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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

There's a big new player in the green ETF game: LCTU, the BlackRock U.S. Carbon Transition Readiness ETF, launched today and already has more than $1 billion in assets thanks to seed investments from CalSTRS, Temasek, and other big institutional investors.

Why it matters: Individual investors who want broad stock market exposure but who also believe in the sustainability thesis now have a big-name ETF to invest in.

How it works: LCTU has exactly the same sector weights as the market as a whole — it doesn't underweight sectors like energy, or overweight cleaner areas like technology. Instead it applies BlackRock's sustainability algorithm within sectors, to decide which companies to overweight and underweight.

  • The idea is that if investors start buying LCTU in large quantities, that will help capital flow to the kind of companies that are best prepared for a low-carbon future.
  • What they're saying: "Sustainable investing allows us to use the strength of our investment portfolio to proactively manage climate change," says Bob Qutub, the CFO of RenaissanceRe, another of the seed investors in the fund.

Our thought bubble: A new ETF, no matter how big it gets, will never move the needle on climate change, since all it can ever do is buy and hold stocks of existing public companies.

  • If you believe in the thesis that green companies will outperform the market, however, then maybe the excess performance of the fund will be able to cover its 0.3% annual fee.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Apr 8, 2021 - Energy & Environment

The emerging frontiers of climate activism

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The new(ish) group Law Students for Climate Accountability just launched a pressure campaign against the heavyweight law firm Gibson Dunn over its work for oil industry clients.

Why it matters: It's just one of many examples of how climate activism has been tactically evolving in recent months and years. That includes taking aim at a wider suite of corporate targets, like PR agencies and big tech, and intensifying a years-long focus on the finance sector.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Apr 8, 2021 - Economy & Business

The teen-powered resurgence of active investing

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Never mind saving for retirement. Gen Z has embraced the stock market as a place to make short-term gains.

Why it matters: Day trading is back, turbocharged by social media and the invincibility of youth. Silicon Valley is paying attention.

Climate spending is a story of the century

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A successful global effort to slash carbon emissions demands huge investments to finance the unprecedented transformation of energy systems and related infrastructure — and it's a capital shift that's already well underway.

Why it matters: Private investment is already ramping up, and President Biden wants to spend hundreds of billions of dollars. Independent experts say the spending that will be needed to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 — a goal now embraced by the U.S. and many other countries — would be on the scale of the Industrial Revolution.

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