The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, omitted its largest oil and gas investment from regulatory filings on its exposure to greenhouse gas pollution risk earlier this year, an AP investigation finds. The firm, which holds $376 billion in assets, claims to be better on climate than the rest of its peers despite having one of the biggest portfolios of fossil fuel companies, but left the emissions from Texas-based energy specialist NGP Energy Capital out of its report — mentioning it only as a footnote and claiming the relationship is only passive.

“They are telling one story to investors and doing something else that gets results,” Sean Field, of the Centre for Energy Ethics at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, told the AP. NGP, which boasts its own portfolio of oil and gas companies, accounted for 8% of Carlyle earnings over the last five years, bringing in $512 million in the first half of this year alone — 49% of Carlyle’s profits — thanks to high oil and gas prices due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “The private equity people I talk to are making money hand over fist in a way they weren’t a couple of years ago,” Field said. “Of course they want to be in this space.”

Private equity firms own major polluters

Private equity-owned oil and gas operations in the Permian Basin are frequently extremely polluting. NGP-owned Blackbeard Operating emitted nearly double the methane pollution as Chevron last year. While Carlyle’s omission of climate pollution from its biggest oil and gas investment in its financial risk report may not technically violate any law, it raises serious questions about corporate and private equity emissions transparency and corporate citizenship. “Given their massive fossil fuel exposure, private equity firms like Carlyle have an urgent responsibility to address the significant role they play in propelling the climate crisis,” Jim Baker, head of the Private Equity Stakeholder Project, told the AP. (AP)