Private equity firms are exposing investors, including retired teachers, nurses, and firefighters, to unknown levels of financial risk by continuing to invest billions of dollars in fossil fuel projects with no exit strategy, a new report concludes. The analysis, from Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund and the Private Equity Stakeholder Project, finds private equity firms — which are largely immune to financial disclosure rules — have poured billions of dollars into fossil energy projects since 2010, despite many publicly claiming to support climate action.
Carlyle, Warburg Pincus, and KKR were the worst offenders of the eight firms reviewed. Three-quarters of Carlyle’s energy investments are in fossil fuels and KKR has said it will continue to invest in fossil projects. “Private equity firms have created large climate risks for the investors providing the capital, especially as they act as fiduciaries of public sector workers’ retirement savings. As societal sentiment grows in support of a clean energy economy, the risk of doubling down on dirty energy assets is becoming clear,” Riddhi Mehta-Neugebauer, climate research director for PESP, told The Guardian. (The Guardian, Bloomberg $)