New York Times Upset as GOP 'Punishes' Woke Corporations, Financiers for 'Climate Action'

May 29th, 2022 6:19 AM

After decades of celebrating liberal activists for exerting pressure on corporations to end racism, clean up the environment, support abortion rights and “voting rights," the media is now panicking over belated counter-actions by conservatives against such corporate activism.

A New York Times front-page story Friday by environmental beat reporters David Gelles and Hiroko Tabuchi laid out the accusation in the headline: “G.O.P. Weaponizes Statehouses Against Green Corporate Goals.” Liberals apparently don't "weaponize" against free markets.

The online headline writer preferred the term "punished": "How an Organized Republican Effort Punishes Companies for Climate Action."

They started with examples, including the state of West Virginia, which pulled money from proudly “woke” asset manager BlackRock for tagging climate change as an economic risk. The reporters warned “Conservative lawmakers in 15 other states are promoting similar legislation.”

It may seem odd for mainstream journalists to fight alongside the world's largest financial manager ($10 trillion in assets under management), but here we are.

Across the country, Republican lawmakers and their allies have launched a campaign to try to rein in what they see as activist companies trying to reduce the greenhouse gases that are dangerously heating the planet.

While liberal groups are celebrated as victors when they push corporations to do their bidding, conservatives who fight back are seen as fighting dirty.

In doing so, Mr. Moore and others have pushed climate change from the scientific realm into the political battles already raging over topics like voting rights, abortion and L.G.B.T.Q. issues. In recent months, conservatives have moved beyond tough words and used legislative and financial leverage to pressure the private sector to drop climate action and any other causes they label as “woke.”

“There is a coordinated effort to chill corporate engagement on these issues,” said Daniella Ballou-Aares, chief executive of the Leadership Now Project, a nonprofit organization that wants corporations to address threats to democracy. “And it is an effective campaign. Companies are starting to go into hiding.”


These efforts come after years during which many in the financial sector boasted that they were prioritizing environmental, social and governance issues, also known as ESG, rather than pure profits.

That activism has often put companies at odds with the Republican Party, traditionally the ally of big business….

Even when the reporters acknowledge leftist pressure, it’s couched in positive terms.

As the signs of a warming planet have grown more apparent over the past five years -- in the form of more destructive storms and fires, record heat and drought -- and as pressure has grown from consumers and liberal groups to take action, corporations have warmed to the notion of using capital and markets to create a cleaner economy….

Notice that Republicans aren’t portrayed positively as trying to save coal or oil jobs but are merely trying to “slow…progress.”

Republican lawmakers, however, are becoming more organized in their efforts to slow corporate progress on climate issues.

Tabuchi had previously linked the oil industry (which she covered) to white supremacy, in a now-deleted tweet that read: “I’ve been thinking a lot about fossil fuels and white supremacy recently. Almost every single oil executive, lobbyist, spokesperson I’ve dealt with is white and male. It’s difficult not to see a link.”