’s money for political ends.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  antigtiff
January 6, 2023 2:31 pm

Would that fink be Larry Fink :<)

Reply to  Joe Crawford
January 8, 2023 10:03 am

Must’ve been tough when he was a kid…
I knew a Joe Lipshitz, he changed his name to Larry.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Gunga Din
January 6, 2023 2:44 pm

To clarify(and correct).
Some have been replaced by plans such as Ohio DC Lifepath Retirement, Ohio DC Lifepath 2025 etc. in 5 year increments going out to 2060. (Based on when you plan to retire.)
All 9 of them are managed by Blackrock.
There are 14 others. Some have been combined and a prospectus is not available.

Rud Istvan
January 6, 2023 2:52 pm

Published ESG policies put all these financial institutions at considerable risk in the US. Our corporate and securities law is quite clear. They have but one fiduciary duty—maximize shareholder financial returns. Espousing ESG clearly does not do ONLY that as a matter of publicly announced institutional policy.
So when economic things downturn their stocks (2023, already started) shareholder damage lawsuits are easy pickings for the contingency fee class action seclaw firms. Fat targets, easy wins. Heck, I might even buy say 10 shares in each institution to become the lead class action plaintiff for such specialized predatory law firms. Costs almost nothing, good returns. (Hint. Lead plaintiffs often get an extra cut above all others in the class action. That is how predatory seclaw firms attract lead plaintiffs. Duh. And I have a long list of them from all the class action settlements they already ‘won’ for my and Patricia’s retirement stock portfolios. Why, in the past 5 years alone we have at least 20 class action wins for a few bucks each.) What fun.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 8, 2023 8:10 am

I have to admit that I would like to see something like that, Rud.

Van Doren
January 6, 2023 3:25 pm

OT, interesting data. I didn’t think CO₂ can follow temps so fast:

“story tip”

Dave Burton
Reply to  Van Doren
January 6, 2023 4:34 pm

Ron is wrong. Mankind is causing the (beneficial!) increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration, not Nature.

Here’s the tl;dr version of the proof:

Question: Why is the atmospheric CO2 concentration increasing by an average of about 2.5 ppmv per year?


Mankind is adding fossil CO2 to the atmosphere, currently a net sum of about 10 PgC per year (plus a less well constrained amount of “non-fossil CO2” from “land use changes,” such as forest clearing and bog draining).

Nature is removing CO2 from the atmosphere, not adding it, at a rate which varies a bit from year to year, but currently averages about 5 PgC per year (net sum).

Adding CO2 to the atmosphere (as Mankind is doing) increases the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. (How is that not obvious?)

Removing CO2 from the atmosphere (as Nature is doing) decreases the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. (How is that not obvious?)

∴ Mankind, not Nature, gets the credit for increasing the amount of beneficial CO2 in the atmosphere.


Here’s the long version.


First, it’s necessary to calculate how much 2.5 ppmv/year is:

1 ppmv CO2 = 7.8024 Gt CO2 (gigatonnes CO2) = 2.12940 PgC (petagrams carbon)

To convert from PgC to Gt CO2 multiply by 3.66419, so:

2.5 ppmv of CO2 = 5.3235 PgC

To more precisely state the amount by which the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere increased during a particular year, we can calculate the average first quarter CO2 level during that year, and subtract it from the average first quarter CO2 level during the following year.

E.g., in 1Q of 2022 the average CO2 level measured at MLO was 418.760 ppmv, and in 1Q of 2021 the average level was 416.637 ppmv, so the level increased by 2.123 ppmv in 2021, which is:
2.123 ppmv CO2 × 7.8024 Gt / ppmv CO2 = 16.56 Gt CO2
2.123 ppmv CO2 × 2.1294 PgC / ppmv CO2 = 4.52 PgC

In other words, the amount of carbon in CO2 in the atmosphere increased by about 4.52 PgC in 2021. (There’s also another approx. 0.03 PgC in methane, but let’s not worry about that.)

Next, we need to compare the change in the amount to CO2 in the atmosphere to the amount of CO2 which mankind added to the atmosphere, i.e., anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

We have quite precise estimates of “fossil CO2” emissions (from fossil fuels and cement manufacturing), thanks to the bean counters, who carefully track economic data. In 2021, depending on whose numbers you use, total global emissions of fossil CO2 totaled 9.79 to 10.13 PgC:

BP + Andrew (fossil CO2 only) 9.79 PgC
GCP (fossil CO2 only) 10.13 PgC

That’s 9.96 ± 0.17 PgC, or “about 10 PgC” emitted in 2021.

Humans also generate CO2 emissions by “land use changes,” i.e., clearing forests and draining peat bogs, etc.. However, estimates of those emissions are very rough. However, it’s generally agreed that those emissions are currently less than 1.5 PgC per year. GCP adds three if those estimates to their fossil CO2 emission estimate, and summarizes them as follows:

GCP with OSCAR land use est. 11.31 PgC
GCP with BLUE land use est. 11.60 PgC
GCP with H&N land use est. 10.77 PgC
● GCP with averaged land use est. 11.23 PgC

(Note: Those are Chrome “text fragment links” which link directly to the corresponding 2021 emission figures. If you’re using Firefox or Safari that won’t work, but you can find the entry by scrolling down to the last line of the table [the “2021” entry].)

As you can see, there’s quite a lot of variation in the estimates of “land use change” CO2 emissions (and the variation is even greater for the mid-20th century). So, an alternative to including land use change CO2 emissions with fossil CO2 emissions, the land use change emissions can be considered as a diminishment of natural CO2 sinks. That’s really just wordplay, but it is attractive because it lets us express very tight (±4%) confidence intervals on total emissions.

According to those estimates, mankind added between 9.79 PgC and 11.77 PgC to the atmosphere in 2021. Yet the amount of carbon in CO2 in the atmosphere increased by only 4.52 PgC. That means that natural “carbon sinks” (the terrestrial biosphere & soil, the oceans, rock weathering, etc.) removed a net total of at least 9.79 – 4.52 = 5.27 PgC in 2021.

That means the entire increase in atmospheric CO2 in 2021 was due to human CO2 emissions. “Nature” (i.e., net summed natural CO2 sources & sinks) removed at least 2.47 ppmv of CO2 from the atmosphere, yet the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere nevertheless increased by 2.12 ppmv, because mankind added CO2 faster than nature removed it.

We can do the same sorts of calculations for longer periods, going all the way back to 1959 (before which we lack precise atmospheric CO2 measurements), and the conclusion is the same: the entire increase in atmospheric CO2 since 1959 is due to human CO2 emissions. Nature is removing CO2 from the atmosphere, but mankind is adding it faster than nature is removing it, so the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased.

In other words, Ron is wrong.

Interestingly, it turns out that the natural CO2 removal rate is highly linear function of the atmospheric CO2 concentration. The higher the atmospheric CO2 concentration rises, the faster natural sinks remove CO2 from the air.

What’s more, it only takes about a 43 ppmv increase in atmospheric CO2 level to accelerate net natural removals of CO2 by 1 ppmv per year!

That means “net zero” is a fool’s errand. Even if CO2 emissions never decline at all, but merely stabilize near the current rate, accelerating natural CO2 removals will cause the atmospheric CO2 level to plateau around (2.5 × 43) = only about 107 ppmv higher than the current level (with radiative forcing = only one-third of a doubling).

Note: Ferdinand Engelbeen did a more thorough examination of this topic, here:

Reply to  Dave Burton
January 6, 2023 7:31 pm

Why do you say that nature doesn’t contribute any CO2 to the atmosphere. Things like ocean outgassing and limestone weathering means that nature releases something like 95% of the total. Mankind only releases about 5%.

Reply to  Hivemind
January 6, 2023 7:37 pm

At present, nature is absorbing more CO2 from the atmosphere than it is releasing into it.

Dave Burton
Reply to  Hivemind
January 6, 2023 10:12 pm

What I said was “Nature is removing CO2 from the atmosphere, not adding it, at a rate which varies a bit from year to year, but currently averages about 5 PgC per year (net sum).”

“Net sum” means when you add all the natural fluxes. The net sum of natural CO2 fluxes is negative, meaning that nature currently removes more CO2 from the atmosphere than it adds to the atmosphere.

People who say, “but natural CO2 emissions are much greater than anthropogenic CO2 emissions” are ignoring the fact that most natural CO2 emissions are closely linked to and governed by natural CO2 removals from the atmosphere.

Consider grasses. They consume prodigious amounts of carbon from CO2 in the spring and summer, but then they rot and release almost all of that carbon in the form of CO2† over the winter. The amount of CO2 released by decaying vegetation is huge, but it is very closely governed by the amount of CO2 which was only recently consumed by that same vegetation (except not quite as recently for trees, which sequester much of the carbon they consume longer than most other plants do).

†Some of the carbon released by decaying vegetation is in the form of CH4 (methane), rather than CO2, but that doesn’t matter much, because CH4 oxidizes into CO2 and H2O, anyhow, with an average atmospheric lifetime of only about a decade:

 ‍‍‍‍‍‍   CH4 + 2⋅O2 → CO2 + 2⋅H2O  ‍‍‍‍‍‍  (that’s very simplified; see details [html] [2])

Reply to  Dave Burton
January 6, 2023 11:56 pm

We’ll never know for sure the balance of how much nature adds and subtracts until all the carbon sinks are identified which still has not happened.

Dave Burton
Reply to  rah
January 7, 2023 8:07 am

We don’t need to identify or quantify the individual natural CO2 sinks and sources to be able to determine what the sum of all natural CO2 sinks and sources is, and to prove that (since at least 1959) that sum has been negative (meaning that nature is removing, rather than adding, CO2). I show the math in my comment above.

Reply to  Van Doren
January 6, 2023 7:34 pm

Just how much out gassing does the oceans warming by 0.03C of warming cause?

The increases in atmospheric CO2 levels have tracked the rate at which mankind has been burning fossil fuels.

The amount of fossil fuels burned by humans exceeds the amount of CO2 added to the atmosphere by a significant margin.

Ron Clutz
Reply to  Van Doren
January 7, 2023 2:43 am

UAH data is here:

CO2 data is here:

CO2  this month this year = a + b × Temp this month this year + CO2 this month last year

a is 2.00
b is 1.85

Do the math.

Correlation is 0.9985 out of 1.0000

Ron Clutz
Reply to  Ron Clutz
January 7, 2023 4:14 am

For greater clarity in case anyone is serious. A clearer equation:

CO2  this month this year = a + (b × Temp this month this year) + CO2 this month last year.

Dave, please reconsider your paradigm. CO2 changes follow Temperature changes on all time scales, from ice cores to last month’s observations. Temperature change is the horse and CO2 change is the cart.

Dave Burton
Reply to  Ron Clutz
January 7, 2023 7:59 am

“Temp this month this year” varies from place to place, and the seasonal signal is reversed in the southern hemisphere.

If you pick some arbitrary location (except the equator), you can plot a roughly sinusoidal temperature graph, and you can easily come up with an offset to subtract, and a coefficient to multiply by, and a phase shift (0-12 months), to make it nicely correlate with ANY other roughly sinusoidal seasonal signal.

It’s a meaningless exercise, because EVERY two seasonal signals are correlated (usually with a phase shift). That doesn’t mean one follows the other, nor that one causes the other. It just means they’re both seasonal.

The claim that “CO2 changes follow temperature changes” is correct w/r/t glaciation cycles, but it’s nonsense w/r/t seasonal cycles, and ridiculous in the context of the large CO2 level increase over the last century.

It is as nonsensical to say that the northern hemisphere CO2 seasonal signal follows temperatures with a phase shift, rather than vice-versa, as it is to say that summer follows winter with a phase shift, rather than winter follows summer with a phase shift. They’re synchronized because they are seasonal. The correlation between CO2’s northern hemisphere seasonal cycle and the temperature where you happen to live is not because one causes the other, it is just because both are seasonal.

What’s more, even if we didn’t have the CO2 emission data which proves that mankind, rather than nature, is responsible for the CO2 level increase (since at least 1958), it would still be obvious that global warming could not be the cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 levels. Over the last 63 years, atmospheric CO2 levels rose about 104 ppmv. That’s increase was greater (and two orders of magnitude faster) than the mere 90 ppmv increase in atmospheric CO2 levels from last glacial maximum to mid-Holocene climate optimum.

THAT 90 ppmv increase occurred concurrently with a 5-10°C global average temperature increase. Based on that, can you estimate how much temperature change would be required to cause a 104 ppmv increase in CO2 (in 63 years)?

I hope it is obvious to you that it would take a global temperature increase of greater than 1°C per decade (probably about 2°C per decade) to cause a 104 ppmv CO2 level increase in just 63 years.

The claim that the ongoing rise in CO2 concentration is caused by global warming is a claim that the Earth is warming at a rate of >0.1°C/year, and we’ve already had >6°C of global warming in the last 63 years. If I believed THAT, then I, too, would be worried about global warming!

Gary Pearse
January 6, 2023 5:16 pm

“might find nobody at the GOP controlled congress wants to answer their phone call.”

I hope there are more persuasive government tools than this to prevail against these treasonous agents of economic sabotage. I note a large number of foreign based banks. They seem to be able to steal Russian foreign holdings and the yachts of Russian citizens without declaring a war. Texas seemed to be able to twist BlackRock’s ear. WUWT?

January 6, 2023 6:36 pm

I thought Oklahoma might be next but Kentucky, a state with a Democrat Governor, steps up. Which is next. There will be more.

Andy Pattullo
January 6, 2023 6:40 pm

Just another example of where open markets can correct bad policy. ESG is a ball and chain around the ankle of invested capital. The duties of investment banks are simple but ESG makes them impossible to achieve – make a profit and grow the economy. The fact the investors want those outcomes ensures ESG will live a short and despised life.

David S
January 6, 2023 7:20 pm

I wouldn’t be so anxious to jump on the nuclear bandwagon. There have been two disasters with nukes: resulting in huge exclusion zones;
Exclusion zone around Chernobyl is 1000 sq miles
Exclusion zone around Fukushima is 143 square miles

Don’t say it wont happen because it has. “Plus they really haven’t solved the problem of what to do with spent fuel rods.

For me I’ll take natural gas. It is clean burning, and produces less CO2 per million btus of energy than any other fossil fuel. Anyways CO2 is mostly beneficial.

Reply to  David S
January 6, 2023 7:47 pm

Fukushima was no disaster. There was never a need for an exclusion zone around it.
Had they not put the backup generator in the basement with no protection from water, there never would have been a problem. Beyond that, Fukushima was an old design that isnt’ being used anymore, and the reactor itself was just a few years from retirement.

Chernobyl was an unsafe design that was rejected by the west, but built by Russia because it was cheap. Beyond that, they didn’t build a containment vessel, again to save money. Finally they were running a test with personnel who weren’t trained to run that test, and it got away from them.
Remove any one of those three things, and nothing would have happened.
The exclusion area was made larger than necessary for propaganda reasons, and after 40 years most of the area can be safely removed from the exclusion zone.

Nuclear is by far the safest form of power.

Reply to  MarkW
January 7, 2023 12:01 am

Remember they had to build a new containment at huge expense when the one the Russians hurriedly poured started to fail. That tells me there was still a significant risk of ongoing contamination.

Dave Burton
Reply to  MarkW
January 7, 2023 8:21 am

Interestingly, the power generation technology which is most dangerous, and most environmentally disruptive, is “clean, reliable, renewable” hydroelectric power.
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Kit P
January 6, 2023 9:20 pm

Many year ago I visited Hazard, KY. Hilary Clinton, a freshman NY senator, kicked off her run for POTUS in the impoverished coal town.

What I found was a beautiful community full of pride. Some think living in a single wide makes you trash. I would take that everyday compared to a penthouse in NYC.

Gregg Eshelman
January 7, 2023 4:23 am

Bank of America should be on Kentucky’s list. AAA has switched from BoA to Comenity Bank.

January 10, 2023 4:29 pm

Aren’t they all state banks under fig leaves anyway? As in, «The lender of last resort might as well be a lender of first resort.» And bailouts… and whatnot.

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