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Photo: Alex Milan Tracy, Sipa USA, AP via The Washington Post
JP Morgan Chase, the largest funder of oil and gas projects in the Arctic, announced on Monday that it will no longer fund those projects and it will reduce its investment in coal-fired power projects, but it will continue to invest in oil and gas projects in the rest of the U.S. Ironically, in a report to its customers that was leaked to the media, JP Morgan’s economists said that without action on climate change, there could be “catastrophic outcomes” and though they recommended a global tax on carbon, they also recognized that there would not be such a tax anytime soon.
Why This Matters: The commitment by JP Morgan to stay out of the Arctic shows that pressure from the public is working — forcing the bank to reconsider its fossil fuel loans and investments in a part of the planet which is changing more rapidly than most areas. But you gotta wonder why they are not heeding their own experts’ advice and doing more to end fossil fuel investments in other areas too. This disparity in words and actions should shake the confidence of its customers — particularly since the JP Morgan economists did not mince their words — there is nothing subtle about “catastrophic outcomes where human life as we know it is threatened.” And it means that by continuing with fossil fuel investments they are knowingly contributing to the life-threatening climate catastrophe.
JP Morgan’s Warning
Here are the highlights of the JP Morgan climate advice, per the BBC:
One energy analyst told The Washington Post that the commitment not to invest in Arctic development is not hugely impactful because “Oil and gas activity in the Arctic is so slim anyway that lending for such activity is essentially meaningless.” Many Chase bank branches have seen protests recently due to the bank’s significant role in underwriting the oil, gas and coal industries. Of banks in the U.S., JP Morgan is the largest funder of oil and gas drilling in the Arctic and of tar sands extraction in Canada. Moreover, the bank’s board has former ExxonMobil chief executive Lee R. Raymond, who has a long record of dismissing concerns about climate change. Axios reported that JP Morgan also felt public pressure via shareholder resolutions as well.
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