DISCLOSING THE REAL “CLIMATE RISK”: CASE STUDY: UK “ESG” Billionaire Behind U.S. Climate Regulatory, Litigation Campaigns

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From Government Accountability & Oversight

WEBEDITOR

GAO published research today revealing the breadth and depth of a campaign by “ESG” investors  — and one investor in particular — costing hundreds of millions of dollars and instilling in investors the fear that their assets could become worthless, or nearly so, as a result of adverse regulatory and inevitable climate-litigation outcomes.

The campaign is seemingly designed to drive investment to “ESG”-rated entities, in which these activist investors have played bets and which compose part of a a financial “bubble”, one that was rapidly deflating even prior to the recent stock market meltdowns.

A major component of this campaign, as detailed in the paper “DISCLOSING THE REAL “CLIMATE RISK”: CASE STUDY: UK “ESG” Billionaire Behind U.S. Climate Regulatory, Litigation Campaigns,” is regulation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). After a campaign in which one investor sunk over twenty million U.S. dollar, the Biden SEC proposed the desired rule, comments on which proposal rule are due today.

The research is included or otherwise referenced in GAO’s comments submitted to the SEC. Read the entire paper here.

Toplines

  • New research details how scores of millions of dollars are directed by a UK investor to finance “climate disclosure” campaigns now threatening U.S. companies through proposed rules from the Biden SEC, and to support U.S. climate litigation despite denials by grant recipients that funds are used for U.S.-targeted operations
  • Agenda has driven billions to “ESG” managers — those invested in companies with (or claiming) “Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance” priorities — has helped create an ESG “bubble” now rapidly deflating
  • ESG campaigning has appearance of being massive, sophisticated rent-seeking operation
  • Self-described “opportunistic activist” hedge-fund ESG investor embodies, leads the practice, funding campaigns designed to scare investment away from non-ESG companies; “describes activism as a tool to protect his investments”

Key Points

  • British billionaire and “ESG” hedge fund manager Sir Christopher Hohn has directed scores of millions of dollars to the climate advocacy industry driving investment to ESG
  • Hohn funds global climate litigation-support infrastructure through a network of groups
  • Profits from Hohn’s hedge-fund operation are run from the UK to underwrite ESG, “climate risk disclosure” and climate litigation to, e.g., the U.S.
  • Despite claims by grant beneficiaries that Hohn’s charity “has a strict policy against funding any activities related to US litigation”, funds granted to a Dutch group heavily financed by Hohn are then transferred to U.S. beneficiaries central to the U.S. climate litigation industry
  • Hohn’s foundation maintains strategic oversight of grantees, to second- or third-order beneficiaries
  • Despite successful “ethical investor” branding campaign, Sir Christopher recently described his shareholder activism as “more opportunistic rather than fundamental”; “he describes activism as a tool to protect his investments”
  • A senior Chinese Communist official serves as an “independent climate advisor” to Hohn’s campaign
  • This ‘philanthropic’ activism is reasonably viewed as an historically successful marketing and branding campaign benefitting Hohn’s ESG investment fund and increasing the value of his holdings
  • While the policy advocacy is underwritten as charity, “climate disclosure” and climate litigation, like all ESG campaigning, may well be most properly viewed as necessary support mechanisms for a particular investor class’s chosen portfolio of investments

Transparency Group Sues Biden

via Watts Up With That?

June 21, 2022

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