Wayne Christian, a Texas Railroad Commissioner, is sounding the alarm over ESG investment trends that he says could put American oil companies out of business, and leave the world buying oil from companies in countries with the worst environmental practices. Michael Tobin reports for Bloomberg:
A commissioner for Texas’s powerful energy regulator said the newfound popularity of ESG investing could result in record industry bankruptcies and the loss of millions of jobs while doing little to help the environment. Republican Wayne Christian, who sits on the three-person Texas Railroad Commission, said the goal of taking environmental, social and governance factors into account is to deprive “legitimate” companies of necessary investment “because they, in the opinion of some, cause some indirect or amorphous social harm.”
Christian’s press release posted on the commission’s website comes as oil and gas companies are finding themselves under increasing pressure to tackle emissions from their operations. Earlier Tuesday, Exxon Mobil Corp. released emissions data on customers’ use of its petroleum products for the first time.
The commission has come under fire itself from some investors and producers for failing to take aggressive action on clamping down on the routine flaring of natural gas. Christian also castigated the French government for putting pressure on Engie SA to scrap a $7 billion long-term contract to buy liquefied natural gas from U.S. exporter NextDecade Corp. because of concerns over emissions.
“This misplaced concern about emissions will do more harm than good,” he wrote, since France will now have to secure fuel supplies from less reliable partners where few if any environmental safeguards are in place.
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