The world's largest asset manager, BlackRock Capital Investment, told the companies in its portfolio—including Avista, Portland General Electric and NorthWestern Energy—that they need to play a role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

BlackRock has a 14.6 percent stake in NorthWestern, its largest single investor, according to NWE's 2019 annual report.

The asset manager also owns substantial stakes in Avista and Portland General Electric, according to those companies' disclosures.

"Climate risk is investment risk," BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said in his annual letter to chief executives of companies the firm is invested in.

Fink said the companies must be more transparent about what they are doing to address climate change. He asked them to disclose sustainability information and climate-related risks by year-end. The report should also include plans for operating if the Paris Agreement's goal of limiting global warming to less than two degrees is implemented.

"In the absence of robust disclosures, investors, including BlackRock, will increasingly conclude that companies are not adequately managing risk," Fink said in the letter.

The investor's directive "aligns perfectly with NorthWestern Energy's Environmental Policy and Principles and business practices," NWE spokeswoman Jo Dee Black told Clearing Up. "NorthWestern Energy's mission is to deliver safe, reliable and innovative energy service affordably."

The company announced a "carbon vision" plan in December, the same time it announced its deal to buy Puget Sound Energy's stake in Colstrip Unit 4.

"We support providing energy through noncarbon emitting and renewable resources when consistent with our statutory requirement to provide cost-effective energy," Black said.

In 2018, the company adopted industry sustainability reporting standards, which it shares with investors, she said.

The reports do not include the Paris Agreement's targets.

A column in The Wall Street Journal on Jan. 21 noted that while investors and corporations have an important role in curbing GHG emissions, their influence is somewhat limited as China brings more and more coal-fired resources on line.

Contributing Editor

Dan has covered stories from Seattle to Tbilisi; spent time with the AP, Everett Daily Herald and Christian Science Monitor; and was twice a member of a team nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He and his wife have three young children and live in Seattle.