How Republicans Are ‘Weaponizing’ Public Office Against Climate Action
Like Ms. Omarova, Ms. Raskin withdrew her nomination. “Sarah was subject to baseless attacks from industry and conservative interest groups,” Mr. Biden said in a statement.
The treasurers have also set their sights on new federal rules and regulations intended to strengthen the government’s ability to act on climate change.
Late last year, the State Financial Officers Foundation worked with the Heritage Foundation to respond to proposals from the Financial Stability Oversight Council, a government panel assigned to minimize risk in the financial sector, on ways to reduce the threats posed by climate change, records show.
And soon after that, Mr. Oaks, the Utah treasurer, drafted a letter opposing a potential Department of Labor rule that would allow retirement plans to consider risks from global warming in their investment strategy. Mr. Kreifels distributed the draft to the foundation’s members, and more than a dozen treasurers signed the final letter. The Department of Labor has not decided whether to implement the rule.
This year, the treasurers targeted the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. After the agency proposed a rule to require banks to consider climate-related financial risk, executives from the Heritage Foundation sent Mr. Kreifels and Mr. Oaks a memo outlining their opposition. Within weeks, dozens of state treasurers and attorneys general from Republican-led states submitted comments objecting to the proposed rule.
“This special concern for and attention to climate-related risks is irrational,” one comment read.
And in May, Mr. Kreifels organized a call with the treasurers to discuss regulations proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission that would require companies to publicly disclose climate risks to investors. The featured guest was a representative from the American Petroleum Institute, the lobbying arm of the fossil fuel industry.
The next month, the State Financial Officers Foundation sent a 20-page letter signed by more than a dozen treasurers, calling the S.E.C.’s proposed rule, which has not yet been enacted, “irrational climate exceptionalism, elevating climate issues to a place of prominence in disclosures that they do not deserve.”