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Report: Fund Managers Talk 'Green' But Invest in Petro

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PARIS - Major financial firms that publicly support efforts to limit global warming have billions invested in the world's largest oil and gas companies - including in some of their products marketed as 'green' - a new report said Friday.

25 members of the Net Zero Asset Managers' initiative have a combined $417 billion in holdings in 15 oil and gas firms, including ExxonMobil and TotalEnergies.

Carbon Tracker, the organization behind the report, found that last year many of these asset managers even increased their exposure to the fossil fuel sector, which has seen profits surge as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

It said none of the 15 fossil fuel giants it focused on have activities and businesses aligned with a goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the more ambitious Paris climate deal target.

U.S. asset management giant BlackRock topped the list of firms in the net zero initiative with exposure to the 15 oil and gas firms, with investments totaling $116 last year, according to Carbon Tracker.

"Asset managers that join coalitions such as the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative are signaling to the market that they will invest in line with the Paris target of holding global warming to 1.5C," said the report's author Maeve O'Connor, Associate Analyst, Oil, Gas and Mining.

"If they invest in oil and gas companies that are not aligned with this target, they risk their reputation among climate-conscious asset owners while other investors may increasingly be concerned over exposure to energy transition risk."

In a statement the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative said its partner networks "share Carbon Tracker's perspective that the oil and gas industry must very rapidly decarbonize to meet the urgency of the climate crisis".

But it added that its commitment statement "does not require signatories to choose equity holdings to meet a particular climate target".

Carbon Tracker looked at a total of 90 asset managers - including those not signed up to the net zero initiative - and warned that many had products that risked misleading investors and 'greenwashing.'

Its analysis found that more than 160 funds specifically marketed with the labels "ESG" (environmental, social and governance), "sustainable", "climate", "carbon" and "transition" hold $4.6 billion of investments in the 15 oil and gas companies.