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Economy

Biden environmental agenda under fire for increasing costs for Americans

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6 minute read

From The Center Square

By Casey Harper

The Biden administration’s energy policies are increasingly costly for Americans, a newly released report says.

U.S. House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., released the report, which argues Biden’s energy policies have increased costs for Americans and hurt the economy.

“The Biden Administration weaponized the power of the executive branch to wage a war against American-made energy production and cement in place radical, far-left energy policies that jeopardize domestic energy development, overload America’s power grid, and raise costs on all American consumers and businesses,” Comer said in a statement.

In particular, President Joe Biden’s recent pause on liquefied natural gas exports, elevated gas prices, and the aggressive push toward transitioning toward electric energy are among the main criticisms lobbed at Biden.

Comer’s office cites analysis from the right-leaning American Action Forum released in April. AAF reports that in 2024 alone, Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency, as of the end of April, had proposed 38 new rules and finalized 63 rules. According to AAF, those rules total 33,138 pages and will cost the U.S. economy over a trillion dollars.

The report also highlights the cost of pushing America’s energy needs increasingly to the electric grid.

From the report:

Even as use efficiency improves, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects U.S. utility-generated electricity demand to continue growing at an average annual rate of one percent through 2050. But radical new policies and regulations promulgated by the Biden Administration seek to transform power generation and electricity markets. The Biden Administration is moving to replace highly reliable and affordable existing sources of energy with new sources that are typically less reliable and more expensive. For consumers, the results of these initiatives will predictably be higher costs on utility bills, higher costs for goods and services that consume electricity, invisible energy subsidy costs paid through income and other taxes, as well as economic costs as high electricity prices push some business opportunities overseas.

The White House has cited climate change concerns as it rolled out several policies, including a pause on new export sites for liquefied natural gas.

That LNG pause has been particularly controversial, with a coalition of state and Congressional leaders rallying opposition against it. A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality has been filed by a coalition of states.

Biden’s Department of Energy has defended the decision and stressed that it will not stop any currently existing sales. The White House has also argued that the U.S. is already a leading exporter without new sales.

“Before issuing any new LNG export decisions, DOE is embarking on a transparent process to ensure we are using the most up-to-date economic and environmental analyses to determine whether additional approvals of LNG exports to non-FTA countries are in the ‘public interest,” the DOE said in a February post defending the decision.

Meanwhile, federal climate-related spending has come under fire.

During a news conference last week, U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., sparked headlines by exposing that federal funds went to a climate group that was actively supporting the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, an attack that included rape, killing children, and hostage-taking.

“We went to the website of Climate Justice Alliance. This is what we found on the website that our taxpayer dollars are going to organizations such as this,” she said, referencing a pro-Hamas photo reportedly found on the group’s website.

Comer’s reports come as Biden’s Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, took questions from lawmakers last week about Biden’s energy policies.

Republicans took her to task for the increased costs Americans are facing. Energy costs have risen over 35% since Biden took office, according to federal data.

During the hearing, Granholm defended her agency’s work, including Biden’s decision to drain the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve earlier in his term to help address soaring gas prices.

“The Administration remains committed to maintaining a robust and well-functioning SPR. In 2022, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting disruptions in the oil market, the President directed the sale of 180 million barrels,” Granholm said in her written testimony. submitted to the committee. “The emergency sales provided supply certainty and acted as a bridge until domestic production increased, which in turn helped to mitigate the cost increases for American families.”

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Economy

ESG rankings have no significant effect on investment performance of Canadian public companies

Published on

From the Fraser Institute

By Steven Globerman

Despite claims to the contrary, the ESG rankings of publicly-traded Canadian companies have no significant effect on investment returns, finds a new study published today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian
public policy think-tank.

“While government regulators and some industry executives promote the benefits of ESG investing, there’s no evidence of significant advantages for investors,” said Steven Globerman, senior fellow at the Fraser Institute and author of ESG Investing and Financial Returns in Canada.

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) is a movement designed to pressure businesses and investors to pursue larger social goals. In Canada, due to government securities regulation, publicly-traded companies must disclose ESG-related
information on a range of issues including environmental impact, human rights, and equity and inclusion.

ESG advocates claim that government-mandated ESG disclosures improve the financial performance of companies.
However, the study—the first empirical analysis of the relationship between changes in the ESG rankings of Canadian publicly-traded companies and equity returns— tracked 310 companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange from 2013 to 2022 and found no significant relationship between changes in ESG ranking (upgrades or downgrades) and financial returns, as measured by the price of shares and dividend income.

In other words, advocates for greater ESG disclosures cannot accurately claim—based on Canadian evidence—that requiring companies to provide more information for ESG rankings will significantly affect the financial performance of Canadian
investors.

“Better performance on ESG rankings simply does not translate into better financial performance for Canadian firms,” Globerman said.

  • ESG investing incorporates environmental (E), social (S), and governance (G) considerations into investment decisions. Until recently, ESG-themed investing comprised an increasing share of investments made by professional money managers and retail investors.
  • Financial industry executives and regulators who have promoted ESG-themed investing argue that it will enhance investment performance either by increasing asset returns and/or by reducing investment risk.
  • However, empirical studies, on balance, find no consistent and statistically significant evidence of a positive relationship between the ESG rankings of individual companies or portfolios of companies and the financial performances of those companies or investment portfolios.
  • Most empirical studies have focused on US-based publicly traded companies. To our knowledge, this study is the first to focus on returns to ESG-themed investing for Canadian-based public companies.
  • Using data from MSCI, a leading ESG ratings provider, we estimate the statistical relationship between changes in ESG rankings of companies and changes in equity returns for those companies using a sample of 310 companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange between 2013 and 2022.
  • Our study finds that neither upgrades nor downgrades in ESG ratings significantly affect stock market returns.

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Economy

400,000 more Canadians live in poverty now compared to 2020: gov’t report

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

A report by the federal government has found that ‘9.9 percent of Canadians, some four million people, live in poverty compared to 6.4 percent in 2020, the equivalent of approximately 400,000 more Canadians.’

Decades of progress in lowering the poverty rate in Canada has been wiped out in the last few years under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government, one of his own federal departments has reported.

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, a recently released report dated December 11, 2023 by the Department of Social Development “estimates” that “9.9 percent of Canadians, some four million people, live in poverty compared to 6.4 percent in 2020, the equivalent of ‘approximately 400,000 more Canadians,’” and that “[f]uture increases in the rate of poverty could stall progress towards reaching the 2030 poverty reduction target of a 50 percent reduction in poverty versus 2015 levels.” 

The report observed that high inflation in Canada combined with “lagging household incomes” has led to “affordability pressures among many households.” 

While the uptick in the poverty rate is certainly concerning for many Canadians, it may come as little surprise as this is not the first time one of Trudeau’s own departments has warned of such a trend.

In January, the National Advisory Council on Poverty (NACP) observed to Parliament that fast-rising food costs have led to many people feeling a sense of “hopelessness and desperation.”

“Persons with lived expertise of poverty and service providers alike told us things seem worse now than they were before and during the first years of the pandemic,” read the NACP report.  

“We heard that people are worried about the rising cost of living and inflation,” it continued, adding, “More people are in crisis and these crises are more visible in our communities.” 

The damning figures comes as critics, including the nation’s leading taxpayer watchdog, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, have warned that the Trudeau government’s deficit spending and oft-increasing tax regime has been putting undue strain on the pocketbooks of its citizens.

Previously speaking to LifeSiteNews, CTF federal director Franco Terrazzano urged the Trudeau government to cut spending, balance the budget and “completely scrap” the “carbon tax.”

“More debt means more money wasted on interest charges and less room to cut taxes,” Terrazzano stated, warning that “[i]n a handful of years, every penny collected from the GST (Goods and Service Tax) will go toward paying interest on the debt.”

Under Trudeau, Canadians have seen their overall tax rate go up thanks to the punitive carbon tax that affects all goods and services in the nation. 

Even the Bank of Canada, the nation’s central bank, has taken issue with Trudeau government policy, acknowledging last year that some of its federal “climate change” programs, which have been deemed “extreme” by provincial leaders, are helping to fuel inflation. 

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