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Laurence D. Fink, chairman and C.E.O. in 2018. Photo: Michael Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times

BlackRock's climate strategy rolled out Tuesday won't leave anyone confusing the asset management giant with Greenpeace, despite the suite of big new pledges.

Driving the news: Take the plan to dump producers of thermal coal — the stuff used in power plants — from their active portfolios.

  • It targets companies that generate more than 25% of their revenue from thermal coal.
  • But Bloomberg points out that "large, diversified miners — which also rank among the largest coal producers — won’t be affected."
  • Coal revenue for mining heavyweights Glencore, Anglo American and BHP Group are all under the 25% threshold, Bloomberg notes.

But, but, but: A new update from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis says BlackRock's coal policy is nonetheless consequential.

  • They note it would likely capture firms including China Shenhua, China National Coal, Peabody Energy, Arch Coal Inc., Contura Energy, Adani Enterprises and many others.
  • And, they note, BlackRock's vow to "closely scrutinize" companies that use lots of thermal coal could bring divestment from big power companies like Duke Energy.

The big picture: Most of the trillions of dollars BlackRock manages for clients are in passive funds, which means the company isn't directly picking the investments.

  • Nonetheless, BlackRock's strategy does address passive investment vehicles. The firm is expanding offerings of sustainability-focused exchange-traded funds.
  • Part of that plan would allow clients to select funds that do not include certain companies and sectors, including a "fossil fuel screen."

The bottom line: Environmentalists generally applauded BlackRock's moves but also acknowledged their limits.

  • As the NYT notes, "Because of its sheer size, BlackRock will remain one of the world’s largest investors in fossil-fuel companies."

Go deeper: BlackRock vows focus on climate change

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

FDA panel backs Merck's antiviral COVID pill

The Merck Cherokee Plant in Riverside, Pa. Photo: Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

An FDA advisory panel on Tuesday voted 13-10 to endorse an antiviral pill developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to treat adults at high risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, despite concerns over its effectiveness and safety.

Why it matters: Oral antiviral drugs designed to prevent or treat COVID-19 could be key pandemic-fighting tools, if proven effective, especially as new variants emerge. If authorized, the Merck drug, known as molnupiravir, would be the first treatment of its kind to be made available in the United States.

Shooting at Michigan high school leaves 3 dead, 6 wounded

Screengrab: CBSN

Three people dead and six others are wounded after a shooting at a high school in Michigan according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

Driving the news: The alleged shooter was a 15-year-old sophomore at Oxford High School and has been arrested, per police.

Fed signals it could yank economic support quicker as inflation sticks around

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a hearing before Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee today. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve will consider pulling back economic support sooner "as the threat of persistently high inflation has grown," chair Jerome Powell said during a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is the biggest signal yet the Fed is backing away from its stance that soaring prices would be fleeting — a change that could shift its policies that underpin the economy.