Private equity powerhouse The Carlyle Group’s portfolio was responsible for as much climate pollution from 2011-2021 as ConocoPhillips’ Willow Arctic oil project will emit over its lifetime, a new report from Private Equity Climate Risks reveals. Despite its claims to the contrary, Carlyle is heavily invested in fossil fuels, with $22.4 billion invested in carbon-based energy and just $1.4 billion (less than 1% of its total assets under management) invested in renewable and sustainable energy companies.

The 277 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent pollution (which includes methane and other greenhouse gasses) released by Carlyle-invested firms from 2011-2021 would require about 4.6 billion new trees to remove from the atmosphere. Unlike publicly-traded companies, private equity firms are largely exempt from transparency requirements and in recent years the sector has become increasingly active in buying up the heavily polluting “dregs” of the oil industry.

“Despite its public statements to the contrary, Carlyle is a driving force behind climate change through its substantial financing of greenhouse gas emitting sectors,” Oscar Valdés Viera, of the Americans for Financial Reform education fund and a co-author of the report, told The Guardian. “Without meaningful regulatory oversight, private equity firms like Carlyle will continue to get away with endangering low-income and Black and brown communities, who are at greater risk from pollution and environmental harm.” (The Guardian)