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Glenn Booraem, head of Vanguard's Investment Stewardship team. Photo illustration/Axios visuals

Glenn Booraem, head of Vanguard's investment stewardship team, is a key figure in this spring’s annual meetings with publicly owned companies where climate change is expected to be prominently featured.

Why he matters: Vanguard is one of the world’s largest investment firms, with more than $3 trillion in global assets. Climate change has become a top issue for large asset managers like Vanguard. Axios spoke to Booraem about this and much more last week.

On not focusing on the politics of the Trump administration’s rollback of climate policies:

"I don’t look at this from a political perspective. Our role on behalf of our shareholders is to maximize the long-term value of their investments irrespective of what either our government or other governments do from a regulatory standpoint."

On the politics of activist investors pushing non-binding but symbolically important resolutions on climate change:

"The ideology behind a shareholder proposal on climate or any other topic is not the driver for us. We have clients that exist at every point on the ideological spectrum on just about every issue out there. As the long-term owners of the assets, our fund objectives on their behalf are maximizing their long-term value irrespective of their ideological views."

On the balance between pressure to divest from fossil-fuel companies versus actively engaging as investors:

"The alternative to divestment is where we are essentially a permanent owner, which gives us a consistent seat at the table with companies to engage on these issues. … By divesting, we simply put the shares in the hands of another investor presumably who cares less about the issue than someone who is divesting."

On criticism that Vanguard isn’t following through on its rhetoric emphasizing climate change is important by not supporting more resolutions in the spring meeting process:

"Voting is only one of the tools we have at our disposal to improve corporate behavior over time. ... By the time an issue gets to a proxy vote, it’s a black and white issue, either for or against proposal."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Omicron cases confirmed in 3 U.S. states

A healthcare worker inserts a Covid-19 rapid test into a machine in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Daniel Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The third confirmed U.S. case of the newly-discovered Omicron variant was detected in a Colorado resident, state health officials said Thursday.

The latest: In addition to Colorado, the variant has been confirmed in California, and Minnesota.

Early winter heat shatters records in U.S., Canada

Temperature departures from average on Dec. 2, 2021, as depicted by the GFS computer model. (Weatherbell.com)

A widespread and intense heatwave is roasting large portions of the U.S. and Canada, shattering daily and monthly temperature records.

Why it matters: Winter is the fastest-warming season across the U.S., and the lingering warmth is shortening the snow season in places like Colorado and Montana, where mountain snowpack is a critical source of water during the summer months.

4 hours ago - Science

COVID time warp

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic seems like a lifetime ago to some, and just yesterday to others. Scientists are beginning to unpack the way people processed the passage of time amidst the stress, uncertainty and isolation of the 1 year, 8 months and 21 days since WHO declared a pandemic.

Why it matters: The pandemic's global effects on how people experience time could provide new insights into the brain's ability to perceive and predict time — a fundamental feature of life.

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