Energy & Environment — Anti-green investing laws could cost taxpayers: group

Studies warn that laws banning sustainable investments could permeate taxpayers.

We also look at a breakthrough discovery by a Swedish mining company.

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Programming notes: Monday leaves for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We will be back on Tuesday!

Let’s dive in.

Taxpayers May Pay Anti-ESG Laws: Analysis

State-level efforts to penalize companies that use environmental, social, or governance (ESG) goals in their investments cost taxpayers more than $708 million, according to research released by the nonprofit Sunrise Project. can result in loss.

Where did the law come from? ESG incorporates environmental and social factors into investment decisions in addition to traditional financial metrics. Conservative critics of this practice argue that it brings the political agenda to what should be a purely financial decision.

18 states have proposed or passed laws restricting them from doing business with companies that practice ESG, and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R) launched an investigation into the use of ESG in state pension funds. announced.

These bills are based on model bills prepared by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative non-profit organization that writes legislative bills.

How they did it: For this study, researchers analyzed a Wharton School of Business paper on anti-ESG laws in Texas. The paper shows that state law is tied to his $532 million high interest payments on municipal bonds.

Analysts at Sunrise Project apply this to six other states (Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and West Virginia), estimating a total cost to taxpayers of $708 million over the past 12 months. bottom.

  • Research shows that the range of potential additional costs varies by state.
  • Florida has both the widest range and the highest cap, ranging from $97 million to $361 million. Gov. Ron DeSantis (Republican) proposed anti-ESG rules for the state’s pension fund and he withdrew $2 billion in assets over BlackRock’s use of ESG, but the state has a specific focus on bond issuance. There are no laws that affect it.

Learn more about our analytics here.

Sweden discovers huge rare earth deposit

Swedish government-owned mining operator LKAB announced on Thursday that a major rare earth deposit had been discovered in the northern city of Kiruna. This could significantly reduce our dependence on China for electric vehicle components.

  • According to LKAB, the deposit is the largest discovery in Europe, representing more than 1 million tonnes of rare earth oxides.
  • “This is the largest deposit of rare earth elements known in our part of the world and a key building block for the production of critical raw materials that are absolutely essential to enable the transition to the environment. We are facing a supply problem: without landmines, there would be no electric vehicles,” said Jan Moström, president and CEO of LKAB, in a statement. .

What does this mean for consumers? The discovery could be a game-changer for Europe, which currently has no rare earth mining operations and relies entirely on Chinese imports for the metals used to make wind turbines and electric cars. As of 2020, 99% of his rare earth imports into the European Union are from China.

Demand for minerals is expected to soar with the spread of electric vehicles, with the EU forecasting more than fivefold growth by the end of 2010. Europe is particularly wary of its dependence on imports after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 highlighted Europe’s dependence on Russian oil imports.

Learn more about searching here.

At least 8 dead as tornado hits southeast

At least eight people were killed after a severe storm and dozens of tornadoes swept through the southeast on Thursday.

  • Seven people died in Autauga County, Alabama, multiple news outlets reported on Friday.
  • In Butts County, Georgia, a 5-year-old child died when a tree fell on his car, the county coroner confirmed.

At least 35 tornadoes were recorded in the southeastern United States on Thursday, bringing down power lines and damaging buildings, according to preliminary data from the National Weather Service.

Alabama and Georgia appear to have borne the brunt of the damage, with at least 14 counties in Alabama and five counties in Georgia affected by severe storms, the Associated Press reported.

Read more about Julia Shapero from The Hill.

what we are reading

  • Fake Kidnapping and Cocaine: A Descent into Chaos in a Montana Mine (The New York Times)
  • Drought eases in Colorado, but experts prepare for what the 2023 snow season has in store (The Colorado Sun)
  • California drought causes groundwater overdraft in San Joaquin Valley (CBS News)
  • Oil, Human Rights and Security: US-Gulf Relations in 2023 (NPR)

That’s all for today, thanks for reading. For the latest news and coverage, visit The Hill’s Energy & Environment page. See you next week.

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