Florida Governor Ron Desantis. U.S. Secretary of Defense, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Claim: Anti-ESG Investment State Leaders Have Conflicts of Interest

Essay by Eric Worrall

According to Naomi Oreskes, personal fossil fuel investments by politicians leading ESG divestment constitute a conflict of interest.

State leaders targeting climate investing have quiet stakes in the fossil fuel industry


  • A handful of state financial officers who have criticized environmental, social and governance investing own stakes in the fossil fuel industry, according to their financial disclosures. 
  • The investments could pose conflicts of interest, as those oil and gas companies could suffer from wider adoption of clean energy, according to ethics experts.
  • Republicans have increasingly criticized ESG investing platforms and pulled state funds away from BlackRock and other firms that have adopted them.

In October, Scott Fitzpatrick, then-treasurer of Missouri, announced his state would pull $500 million out of pension funds managed by BlackRock.

He said he would move Missouri’s money away from the asset manager because it was “prioritizing” environmental, social and governance investing over shareholder returns. Fitzpatrick, a Republican who won election as the state’s auditor in November, used his office as treasurer to target BlackRock after years of criticizing Wall Street for a perceived turn toward investing focused on climate and social issues.

As he homed in on BlackRock, Fitzpatrick quietly held a financial stake in a massive fossil fuel company that could suffer from the broader adoption of alternative energy. Fitzpatrick and his wife owned a more than $10,000 stake in Chevron during both of 2022 and 2021, according to his latest financial disclosures filed with the state.

State leaders face possible conflicts of interest when they have a chance to see financial gains from the fossil fuel industry as they use their offices to defend the sector — or in some cases move their state’s dollars away from clean-energy investments, government ethics experts told CNBC. As the officials ramp up their criticism of Wall Street investment practices, a lack of state laws requiring regular stock disclosures makes it difficult for the public to monitor what personal stake their representatives could have in the actions they take in office.

Read more: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/04/24/state-leaders-taking-on-climate-saw-boost-from-fossil-fuel-.html

Michael Mann also chimed in with an evil bomb.

My question to Mann and Oreskes – what money? Why are investments in fossil fuel a problem?

Since the green revolution is inevitable, and renewables are cheaper than fossil fuels, surely people who invest in fossil fuels are simply dooming their personal finances to inevitable deep losses, when all their fossil fuel assets are stranded by the inexorable rise of unreliable, intermittent green energy.

Of course, if claims that renewables are cheaper and better are actually a pack of lies, I understand your angst.

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April 27, 2023 2:45 am

Some scientists like to disguise their political leanings so they are at least perceived of objectivity. Not ol Mikey, he lays it right out there for the world to see. It’s so much easier to dismiss everything he has ever done, including the biggest hoax of the CAGW freak out. Number 739 of the reasons why I don’t believe we have a crisis on our hands. Jeesh….

Reply to  denny
April 27, 2023 3:05 pm

Mann and his ilk are the greatest enemy of humankind; arrogant zealots who rely on lies and deception to accomplish their goals. They have no problem with compelling billions to adopt their agenda rather than allowing democratic debate to decide. Whenever critics (easily) refute their claims with facts and real-world observations they resort to personal attacks. They know they cannot win on facts so they supply their own virtual reality (VR) based on their computer-generated imaginings (CGI), thinking none will notice their sleight-of-hand, substituting imaginary numbers (i) for real ones (R).

Ron Long
April 27, 2023 2:50 am

So, the complaint of Oreskes et al, is that Republicans put their money where their mouth is? Wait a minute, what is ESG? Egotistical Stupid and Gullible? No wonder.

April 27, 2023 3:03 am


“facsimile science. (By this term I mean materials that carry the accoutrements of science —including in some cases peer review— but fail to adhere to accepted scientific standards such as methodological naturalism, complete and open reporting of data, and the willingness to revise assumptions in the light of data.) This is the problem of for-profit and predatory conferences and journals.” ― Naomi Oreskes, Why Trust Science?

Failing to adhere to accepted scientific standards…

“I’ve just completed Mike’s [Mann] Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s [Briffa] to hide the decline.” —Dr. Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit, disclosed Climategate e-mail, Nov. 16, 1999

““…We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try to find something wrong with it…” —Dr. Phil Jones, Director of the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University, email to Warwick Hughes, 2004 

“I’m getting hassled by a couple of people to release the CRU station temperature data. Don’t any of you three tell anybody that the UK has a Freedom of Information Act.” —Dr. Phil Jones, Director of the Climatic Research Unit, disclosed Climategate e-mail, Feb. 21, 2005

“I received an astonishing email from a major researcher in the area of climate change. He said, ‘We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period!…In 1999, Michael Mann and his colleagues published a reconstruction of past temperatures in which the MWP simply vanished…” —Dr. David Deming, testimony before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Dec. 6, 2006

The cause…

“By the way, when is Tom C [Crowley] going to formally publish his roughly 1500 year reconstruction??? It would help the cause to be able to refer to that reconstruction as confirming Mann and Jones, etc.” —Dr. Michael Mann, IPCC Lead Author, disclosed Climategate e-mail, Aug. 3, 2004

“I gave up on Judith Curry a while ago. I don’t know what she thinks she’s doing, but it’s not helping the cause, or her professional credibility.” —Dr. Michael Mann, IPCC Lead Author, disclosed Climategate e-mail, May 30, 2008

Not forgetting death penalty Oreskes…

May 13, 2021 A major bombshell dropped today about the nationally coordinated climate litigation campaign after it was revealed that Naomi Oreskes – the Harvard researcher and well-known “Exxon Knew” activist – is on retainer with Sher Edling, the plaintiffs’ law firm serving as the outside counsel…

No conflict of interest there….

Tom Halla
Reply to  strativarius
April 27, 2023 5:02 am

I believe Richard Feynman called such activities “cargo cult science”

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  strativarius
April 27, 2023 6:15 am

Strange, but I never ever hear any more about Climategate here in Woke-achusetts, a climate emergency extremist state. Actually, I never recall hearing about it in the MSM either when it first broke. If I mention it to anyone here now, they say they never heard of it.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
April 27, 2023 6:16 am

so when is Simple Simon going to show up to claim Climategate has no significance?

April 27, 2023 3:03 am

ESG has a problem in labor (e.g. diversity) and environmental (e.g. trans/green or Green blight) arbitrage.

April 27, 2023 3:27 am

This reminds me of a “discussion” I had with a Democrat at an Alaskan fishing camp last summer. Yes, apparently some Democrats do go fishing. Anyhow, he asked me if I had oil and gas assets in my pension fund. I said “absolutely and they’ve been doing much better than most other share classes”. He said “there you are, you are sponsored by the fossil fuel industry”, by which he meant that my sceptic views were thus hopelessly corrupted. I tried to explain the flaw in his logic but to no avail. He was convinced that I was a compromised denier, my views were worthless and that was that.

David Pentland
Reply to  magesox
April 27, 2023 3:49 am

“It is impossible to reason with a political counterpart whose policy formulations need to conform with ignorance-based narratives”

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  magesox
April 27, 2023 3:54 am

You should have asked if he had any investments in wind and solar, and applied the same logic.

The difference being, in that case the logic works, since unlike fossil fuels wind and solar are worthless without government intervention and market manipulation.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
April 27, 2023 6:18 am

Unfortunately, as tax payers, we now all have huge investments in wind and solar.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
April 27, 2023 7:20 pm

I tried to cash in my Solyndra stock the other day. Turns out it’s worthless, they went bankrupt. But they had a 570 million government guarantee.

Reply to  AGW is Not Science
April 27, 2023 6:29 am

Yes but from their perspective, their religious ideology tells them that investments in wind and solar is the morally correct thing to do so they don’t think of that as a conflict of interest. They think it’s just being a good person.

Reply to  magesox
April 27, 2023 5:09 am

Dear Mr/Mrs/he/her Democrat: howdya get here from yer homestead, pedal bike? Train? Surely not …….a car?

Said Demoprat would never get that US pension funds are held by Trustees and you, Sir, may not be wholly responsible for fiduciary investment decisions made in your name as a member – hope I’m right here about US law, as this is how it is done, largely, in the UK, where I suffer. Being very nitpicking, said Demoprat doesn’t even know that pension funds are not capable of being described as “my” – “you” don’t “own” them, and the only “right” is to receive benefits therefrom….not splitting hairs just pointing up Demoprat/leftie ignorance…Law of Trusts, all the way from medieval/Tudor times….you over the pond may be treated a tad differently but I dont think so…

Reply to  magesox
April 27, 2023 6:27 am

These people are generally ignorant about what’s going on in the world and really only know what they have been fed from the tv. The TV tells them that their pseudo religious ideology is beloved by the masses even while the masses revolt.

These are the same people that said that people boycotting Anheuser-Busch because of Dylan Mulvaney being a spokesman would have no impact on the sales of Anheuser-Busch.

The religious ideology is more important than reality to these people.

Krishna Gans
April 27, 2023 3:31 am

Naomi Oreskes, the lady not able to use google properly ?
The lady herself is a conflict of interest.

Reply to  Krishna Gans
April 27, 2023 4:47 am

It’s a good thing that mirrors don’t vomit.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Scissor
April 27, 2023 9:47 am

You’re always first with denigrating someone for their looks. That’s what anonymous trolls do. Good job.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
April 27, 2023 5:30 pm

“It’s a good thing that mirrors don’t vomit.”

My first take after skimming/reading, and quickly/subconsciously trying to tie it into to “The lady herself is a conflict of interest”, was that ‘her overall contradiction of biased lies was sickening’ was what was intended.

After further reflection, I think you are may be correct and it was simply intended as a statement about her true physical ugliness.

Your own specific biases took you in the right direction … she is ugly … as he pointed it out. Mine took me in the wrong direction.

(although, to be honest, we would both have to wait for Scissor to tell us his true intent.)

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  DonM
April 30, 2023 7:43 pm

It wasn’t my bias, it was Scissor’s track record. Look at ANY post about Oreskes and you’ll see it.

My point is, her looks are irrelevant. Adults know this.

Reply to  Krishna Gans
April 27, 2023 11:30 am

The Lady????

AGW is Not Science
April 27, 2023 3:49 am

Another classic case of projection. I’ll guarantee that the Democrat politicians attempting to push ESG excrement as an investment criteria are heavily “invested” in the companies they are legislating a “business model” into existence for.

Without the government’s foot on the scale, “renewable energy” (aka wind and solar) would have no business case, because their product is worse than useless.

Reply to  AGW is Not Science
April 27, 2023 6:32 am

Yes because in their pseudo-religious ideology ESG is the only moral way to invest. Their ideology tells them that fossil fuels are evil because of the imaginary deadly outcomes that are going to happen in the future that’s always 10 years away.

It doesn’t matter that the massive Cobalt mines and lithium mines are terribly polluting. It doesn’t matter that most of these materials are retrieved using slave labor. None of that matters. The only important thing is that they are told by the TV that the world will end if they don’t turn to solar but they really don’t care about China and they really don’t know much more about any of that.

These are people that see condensation coming out of nuclear power plant cooling towers and imagine that is pollution

April 27, 2023 3:56 am

Why Approval man?

April 27, 2023 4:03 am

So therefore…if anyone pushing ESG has anything to gain, whether it be prestige (college professor who’s built his career around ESG), attention (so called journalist who’s built her career around ESG), or if they have any stock in, say, a renewables company….would it be fair to say they too have a conflict of interest?

Tom in Florida
April 27, 2023 4:48 am

I read the article and did not see Ron DeSantis mentioned. So why use his picture?

The fiduciary responsibility for any investment firm is to maximize returns for their clients. Any action taken by the firm that affects the returns negatively is a violation of that responsibility.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Tom in Florida
April 27, 2023 6:24 am

some people here don’t like Ron- their right of course- I happen to like the guy- ever since he sent a plane load of illegals to Martha’s Vineyard- and those hypocrites turned the plane around and sent it to a national guard air base on Cape Cod- after all, Obama, Kerry and the Kennedys live there- can’t have illegals there- only legal immigrants to be their servants

B Zipperer
Reply to  Tom in Florida
April 27, 2023 5:42 pm

IIRC Floida [at DeSantis’ behest] is among several other states that have directed their state investment funds not go to firms adhering to the non-fiduciary ESG nonsense.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  B Zipperer
April 27, 2023 7:31 pm

I am very aware of this and agree with my Governor. But my point was that the headline mentions those with conflict of interest in these decisions. Since DeSantis was NOT brought up in the article, one could see his picture with that headline and conclude it was accusing him, which it did not.

Tom Halla
April 27, 2023 4:59 am

Naomi Oreskes is somewhere to the left of Bernie Sanders.

Peta of Newark
April 27, 2023 6:07 am

Thank you Sweetness. again

Because, and after how long of your telling us, we do get the message that Everything We Do Is Wrong. according to you
OK. wrong wrong wrong wrong.
We hear you.

How can this possibly be – how can sooooo many people, how can they and all around the world be so consistently wrong in everything they do?

Is that not ‘pushing the bounds’ of credibility?

What about looking at it from The Other Side:
…Is it completely not possible that you are wrong?

April 27, 2023 6:12 am

ESG is the weaponization of pension funds. Blackrock, Statestreet and Vanguard are all heralds of pension fund managers offloading the insane ESG mandates. How did the lefts and Dems get so much money power. This. Weaponizing pension funds.

Mr Ed
Reply to  mydrrin
April 27, 2023 11:18 am

The Pubic Employee Pension Funds have been investing
in green energy since before ESG.



I suspect this has been flying under the MSM radar for quite a while, it’s just
gotten more brazen.

Ed Zuiderwijk
April 27, 2023 6:12 am

Oreskes is stark raving mad. And Mann is the leading light at CDC, climate delusion central.

April 27, 2023 7:51 am

So are they investing directly and influencing businesses, or do they simply own stock as part of their diversified portfolios? I would surmise the latter. Naomi has already established her record as a lying propagandist, so why should we listen to anything that she has too say?

Curious George
April 27, 2023 7:52 am

Prof Michael E Mann is the single greatest enemy of 74,223,975 Trump voters.

Gary Pearse
April 27, 2023 8:14 am

Orestes Tweet

“Sometimes it really is just about the money: https://cnbc.com/2023/04/24/state-leaders-taking-on-climate-saw-boost-from-fossil-fuel-.html

Naomi dear, we know your cashflow is good, but come’on,… hating and destroying the economy and culture of the United States must be fun, too!

April 27, 2023 10:47 am

What’s the problem?, Al Gore bragged about it (in his own words putting his money where his mouth was) when promoting green energies.
The problem, in my opinion, is putting their PUBLIC mouth where their money is, green cultists push false claims and virtues that do not hold truth in any measure on their product, and throw hyperbolic falsehoods and hate against the opposition. Everyone who heeds the green mermaid songs, go into selfdestructive doom and gloom mindsets.

April 27, 2023 1:13 pm

And those who are invested in ESG approved stocks should not promote them because it would appear to be a conflict of interest.

April 27, 2023 7:15 pm

Why do Oreskes and Mann continue to get any press? Thats the real question that’s needs serious thought.

April 29, 2023 2:09 am

Wait, Blackrock?

I think I’ve heard of them before, is that the same ESG investing firm that’s in trouble because their 100% owned subsidiary has been using children, working at all hours of the night, to do dangerous and unsanitary work in the meatpacking industry?

“Blackstone Inc. has so far faced little public blowback from investors over its backing of a sanitation company fined for illegally using child labor, based on communications with public pensions that invest in the asset manager’s funds.

The Labor Department said last week that Packers Sanitation Services Inc., which provides food safety and sanitation services, employed at least 102 children ages 13 to 17 in hazardous overnight shifts in meat-processing plants. The Kieler, Wis.-based company paid a $1.5 million fine, or about…


Yeah well I hope Republicans start treating Blackrock how they deserve.

Next Orekses and Mann will be telling us opposing China enslaving a whole ethnic group to make solar.cells is a conflict of interest too, or maybe they’re just being racist.

April 29, 2023 10:43 am

Claim: all things political must be a conflict of interest or you are doing it wrong
Politics act on real life. Impacting the people.

Either that, or it’s a meaningless game of blame and fake multi parties uni choice politics.

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