Alex Epstein: “It’s time for Larry Fink to come clean about fossil fuels”

Guest “Will the real Larry Fink please stand up?” by David Middleton

Remember the old game show, To Tell the Truth?

To Tell the Truth
September 8, 1969 – September, 1978
Produced for daily syndication
The Show:
A team of three challengers comes onstage and each challenger introduces him/herself with the same name. One challenger really is the person s/he claims to be, while the other two are imposters. The host reads an affidavit, written in the first person, explaining why the central character is significant, after which the challengers take their seats at podiums labeled with the numbers 1, 2, & 3.

Each of the four panelists, in turn, has about a minute to cross-examine the challengers by asking them questions about their field of expertise, what they did, etc. After all four panelists have had a turn, they cast their votes as to who they think the “real person” is.

After all four panelists have had a turn, they cast their votes as to who they think the “real person” is. After the votes had been cast, it was customary for the host to ask, “Will the real (name) please stand up?” The real challenger stands up, and the vote scores are tallied. On this particular version, the contestants split $50 for each wrong vote cast or $500 if all four panelists were wrong.


Alex Epstein’s latest Substack article basically asks…

Will the real Larry Fink please stand up?

It’s time for Larry Fink to come clean about fossil fuels
A previously-unreleased pro-oil/gas letter sent by BlackRock to Texas lawmakers and oil/gas executives reveals a major contradiction

Alex Epstein
Jan 18

Breaking: A previously-unreleased pro-oil/gas letter sent by BlackRock to Texas lawmakers and oil/gas executives reveals that the company is simultaneously 1) trying to gain status by supporting anti-oil/gas net zero goals, and 2) trying not to lose any pro-oil/gas investors.


Energy Talking Points by Alex Epstein

I highly recommend reading Mr. Epstein’s full Substack article.

Dan Patrick vs. Larry Fink

Mr. Fink’s January 3, 2022 letter stated, “We will continue to invest in and support fossil fuel companies, including Texas fossil fuel companies.” This letter was specifically to Texas lawmakers and oil & gas executives, probably in an effort to avert this:

January 19, 2022

HOUSTON – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick sent the following letter to Comptroller Glenn Hegar today asking him to place BlackRock at the top of the list of financial companies that boycott the Texas oil & gas industry under Senate Bill 13, the Oil & Gas Investment Protection Act. Upon sending the letter, Lt. Gov. Patrick issued the following statement:

“When the Senate passed Senate Bill 13, we made it clear that Texans will not tolerate Wall Street turning its back on our flourishing oil and gas industry and the millions of Texans who rely upon it. As long as I am Lt. Governor, I will never back down from defending our oil and gas industry and I remain committed to ensuring Texas is the top state for oil and gas in America.”

Dear Comptroller Hegar,

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to implement Senate Bill (SB) 13 (87th Regular Session), the Oil & Gas Investment Protection Act, by Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury. As you know, this law says Texas should not contract with or invest in companies that boycott energy companies. Because I strongly believe we need to prioritize and protect our state’s and nation’s energy independence, I made the passage of SB 13 a high priority.

As you prepare the official list of companies that boycott energy companies, I ask that you include BlackRock, and any company like them, that choose to hurt Texas oil and gas energy companies by boycotting them in violation of Senate Bill 13. As I have stated before, if Wall Street turns their back on Texas and our thriving oil and gas industry, then Texas will not do business with Wall Street.

Please know, BlackRock only recently met with my office after you sent BlackRock and others a letter threatening to take action against entities that boycott energy companies. At the meeting with my staff, Blackrock said it was committed to Texas and Texas’s vast energy footprint, but I have grave concerns that BlackRock’s public statements and actions do not reflect its sentiments presented to my office.

Just yesterday, BlackRock Chairman and CEO, Larry Fink, issued his annual 2022 letter to CEOs indicating that BlackRock’s goal is to transition to a “net zero” world, including decarbonizing the energy sector. Needless to say, it is highly inconsistent to claim support for Texas’ oil and gas energy industry while leading a “net zero” policy effort that will destroy the oil and gas industry and destabilize the economy worldwide.

This is nothing new for Mr. Fink. In his 2020 letter to CEOs, he stated that Blackrock would be “exiting investments that present a high sustainability-related risk.” He expanded on this initiative further in his letter to BlackRock’s clients:

“Where we do not see progress in [transitioning to “net zero”], and in particular where we see a lack of alignment combined with a lack of engagement, we will not only use our vote against management for our index portfolio-held shares, we will also flag these holdings for potential exit in our discretionary active portfolios[.]”

According to Bloomberg on January 12, 2022, when addressing their new Climate Action Multi-Asset Fund and Climate Action Equity Fund, BlackRock said that it intends to incorporate a year-on-year decarbonization rate and identify companies that appear to be “long-term, disruptive structural winners” in driving down greenhouse gas emissions.

These statements indicate that BlackRock is capriciously discriminating against the oil and gas industry by exiting investments solely because companies do not subscribe to a “net zero” policy beyond what is required by law.

According to SB 13, a company is considered to be boycotting an energy company if it limits relations with an entity involved in the fossil fuel-based energy sector if the entity “does not commit or pledge to meet environmental standards beyond applicable federal and state law[.]” Committing to a “net zero” carbon strategy is beyond applicable environmental standards in federal and state law. Therefore, BlackRock is boycotting energy companies by basing investment decisions on whether a company pledges to meet BlackRock’s “net zero” goals.

Furthermore, BlackRock’s discrimination goes well beyond just its investment decisions. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, it was noted that “BlackRock made waves last spring when it voted to replace three Exxon Mobil Corp. directors over the oil giant’s reluctance to quickly transition to cleaner energy sources.” It is not appropriate for Mr. Fink and BlackRock, or any other company, to arbitrarily strong-arm the energy sector to commit to exceed federal and state environmental laws.

As you prepare the list of those that boycott Texas energy companies, I ask that BlackRock be at the top of the list, and any company like them that discriminates against Texas energy. I am committed to keeping Texas the number one oil and gas state in the country. Texas will not do business with those that boycott fossil fuels.

Thank you for all you do for Texas.


Dan Patrick
Lieutenant Governor


Lt. Gov. Patrick was responding to Larry Fink’s January 18, 2022 public letter to CEOs:

Every company and every industry will be transformed by the transition to a net zero world. The question is, will you lead, or will you be led?

In a few short years, we have all watched innovators reimagine the auto industry. And today, every car manufacturer is racing toward an electric future. The auto industry, however, is merely on the leading edge – every sector will be transformed by new, sustainable technology.

Engineers and scientists are working around the clock on how to decarbonize cement, steel, and plastics; shipping, trucking, and aviation; agriculture, energy, and construction. I believe the decarbonizing of the global economy is going to create the greatest investment opportunity of our lifetime. It will also leave behind the companies that don’t adapt, regardless of what industry they are in. And just as some companies risk being left behind, so do cities and countries that don’t plan for the future. They risk losing jobs, even as other places gain them. The decarbonization of the economy will be accompanied by enormous job creation for those that engage in the necessary long-term planning.



This was the only mention of “fossil fuels” in the public letter to CEOs:

The transition to net zero is already uneven with different parts of the global economy moving at different speeds. It will not happen overnight. We need to pass through shades of brown to shades of green. For example, to ensure continuity of affordable energy supplies during the transition, traditional fossil fuels like natural gas will play an important role both for power generation and heating in certain regions, as well as for the production of hydrogen.


Mr. Fink’s grasp of reality is fleeting, at best. The US Energy Information Administration’s 2021 International Energy Outlook paints a somewhat more realistic path forward…

How could someone with so much influence be so out of touch with reality?

When my partners and I founded BlackRock as a startup 34 years ago, I had no experience running a company. Over the past three decades, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with countless CEOs and to learn what distinguishes truly great companies. Time and again, what they all share is that they have a clear sense of purpose; consistent values; and, crucially, they recognize the importance of engaging with and delivering for their key stakeholders. This is the foundation of stakeholder capitalism.


Who would have ever guessed that Mr. Fink had no experience running a company before trying to tell everyone else in the world how to run their companies?

Despite the overall hostility toward fossil fuels in Mr. Fink’s public letter to CEO’s, this paragraph drew harsh criticism from the lamestream media and ignorant activists:

Divesting from entire sectors – or simply passing carbon-intensive assets from public markets to private markets – will not get the world to net zero. And BlackRock does not pursue divestment from oil and gas companies as a policy. We do have some clients who choose to divest their assets while other clients reject that approach. Foresighted companies across a wide range of carbon intensive sectors are transforming their businesses, and their actions are a critical part of decarbonization. We believe the companies leading the transition present a vital investment opportunity for our clients and driving capital towards these phoenixes will be essential to achieving a net zero world.


Ignorant activists responded with babble like this:

“His opportunistic argument for supporting fossil gas as part of the green transition is flatly contradicted by climate science,” added Lara Cuvelier, a campaigner at Reclaim Finance, a nonprofit organization that argues the world’s largest financial institutions should move away from fossil fuels.

“Fink is thus providing cover for the building of dozens of new gas plants, which would lock us into fossil fuels for years to come. Moreover, his simplistic attack on divestment obscures a vital lesson: to succeed, engagement must be paired with a clear demand to stop fossil fuel expansion,” Cuvelier said in a written statement.

“Given BlackRock’s enormous fossil fuel interests, perhaps this truth is just too inconvenient to stomach,” she added.


There’s only one answer for someone who thinks that reality is “flatly contradicted by climate science,” and it’s reality that must change…

Larry Fink doesn’t support “divestment from oil and gas companies;” yet he seems to think that only natural gas is needed and that it will just play a limited, regional role in the transition to a “net zero world.” No wonder, Lt. Gov. Patrick asked the state Comptroller to list BlackRock as “Public Enemy #1.”

While the fossil fuel industries will continue to decrease the carbon intensity of production, transportation and consumption, currently through replacing coal-fired electricity generation with natural gas and will soon accelerate this process with carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) over the next few decades, “net zero” is just a slogan.

On January 3, 2020, in a private letter, Mr. Fink assured Texas lawmakers and oil & gas executives that BlackRock expected to be “long term investors” in the fossil fuel industries “because these companies play crucial roles in the economy.” Two weeks later, in a public letter to CEOs, the future for fossil fuels was limited to natural gas in a limited role “in certain regions.” Which is it?

Will the real Larry Fink please stand up?

  1. “Every company and every industry will be transformed by the transition to a net zero world.”
  2. “We will continue to invest in and support fossil fuel companies, including Texas fossil fuel companies.”
  3. “When my partners and I founded BlackRock as a startup 34 years ago, I had no experience running a company.”

I’m going with contestant #3.

Although I do have to give Mr. Fink kudos for p!$$ing off both sides…

via Watts Up With That?

January 24, 2022 at 12:10PM

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