ESG – GOP loves Free Market Solutions (except for fossil fuels!)

  • Published on January 5th, 2023

Is the purpose of climate policy to reduce the carbon emissions warming the climate and causing billions of dollars in damages? Or is it to bolster the electoral prospects of the GOP? If you answered the former, congratulations, you’re not a rube. If you answered the latter, you must be a Republican.

big oil money corrupts US government in Washington DC
(Picture by Friends of the Earth via Twitter)

By Climate Denier Roundup

With snowball-throwing climate denier Senator Jim “The Greatest Hoax” Inhofe leaving Congress, one may be tempted to cook up some stories suggesting the GOP is evolving past climate denial and is ready to live in the real world. But one should resist.

We’ve been insistent that the Republicans’ supposed efforts to be better on climate are really just greenwashing. Now, a new op-ed essentially admits it.

Young Republican Grayson Massey published an op-ed in the Washington Examiner on January 1 in which he devoted four paragraphs to laying out how voters, especially young ones, “will continue to tip elections in favor of Democrats” unless the GOP appears to address issues they care about, like climate change.

In an effort to explain the (supposedly) new conservative climate policy, Massey claims “only market-based solutions, by harnessing the entrepreneurial powers of capitalism, can accelerate clean energy innovation and deploy new technologies at the scale and speed necessary.”

Republicans are hardly on the cusp of a climate conversion, as plenty of professionals are still clinging to denial. To finish off 2022, both Fox and The Daily Wire covered a report by multiple climate denier groups questioning the scientific validity of the Associated Press’s climate reporting. Meanwhile, the Daily Caller published an op-ed asking a bunch of questions answered by the IPCC as though they were “rhetorical checkmate” and not evidence that the author is in denial.

And not only is the GOP far from supporting market-based climate policies, but they’re actively fighting those that already exist!

There’s no climate approach that is more pro-capitalism and market-based than applying Environmental, Social, and Governance principles to investing. But these days, thanks to the coordinated anti-ESG campaign, there’s nothing more reviled on the right than ESG standards.

As Republicans prepare to take over the House of Representatives, they’re targeting ESG, with Kentucky Rep. Andy Barr calling it “discriminating against fossil energy” and “a cancer in our capital markets” and Nebraska State Treasurer John Murante telling Breitbart that ESG policies are “a real attack on farmers and ranchers in Nebraska.”

They’re also preparing to oppose even rudimentary measures like having businesses disclose their emissions. Companies are merely being asked to report how much they emit and what risks they may face from climate change disasters and to plan for how to align with the Paris Agreement, but the fossil fuel industry is assailing these basic standards as “novel and costly” in a comment on proposed federal regulations.

And what is the Republicans’ best defense against asking companies to disclose how much they pollute or how much they may have to pay when wildfires burn down factories? Well, the corporate version of Inhofe’s ‘climate hoax’ rhetoric is complaining that it’d be too expensive to even calculate emissions and calling on the government to actively deny the reality that climate impacts are expensive and caused by carbon pollution.

So, while Republican operatives on a years-long mission to make the party look moderate for young and suburban voters are busy telling anyone who will listen that the GOP is no longer denying climate change and supports free-market climate solutions, we see other Republicans actively attacking free-market climate solutions and deploying denial as a defense against even the most basic disclosure and transparency measures.

(Originally appeared at DailyKos)

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